Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of my first post on this blog. Little did I know at the time how much it would become part of my life, or how many friends I’d make through it.
Over the years I’ve followed various prompts and written up stories as I’ve made discoveries about individual members or branches of my families. From these 858 stories I’ve had contact from different people with interest in the people or the events. Sometimes the friendships I’ve made have led to other discoveries like this recent one.
Some years ago I wrote a series called Beyond the Internet which was very popular and while some sources and strategies will have found themselves online, much remains as a useful process to work through.
Each year I’ve written a post to commemorate Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, trying to ensure those who served are not forgotten.
Part of my own learning over the years has been through attending presentations, seminars and conferences. After each I’ve tried to write a post summarising what I learned. One of the things I’ve learned – and thoroughly enjoyed – is the delight that comes with meeting friends at these events.
While I’ve not written as much in recent years – a combination of retirement distrations and relocation – there have still been things to share as I’ve made discoveries. If you want to read some of the posts from the past, you can search by category in the box in the right or peruse the Archives by month, also on the right.
For those contemplating a blog, just do it: not only is it an easy way to write up your family history, but you will gain new friends and make new discoveries as you go along. Don’t worry about how to write – use your own “voice” and it will be a true reflection of you.
Thank you to all my readers and genimates who’ve kept me company along the way. It’s been fun sharing with you.
Having reviewed some of the talks I attended at Congress 2015, it’s time to turn to a little personal navel-gazing. Decades of working as a senior administrator means I can’t help myself when it comes to assessing what went well and what wasn’t so successful. How else to improve one’s own performance in any sphere?
It’s always tricky when preparing papers for any seminar to know what the audience expects to hear as there’s inevitably a range of knowledge, experience and aspirations. Then there’s the slides,timing and not wanting to cause death by power-point. I gave two presentations at Congress – this is my own assessment of how they went. Others may well differ.
The marriage of family and local history
There was so much more I’d have liked to include but I whittled away until I felt I had sufficient to tell the story sensibly. While the paper I submitted to the proceedings provided the nuts and bolts of the tools and techniques I’d used, I wanted the presentation on Murphy’s Creek to illustrate how these might come together to tell the story of a place through the marriage of local and family history.
I was pleased with how this talk went as it seemed to be well received by many in the audience. Certainly quite a few people came up to me that day, and later, to comment on what they’d got from it. It was also a pleasure to meet two people from towns near Murphy’s Creek.
The downside was that my little sound snippet on the image of an old barn (the property of Mr Horrocks, mentioned in the extract) refused to work even though it had been fine when I’d tested it multiple times at home…of course.
I have included it here:
You can hear Annie talking to local historian Cameron about the social life in Murphy’s Creek in the early 20th century.
Here too is a graphic which I decided to exclude because (1) it wasn’t necessary and (2) it was too busy. Thanks to Alex from Family Tree Frog blog who introduced me to the mind-mapping tool, Coggle. You never know, someone might find the framework useful.
Harness the power of blogging for your One Place Study (OPS).
A grassroots research revolution is taking place to change the history of ordinary people. Image from Shutterstock.com
This topic suffered a little from confusion over its title in each program (online, app, printed) .…despite the convenor’s best attempts to sort it out. My fault for not noticing sooner and my apologies to those who thought they were getting a talk about blogging per se. Hopefully the paper in the proceedings will make it clearer.
My retrospective assessment is that I hadn’t achieved the depth I’d have liked with this presentation. Perhaps in this case I’d whittled and edited too much. Again the intention was to demonstrate how blogging could be used for a one place study, or indeed your own research. I wanted to highlight the issues I’d encountered in this type of blog – mainly time, and ambivalence about which blog to use. I hope those with an interest in the topic will explore the different styles used by the other OPS blogs I mentioned as well. In retrospect I could also have added some slides showing some of the stories on my two OPS blogs.
Travelling in our time machine. Image from Shutterstock.com
Although speakers had a target time of 35 minutes for each presentation, leaving time for questions, I was surprised to finish this talk in 30 minutes. The upside is that it left time for lots of Q&A to involve the audience. Nick Reddan’s question of “why blog, not publish a book?” was pertinent…my response: depends on the project and what you want to achieve. I was really pleased to see the lively dynamic in the Q&A session which lasted 15 minutes and also allowed my geneablogger mates to offer their five bob’s worth too ….thanks genimates! Twitter tells me my quotable quote was “bloggers are part of a gang“…in a good way of course since we support and encourage each other.
The technology was a little frustrating – a problem shared by others – with the screens so far forward and the remote forward-back buttons in different places in the different rooms. I also learned not to wear an outfit with a cowl neckline…something to add to Paul Milner’s “don’t” list.
Thanks to everyone who attended and who offered questions or opinions on what I’d said.
This worldwide collaboration by genies from many countries is well worth adding to your blog reading list. It’s always interesting to see the topics chosen and how people approach their research. Lots of posts with really helpful tips too.
Do your research a favour and check out the stories on the blog.
Then the voting on John Reid’s Rockstar Genealogist 2014 was completed and I found that my readers had voted me into 5th place for the Australia/New Zealand regional “honours”. Gold Star Rockstar was Shauna Hicks, well known to Aussie genies, and coordinator par excellence of Australian Family History Month. Silver Star performer was Judy Webster who is devotedly followed by all Queensland genealogists for her wealth of knowledge of Queensland archival sources and her indexes of some records, as well as being the initiator of the Kiva Genealogists for Families Team. No surprise either that Bronze Medallist was Jill Ball aka Geniaus, convenor of hangouts, Aussie techno-expert, blogger and blog-coordinator extraordinaire.
Places 4 to 10 were as follows:
Chris Paton (UK)
5. Pauleen Cass (Aus)
6. Thomas MacEntee (US)
7. Dick Eastman (US)
8. Cyndi Ingle (US)
8. Sharn White (Aus)
10. Nick Barratt (UK)
10. Kirsty Gray (UK)
10. Pat Richley-Erickson (DearMyrtle)(US)
I’ve been fortunate enough to hear many of these people in real life or hangouts, and very pleased to see some of my good geni-mates on the list. Last year my #5 place was overtaken by the bombing and hijacking events at Westgate Mall when we were staying nearby at our daughter’s place in Nairobi. So this year I thought I should celebrate a little…especially after my daughters gave me heaps for having to find out on Facebook <smile>.
The downside of these sorts of lists is that there are so many great genealogists out there who are quiet achievers but definitely rockstars, and I’m proud to call many of them my friends as well as blogging colleagues. They volunteer, index, blog, coordinate facebook groups, initiate blogging themes etc. Without them we’d all be poorer so here’s a toast to all our genimates.
The digital version of Inside History for September-October 2014 has been available since late last week. Subscribers are receiving their hard-copy versions in the mail. The cat is no longer in the proverbial bag so can I say how thrilled I am to find myself on the Top 50 Blogs list for 2014? There was certainly some geneajigging going on!
Every year there is an increased number of excellent genealogy blogs online, and Down Under is particularly well represented. I also know Geniaus aka Jill Ball and Inside History have a rigorous set of selection criteria for inclusion. All the more reason to be delighted, and privileged, to once again be in the list.
Extract from Inside History magazine, Sept-Oct 2014, page 49.
The list includes many of my “old” faves, but has also introduced me to some blogs I didn’t know about but which have now been added to my Feedly list. I’m very pleased to see the Irish getting a Guernsey with Irish Genealogy News (Claire Santry) and also Lost Medals Australia of which I’ve been a fan for ages…especially pertinent as we honour the men who served in WWI.
Congratulations also to all the other individual bloggers and organisations on the list. A special thanks to Jill Ball and Inside History. If you don’t already read Inside History it’s well worth subscribing either digitally or as a hard-copy. I’ve particular enjoyed this month’s articles on DNA and University Archives, one I’m struggling to understand, and the other I’ve been a fan of for many years. Inside History also has a great blog you can follow.
What a great lot of reading we have ahead of us, both of the magazine and also all the blogs.
The other day I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by Alona from Lone Tester and also Deb from A Pocket Full of Memories. It’s always such a privilege and delight when one’s blogging mates endorse your work. Blogging in some respects is a solitary activity – we research privately (mostly), we contemplate and review what we’ve discovered, and then we put fingers to keyboard to try to bring our stories to life. Comments from our readers and their support encourage us in our solitary pursuits and bring on a warm genea-glow.
So, in no way do I want to diminish my thanks to Deb and Alona and others who’ve passed on awards in the past. I am truly pleased that they’ve thought of me and that they enjoy my blog.
However what I’ve found in the past is that the awards tend to circulate among a small pool of people perhaps ignoring others, often newbies, who could do with some reader support. After long discussions and some angst back a few years ago, I decided I would gratefully accept the awards but not pass them on in the form intended. Instead I would do my best to visit other blogs and make comments as I think this passes on the love, paying it forward. You can see some of the blogs I follow on my “Blog Links” page under Resources. I read them via Feedly, though sometimes I get waylaid by real life.
In the spirit of the award I’ll list the seven things about me you may not know unless you’ve been reading my blog for ages.
I am so grateful to my best team supporter, Mr Cassmob. Where would I be without him? Besides which he always finds the graves I’m looking for <smile>.
I’m addicted to family history, especially offline research in archives and libraries…it’s kept me sane, and crazy, for nearly 4 decades now.
I love cats, especially my gorgeous furry person Springer.
I’m addicted to travel as you’ve read on this blog and my Tropical Territory and Travel blog.
I’m a true-maroon Queenslander even though I live in the Top End of the NT.
A world without books is unimaginable to me…I’m forever grateful to my Dad for passing his book-gene on to me.
Visiting Open Gardens each Dry Season has been a great pleasure so it’s sad that this has been the last year it will be held.
Surely it almost goes without saying that I love my family because they are my motivation for writing the stories of my families, past and present.
If you’re interested you can read what I wrote about my Approach to Awards. Until I did my blog make-over a few weeks ago had it on my menu bar and took it off…Murphy at work again!
At first it all seemed too anxiety-provoking but I’ve been tweaking away today. It’s a bit like going to the day spa…you feel so good you think it will be Elle Macpherson you see in the mirror, but nada, not so.
Some months ago I removed all the old awards and many of the themes and memes images. I don’t need them – they show in my “memes and themes” category anyway.
Once again blogger extraordinaire, Jill aka Geniaus, has challenged us to think about our blogging practice, and especially the use of hyperlinks. I only read Jill’s post about hyperlinking a few days ago and I’ve been reflecting on my practice ever since.
So what are my strategies – always assuming I’m not rushing, or distracted, and forget.
Referencing other posts
If I mention something about another person’s post I’ll link the actual story, after all that story is their copyright property and I’m recommending it to the reader as something useful or interesting, or both, to read.
If it’s a comment about a blogger or website in general, I link to their overall blog page or website. What to do with an example as above? If I’m going to mention Geniaus closely followed by a specific reference which will take you to the same site, I don’t link twice….it seems repetitious, but in this case I’ve linked to the post, and to Jill’s Google+ page.
This is not unlike using footnotes in a written document, though these may still be necessary in some cases.
Sometimes I want the reader to be able to see an image I found but it’s copyrighted. One way to deal with this is to hyperlink to the page where I found it. A good example is the gravestones on the Australian Cemeteries Index pages, which refer to East Clare people I’m talking about in my posts.
We all know our readers join us over time. Sometimes it’s worth referring to an earlier post which the reader may not have seen when it was published or have forgotten (just imagine!). Or you may have more than one blog and want to cross-refer to a story.
I’m sure I’m as guilty as the next person of occasionally taking some phrases for granted, but I do try to link to the more peculiar ones. Of course Aussies grow up watching American and British TV programs so we understand a variety of expressions. But who would have thought that “boiled sweets” would have caused as much confusion as it did in Susan’s post about her father on her Family History Fun blog?
Strangely I’m a little more ambivalent about this. Sometimes it’s useful to hyperlink if there’s a particular aspect of a place that could be clarified by the link eg Charters Tower’s mining history. In other cases I’m not sure it’s necessary. If I don’t know where Chicago is, or much about it, it may not affect how I appreciate Kristin’s family stories on Finding Eliza.
I have launched yet another blog…not quite sure why when I can’t keep up with all those I have. However gearing up for all the One Place Study enthusiasms which will occur on the Unlock the Past Cruise next week, I thought I should get started.
As you know I’ve had an interest in the emigrants from East County Clare in Ireland for quite some time. I’d shelved them for a while but my ancestors are nudging me with discoveries and serendipity so it didn’t seem wise to ignore them.
The new blog is calledEast Clare Emigrants (click to migrate there), and hopefully will be on interest to anyone with east Clare ancestry, wherever their relatives settled. I’m thinking this would be an ideal opportunity for guest posts from those who “fit the bill” of East Clare roots but who may not have a blog of their own.
So that’s my Australia Day innovation for 2014.
By the way, the collation of all the Oz Day geneameme responses will be posted tomorrow. And later tonight I hope to complete my Sepia Saturday entry….whew, who said it was a holiday today!