Genies Down Under

This month I’ve been honoured, and very delighted, to have the Genies Down Under podcast 16, on researching offline, dedicated to my Beyond the Internet series, a lovely compliment to start the year! I was very chuffed when Maria asked if she could mention me and make reference to my posts. When you’ve put a lot of work into producing something like that it makes it so worthwhile when others find your tips and strategies helpful.

I have to hang my head now because I’ve only relatively recently heard of the Genies Down Under podcasts and hadn’t quite got round to listening to any. However I am now a convert and am working my way through the series. Maria has a huge array of resources available on the blog site and as well as the podcasts there are also links, images and show notes to go with the audio.  Maria’s themed discussions come under the headings of tips, tools, tricks and traps which neatly encapsulate the issues you need to address.

Warning: Don’t listen late at night. Last night I listened to the one on heirlooms, and then so many ideas were swirling in my head that I couldn’t sleep!

If, like me, these podcasts have been on your “gunna” list of things to do, I encourage you to head over and have a look and listen to this great collection of themes. Each podcast is very professionally produced, but is also quite relaxed in style. While Maria says it is genealogy with an Aussie spin, I’d be very surprised if researchers in other countries couldn’t gain something from most of the sessions.

Maria posts each podcast on the first of the month and upcoming ones include naming patterns (Feb), Techie stuff, (March), Irish stuff (April), favourite ancestors (May), immigration (June), storage (July). She also welcomes ideas if you wish to make suggestions or comments on a particular topic. You can contact Maria on geniesdownunder [at] gmail [dot] com.

Why not join me and put a link to the Genies Down Under podcasts on your sidebar.

Comments on Shauna Hicks’s talk re Online trends in Family History

As a fairly techno-competent family historian I didn’t expect to get so much from Shauna’s talk on Online Trends. I was wrong! Sure there were plenty of sites that I’ve used and love, but there were great insights into new ones and new strategies. I learnt what RSS was all about (not having bothered to find out before!) and promptly went home & linked Shauna’s webpage via RSS so I know when things change.

Even though I’m on Facebook I don’t really use it a lot nor had I felt inclined to twitter which always seemed a bit pointless. Once again I was wrong! Shauna’s tips revealed a wonderful world of up-to-the-minute bulletins of genealogical, historical and family history news. Looks like I might have acquired another obsession: -) I’m still figuring some things out about how to fully use twitter, not to mention the protocols, but it certainly is fun!

The benefits of general emails like yahoo and gmail were covered and people gasped when Shauna said she has six emails (I “only” have five). While I can see the benefits of keeping a generic email so you can change providers if you wish, my own preference is to keep a general email that I can “dump” if it gets spammed. It also meant I could screen who I could give which email to…I learnt the hard way with my old dial-up connection -far too many spam mails for obscene activities and viagra, even with a good security system. My plea is that people learn to use the Blind copy (BCC) facility on their email program when sending out bulk emails eg jokes etc. This limits where your email goes, or at least who can vacuum up your email.

I suppose many of us know the dangers of the internet but it amazes me how much personal information can be deduced from what’s on Facebook (for example) and probably also this blog.

Skype is great both in terms of cost-saving if family and friends are overseas or interstate and you don’t have a bulk package on your land-line. It also means you can use video links to see your family and grandchildren so you can see them grow and interact with them. You can even use it to have a live feed on the family’s new home by moving the laptop around the house to see the rooms.

I’m also a fan of RootsChat when you really can’t get to a records office or look at an original record. There are many kind souls who will help you out -BUT do make sure you pull your weight by doing as much as possible yourself first. It is your family history research after all.

I’m not much of a fan of Genes Reunited even thoughI’ve made some good contacts. I’m pathologically averse to people vacuuming up my information without even acknowledging my data and without responding or offering any information themselves. It’s really not courteous and definitely puts me off helping others until I test the waters. On the plus side, there are some serious researchers with whom you can work collaboratively.

Shauna’s talk was also a good reminder about how many learning resources for family history are “out there” on podcasts  -if one only (1) remembers to use them and (2) finds the time to get to them.  People with convicts might be interested in the podcast from The (UK) National Archives on Transportation to Australia Or their podcast on Apprenticeship records for family historians. Perhaps I should heed my own advice and go and listen to some!

All this and I’ve yet to learn more about, and explore, nings.

So check out Shauna’s talk on her website at and learn more about these exciting online trends.