Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Green Leaves

Decrapifying is my present household activity. I am trying to clean up and clear out some of the stuff we have accululated in over 40 years of marriage so that, in the not too distant future, we can relocate to a more modest residence.

Of course I can't do this all the time so I am doing some decrapifying in my genealogy space. I have been a member of Ancestry since the olden days and I can't remember when they introduced those shaky green leaves but I know that I have never taken any notice of them. So my first decrapyfying geneatask has been to get rid of those leaves - an interesting exercise.

The leaves seem to multiply overnight so that I am making very slow progress.
 So many of the hints are for events that are already in my Ancestry private tree (a pruned down version of Dera Ancestry, I'd rather have fewer hints that lead me to new information.

 I can't understand why Ancestry throws up hints from foreign countries for people who were totally BMDed in Australia or England.

 Over the years I have generously shared gedcom files with other people. I get all excited when a green leaf leads me to an ancestor on a shared tree and then get annoyed (with myself for  prior sharing) when I find my info posted on someone's public tree. I keep my info up to date and correct my errors when I find them - these people don't!

 I was pleased when one genie I contacted after being directed to her tree removed the misinformation there but she told me she had copied it from another tree........Deep breath.

  In spite of my frustrations I have found some good leads to check out. Probably 1/25 of the leaves bear fruit for me. So I will attack my next 35 pages of hints tonight.  I wonder how many I'll have in the morning.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trove Tuesday - On the Street Where I Live

I live on the main road that goes connects our village of Galston to the Sydney suburb of Hornsby. In 1895 Galston Road travelled through bush that was described as presenting "glimpses that remind one strongly of the road which lies between Lake Taupo and Napier in New Zealand".  I travel this picturesque route through what is now the Berowra Valley National Park when I need to access more services or catch a train to the city from Hornsby.

I found this description and drawings while playing in Trove today, one of the bridges in the illustration is still there today while the longer one has been replaced by a modern concrete structure.

Mr GeniAus' Great-great-grandmother, Margaret Gillespie (nee Munro), was an orchardist in the district in the 1890s. I wonder if she sent her fruit to the railway at Hornsby or Parramatta?

1895 'The Galston-Hornsby Road.', Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), 2 March, p. 27, viewed 26 August, 2014,

I am privileged to live in such a beautiful area which a local bumper sticker describes as "The Place where Country meets City".

The bridge today

#NFHM2014 Report Card

My #NFHM2014 Report Card

Shauna Hicks drew up this list of 31 Activities for researchers to attempt during National Family History Month. How did I score?

1 Visit the NFHM sponsors page and consider entering the prize draw for
I entered the competitions for individuals. Fingers crossed.

2 Apply for a National Library of Australia e-resources card and explore
genealogy resources online at home if you have not done so before
A great fan of The National Library I have had my card for some years now and regularly use it to access online resources.

3 Visit your State library and see what genealogical information they hold.
If distant, do a virtual visit. If you do not already have a State library card,
apply so that you can use their e-resources at home.
Also a fan of The State Library of NSW I have had a card for several years and used it during #NFHM2014 to access databases. Did you know that the Library has a family history blog at

4 Check out all the new resources on Ancestry and
enter the prize draw to win a year's subscription - major sponsor and
prize sponsor
I use Ancestry regularly. Having an annual sub is a luxury I appreciate as it allow me to access the resources wheneve. I'ver I wish. During #NFHM2014 I spent some time checking out the hints on the shaky leaves.

5 Have a look at some of the great genealogy cruises coming up with
Unlock the Past - prize sponsor
Geneacruising is one of my favourite ways to learn. My schedulae for 2015 is pretty full but some of the 2016 cruises are tempting.

6 Visit your State Archives and see what resources they hold
and look at their fact sheets and guides. If distant, do a virtual visit.
This is another repository I love. I visited in person last month and have visited virtually several times this month.
Remember to check out the National Archives of Australia - NFHM launch sponsor
Several virtual visits undertaken this month.

7 Plan to attend a NFHM event in your area.  If none, suggest to your local
society or public library that they participate next year
I've gone overboard in this area having presented and attended online and in person events.

8 Attend one of the online events in the NFHM web calendar
Enjoyed hosting online events and have attended others. Love connecting and learning from the comfort of home.

9 Explore your surname in the MyHeritage Last Name Directory - major sponsor and prize
Missed the boat on the free access period but hope to investigate later.

10 Visit your local genealogy/family history society and see what resources
they hold. If you are not a member, think about joining or perhaps join a
society near where your ancestors lived
Have visited two local societies I belong to this month.

11 Visit the NFHM Facebook page for updates throughout August
Have you Liked our page yet?
Certainly have.

12 Did any family members fight in WW1? Participate in the National
Archives of Australia new beta website Discovering Anzacs
Have visited but have not yet contributed any material. On the gunna list.

13 Download the free August genealogy ebook from genEbooks - prize sponsor
Thanks for the reminder. Downloading now, one never knows when it will come in handy. Need to add it to my Librarything so I know I have it.

14 Check out Twitter to see the latest genealogy news -
use the hash tags #genealogy or #familyhistory and remember to also use
I've overdone this one as well.

15 Why not do a photo book on a person or family? Momento have some
great ideas - prize sponsor
I fall down on this one, not organised enough for photobooks.

16 Attend/listen to a webinar or Google + hangout  - why not join Google +
and see what other Aussie genealogists are doing?
Hosted Hangouts, attended webinars - thanks for the freebie MyHeritage.

17 Early NSW ancestors? - have a look at the Biographical Database of
Australia - prize sponsor
Have a sub to this one. Must check back to see if there's anything new.

18 Read a family history blog or start your own genealogy blog writing
stories about individual ancestors or families.
I am a blogaholic. I read and write them. I started a new fun one in #NFHM2014. Check it out at

19 Have another look at that brick wall - construct a time line of known facts
and relook at everything. I'm offering a prize to assist in brick wall
demolitions if I can. See NFHM sponsors page.
I'm looking.

20 Visit your local library and explore the genealogy and local history
sections. Or visit your local historical society or a virtual visit to an
historical society near where your ancestors lived
Attended a talk at the local library.

21 Enrol in one of the free online genealogy courses offered by the National
Institute of Genealogical Studies - prize
sponsor (details of three courses offered are on NFHM sponsors page)
Great offer which I am declining because I never seem to get around to completing these once I enrol.

22 Make a start on scanning all your old photographs. Remember to identify
and file the images as you go.
I get a gold star here. Have nearly 100,000 photos scanned and tagged with the help of Picasa. I need to weed out duplicates.

23 Visit your local newsagent and see what genealogy and family history
magazines they have. Australian Family Tree Connections and Inside History Magazine - both prize sponsors
I always make sure that Inside History is visible in our local's display.

24 Findmypast may be available at a local council
library or genealogy/family history society library - book a session time
and see what you can discover - prize sponsor
I'm lucky to have an annual world sub. It's part of the toolbox at my fingertips.

25 Check out the Gould Genealogy & History online
catalogue and be ready when the family ask what you want for
Christmas/birthday etc - prize sponsor
If only the family would take note of my hints.

26 Explore FamilySearch and perhaps do one of
their online tutorials. Major sponsor
I find their wiki a useful resource. Have visited this month to do some indexing.

27 Join Trove and correct newspaper text after you
make that exciting family discovery! Why not add tags or make a list of
your discoveries?
I'm a Troveite so this month I have shared the joys of Trove with Mr Geniaus who is now hooked.

28 Plan to attend the next AFFHO congress in Canberra in March 2015 -
Major sponsor and prize sponsor
Barring some major catastrophe I'll be there.

29 Make sure all your photos are identified (both print copies and online)
and explore Picasa's facial recognition capability
See answer to question 22.

30 Why not plan to attend the NSW/ACT conference in Wollongong in
September - prize sponsor
Considered this long and hard, I love to catch up with my genimates but as the program this year doesn't light my fire I'll be staying home.

31 NSW ancestors - why not look at transcriptions as an alternative to
certificates with Joy Murrin transcription agent -
prize sponsor
Compiling a list for when I have more pennies to spare.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Do as I say not Do as I do...

...was something I said in a workshop I gave last Saturday.

One of the attendees asked about blogging about living persons. My advice was to stick to dead people or blog privately. I am about to ignore my own advice and blog about a family member who is very much alive:

1. Because, as this blog is archived by The National Library of Australia at the  Pandora Archive, this story should remain around for future generations to see.

2. Because I am proud of the achievements of this family member.

Last night on 60 Minutes there was a story about a young footballer, Curtis Landers, who had an injury that was likely to leave him in a wheelchair for life. Sixty Minutes said in their promo:

"Curtis Landers is about as lucky, and as unlucky, as they come. Back in May, the 15-year-old was a rising footy star when a routine tackle went terribly wrong.

Badly dislocating his spine, Curtis was initially diagnosed a complete quadriplegic. His parents were told their boy would never walk again, and even struggle to breathe on his own. The outlook could not have been more bleak.
But there's always hope, and Curtis has defied the odds. On 60 Minutes, it's the feel good story of the year, as Curtis walks out of hospital and back onto the football field to kick a ball with his mates."
Dr Ball at work
Featured on the program was Sydney Neurosurgeon, Dr Jonathon Ball, who is Head of the Neurosurgery Department at Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH), it was Dr Ball who operated on Curtis after he was airlifted to the Spinal Unit at RNSH from a country hospital. I know that Dr Ball is knowledgeable, skilled, hardworking, conscientious and modest, what sets him apart is that he is a super kind and caring surgeon who has exceptional empathy with and interest in his patients. 
Dr Ball is interviewed on 60 Minutes
Does that sound like a Mum talking? It is. 

I may be biased but from the comments that have been flyng around on Facebook and Twiitter since the program aired last night I realise that I am not alone in my opinion. Half of Australia must watch 60 Minutes as many folk we know or have known caught this show and have communicated that to us.

During the interview Jonathon said that Curtis was an inspiration - "among the handful of patients who keep you doing what you do".
A Big Hug for Curtis and Jonathon when they meet up after Curtis' rehab
We also think that Jonathon is an inspiration.
For those who missed this story of a young boy's courage and determination it can be viewed here:


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