Sunday, 22 March 2015

Countdown to Congress - 3 sleeps to go!

With only 3 sleeps to go before the 14th Australasian Congress on Heraldry and Genealogy I have realised I am more disorganised than I thought :)   Given that I am flying out of Brisbane this morning to spend a couple of days sightseeing before Congress, this presents  a little bit of a problem. What am I to do? Hmm, Fly by the seat of my pants and wing it!

As mentioned previously this is my first Congress and I am very excited; I have however discovered a side of me that is unfamiliar - indecisiveness.  I have so far changed my session preferences 3 times as I just cannot make up my mind on which speakers/subjects I will find most beneficial.  When I first listed my preferences there were a couple of sessions I really wanted to attend however they were already fully booked.  I have been able to now add these to my preferences - so if you have found yourself in the same situation it is definitely worth a check.  To do this login to the Delegate Zone and select edit in the"alternative Session selection".

Last night I also downloaded the Congress 2015 App from the Apple store.  I did have some issues with it resulting in having to un-install and re-install the App twice before I could get it to work. This occurred on both my Iphone and Ipad.  As for the App itself, I have found it to be a little bit fiddly to add in "my program" and I think as we will be receiving a hard copy of the program in our goodies bag, I probably wont be using the App itself.  Time will Tell.

Now its funny how things turn out, my boss asked me last week where I was going for my holiday and when I told her she started asking me all sorts of questions about family history. Her and her husband became very excited and brought me a number of documents which they said they had been carrying around for 20 years and never knew what to do with them.  These just happened to be on ancestors who were in WW1, and I very quickly downloaded some service records from National Archives of Australia and a few newspaper articles from Trove and I do believe we now have some new converts.  

They have entrusted me to collect some war medals which are being held at the AWM - I'm honoured they trust me enough for this special task.

I hope everyone has a fantastic time at Congress and you all get exactly what you want and more from this wonderful event.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Countdown to Congress 2015

With a little over a week and a half to go until the 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry 26-30 March 2015  I am now frantically trying to get myself organised. Amazing how the time has dragged by since first registering mid 2014, and now its upon us and I don't know where to start!

I mentioned in a comment last week Judy Webster has listed some very useful tips in her blog "Top 3 Things to Do before a Genealogy Conference" and although I did read this blog quite thoroughly several times, I wish I had paid more attention to it when the time came.

I refer specifically to my contact cards (ordered through Vistaprint  - if you use this link Judy donates the commission to a wonderful group KIVA 'Genealogists for Families'

I admit when I ordered them I was in a hurry and a little distracted, what a difference a few extra minutes would have made. At present they show the bare minimum and I am a little disappointed, It's okay though as I am a solver and I have found a work around.

Judy's suggestions are very clear as to what sort of information to include, somehow I missed most of it. Here is what I ended up with:

I opted not to list this blogspot as I am very much a beginner and haven't really published much at all - in hindsight I wish I had; I also wish that I had listed my public on-line tree & a link to KIVA .  I am not overly concerned about my Facebook profile as this is more for personal posts.  I was tripped up on 2 other items - my title - I rather like "Family Historian" though I think this sounds like I am a professional which I am not, even though essentially that is what we are doing telling the history of our families. "Genealogy Enthusiast" - hmm, maybe.. In the end I left a title off altogether and somehow I feel kind of bare & non de-script.  

Then we come to the "short" list of surnames being researched HAHAHAHA short? really? How do you pick which ones make the grade?  I chose my main lines - maternal, paternal (1), paternal (2) and also that of my late husband.  I am happy with this list, I only wish there was more room to give a run-down of places/times. Having said that, at least they are listed and I am contactable by email should anyone have an enquiry.

My resolve for the issues above: Address labels! Yes, so simple.  I did not wish to spend more money and order another batch, so I went looking for a fix and discovered the A4 sheets of address labels fit perfectly on the rear of the card.  I can add additional information here, print out sheets of them and stick to the back of the card.  :)

Next problem: Research Register and how to list the names/locations/period.
This always trips me up. It' s difficult to list this information in an abbreviated format, particularly when one also has to list alternative spellings etc.   I checked what others had done and this is how my entry shows:

VERY IMPORTANT: Do take the time to check this list, 6 degrees of separation and with so many people attending Congress there is bound to be someone somewhere with a link or information to your research interest.    

I have found the link to Sue Maxells preparation guide very helpful with simple suggestions that I would not have otherwise thought of. I particularly like the bag on wheels.

My own little tip: I primarily use Legacy Family Tree from which I have printed a list of all names in my database along with sex, birth, death and burial info. To conserve paper and space I have created a double side booklet with 2 pages per side.  Although I will be taking my IPAD with me to Congress, if I find someone with a similar interest I have a very quick way to access the bare necessities.  Brilliant idea I say!!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Congress and The Chase

I have been researching my family history for over 30 years, at times I am "gung ho" and buried in it (pardon the pun), other times I do not touch it for weeks, or even months; and yet three decades later the passion is still there.  I cannot help but wonder what is the drawcard that keeps me and so many others coming back?

It has only been the past 12 months that I have actually given any thought as to why I dedicate so much of my life to this past time. My children are not particularly interested, nor are my other family members, so what do I think will happen to my research when I am gone and does it matter? 

My answer is I have absolutely no clue and a resounding YES it definitely matters.

When I heard the 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry was being held in Canberra this year (26-30 March 2015 ) I was quite excited as I thought "I can make this happen"; Canberra isn't that far from Brisbane and who really cares about work?  When a good friend suggested we travel together I was like a Mexican jumping bean - you couldn't keep me down.  Rain, hail or shine I was going to Congress!

By my level of excitement, you may comprehend this is my FIRST time at congress, and I am absolutely beside myself.  There are a few speakers who I have had the pleasure of listening to before (Carole Baxter, Shauna Hicks, Paul Milner) and there are others who I cannot wait to encounter and absorb all the wisdom they wish to share (Kerry Farmer, Heather Garnsey, Colleen Fitzpatrick to name a few).

I am particularly interested in expanding my knowledge on DNA and how it plays a part in our research, and I love hearing about all things English and Irish. 4 days of heaven sent bliss, expanding my knowledge on a topic I love - Genealogy. Who could ask for more?

I personally am not attending the extra functions (welcome dinner etc.) as my finances would not stretch that far after travel and accommodation expenses; although, if I had excess funds I am sure it would be nice. I will be concentrating on the speakers I am booked in to see, and in my leisure time I will be visiting the Australian War Memorial and enjoying the sights of Canberra.

There is no doubt Genealogy plays a huge part in my life, the quest beginning as an assignment in primary school, leading me to enrol in a history degree at University in 2014 (at 44 years of age) and ending who knows where.  I LOVE IT. I love the hunt, the fact finding, the mystery. I LOVE being able to prove a particular person is a member of my family line despite the odds (or the white lies). I LOVE the opportunities to travel, to piece together pieces of our ancestors lives, to tell the tale of how they lived and the difficulties they must have faced.

I LOVE the Chase; and Congress will allow me to expand my knowledge even further and continue on this extraordinary hobby.  I cannot wait!

If your free, or even if your not, I highly recommend you attend this wonderful bringing together of minds.