Archive for the ‘What I do’ Category

This time last year I did not have any real plans for my research. I only made two goals for the year and one was to get fit again, especially after the previous 12 months of inactivity due to illness.

My other goal was to spend more time doing my family history, whatever or wherever that took me. I have to say that both goals have been achieved with I’d say much success. I am 100% fitter and happier than before (doing ‘Bootcamp’ 3 nights a week helps!!!) and my one fitness goal for 2011 is to run in the 4km Mother’s Day Classic which helps support Breast Cancer Research. My Sister had Breast Cancer and is now what they say, in remission.

As for my family history, I did not have anything in particular I wanted to achieve but this is a list of what I did do:

  • Started this blog in May 2010
  • Kept up to date with my website – www.baker1865.com 
  • Using Irish Family History Foundation new search function I was able to track down the baptism & marriage records of my Quirk family in Kilkenny Ireland.
  • Decided to give AncestryUK a go, as I figured without it, my UK research just wouldn’t be going anywhere.
  • Made two family connections, one with my Baker family and the other with my Harris family, who were both able to provide some additional information.
  • Scanned all of my photos to my computer.
  • Trawled through http://trove.nla.gov.au/ on a regular basis and found a number of newspaper articles on various ancestors.
  • Completed two online Genealogy Courses from Pharos Tutors
  • Commenced a One Place Study on Boxford, Suffolk. I have already compiled the 1841 census for Boxford.
  • Purchased a number of programs/data to help with my research, including: National Burial Index England & Wales, – Third Edition, Suffolk Marriage Index 1813-1837, Suffolk Burial Index 1538-1900, Sudbury Suffolk Marriage Licences 1684-1839, Phillimores Suffolk Marriage Registers Vol 1 -4, South Australian National Directory 1867-1868, Deaths from South Australian Government Gazettes 1845-1941
  • Attended the History & Genealogy Expo Sydney 2010, in September
  • Found the Chelsea Pensioner Record for my Ancestor John Baldwin
  • Worked on my Quirke, Baker, Baldwin, Harris, Richer & Scutcher Families.
  • And a whole lot of other research
  • 

For 2011, I intend to:

  • I have now scanned all of my photos, including all of the photos that my grandmother who passed away in September had. She left behind 8 photo albums and there were quite a few photos taken in the 1950’s and 60’s. There were also a couple of photos her father, her uncle and cousins. They are all now on my computer. Next step is to attach the photos to the individuals in my database.
  • Create an actual research task list of things I want to achieve this year of my direct ancestors. To include the names of people, what research needs to be done, and where to find it. Legacy does have a good ‘research task list’, but I need something that is right there in front of me, and maybe a good old excel spread sheet might do the trick.
  • Continue to write this blog at least every fortnight
  • Play around with Evernote. Today I downloaded and installed Evernote as I was looking for something to record my never ending notes of research that I am currently undertaking, instead of writing it down on a piece of paper as I am going along, (and not finding it again). I have read some reviews on a few other genealogy blogs, so it will be interesting to see if I use the program or revert back to my old ways. I don’t want to use it to attach actual records or documents as when I do find something, such as a document I find on Ancestry, I immediately download it and save it to the appropriate surname folder, but need something instead to record:  a. Those bits of information that I am not ready to record into my Legacy Database. b. Those bits of information that I need to do further research on
  • Complete more online courses from Pharos Tutors, in particular “All About Parish Registers
  • I want to do the Certificate in Genealogical Research from the Society of Australian Genealogists, so need to decide by March 2011, whether to start it this year or next year.
  • Continue to save enough money to go to Gallipoli in 2012. 
  • Pass more information on to my parents as I continue my research. I have been doing my family history for over 20 years but haven’t really discussed the things I have found out. Only little bits and pieces every now and again. I want to put all that I currently have into a viewable report for them to both read.
  • Whatever else that I find interesting

I saw two quotes in today’s paper that I found interesting –

“The key to life is to accept all challenges” – Bette Davis

 “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing” – Walt Disney

Have an enjoyable 2011 in all that you do……

I know that some people will not agree with what I’m about to write but the way I see it, if someone reading this learns from my experience then I’ve done my job.

I don’t like Ancestry.com.au

Why you ask? I have really not been a fan of the Australian content on Ancestry at all. From past experience I don’t think the information or indexes are that accurate and I do think that to do your family history in Australia (especially NSW) you have the resources you need at the local library, State Records and other places, not just Ancestry.

I used to use the site to view UK records but as only as ‘pay per view’ subscription but it seems that there is a lot of data that as a ‘pay per view’ subscriber I still cannot see.  I also don’t like the fact that a number of records I saved in my ‘Shoebox’ I can longer access as I don’t have a monthly subscription. I really don’t like the idea of having to pay for something I know I can get elsewhere for free. Take for instance the latest development from Ancestry, ‘Australian Vital Records on Ancestry’.  Though in saying that, there are some sites, that I’m more than happy to pay to view additional data.

I come from the old school of family history research.  I started my research in the late 1980’s.  With this I went to the library and sat in front of a microfiche, looked at microfilm and looked at books that had indexes to check the NSW BDM indexes, sands directories, electoral rolls and immigrant reels.  When I found a birth, marriage or death index that I wanted to get the certificate for, I would then have to order this directly from the NSW BDM Registry, by paper form and then send it via snail post. It cost a lot less than (I think about $8.00) but it would take anything up to 4 weeks to get the requested certificate. When I received it, I would then go back to the library to take another look at the microfiche to gain more details about my ancestor and the search continue. For those that began back then, you will understand. For others, who have only just started in the last few years, there are now plenty of databases and information now available online and it’s a lot easier and quicker to gain information. I think this is great but I find the ‘excitement’ about having these ‘Vital Records’ now online a little hard to take, due to the fact, that they already are on line for most of the Australian states, (except for SA and I think WA).  Yes, for Victoria, you have to pay to view the indexes but that to me is just a small price to pay.  The indexes are also available on CD, (for NSW, SA & Victoria, don’t know about the other states).  To me, I’d still rather take the trip to the library to have a look at the CD or look online and then purchase a transcription of the certificate I’m after than pay Ancestry to look at an image.

If Ancestry, really want people to subscribe to their site then I feel that the actual indexes need to show more data, such as the year, place or even parents’ names that helps a person to identify what they are seeing, so that people can say, “hey, I think that one is my ancestor, I want to see more information or I want to see the image and I’m happy to pay for that”.  Currently for someone who does not have a subscription, all you see for the Australian Vital Indexes, is the name of the person and that’s it.  No location, no year, so for me that it not an incentive to pay to look at an image, especially when I can look at the indexes at http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au and then make my decision to purchase a transcription of the certificate from an agent.

When it comes to paying for information online, especially for UK information, I’m more than happy to have a subscription, to FindMyPast. (though I only do the ‘pay per view’ as I don’t need a full subscription and I still get all of the information I need)

Yes, you need to register to view the site, but the indexes are free to look at and I just feel that for me FindMyPast is a better experience as there is more information in the index for you to make a choice as to which image you want to view.

Below is a list of just some of the repositories that I have used in my research and yes, some of them you have to subscribe and pay to view images:

Pay to view sites:

www.findmypast.co.uk – I note that they now have the UK Birth Indexes fully searchable. Refer to the blog for more information:  FindMyPastUK Blog

www.findmypast.com.au

www.ihr.com.au – Over 20,000 pages of online records for family history research in New South Wales, Australia. (cost per year $40)

Free Indexes or other sites:

http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/ (NSW Birth Death Marriages)

www.records.gov.au (NSW State Records Online Indexes) (I note also that digital copies of the Bounty Immigrants lists, 1838-96, are available for free on the site)

http://www.sydneyarchives.info/ – Newtown Project. Has the full Sands Directories between 1858 & 1932 on line.  If you know your ancestor lived in the Newtown area (like mine) than you have free access to a great source of information.

City of Sydney Archives –  Assessment Books 1845 – 1950 – compiled by the Council as a record of basic information about each building (later, each property) in the city which was liable to pay rates

And of course, my Favourite:

www.familysearch.org and Family Search Pilot site,where a lot more information is now becoming available.

So in summary:

Ancestry.com.au is not the only place to do your family history.  Look at all available records, take the time to do the work, find out what else is available and verify all information that you come across. Get out of your chair and away from your PC and take the time to learn about what other research mechanisms is out there. You never know, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Enjoy your night or day, where ever you are.

What I Do

Posted: July 13, 2010 in What I do

Thomas MacEntee at GeneaBloggers maintains a list of Genealogy Blogs, currently with over 1,100 blogs. He proposed a meme. Thomas suggested that we genealogy bloggers share some information with the community about what we use in terms of technology to run our genealogy businesses or pursue our family history as a hobby.

Below is my list

* Hardware:  PC with Vista and 1 x MSI Netbook with XP

* External storage:  2 x external Hardrives (320gb)

* Online storage: None

* Backup: External hardrives as above & hardcopies

* Firewall: Kaspersky Internet Security

* Virus protection: Kaspersky Internet Security

* Spyware: Adware

* File cleaner: CCleaner

* Printer: HPDesket4480

* Phone: Landline & iPhone

* Mobile media: iPhone & Netbook

* Music player: iPhone

* eBook Reader:

* Browser: FireFox

* Blog: WordPress

* RSS: Outlook 2007

* FTP: FileZilla

* Text editor: PSPad

* Graphics:

* Screen capture: no idea what this is.

* Social media: Facebook

* Social bookmarking:

* Social profile: None

* Office suite: Office 2007

* E-mail: Outlook 2007

* Genealogy database: Legacy Family Tree & Relatively Yours 3.  Also my website uses the The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding software.

* Genealogy tools:  Lots, but I’ll say every website that I have utilised over the years for my research.  Check my genealogy links above

* Other tech stuff:

Despite my 20 years of compiling my family history, with my main focus on New South Wales & UK research, I’ve decided I want to see if there is anything else I need to know, or haven’t learnt before.

Read through the following blogs:

  1. Dear MYRLES’ 2009 Finally get Organised Checklist – For 2009 she has a check list for each month – http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2009/01/finally-get-organized-jan-2009.html
  2. FamilySearch – Organzing Your Files – https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Organizing_Your_Files
  3. GeneaBloggers - (especially on the ’52 Weeks to better genealogy’)
  4. After going through my pile of ‘to do things’, I have now sorted it all out by surname.  I need to go through these, one by one and update my Legacy database with the information, update the source and scan the document into the PC for future reference. (And not get side-tracked into doing ‘more research’  as I do this).
  5. Even though I’ve been doing my family history for over 20 years, I wouldn’t mind having a closer look at the FamilySearch online classes in particular: