Panorama of Hurstville

Resumé of Previous Genealogy Meetings


 Wednesday 14 June 2017 

Seven members attended our June meeting now located in the New Annex at Hurstville Seniors Centre, 91 Queens Road, Hurstville.

Topics of interest were discussed as follows:

1. The NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies Conference, Orange, NSW Thursday 21 September to Sunday 24 September 2017.

2. The Fifteenth Australian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry, Friday 9 March to Monday 12 March 2018 at the International Convention Centre, Sydney, NSW.

3. The expanding interest in Autosomal DNA testing for cousin matching and genetic relationship and a comparison of different DNA testing companies.

4. The 'New Look' website for NSW Archives and Records Office and the showing of their introductory webinar Using the NSW State Archives website well worth a look. Note: (Tracing NSW Convicts webinar now available).

.................................... JWS   

 Wednesday 9 November 2016 

Three members attended our November meeting with two apologies.

Five topics of interest were discussed as follows:

1. Techniques were demonstrated for getting the most out of Trove.

2. The new web site of NSW State Records was presented and various features explored. The usefulness of the KeyName Search was explained and demonstrated.

3. The UK General Register Office has new online indexes of births and deaths for England and Wales which make the ordering of certificates much easier and also provide additional information, namely the inclusion of the mother's maiden name on birth records from 1837 onwards, and the age at death from 1837 onwards.

4. is home to the on-line historic Indexes of the Civil Registers (GRO) of Births, Marriages, Civil Partnerships and Deaths and to Church Records of Baptism, Marriage and Burial from a number of counties. The site lists the counties and year ranges covered.

5. A video Guide to Parish Records was shown. While the main emphasis is on English and Welsh parish records, Scottish, Irish and European parish records are also mentioned.

.................................... FHS   

 Wednesday 12 October 2016 

Eight members attended our October meeting with one apology.

Two topics of interest were discussed as follows:
1. Judy Webster Tips on Probate were considered –
  • Look for Wills for every person in your tree
  • Use indexes for other States and countries
  • Probate files can contain birth, marriage and death certificates
  • Some Wills may only be found in land titles records
  • Probate files may contain the name of a parent where death certificates don't
  • It is possible for two separate probate files to be created years apart
  • FindMyPast is a large online resource for wills and should not be overlooked
Your link is – Judy Webster Tips on Probate etc.

2. We had a look at the webinar presentation by Devin Ashby titled FamilySearch for Beginners. Although titled for beginners, this webinar is worth a look as it contains new features of the site and a QA session giving answers to the burning question on privacy.
Your link is – familytreewebinars

.................................... JWS   

 Wednesday 10 August 2016 

Six members attended our August meeting with two apologies.

Three topics of interest were discussed as follows:
1. The automatic colourising of black and white photographs. This is an interesting web site but it seems older black and white photos do not colourise as well but maybe it depends on the quality of the original. Worth a try –

2. Judy Webster Tips on Probate etc. This website is always full of information.

3. Ancestry Tips and Tricks. Time did not permit the showing of this 20 minute presentation by Christa Cowan from Ancestry but will be subject of discussion at our next meeting as it explores useful searching techniques.

.................................... JWS   

 Wednesday 9 March 2016 

Six members attended our March meeting.

In John's absence, Fred Scott first demonstrated the new features of Trove after its recent upgrade, concentrating on the vast newspaper collections. Copyright issues prevent searching beyond 1954 for most newspapers, however all later issues of the Sydney Morning Herald can be examined by other methods.

Both the State Library of NSW and the National Library of Australia have an eResources section on their site which allows on–line access to a vast collection of journals, databases and newspapers, both local and overseas. Included in the collection is the Sydney Morning Herald 1955 to 1995 and the Sydney Morning Herald from 2006 to the current issue. The 10 year gap from 1996 to 2005 can be accessed from microfilms held by Hurstville Library.

A Library Card (free) is needed to log in to the eResources section for each library, and this can be applied for on-line.

.................................... FHS   

 Wednesday 10 February 2016 

Six members attended our February meeting with two apologies.

It is this time of the year that Rootstech, the global family history event is held at Salt Lake City and you can view the video archive on their website found at RootsTech
Videos I found of most interest were —
  • My Ancestors are from Britain by Myko Clelland. An excellent and most informative presentation of British records available in findmypast.
  • What's New in FamilySearch, Family Tree by Ron Tanner. Family Tree has all families connected ie it is a single tree and in my opinion should receive serious consideration. Ron's electrifying presentation is worth viewing.
  • Proven Methodology for Using Google for Genealogy by Lisa Louise Cooke.This presentation is a review of Lisa's ToolBox showing how Google can work for you. It contains tips and tricks for searching includes many examples and a case study into the use of inverted commas, the asterisk, the minus sign, number range and link searching.

Hatch Match and Dispatch the 8 part series on the NSW Registry of BDM starts Thursday 11 February at 8pm on ABC and continues each Thursday until finished. It showcases all of the Registry functions. Over the series you will see our New South Wales transcription agents Marilyn Rowan and Joy Murrin in action.
Hatch Match and Dispatch

.................................... JWS   

 Wednesday 12 November 2015 

Eight members attended our November meeting with one apology.

We reviewed Carol Baxter's publication titled Help! Historical and Genealogical Truth. How do I separate fact from fiction? This book is prepared for family historians' hell bent on accurately tracing their ancestry. Carol Baxter takes you through the steps to evaluate ancestral information to determine reliable information from the records available and to separate fact from fiction and truth from mistruth where possible. Carol provides you with evidence – analysis models to guide you through the whole process and includes case studies drawn from her own experience to explain the process.
For the serious researcher this book is highly recommended and available through Carol's website

.................................... JWS   

 Wednesday 14 October 2015 

Five members attended our October meeting with four apologies.

The meeting time was taken up by a general discussion on understanding DNA see Peter Carver's Newsletter which I encourage all to read. Peter Carver included a summary of some key advantages and disadvantages of each of the Y-DNA, Autosomal DNA and mtDNA tests now offered which I found interesting and gave me second thoughts about plunging into affording the expense without good and cogent reasons.
I also included a short discussion on the DNA analysis of hair which poses many problems as there is much more genetic information under the skin than in the hair above. A lock of hair that does not have a root or follicle excluded the testing of Y-DNA and Autosomal DNA and leaves one with mtDNA and the tracing of your the maternal line and probably the least useful. Generally speaking analysis of hair can be a costly proposition and finding a laboratory to do the testing efficiently can be fraught with difficulty. Finding an easier way of obtaining the information you want is strongly advised.

.................................... JWS   

 Wednesday 9 September 2015 

Seven members attended our September meeting with two apologies.

The meeting time was taken up by a continuation of the presentation on Blogging by Joan given at our May meeting this year. Joan took us through the setting up of a blog using, creating an account, naming your blog and choosing a template etc.

We also had a look at the Genies Downunder Podcast on blogging and the use of and Lisa Louise Cooke's video clips which allows one to get you up and running rather quickly for free (see Part 1 How to Blog Your Family History – Genealogy Blogging). Additionally, Maria Northcote's Podcast Episode No 8 (Genies Downunder) should be consulted to gain tips, tricks and traps to avoid if eventually deciding to go ahead and create your own blog.

.................................... JWS   

 Wednesday 12 August 2015 

Nine members attended our August meeting with one apology.

Catholic Parish Registers
Now published is the Catholic Parish Registers from the National Library of Ireland (NLI). Go to Catholic Parish Registers
The website contains images from the NLI's collection of Catholic parish register microfilms. The registers contain records of baptisms and marriages from the majority of Catholic parishes in Ireland and Northern Ireland up to 1880. Although not indexed these records have enabled researchers to review the original entries and in some instances reveal previously undisclosed information. However to navigate the 32 counties effectively it is suggested to read thoroughly the Help facility on the upper right of the home page.

WikiTree is a shared social networking genealogy website that allows for individual research and an opportunity to contribute to your personal family tree if so desired. I found this site most interesting and am already corresponding with connections to a paternal great uncle.
It is reported that as at 19 July 2015,the WikiTree website has over 294,000 registered members and maintains over 10 million ancestral profiles along with having over 860,000 visits per month and ranking #10 among genealogy websites. Just put in a name and give it a try!! Go to wikitree

.................................... JWS   

 Wednesday 10 June 2015 

Seven members and a visitor attended our June meeting with two apologies.

A tip from Peter Calver’s Lost Cousins website on searching findmypast. For a quick navigation of a particular subject in a particular country is to choose the A–Z record sets from the Search menu then navigate to the record you need. In the Search box just type in a word or part of a word (seems to need more than three characters) that would be in the title and the specific records for that county are listed for you to search.

We touched on the subject of identifying old photographs and John presented a number of photos of his family connections from Devon, England taken during the mid to late 1800’s some of which were studio photos and others taken in the home by an appointed photographer. If you have some like these in your collection but with very limited information there are particular techniques that can possibly identify a span of time and place and if you are lucky enough, there may be information written on the back of the photo. The excellent publication by Colleen Fitzpatrick titled Forensic Genealogy Revised edition 2013 includes an in depth study to the identification of photos from the inception of photography and with the aid of the internet we now have a tool providing us with additional clues to follow such as ready access to directories and geographic location.

.................................... JWS   

 Wednesday 13 May 2015 

Five members attended our May meeting with one apology.

In my absence Joan (thanks Joan) conducted the meeting with a review of:
1. Genies Downunder Podcasts Genies Downunder and its very useful links and
2. How to set up a blog with examples of blogs from the Unlock the Past website.
A blog (short for weblog) is a personal website and a useful way of conveying important news on events, how to’s or just general ramblings to those with particular interests, in this case family history.
For those interested in setting up a free blog, instructions on how to do so are given under this link.

.................................... JWS   

 Wednesday 11 March 2015 

Nine members attended our March meeting with one apology.

Topics discussed were—
Meet Your Ancestors Forum on 20 March at Mitchell Theatre, Level 1, 280 Pitt Street Sydney
This Forum is designed to inspire you to find out more about your ancestors. More information is always being made available online and improvements to family tree software are always occurring. This forum will have something for both the beginner and the proficient researcher.
There will be Speakers, Demonstrations and Audience Interaction.

Topics include—
Family History Basics
Ancestry & Family Tree Maker
Legacy Family Tree software
Searching Birth Death and Marriage records
The Story of your House and locality
To Mark the Centenary of World War 1
Access the records of ancestors who fought in the Great War

Each person receives a FREE 36 page book especially written for the occasion and full of tips and advice.

This event if free, but bookings are required.
Call 9286 3871 or email–

RootsTech Video Archive 2015
An abbreviated viewing of selected clips from the RootsTech Video Archive 2015. These videos run for up to 50 minutes and are state of the art presentations.
I would recommend viewing Genealogy Tool Box by Thomas MacEntree and those by Devin Ashby on FamilySearch and if interested, Diahan Southard on Getting Started in Genetic Genealogy.
Video Archive

.................................... JWS   

 Wednesday 11 February 2015 

Eight members attended our first meeting of the year with one apology.

Topics discussed were—
1 UK Wills and Probate search for the years after 1858. UK Wills and Probate

2 A look at Nicholson's Log of Logs Vol 1–3 now available as pdf documents. Ian Nicholson's Log of Logs can be downloaded and saved to a hard drive and are then searchable just like most pdf files. These documents are a valuable resource for shipping information and can save you a trip to the library. They are available at Log of Logs the download links being at the bottom of the page.

Also of note is the White Wings books on–line if interested in New Zealand shipping at NZ Shipping

3 A discussion on relationship determinations and first cousins. When confused over relationships I just look in my Family Tree Maker program or equivalent. However, an in depth cover story is available as a pdf document by Elizabeth Shown Mills with a glossary of terms Navigating the Kinship Maze

4 A brief look at some new features in but also look at the Devin Ashby video presentation now available on RootsTech.2015 Video Archive Video Archive

.................................... JWS   

Click for Notes on previous meetings of the Genealogy Interest Group.