Panorama of Hurstville

Archived Resumé of Genealogy Meetings


 Wednesday14 November 2012 

Nine members attended our seventh and final meeting for this year with five apologies. New members are welcome.
For the meeting Fred presented a video clip of a webinar (web seminar) on the use of the digital camera for family history enthusiasts to record documents and images that are allowed to be copied from archive locations and local libraries which afford the researcher considerable saving in time and money. See for a preview by Mary Hill.
Many aspects of digital recording were covered in detail such as the purchase and use of a camera with a tilt LCD screen, customization of settings, poor and bright light considerations, how to overcome the problems with light effects and flash for best effect, the use of accessories such as a tripod for setting up and a clip attachment for your camera to shoot images from a film reader, the choice of rechargeable batteries and many more gems of advice. Iam sure after heeding this advice we will have an informed choice for our next camera purchase.
Our next meeting for the new year will be on 9 February 2013.

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

 Wednesday10 October 2012 

Six members attended our sixth meeting for this year with three apologies. New members are welcome.

State Records have now installed on their website a tutorial for navigating Archives Investigator AI which is their on-line information and access system. So if you have had any trouble with this in the past it is now explained very clearly step by step to help you evaluate what records might be relevant to your research. Click the following link –

With the closure of the State Records City (Rocks) reading room a relocation of resources is underway to various libraries and societies. The following section of their website will keep you informed of progress and lists where the resources can be accessed. Click the following link –

Old Sydney in the Rocks
With the reduced attendance for October, John gave a potted history of ‘Old Sydney in the Rocks’. With a Power Point presentation of photographs and water colour paintings taken during the 1900's, John selected some sites mainly in Cumberland and Princes Streets for discussion and identified local residents of the time with the assistance of available directories.

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

 Wednesday 5 September 2012 

Eight members attended our eighth meeting for this year with three apologies. New members are welcome.

As a special request from Pamela we took another look at the National Library of Australia's digitized newspapers and went directly to TROVE which I think by now most family historians have used quite frequently and have become adept at navigation (see details in our May 2011 report).

We also again visited three overseas newspapers namely The Times Digital Archive 1785-1985, the 17-18th Century Burney Collection and the 19th century British Library Newspapers available online from the State Library NSW. To access these at home you will need to register with the State Library and obtain a Readers Ticket and Password. Having done this go to the home page and then to Using the Library > Search Our Collections > Electronic Resources from which you can browse the available databases by selection from the alphabetical list of which many are freely available for public viewing. However, those only available to registered readers can go to the Access From Home tab on the left hand side of the screen, select the archive database say The Times Digital Archive and Log In with your Name, Card Number, and Password. You can do a keyword search and add a specific date range to all newspapers of your choice, so good hunting.

Searching newspaper archives I consider a must do for all serious family historians and you should avail yourself of the opportunity.

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

 Wednesday 8 August 2012 

A number of our group attended the LDS Family History Fair at the Church Cultural Hall, Mortdale on the 4 August last. This is an annual event with the objective of providing you with the tools to discover more about your family history with help from experts in their field and a schedule of mini classes to attend as a major feature of the fair. The mini classes were of 20 minutes duration for beginners as well as advanced enthusiasts. Our group was mainly interested in a review of the changes and additions to the FamilySearchwebsite.

For today's meeting we checked out the following research tips from the LDS handouts:
a) Use of the Exact Search Box to Find a Name in a Specific Place
b) Search by Parent's Names and Town to Find Children
c) Use Browse Location to Find Images of Original Records not yet Digitized and
d) A look English Jurisdictions 1851 by logging into — which allows you to click on a parish to access data from many sources.

Some other search tips suggested by LDS will be investigated in future meetings as follows:
a) Search by given name only, together with a place name
b) Search by surname only
c) Search without any names at all
d) Use of wildcards
e) On a parent search, enter the surname in the search box with no given name.

It is also of note that to order a microfilm from the LDS repository you must register and create an account by logging into their website. This is a one–time only job and requires you to nominate the centre where the film is to be read. Payment is by credit card currently $7.75 the receipt of which is confirmed by email. When the film arrives at the centre you will also receive notification by email. You have 60 days to read the film after which it is returned to LDS.

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

 Wednesday 13 June 2012 

Nine members attended our fourth meeting for this year with two apologies. New members are welcome.

Genealogy and Family History
I have been asked by a number of people as to what is the difference between Genealogy and Family History and this is best explained in an article by Martin Flint as follows:

Always Record Your Sources
A timely reminder to never take information given to you by other researchers or appearing even in prominent websites for granted. I discussed this at length with examples drawn from my own research and hopefully got the message across. However I always note the source of information with a caveat if I feel it is subject to confirmation.

The New FamilySearch Feature for IGI(International Genealogical Index)
All of the old IGI (International Genealogical Index) records will be available on the FamilySearch web site. While many found the IGI useful, its mix of community indexed sources and community contributed records meant that not all of its data was equally reliable. This problem has been resolved by creating two IGI collections, both searchable from

Community Indexed IGI
This collection consists of sources that were indexed by the genealogical community from collections of vital and Church records. They are considered an excellent source of primary genealogical information. Unlike the old IGI, which put these sources all in one collection, on the new site each record has been organized into their respective collections (eg. England, Births and Christenings 1538-1975).

Community Contributed IGI
This collection consists of personal family information submitted by individuals to the LDS Church. Some of these are sourced, but the collection they were extracted from is no longer known. Many represent conclusions of the submitter. The quality of this information varies. Duplicate entries, conclusions from secondary sources, and inconsistent information are common. Always verify contributed entries against sources of primary information. FamilySearch is in the process of completing the download of the records contributed by the community into the FamilySearch database. If you are looking for a name that you know was present in the IGI and cannot find it, it may have been in the portion contributed by the community and will be available on the new site shortly.

Family History Show (Thanks Fred)
These video downloads are presented by Nick Barrett and Laura Berry and can be accessed on these are a showcase of excellent episodes and are featured each month.
Titles include: Top Ten Tips for Research, Society of Genealogists, National Maritime Museum and Institute of Civil Engineers to mention a few.

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

 Wednesday 9 May 2012 

Nine members attended our third meeting for this year with three apologies. New members are welcome.

Marilyn opened the meeting with a discussion on the preparation of photobooks and then presented details of how she prepared her book as previously mentioned in the April meeting.

Marilyn gave as an example the facilities available at OfficeWorks as an option to Photobooksrus which she used. The OfficeWorks website allows you to prepare your story for printing using their program which is described in detail as follows:

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

 Wednesday 11 April 2012 

Nine members attended our second meeting for this year with one apology. New members are welcome.

Firstly, we had a look at some interesting websites as follows: -

Mocavo This new genealogy source can help you find sites where Google fails and is targeted toward finding a surname from its 6 billion odd database. Basic searches are free but if you pay for a subscription you are offered much more, however you can register as a user to get past the first page. Well worth a look for an initial search.

Family Tree Circles The following is an excerpt from their website.
FamilyTreeCircles provides a quick and easy way to get started with publishing your research, just like a blog. But there's no blog software to setup. Just create an account on FamilyTreeCircles and write your first post in a matter of minutes. After signing up and looking around a bit, you can post your family stories, research queries, and other genealogy information. Posting your information is as simple as typing an email. The more you post, the more you'll help others, and others can help you.
Your posts will be seen immediately by our active and helpful community of genealogy researchers. You'll be notified whenever someone responds to one of your posts, whether that happens today, tomorrow, or months from now. Months, even years, after you publish information about what you're researching and who you're looking for, that one person who has the answers may come across your post while doing their own research. Long after you have posted them, your journals are working for you. FamilyTreeCircles is free. There are no hidden charges.

Genies Downunder We looked at this site last meeing but further into this site are Tools and Tricks which provides you with additional links to interesting websites.

Next, Marilyn gave us a most interesting and informative account of her experiences in compiling a family photobook and has provided us with her comments.
  • After many years of compiling information on one side of the family I decided the time was right to look for a way of displaying some of my research. I wanted to present the material in such a way as to give a sense of what life was like for my ancestors as well as imparting information about “who was who” and showing the major events in their lives.
  • By chance I had a discount voucher for a photobook so I assembled all my material and research. Although normally used to display holiday or family celebrations I thought that a photobook could also work for genealogy purposes. The company I used was called Photobooksrus. Their website is They provided a very good service and a quality product. There are many other online and retail companies who offer a similar service often at discounted prices. Google “photobooks Australia” and you will get an extensive listing and current deals available.
  • The process of creating the photobook was straightforward. I downloaded the programme from the company's website onto my computer. Certificates, documents and printed photographs were scanned and saved onto my computer also. After selecting the style of book and number of pages I simply dragged the scanned images onto page after page either using templates or just arranging them wherever I wanted to. Text boxes were added as needed. To add interest I included a family tree diagram using names and photos, a timeline and snippets of news from the era covered. I also added details of the origin of family surnames and facts about certain places.
  • Once Once completed the programme created a file of all the pages and stepped me through uploading it to the company's website. The printed book arrived by post a week or so later.
  • I was extremely pleased with the quality of the printed book and would happily recommend a photobook as an ideal method of displaying the results of your research. An added bonus is that the scans of the old photographs and documents provide an excellent way of preserving copies for the future.
  • An alternative to a full photobook may be to create a 12 month calendar using your old photographs. This may prove a good way to capture the attention of the younger generation. Perhaps a mix and match with current family photos alongside their ancestors. A great conversation starter about different fashions, lifestyle etc.
  • I also suggest that you use a company which allows you to download the programme onto your computer rather than having to work online at their website.

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

 Wednesday 14 March 2012 

Ten members attended our second meeting for this year. New members are welcome.

Genies Down Under
We started by listening to the March podcast by Maria Northcote titled Graphics Stuff for Genies: using images in your family history research. These new free podcasts are presented monthly by Maria Northcote and are described as being , ‘packed with tips, tricks, tools & traps, along with plenty of helpful links and resources to help you find information about your family history. You'll also find stories of genie adventures and nifty tips to inspire you and help you on your way – especially for researchers with an interest in Australian family history.’
Maria Northcote also comments on what you will get from her podcasts–
‘By listening to this podcast, you'll save yourself time and money, gather up some handy advice and get some help to make headway in finding out about your own family's interesting past. And one more important thing — rather than just collecting names and dates during your family history research, this podcast will focus on some nifty little techniques that can help you to get to know your ancestors a little better, by reading between the lines of old documents and looking beyond the faces in old photographs. Listen to a one-minute promo about the podcast.’

Colonial Secretary's Papers 1788-1825
Ancestry now has the Colonial Secretary''s Papers 1788-1825 (indexed and digitised copies of the records) available on its website which can be viewed free of charge. The State Records Authority of NSW has a non–exclusive agreement with Ancestry which means that researchers do not have to have a subscription to Ancestry to search or view the records.
The records can be searched at Ancestry You will need to complete a guest registration in order to search and view the records but access is free. You can also view the records online in the State Records reading room or at the SAG.

Heritage Festival 14–26 April 2012 — Theme Innovation and Invention
As a contribution to the Heritage Festival, the Hurstville City Library and Gallery situated at 14 MacMahon Street will have a display of Imaginative Inventions on Saturday 21April from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm. On Sunday 22 April an illustrated talk on Ingeneous Inventions and Disastrous Designs will be given from 3pm to 4pm. Bookings are essential for both events on 02 9330 6444.
To read more about the Festival and any updates Statewide go to National Trust

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

 Wednesday 8 February 2012 

Eleven members attended our first meeting for this year including one new member.

An introduction to was well received by all and presented by Fred. is an easy to use messaging forum for researching your family history with an accent on the British Isles and Ireland. The service is entirely free for the benefit of all. You can share image files, request restoration of old photographs and colouring, check for family connections and confirmation of dates or just insert an appropriate lookup request. The possibility of breaking down that brick wall could be realized so why not take part by just clicking on the EnterRootsChat button at the top of their website at Do keep us informed of any remarkable findings you get by viewing or participating in this website.

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

 Wednesday 9 November 2011 

Nine members attended our eighth and final meeting for this year including one new member and two apologies.
We started by hearing episode No. 1 of 3 podcasts suggested by Fred titled "Genies Downunder".
These new free podcasts are presented monthly by Maria Northcote and are described as being , " packed with tips, tricks, tools & traps, along with plenty of helpful links and resources to help you find information about your family history. You'll also find stories of genie adventures and nifty tips to inspire you and help you on your way - especially for researchers with an interest in Australian family history".
The website is
Topics Include:
Episode 1 – You're a long time dead: Cemetery stuff for Genies.
Episode 2 – Free stuff for Genies: It fell off the back of a truck
Episode 3 – Heirloom stuff for genies: Old stuff around the house

Next, John presented a Power Point update on Writing and Publishing Your Family History with comments on changes to the ISBN numbering system.

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

 Wednesday 12 October 2011 

Nine members attended our seventh meeting for this year including one new member and two apologies.

We started with a follow up review of Shirley B's progress in researching her family connections who arrived in Australia on the maiden voyage of the Underley in 1867 (see September report). Shirley applied to the State Library of Victoria and obtained a copy of a diary written by Robert Beckett a passenger with his family onboard the Underley's maiden voyage which took 74 days to Australia carrying 250 passengers and 50 crew. It is only after obtaining personal information like Robert Beckett's diary that one can gain an appreciation of the conditions under which emigrants like these had to endure on their voyage to Australia probably to enjoy a better life.

Next we took advantage of an offer from which is listed below. These offers, when they appear, still need you to be registered with a password. Although the period of free viewing has expired a description of the content for each collection is given for your information.
October 1st - US Social Security Death Index
October 2nd - Ireland, Griffith's Valuation, 1848-1864
October 3rd - California Marriage Index, 1960-1985
October 4th - Bavaria, Germany, WWI Personnel Rosters, 1914-1918
October 5th - 1920 US Federal Census
October 6th - Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1954
October 7th - Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997
October 8th - Sweden, Births from the Swedish Death Index, 1947-2006
October 9th - US WW I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
October 10th - England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005
October 11th - Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage & Death Announcements, 1851-2003
October 12th - Quebec Vital and Church Records, 1621-1967
October 13th - 1930 US Federal Census
October 14th - 1901 England Census
October 15th - US Obituary Collection

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

 Wednesday 14 September 2011 

Eight members attended our sixth meeting for this year with three apologies.

We started with a review of a case study for Shirley B's relatives with the limited information written in the cover of a family book that they came to Australia on the Underley or Underlay in 1867.
A first look for the Underley or Underlay in Ian Nicholson's Log of Log's Volume 1 listed the Underl(e)y as a new iron clipper ship leaving Liverpool on the 22 December 1866. Diary extracts by Robert Beckett (Dec – Mar) were also listed as being available from Latrobe Library Victoria, Ref: MS 9576/74.
A search of the website ‘Mariners and Shipping in Australian Waters’ for a passenger list included a voyage of the Underley from London to Sydney 1871. However, no listing was given for a port of call to Sydney during 1867.
A search of The London Times listed the Underlay (note spelling) as sailing from Liverpool for Melbourne on the 22 December 1866. This then could be our ship of interest. Next a Google of Underley – brought up a website listing ship wrecks . This site is the world largest online database containing 108,390 wrecks, 18,330 images, 1143 maritime charts, 17,730 ship owners and builders. The website listed details of the Underley which ran aground (wrecked) on 22 September 1871 on its return voyage from Sydney.
Another website titled ‘Through Mighty Ships’ gave a detailed description of the Underley being the largest sailing ship of its time to become a total loss. Bound for Melbourne with 30 passengers and a general cargo of cotton goods, machinery and gunpowder valued at £30,000, this iron full-rigged sailing ship built in 1866 was wrecked at Liscombe on the Isle of Wight during a violent SE gale on 22 September 1871. All ship's crew and all passengers but one survived. References were also given for further research and a follow up to the abovementioned diary of the voyage of interest to Australia in 1886-7 by Robert Beckett. Shirley B is now contacting the State Library of Victoria to obtain a copy of Robert Beckett's diary to add to her family history information.

Fred explained the introduction of Webinars by SAG (Society of Australian Genealogists). A Webinar is an online seminar - you can view and listen to as a presentation on a particular topic and if desired participate by asking questions, all done through your computer. To participate, a speaker set, broadband connection and email address are required and to ask questions a headset and microphone connection also. Webinars are set for specific time slots and attract a fee so bookings are essential and sessions last about one hour. All information is obtainable on SAG under the ‘Events’ tab.

Robin forwarded information on a website giving a comprehensive treatment on the usage and interpretation of each entry English BMD Certificates along with any alterations that may have happened over time with examples. Log into English BMD Certificate Information

Finally we continued viewing Allan Murrins excellent presentation on early church records for New South Wales. New South Wales Early Church Records 1788-1886

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

 Wednesday 10 August 2011 

Eight members attended our fifth meeting for this year with two apologies.

We started with a presentation by Jan Gow on a Case Study using English Records which can be viewed at FamilySearch under free courses.
Jan Gow’s presentation titled St Serendipity on Duty demonstrated that one can be fortunate to discover an ancestor purely by accident if you just keep looking. Explore every avenue and keep up to date with additions to key websites such as FamilySearch, Ancestry, FindMyPast, FreeBMD and others.
Next, John presented a Power Point presentation on Problems and Pitfalls in Genealogy. Recording information without confirming the source from primary records where possible can lead to many misconceptions of family relationships and can lead one down the so called ‘garden path’. He drew examples from his own experience from two families in New Zealand having the same surname claiming relationship to his family.

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

 Wednesday 8 June 2011 

Eight members attended our fourth meeting for this year with three apologies.

We started our group with a short discussion on writing up your family history and the guidelines for preparing and publishing all your good work will be the subject of a future meeting.
Next we logged into the new front page of FamilySearch once again and viewed the Australian genealogy course on BMD's presented by Allan Murrin. When in the new front page go to very bottom left hand corner of the page and under Learn then to Free Courses and you will have a choice of Beginners, Australian, English, German, Irish, Italian, New Zealand, Polish, Russian, United States of America courses and other allied subjects. Remember you must be on broadband to enjoy the courses.

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

 Wednesday 11 May 2011 

Seven members attended our third meeting for this year with two apologies.

Numbers were down this month presumably due to inclement weather conditions. However, we made a start on learning to navigate the digitized newspapers now available through the National Library of Australia (NLA) to help us put ‘meat on the bones’ of that elusive forebear in our family research. NLA has online a search facility called TROVE. This site will allow you to access across a number of databases for a person, place or topic listed under books, pictures, photos, music, videos, maps, diaries, letters, archived websites (1996 to present day) and of course historic newspapers which span the years 1803 - 1954. To considerably reduce the effort spent chasing relevant information of times gone by, this facility is a ‘must have’. To use TROVE, go directly to and enter your search term in the search box provided or via the NLA website at and follow the link too TROVE. If you get stuck with say printing an article there is a good help facility on the site. As an example if we are researching say, A B Patterson but more commonly Banjo Patterson the Australian poet extraordinaire, just type “Banjo Patterson” in inverted commas to avoid getting a spurious number of results and of course restricting your search to the Australian content. We then get a possible 15 books, 26 photos, 1160 newspaper entries etc. to look up. So in a very short time a list for searching is available in addition to a link to other websites found on the left hand side of the screen.
We also took a look at two overseas newspapers namely The Times Digital Archive 1785-1985 and the 17-18 Century Burney Collection available online from the State Library NSW. To access these at home you will need to register with the State Library and obtain a Readers Ticket and Password. Having done this go to the home page and then to Using the Library — Search Our Collections — Electronic Resources from which you can browse the available databases by selection from the alphabetical list of which many are freely available for public viewing. However, those only available to registered readers can go to the Access From Home tab on the left hand side of the screen, select the archive database say The Times Digital Archive and Log In with your Name, Card Number, and Password. You can do a keyword search and add a specific date range to all newspapers of your choice, so good hunting.

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

 Wednesday 9 March 2011 

10 members attended our second meeting for this year with one apology.

The new version of was the subject of our meeting with 'hands on' practice at navigating this site and investigating the major changes with a set of exercises.
It soon became evident that adjusting to the new version would require some practice as the search facility allows for the viewing of more information with improved accuracy as a result of its design. As more scanned documents and additional lessons keep coming on line frequent access is recommended so to coin a phrase 'just keep looking' but remember, the old Home Page is still available and will be replaced eventually.

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

 Wednesday 9 February 2011 

11 members attended our first meeting for this year with one apology.

Biographical Database of Australia (BDA)
This database will comprise all the baptism, marriage, burial and cemetery records, all convict, muster/census, land and other colonial records, all biographies from contemporary publications pertaining to each state and include recent genealogical and historical publications, and link all references to individuals together. Indeed a very ambitious project undertaking by Malcolm Sainty, AM and Keith Johnson, AM of the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) and editors of the Genealogical Research Directory for the past 27 years.
The BDA is a non-profit project and will be available on the internet which will allow for updating of biographies as required and hyperlinking between related individuals as deemed appropriate, a full description of which is included in Descent The Journal of the Society of Australian Genealogists, Sept 2010 V40 Pt3 page 125.
When the BDA comes online this year you will be able to subscribe, a discount being offered for foundation members. Contributions of family biographies of deceased Australian ancestors is welcomed but will be vetted by editorial staff before publication, the General Editor of the whole project being Carol Baxter.
A new version of familysearch is now underway and it is intended at our next meeting to have a further 'hands on ' practice at navigating this site and investigate the major changes. However the previous is still available from the Home page but will be replaced eventually.

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

 Wednesday 10 November 2010 

10 members attended our ninth meeting for this year with two apologies.

John started with a resume of the History & Genealogy EXPO SYDNEY 2010 held at Parramatta RSL over two days from 22nd to 23rd October last The conference had fifty exhibitors, twenty-two expert speakers and forty presentations covering a wide range of topics too numerous to describe here but see Shauna Hicks website which features many of the talks she gives and the URL handouts listed below as an example of the range of topics she presents.

Handouts to URLs mentioned in Shauna Hicks' talks:
Archives You May Not Know But Should!
Family History on the Cheap (NZ version)
Happy Hunting Grounds: Asylums for Missing Ancestors
Researching Australian Ancestors
Treasures of the National Library of Australia
Where Else Can I Look for Ancestors? It's Not All Online

Microfilm Digitisation - FamilySearch
Two video clips of the digitization of microfilms held by the LDS at Salt Lake City Granite Mountain Records Vault were shown. It is reported that 2.4 million rolls of film will be digitized in less than ten years and will be accessible online. It would therefore seem that LDS Family History Centres will be less populated in the future and reduced in number.
Granite Mountain Records Vault Videos Online (Ref: FamilySearch) “Many of us have heard of the Granite Mountain vault that is underneath 700 feet of granite outside of Salt Lake City but very few have ever seen the inside of the vault. FamilySearch has released videos that give all of us a view into the operations behind the vault door — not only are microfilms stored and duplicated in the Granite Mountain Records Vault, but efforts now underway will result in all the microfilms eventually being digitized. Future plans include making all images available to everyone, worldwide, in the convenience of their homes.
Many of the images stored in the Granite Mountain Records Vault are the only copies left in existence.
The Granite Mountain Records Vault videos are available in two parts:”

For video clips go to – Granite Mountain Records Vault - Part 1 and Granite Mountain Records Vault - Part 2

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

 Wednesday 13 October 2010 

11 members attended our eighth meeting for this year.

Fred started the meeting with a resume of the Shoalhaven ACT/NSW Genealogy Conference which he attended on the 17, 18 and 19 of September last, a detailed report of which can be accessed on Shauna Hicks website

Of particular note was the presentation by Malcolm Sainty and Carol Baxter on an exciting project titled 'The Biographical Database of Australia' to be launched on line next year. This database which has been underway for some time will reportedly include all baptisms, marriage and cemetery records, all convicts, muster/census, land and other colonial records, all the biographies from contemporary publications of each state and from recent genealogical and historical publications, and link all of these references to individuals together in the one database. What an Undertaking !!!!!
Another well known and popular speaker worthy of mention was Cora Num, who gave an update on the Internet called 'Web Wizardry, What is There & How to Use It'. Cora also has a talk handout on her website which is very useful (click on the gopher on the bottom left hand corner of the front page).

We next had another look at and the Online Classes video by Jan Gow titled St Serendipity on Duty showing how fortunate one can be by accidentally stumbling on information about your family connections. Incidentally this series is one which should be reviewed from time to time for updates as they are a very worthwhile addition to genealogy.

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

 Wednesday 8 September 2010 

8 members attended our seventh meeting for this year.

We started with a review of Trove a website from the National Library of Australia and a valuable research resource for information containing about two million references on books, theses, reports, research articles, raw data sets, book chapters, conference proceedings, maps, audio visual materials, photographs, art works, videos, post cards, but interesting to many, a full text of major Australian newspapers from 1803 – 1954.
You can go straight to the website on
Use of the search engine is free and there is no need to register unless you are writing a thesis or some serious research for further education but of course copyright conditions do apply and the choice of search is made very easy by selection on the front page. An advanced search facility is being made available with various filters but at present is only on the newspaper category. Hours can be spent on this one so book it into your favourites.

Next we continued with the LDS video Lesson No 3 for Civil Registration in England which commenced during 1837. The 35 minute video can be viewed and downloaded from
Go to Research Help then Online Classes and England Beginning Classes.

The current Museum of Sydney Exhibit features—Painting The Rocks—A joint initiative of the Historic Houses Trust and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.
"Against the backdrop of slum clearances, wharf rebuilding and debates about working–class living conditions, a group of artists set out to capture 'Old Sydney' before it disappeared in the city's transition to a modern metropolis. The first decades of the 20th century saw countless buildings from our colonial past torn down and whole streets disappear as Sydneysiders embraced the march of progress. Remarkably, in the midst of this change a conservation movement began to arise. Giving voice to the people who worked and lived in The Rocks, this exhibition places the often romantic and sentimental 1902 artistsí paintings alongside the stark realities of government–commissioned photography, inspection reports and remodelling plans."
This exhibit is well worth a visit. See also Historic Houses Trust

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

 Wednesday 11 August 2010  

Eleven members attended the meeting and there were two apologies.
In John's absence, Fred delivered the latest genealogical news, namely:

*Upcoming seminars and conferences were announced, the two main ones being:
The NSW and ACT Association of Family History Societies Annual Conference at Bombaderry in September 2010.

Unlock the Past Expo in Sydney 22-23 October 2010.

* "People in the Life and Times of Lachlan & Elizabeth Macquarie Online Index" is an endorsed Macquarie 2010 Bicentenary Project initiative of The 1788-1820 Pioneer Association. Contributions are invited of people living in the Macquarie era 1810-1822.
See for details.

* A number of free genealogy newsletters were viewed, in particular Dick Eastman's newsletter and Gould Genealogy & History News. While there is a strong American content in Eastman's newsletter, there are often items which have appeal to a wider audience.

* The value of podcasts for genealogical research was demonstrated, in particular those of The National Archives at

* The remainder of the meeting was spent looking at various web sites with a genealogical flavour.

.................................... FLS   

 Wednesday 9 June 2010  

Twelve members attended our fifth meeting for this year.

We started out with a review of an article in the Botany Bay Family History Society Journal The Endeavour June 2010 titled, ‘How Old Did You Say You Are?’ by Peter Londregan. Peter pointed out that researches often find discrepancies in ancestral records but particularly during the 19th century when dates of birth and age seemed rather unimportant. However, at time of marriage if a bride or groom was under the age of 21, permission to marry was required.
The article advises not to rely on ages set out in various 19th century documents and to confirm dates wherever possible. Peter includes examples which have caused him much confusion and assumed the baptismal records to be more reliable.

FamilySearch Lessons

As indicated in our April report LDS Classes are now available on the internet to enable you to learn the basic methods and key resources to commence your family history which includes:
   England Beginning Research
   Ireland Research
   Italy Research
We reviewed English Research Lesson 2 (30 mins) on Census Records and will continue these lessons at our next meeting.

New Resources of Interest

Patients in Melbourne Hospital 1856-1905. An index compiled from doctor's notes for 50,000 nineteenth century patients from the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH). Shirley Hutchinson and a group of volunteers from the Genealogical Society of Victoria spent every Wednesday for eight years collating and typing data from 451 leather–bound ward books in order to compile an index for release as a CD.
The index is a joint venture between the RMH, the Public Record Office of Victoria and the GSV. It covers the years 1856 to 1905, when RMH, now at Parkville, once was located at the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale streets Melbourne. The CD, Patients in Melbourne Hospital 1856-1905 ($80) is available from the GSV.
You can read more with links on Dick Eastman's website

Illegitimate Children:Identifying the father –
Judy Webster's website includes an interesting article on illegitimate children and the possibility of identifying the father. Judy comments that–
"In 19th century Australia, about 3% of births were illegitimate. An illegitimate birth may be a 'dead end' in genealogy/family history – but sometimes it is possible to identify the child's biological father using various sources in Archives and elsewhere".
Judy lists names that came from several different series of records, some more detailed than others and in many cases the document gave the place of residence of the child's mother, and the putative father's previous and current places of residence, occupation, age, nationality or place of origin, and a detailed physical description. Included sometimes was a photograph, or clues that lead to police, Court or prison records.

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

 Wednesday 12 May 2010  

7 members attended our fourth meeting for this year with two apologies.

Brick Wall Strategies

The meeting commenced with a short discussion on “brick wall strategies”. When you come to a dead end in your family tree and in particular with Australian research where there was no full census available after 1828 or when the facts you have found have been misleading, basic advice therefore is to review what you already have and look for clues that may have been overlooked the first time. Go to the original source of information wherever possible as transcribed information may and can contain errors and short cuts should always be re-checked. Also try to verify any facts by comparison of all records available and weigh up the evidence. When you get stuck with no further record for an ancestor, extend your search to other family connections, even their neighbours, and look for clues to family links. Many times a variation in a surname can be overlooked or misspelt even on a vital record. Also check for additional clues such as a witness to a marriage, an executor to a will, a previous marriage, a war record, the person's occupation or a sporting record. Last but by no means least “it pays to advertise”. Post your query to a website, mailing list or contact a historical or genealogical society appropriate to the area of interest.

FamilySearch Lessons

As indicated in our April report, LDS Classes are now available on the internet to enable you to learn the basic methods and key resources to commence your family history as follows:

We reviewed English Research Lesson 1 of 5 (30 mins) and this was favourably received. If sufficient interest is shown we will continue with the lessons at successive meetings. For private viewing you will need to be connected to broadband.

A historic download I received may be of interest.

Historical Footage: Japanese Surrender Signing Aboard Battleship Missouri Sunday Sept 2 1945. This is an important piece of history. Most people have seen still photos of the event but haven't seen the newsreel of it which shows the actual ceremony of the Japanese signing their surrender ending the second world war. General Douglas MacArthur was the supreme commander of our armed forces in charge of the signing ceremony.

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

 Wednesday 14 April 2010 

Seven members attended the meeting and there were three apologies.

In John's absence, Fred delivered the latest genealogical news, namely:

* The reprieve for RootsTelevision following the earlier announcement of its closure for financial reasons
Eastmans Online Genealogy

* The NSW State Records entry on RootsTelevision.

* The release of Genealogy Software from Microsoft - not really software in the form of stand-alone programs to replace existing family history programs but templates that could be applied to Microsoft Office to assist in recording or displaying information, or writing a family history book.
Eastmans Online Genealogy
Microsoft Office Templates

* LDS Family History Classes now available on the internet.
Family History Classes on the Internet

Two upcoming events were announced:
* The NSW and ACT Association of Family History Societies Annual Conference at Bombaderry in September 2010.

* Unlock the Past History and Genealogy Cruise in March 2011.

The remainder of the meeting was used by members to conduct their own family history research using the club's resources (see details on the club web site) and some personal CDs and books. There were many smiling faces by the end of the meeting.

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

 Wednesday 10 March 2010 

12 members attended our second meeting for this year.

For this meeting Fred showed us the new computer program, Family Tree Maker 2010 with illustrations of the differences between the previous versions namely FTM2006 and FTM2008. These programs store, display and print any kind of family information including births, marriages, deaths, family stories pictures and audio/video files and create charts and reports as required.

With the time permitted Fred gave a broad overview highlighting some special features of FTM2010 including mapping event locations with Bing Maps, viewing relationships between any two people in their family tree by using the improved relationship calculator and pointing out how the vast collection of family tree records can be accessed from within FTM2010. To assist with the presentation a handout was distributed.

As a reminder and not to be missed, the Mitchell Library Centenary Celebration which commenced on the 9th March will continue up until 16 June next. Featured will be unique selections of 100 exhibits which you may not be able to see again, such as the original Sir Joseph Banks Journals of the voyage of the ‘Endeavour’, the Library's unrivalled holdings of Matthew Flinders manuscripts, pictures, maps and many unique features of photography and Australian literature and sport to mention just a few. Access this website and click on the 100 Exhibition at the top right.

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

 Wednesday 10 February 2010 

Eleven members attended our first meeting for this year with one apology.

The meeting commenced with a discussion resulting from my request to hear Your Story. I read out a reply from a past member who unfortunately has discontinued with her family history for the time as a result of very distressing findings. But that’s family history, be it good or bad and sometimes the truth hurts. We thank the member for her story.

We next discussed an entry in Kimberly Powell's website titled ’Top 10 Genealogy Mistakes to Avoid’ . As Kimberly says -
Genealogy can be a very fascinating and addictive hobby. Each step that you take in researching your family's history can lead you to new ancestors, delightful stories and a real sense of your place in history. If you are new to genealogy research, however, there are ten key mistakes that you will want to avoid in order to make your search a successful and pleasant experience. These 10 mistakes to avoid are detailed on her website under –

And finally I threw in a question which has generated much debate and that was “Which lasts longer Microfilm or Digital Image storage?” I am leaving this question for you to consider but see Dick Eastman’s website for a lengthy discussion.

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

 Wednesday 11 November 2009  

Ten members attended our eigth meeting for this year with three apologies.

A copy of the NSW Probate and Deceased Estates flow chart No 119 (courtesy of NSW State Records) was distributed and briefly discussed. The chart is an aid to Archives in Brief Nos 84 and 29 and simplifies the process of searching and acquiring copies of probate or deceased estate records. Copies can be downloaded from the State Records website (type How to Find Probate and Deceased Estates 119 in the Search Box and a PDF file is available to copy)

The criminal underworld of Sydney in the 1840s a video produced by State Records taken from The Journal of Flash Men was featured during History Week 4-10 September last. The images used in the video were extracted from State Records photo collection of early Sydney in the Rocks area. This video was shown to our group and is available for replay under Archives Outside website. Continuing on with early photo images of Sydney during 1900 and 1901 John gave a MS Power Point presentation featuring Cumberland Street, Princes Street and Cribbs Lane with comments on the residents of the area at the time. By way of comparison images of original water colour paintings of 1901 in John’s possession were included.

As a matter of interest the Rookwood Necropolis are now indexing Anglican and General burial sites which can be viewed online. See Under the Main Menu go to How to Search On line and follow instructions to register as a free member.

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

 Wednesday 9 September 2009  

Nine members attended our seventh meeting for this year with five apologies.

Topics covered were:

1.1911 Census of Ireland
The 1911 Census of Ireland is now complete and available for viewing online at A handout was distributed to attendees courtesy of Terry Eakin (SAG) which explains in detail the procedure for searching. For your information you can search the site by name of individual or by location and as advised previously ’Less is More’ that is the less information you put in the more numerous will be the results. It is suggested to search by surname only if fairly uncommon or if a common name like Ryan a refined search is necessary. The census allows for free access to all original scanned documents as filled out by the householder and signed by the enumerator and time will be needed to navigate the various forms available. As Terry explains - you may find relatives still alive during 1911 being up to 104 years of age and their descendants still living in the same town-land.

2.Google your Surname and see what you get!!
Just type in a surname in inverted commas plus genealogy thus "surname" + genealogy. You may come up with a distant relative searching your family.

3.Top Databases and Websites for Australian and Overseas Genealogy - compiled from:

  1. Australian Birth, Marriage & Death Records
    The National Library of Australia offers online access to a free downloadable Excel index ofAustralian Capital Territory (ACT) deaths from 1930 to 1973, as well as links to vital records published online by the various Australian states. Free

  2. Family History South Australia
    This large Web site includes a wealth of databases, history and articles to assist people researching their South Australian family history. Includes early marriages 1836-1852, gazetted deaths 1845-1941, WWI deaths of South Australian servicemen, naturalization records, gold diggers, and more. Free

  3. State Archives of NSW - Indexes Online
    Census records, convict records, divorce records, criminal court records, immigrant arrivals, insolvency records, land records, naturalization records (for non-British subjects) and estate records are all indexed online and searchable. A photocopy service with online ordering and payment is available for copies of some of the original records in these indexed collections. Free

    Subscription genealogy Web site includes numerous online databases and indexes for researching Australian ancestors, as well as records for the British Isles where many Australians originated. Subscription

  5. Tasmanian Archives - Online Name Indexes
    This wonderful archives site features searchable name indexes to a variety of records including census returns (1837-1857), naturalizations by non-British subjects (up to 1904), wills, convict records, passenger arrivals and departures, inquests and divorces. Also included are Tasmanian photographs and a Colonial Tasmanian family links database. Free

  6. Ireland-Australia Transportation Records (1791-1853)
    Transportation records held in the National Archives of Ireland are a major source for Australians researching Irish convict ancestors. This free, searchable database includes transportation registers, convict petitions and even records of members of convicts' families transported as free settlers. Free

  7. Perth Dead Persons' Society
    This Western Australia family history society maintains a number of free, online databases including Convicts to Australia, Passenger Ships Arriving in Australasian Ports, and Australians Serving in the Boer War. Their research guides and resources for researching convict ancestry are well worth the visit. Free

  8. Western Australia Birth, Death & Marriage Indexes Online
    Free, searchable online index to Western Australian birth, death and marriage records. Birth records cover the period 1841-1931. Death and marriage indexes cover the period 1841-1905. Free

  9. The Ryerson Index to Death Notices & Obituaries in Australian Newspapers
    Obituaries and death notices from 138+ newspapers totaling almost 2 million entries are indexed on this volunteer-supported Web site. The concentration is on New South Wales newspapers, specifically two Sydney newspapers the "Sydney Morning Herald" and the "Daily Telegraph," although some papers from other states are also included. Free

  10. Historic Australian Newspapers 1803-1954
    The National Library of Australia in conjunction with Australian State and Territory libraries is digitizing early out-of-copyright Australian newspapers and putting them online. At least one newspaper from each state is included in the project, covering the earliest years of the paper's existence. Free

  11. National Library of Australia - Oral History & Folklore
    Expand your Australian family history with this collection of over 58,000 oral history interviews and folk recordings, an electronic guide to Australian oral history collections, and how-to information for conducting your own oral history. Free

  12. Rootsweb - World Connect Project
    Out of all of the online databases of submitted family tree information, my favorite is the World Connect Project which allow users to upload, modify, link, and display their family trees as a means to share their work with other researchers. The reason why this particular project is my favorite is it is one of the largest, and it also allows people to add to, update or remove their information at any time. While this by no means ensures that the information you will find here is correct, it at least increases the probabilities of finding current contact information for researchers with information which interests you. This free genealogy database currently contains over 3 billion names in over 300,000 family trees, and you can search them all online for absolutely no charge! You can also submit your own family tree information in GEDCOM format for free.

  13. - Free Cemetery Records Online
    You're likely to find details on at least one ancestor in this free genealogy database containing over 3 million records from over 5000 cemeteries worldwide. contains actual cemetery transcriptions as well as links to other cemetery transcriptions available on the Internet from cemeteries around the world.

  14. FamilySearch Record Search
    This free research site from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a veritable treasure for all genealogists, with plenty of free family history records for those concerned about the budget, and excellent image quality and indexes for researchers looking for alternative access options. Records are available from numerous countries.

  15. WorldGen Web
    No list of free Internet genealogy records would be complete without mentioning WorldGenWeb. It began in 1996 with the USGenWeb project and, shortly thereafter, the WorldGenWeb project went online to provide free access to genealogy information around the world. Each region, country, province, and state has a page on WorldGenWeb with access to free queries, links to genealogy information and, often, free transcribed genealogy records.

  16. Debt of Honour Register
    Find personal and service details and places of commemoration for the 1.7 million members of the Commonwealth forces (including the United Kingdom and former colonies) who died in the First or Second World Wars, as well as a record of some 60,000 civilian casualties of the Second World War provided without details of burial location. The cemeteries and memorials where these names are commemorated are located in over 150 countries. Provided freely on the Internet courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

  17. Geneabios - Biographies for Genealogy
    Search through thousands of bios of ordinary men and women posted by genealogists around the world, or post your own. A big plus is that this site, though small, links to most of the major online sources for biographical information to help you expand your search for biographies of your ancestors.

  18. 1901 Census for England & Wales
    Search for free in this comprehensive name index to over 32 million individuals who lived in England and Wales in 1901. This free genealogy index includes the individual's name, age, place of birth, and occupation. While the index is free, viewing transcribed data or a digitized image of the actual census record will cost you. A similar site is available for the 1911 UK Census.

  19. RootsWeb Surname List
    A list or registry of over 1 million surnames from around the world, the RootsWeb Surname List (RSL) is a must-visit. Associated with each surname are dates, locations, and contact information for the person who submitted the surname. You can search this list by surname and location, and limit searches to recent additions. You can also add your own surnames to this list for free.

  20. International Genealogical Index
    A partial index to vital records from around the world, the IGI includes birth, marriage and death records from Africa, Asia, the British Isles (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Island and the Isle of Man), the Caribbean Islands, Central America, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Mexico, Norway, North America, South America, Europe, the Southwest Pacific and Sweden. Find dates and places of births, christenings, and marriages for more than 285 million deceased people. Many of the names were extracted from original records from the early 1500s to the early 1900's. This free genealogy database is accessible through the Web site.

  21. Australian War Memorial
    Search for free through several Australian military databases including: the Boer War Nominal Roll, details of over 17,000 service people in the Boer War; the First World War Nominal Roll, details of 324,000 members of AIF 1914-1918; the Commemorative Roll, details of about 3,000 commemorated Australians; and the Roll of Honour, details of over 102,000 of Australia's war dead. Plus a database of over 200,000 military related photographs.

  22. FamilySearch - Free Census Search
    A great boon to genealogists, this free genealogy database from the Latter-day Saints (Mormons) includes complete transcriptions of the 1880 U.S. Census, 1881 British Isles Census, and 1881 Canadian Census. Enter at least your deceased ancestor's first or last name to search any one of these free census databases, or search across all three censuses at once.

    Known as the home of the Wayback Machine (good for finding cached copies of Web sites that are defunct or have moved), also includes many great textual resources for genealogists from libraries across the country. Click on "Texts," then "Additional Collections," and then "Genealogy" to find free scanned copies of family histories, local histories and more.

  24. Free BMD - England & Wales Vital Records
    Volunteers have spent several years transcribing records for this free genealogy database, providing free Internet access to the Civil Registration index of births, marriages, and deaths from England and Wales for the period 1837-1983. Over 66 million unique records have been transcribed to date!

  25. Geneanet
    What started as a small French genealogy research site, has blossomed into a worldwide genealogy network. This free genealogy database indexes over 85 million names on free genealogy Web sites from around the world, with the primary focus still on French ancestry. You can get a lot of information here for free, but there are advanced options that will cost you.

  26. Family Tree Magazine - Free Genealogy Charts & Forms
    Piles of books, a desk covered with sticky notes, boxes crammed with family photos and photocopied records... If this sounds like you then check out this veritable plethora of free forms and charts to assist you with getting and keeping your genealogy research organized - there is one here for pretty much any type of genealogical research! Can't find what you need? Check out more free genealogy charts and forms.

  27. Immigrant Ship Transcribers Guild
    This group of dedicated volunteers has transcribed more than 5,000 ship passenger lists to date, citing over 1/2 million passenger arrivals - all available online for free genealogy research. Make sure to leave time for a visit to The Compass, a guide to further immigration research with links to other passenger lists on the Internet, information about specific ships, and resources for ports of entry and departure around the world.

  28. FreeREG
    Nearly 1 million baptism, marriage and burial records have been transcribed from parish and non-conformist church registers in the UK, and are available online for free viewing. A searchable database of these records is also in the works.

  29. Scottish Documents
    Enjoy free access to a fully searchable index of over 520,000 Scottish wills and testaments dating from 1500 to 1901. Full-color, actual-size digital images of the original documents are available for immediate online purchase from this not-for-profit site operated by the Scottish Archive Network.

  30. Glossary of Last Name Meanings & Origins
    Hundreds of surname meanings and origins are profiled in this free genealogy reference tool, along with popular spelling variations and related family trees. Includes common surnames of English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Jewish origin. You can also submit a free request to have your surname meaning researched and added to the glossary. No guarantees, though - surname meanings are not always able to be found.

  31. RootsWeb Mailing List Archives
    Search or browse for genealogy tips, surname queries, and other helpful data, in this archives of thousands of free genealogy mailing lists, some going back as far as 10 years! Search by letter for geographic or surname specific lists or head over to the list of genealogy mailing lists organized by topic. When you just don't have the time to manage subscriptions to dozens of different genealogy mailing lists, these archived posts are a wonderful way to check in periodically to see what's new.

  32. The Olden Times - Historic Newspapers Online
    Get a taste of what life was like for your ancestors in collection of digitized newspapers, scanned in from original issues of 18th, 19th and early 20th century newspapers from the US, England, Scotland, Australia, and Ireland. While fairly small, this intriguing collection includes obituaries, birth & marriage announcements, old news stories, old advertising, vintage recipes, cartoons and humor, and more. Browse by topic or search by surname.

  33. Australia - WW11 Nominal Roll
    Search by name, service number, honors, or location in this free genealogy database of service records from approximately one million individuals who served in Australia's defense forces and Merchant Navy during World War Two (1939-1945). Once you find an individual service record you can create and print an unofficial certificate of service. You can also purchase a photocopy of the original World War II service record from the National Archives for a small fee.

  34. Irish Newspaper Announcements 1817-1823
    Find your ancestors in this free genealogy index of over 15,000 birth, marriage, and death announcements from Irish newspapers. Free index material includes the basic details (names, date, event), and copies of the original notice can be purchased.

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

 Wednesday 8 July 2009  

Ten members attended our sixth meeting for this year with two apologies.

John commenced the meeting with a showing of MS PhotoStory3 as it can be applied to your family history presentations. PhotoStory is downloadable as a freebee for MS subscribers with a YouTube and Portable Document File to assist as follows:

  1. PhotoStory3 download
  2. YouTube Tutorial, PDF Tutorial

Following this we had a free-for-all on the Annex computers and opened up our library of DVD/CDs for those interested in checking a thing or two.

In conclusion it was decided that the 11 August meeting be cancelled as our group have been invited to attend the Hurstville Family History Society meeting day at the Hurstville Library from 10am to enjoy a presentation by Nicola Gates from PROQUEST of the newly installed on the library's computers.

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

 Wednesday 11 June 2009  

Eight members attended our fifth meeting for this year with two apologies.

The meeting commenced with a reading of an excerpt from the journal of John’s great grandfather Dr Edward Shortland (1812-1893) dated October 1887 in which he describes in the style of the time, his journey from Auckland to Sydney aboard the steamer Taraivera to settle a land transaction and meet up with his third eldest son (my grandfather) Thomas Willoughby Shortland and his wife Francis. The detail of the journal included many personal aspects of life in Sydney during 1887 and a story of how Thomas met Francis at Bowermans Orchard in Parramatta while purchasing fruit. Thomas an ex British Naval Officer was awarded a Silver Medal by the Royal Humane Society for a sea rescue and had immigrated to Australia to take up the position of a proof reader for the Sydney Morning Herald. He and Francis resided at O’Connell Street Newtown where John’s father William John was born just three months before the arrival of Dr Edward. It is fortunate when papers like these are preserved for family members to read years after the event.

The following video clips of interviews by Dick Eastman of Roots TV were shown. These interviews are freely accessable on Roots Television by selection from the menu.

Donna Walcovy of Donna has expertise in gravestone restoration preservation and conservation and photography and offers training in these areas. She commented on the practice of using shaving cream to enhance monumental engravings for photography and vehemently opposed the practice claiming it caused acidic attack and corrosion and advised on the use of copius water spraying and cleaning with a soft nylon brush.

Dan Lynch author of ’Google Your Family Tree’. Google is the most powerful tool available worldwide for online research! With over 20 billion pages in Google's index of the Web, it's likely that some of them contain clues about your ancestors. Finding these pages, however, requires an understanding of filtering and other techniques that have never been explained to many computer users – until now! This book shows you how to tap the full potential of the Internet's most powerful free online service! The book contains 352 pages and is available from Gould SA at a cost of $39.95

And finally, Irene Lambert a graphoanalyst can discern one’s personality from handwriting. It is non-discriminatory and an accurate analysis can be done without knowing the writer's gender, race, age or name. In Europe, handwriting analysis has been widely accepted for many decades. It is recognized as a science and routinely used for both business and the professions. In the United States it is gaining wider acceptance and is now an accreditied course in several universities. There are an estimated 50,000 handwriting analysts in the U.S. today, yet a relatively new and different approach to characterizing.

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

 Wednesday 13 May 2009  

Thirteen members attended our fourth meeting for this year with two apologies.

The meeting commenced with a review of our members family research interests a listing of which appears under Members Interests in the Genealogy section of this web site.
It is apparent that progress in the main has been quite satisfactory and very rewarding for some but cases of the proverbial ’brick wall’ has impeded further progress for others. In any case it was evident that the exchange of information and suggestions from members certainly provided possible courses of action. In family history research things are rarely straight forward. Surname searches disappear from the census records, family members die off before one gets the chance of an interview, records are destroyed or lost and the gathering of facts may be inconsistent with existing records, just to list a few. The following guide, however may assist in some way to get you back on track:

  • Revise what you already have, you may have missed a vital piece of information which was not apparent the first time of recording.
  • Review original records wherever possible as many times transcripts are incorrect and in particular, place names, spellings and date of events.
  • Name variations are common the further you go back in generations so check all spelling options, use soundex and wild cards to an advantage when searching the indexes that are available.
  • It pays to advertise so an entry in the local papers or your family history journal may bear fruit.

Web Sites to Revisit

Shipping, Immigration and Mariner Records
It is always advisable to revisit certain key web sites from time to time in order to check for new and updated entries such as can be found in – Cora Num’s excellent web site
Judy Webster's site for Queensland
for Mariner Research check this site for tracing British seamen and ships it is exhaustive in its content.

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

 Wednesday 8 April 2009  

Fourteen members attended our third meeting for this year with three apologies.
Topics presented and discussed were as follows:

Roots Television Presentation 
Dick Eastman interviewed Brad Argent the Australian representative for at the AFFHO Congress in Auckland NZ held during January this year and talked about new additions to their web site. Dick Eastman also interviewed Chris Pomery, Genealogist, Author and DNA expert at the WDYTYA Conference in London on a forthcoming DNA addition to Dick Eastman’s web site. Both of these interviews are freely accessable on Roots Television by selection from the menu.

Family History Presentation 
The State Records of New South Wales have prepared a 9 minute video clip on searching your family history which contains some very interesting photos of old Sydney.

They Came to Port Phillip by Ship 
A listing of ships and Bounty Immigrants that landed in Victoria before 1848 before Victoria was divided from New South Wales.This site by Elizabeth Janson contains many other searchable databases to explore.

Additional Information 
1911 Census has now added the remaining English Counties (Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland) and the missing Gateshead district records into the county of Durham. Therefore all English counties are now complete and online. Scanning of Welsh records is well underway and some data from Wales should be forthcoming.
Details may be found at: 1911census blog

An interview with Raymond Evans of scotlandspeople

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

 Wednesday 11 March 2009  

Twelve members attended our second meeting for this year with one apology.
Topics presented and discussed were as follows:

Roots Television Presentation 
Dick Eastman interviews Cathy Pilgrim, director of the newspaper digitization program at the National Library of Australia about some of her work digitizing various information, including sheet music.

Pitfalls in Genealogy 
John presented a review taken from his experience of a number of pitfalls that can create a brick wall in your research or cause you to be chasing the wrong ancestor.

Review of some changes in the State Records of New South Wales website 
State Records NSW have had a major change in their website recently and many of the former links that you may have saved as Favourites now need to be replaced. The following is a list of some of those links of benefit in your research:
Home Page
Family History
Indexes Online
Planning Your Visit
Preorder Records for your Visit to the Western Sydney Records Centre
Guides and Finding Aids

Other web sites Viewed 
Free Settler or Felon A search of the database may find you a Newcastle/Hunter Valley ancestor of which there are 110,000 references to Convict Settlers, Townsfolk, Bushrangers, Innkeepers, Soldiers and Landowners.
Areas included are: Newcastle, Maitland, Paterson, Muswellbrook, Singleton, Raymond Terrace, Dungog, Morpeth, Wollombi, Central Coast, Murrurundi, Scone and others.

How Diseases are Inherited Many diseases and disorders occur as a result of alterations or mutations in a particular gene, and some of these mutations can be passed on to future generations. Sometimes this inheritance is straightforward, while other times additional genetic changes or environmental factors also need to be present for a particular disease to develop. Diseases included were cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, haemophilia and colour blindness etc.

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

 Wednesday 11 February 2009  

Twelve members attended our first meeting for this year with two apologies. John was unable to attend, but he left an agenda of interesting items for Fred to present to the meeting.

AGCI Volume 3 

Recently released by SAG, this CD is fully searchable by name, date, place, event and source and contains over 2.5 million names indexed from various family societies, libraries and the SAG collection. Contents include death and burial entries, newspaper references, shipping arrival entries, etc. All data is new and does not replace data already published on AGCI Vols 1 & 2

Ireland BDM Index 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are making available a number of images as part of a digitised project. The project was announced in 2005 along with an invitation worldwide for volunteers to index the digitised records that were previously on microfilm. The Ireland BDM Index from 1845 to 1958 is now searchable on the FamilySearch Pilot

1911 Census for Ireland 
The household returns and ancillary records for the censuses of Ireland of 1901 and 1911, which are in the custody of the National Archives of Ireland, represent an extremely valuable part of the Irish national heritage. The 1911 census is now online at

1911 Census for England and Wales 
The 1911 census for England and Wales is now online at For every address in the UK, the census records show the name, age, place of birth, marital status, occupation and relationship to the head of the household for all 36 million people living in 1911. Information on married women also lists how long they had been married and the number of children in the marriage. Note: about 80% of the records are currently online, with the balance of the records expected to be online in the coming months. Searching is free but viewing is by pay-per-record.

Other web sites that were demonstrated:
Although incomplete these records from Benalla Cemetery, North West Victoria are fully searchable
Contains over 1 million pages of NZ newspapers and periodicals digitized from 1839 to 1920.
Melbourne General, Springvale Botanical and St. Kilda Cemeteries, Victoria
Genealogy in Time is a free online genealogy magazine containing news, articles and links. Well worth a look.

World Vital Records Australasia
A free trial (for a limited period) was taken advantage of to explore some of the records available.

.................................... FHLS   

 Wednesday 12 November 2008  

Ten members attended our eighth meeting for the year with two apologies. Irish research was the topic for the day as follows:

National Archives Podcast Series- Tracing your Irish Ancestors 
As discussed at the September meeting this series allows one to stay up to date with the latest presentations from members of The National Archives (UK) and guest speakers. This time we listened to ‘Tracing your Irish ancestors at The National Archives’ presented by Audrey Collins who explores some of the hidden treasures to be found in the archives with specific mention of key websites.
“Less than a century ago all of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom; six of its northern counties, making up Northern Ireland, still are. Many records relating to our ancestors are to be found in the UK and not in Ireland.”

Irish Civil Registration Indexes – A Power Point Review
This review [courtesy of Terry Eakin (SAG)] lists all Irish civil registration indexes available from the General Registry Office Roscommon and other sources and those held by SAG. Reference is also made to the LDS holdings of almost all of the GRO indexes and registers which can be accessed. It is of note that the 2002 edition of LDS CD set, British Isles Vital Records, includes an index to birth registrations from 1864 to 1875 inc.

This presentation has been distributed to our genealogy group members together with a set of comprehensive notes and has not been made available for general distribution.

Other Websites of Interest
This website is of particular interest to members interested in the place names of Ireland. Just click on a county and search for a barony, townland, civil parish or post office etc. As a matter of interest there are 65,000 townlands in Ireland. contains thousands of transcriptions of cemetery records and monumental inscriptions, from cemeteries in the USA, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries and access is free.

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

 Wednesday 10 September 2008 

Twelve members attended our seventh meeting for the year with one apology. Topics discussed were: National Archives (UK) Podcast Series, National Library of Australia, Newspapers Digitisation Program and other websites of interest.

National Archives Podcast Series 
This series allows one to stay up to date with the latest presentations from members of The National Archives (UK) and guest speakers. So far 57 podcasts have been made available online, many of which may be of interest to members and include, Emigration records, Divorce records after 1858, 17th century ancestors, Criminal ancestors, Royal Navy service records, Tracing your Irish ancestors at The National Archives and Solving census problems to list a few. 

We listened to the podcast by David Annal of The National Archives who gives us a very practical approach to overcoming the most common problems encountered using the census returns. His final remark of ‘less is more’ during searching advises one not to provide too much information even if being sure of your records, as on very many occasions errors have occurred as a result of incorrect entries by enumerators or subsequent errors during the transcription phase.

National Library of Australia Newspaper Digitisation Program 
This is a beta (trial) version of the digitization program now underway. The newspapers listed below are all accessible by placing your cursor over the particular entry and left click your mouse. Use the search box top right of the website to check a name etc. of interest. 

The Argus 
The Brisbane Courier 
The Canberra Times 
Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser 
The Courier (Brisbane, Qld.) 
The Courier (Hobart, Tas.) 
The Courier-Mail 
The Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter 
Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen's Land Advertiser 
The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser 
The Mercury 
Northern Territory Times and Gazette 
The Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News 
The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal 
The South Australian Advertiser 
The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 
West Australian 
West Australian Times 

Other Websites of Interest 
Western Australian registry records
Geograph to the British Isles - a website sponsored by Great Britain National Mapping Agency 
Convict Transportation Registers

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

 Wednesday 9 July 2008 

Due to our meeting date falling within the school holiday period and bouts of sickness among some of our members we had a reduced attendance of eight to our sixth meeting for the year.

Topics discussed were: The New South Wales Census 1828 Revised CD Edition (Library of Australian History) and Adding Photos to your PAF Companion Charts.

The New South Wales Census 1828, A Revised CD by the Library of Australian History
The 1828 Census for New South Wales is considered to be one of the most important source documents for compiling Australian genealogy as it was the first census to be taken and the only detailed one for New South Wales that has survived to the present day. The currently revised CD now available through the Library of Australian History includes among other gems many of the Household Returns taken from the originals at SRNSW. It also contains a very detailed contents section spanning over 40 pages and a data base which is very easy to navigate. This CD is considered to be an essential addition to any family history society collection.

PAF Companion- Adding Photos to your Wall Charts
Joyce gave us a demonstration of how to add photographs to the PAF family history program and then with the aid of PAF Companion to set up a very attractive wall chart with picture inserts, captions and colour combinations for each generation.
Thanks Joyce.

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

 Wednesday 11 June 2008 

Twelve members attended our fifth meeting for the year with one apology. Topics discussed were: New South Wales Wills Registration, Understanding Outdated Medical Terminology and Roots Television on Unclaimed Persons.

New South Wills Registry 
The New South Wales Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages allows for the location of Wills to be recorded on their web site. Registration is free and details can be submitted online using a secure site or by completion of an application form obtainable from the Registry by phone 1300 655 236. The Registry does not require a copy of the will or its content only its location and pertinent details. The website is located at the URL:

Understanding Outdated Medical Terminologies
Many ancestral death certificates include the cause of death in words that often does not convey much meaning to the reader, like dropsy, visitation from god, consumption, apoplexy or softness of the brain. Nowadays we can still be in a quandary with medical terms such as myocardial infarction, carcinoma or arteriosclerosis and recourse to the dictionary may be necessary to find that these terms mean simply, heart attack, cancer and hardening of the arteries. But what of archaic terms like dropsy ……? 
A number of websites exist to help you with all these terms and one is listed here: 
For further information please refer to Donna Przecha’s most informative paper on the above:

Roots Television on Unclaimed Persons – A Genealogist Profile 
As a matter of general interest I have included the following report on recent activities among genealogists in USA. 
A recent Roots Television presentation (link below) by professional genealogist Megan Smolenyak (MS) titled Unclaimed Persons has reportedly aroused a great deal of interest among fellow genealogists in California who are enthusiastically submitting information and tips based on their research skills to the coroner’s office in San Bernardino. It would appear that in spite of MS’s efforts in support of the coroner’s office and the good intent of well-meaning genealogists, the small coroner’s department is finding it too hard to handle so MS has started an Unclaimed Persons Group on Facebook where registration for genealogists is free and all participants are welcome. The following website refers: and the link to the Roots Television presentation is:

Who knows, this sort of thing could take off here in Australia by well meaning and enthusiastic genealogists?

Please note: the paternal results for the Sorenson Foundation Molecular Genealogy Project listed for this meeting were again deferred in view of supportive information just received and will be the subject of a future meeting.

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

 Wednesday 14 May 2008 

Sixteen members attended our fourth meeting for the year with one apology.

As Robin was holidaying overseas the paternal ancestry of some of our male participants in the Sorenson Foundation Molecular Genealogy Project was deferred and will be shown at the next meeting in June.

Web sites viewed were:

As our group has indicated an interest in the construction of family wall charts, an example of PAF5 Companion was prepared by John for seven generations of his family tree displaying details and photos where possible and prepared in colour combination for forebears in each paternal and maternal generation. It is intended that we will continue with this exercise and hold a workshop on chart construction for those interested in the near future.

Fred then demonstrated the Lands Department NSW web site for aerial views of NSW, and showed how selected areas of Sydney can be viewed as they are today and as they were in 1943. Much interest was shown by all. The downloadable viewer and demonstration tutorial are at while takes you straight to the maps.

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

 Wednesday 9 April 2008 

Fourteen members attended our third meeting for the year with two apologies. Topics discussed were:

  • Landowners of Sydney for 1792-1892.
  • mtDNA presentation on female ancestry.

A copy of a map showing the original colonial landowners of Sydney was displayed. The map (700mm x 580mm) is a reconstruction of the original NSW Department of Lands City of Sydney and Environs for 1892. It includes the parishes of Alexandria, Bankstown, Botany, Concord, Field of Mars, Gordon, Holsworthy, Hunters Hill, Liberty Plains, Manly Cove, Petersham, Prospect, St. George, St John, St. Luke and Willoughby. The map is of general interest as it contains many names common to areas of Sydney today and useful for family history research. A copy is to be emailed to our group as a reference.

For those interested in land records it has been reported that the Land and Property Information Division of the NSW Department of Lands digital scanning project which includes Torrens Title Deeds registers is expected to be completed late this year. For full information refer to the March issue of Descent p33-34 as published by SAG titled Changes to Access, NSW Department of Lands by Helen Dickinson.

As indicated in our March report Robin presented the results for Carmel’s mitochrondial DNA (mtDNA). Carmel was one of many participants in the HFHS and HSCC survey conducted for the Sorenson Foundation. The survey revealed that her ancestry came from the H6 haplogroup which dates back some 40,000 years and common in central/southern Asia around the Caucasus and the Black Sea area.

To explain further, mtDNA is present inside every human cell and has been extensively used to construct evolutionary family trees. It is transmitted throughout your maternal ancestry and your mtDNA is therefore the same as your mother’s and the same as her mothers and so on for many generations but is not transmitted by the male during fertilization. As a result there are now many thousands of known mtDNA patterns in the world female databank that can be used for comparison. D

PAF Companion- Adding Photos to your Wall Charts

Joyce  gave us a demonstration of how to add photographs to the PAF family history program and then  with the aid of  PAF Companion to set up a very attractive wall chart with  picture inserts, captions and colour combinations for each generation. Thanks Joyce.

ifferences occur however when a substitution (mutation) in the sequence of the mtDNA base patterns happen. These mutations are therefore used in the determination of the origin of communities and where we came from.

Recent mtDNA studies of several populations around the world suggest that modern humans originated from Africa, appeared in one founding population which evolved around 170,000 years ago and migrated to other parts of the world replacing all other human like forms. This important date occurred when all mtDNA sequences came together into one known as - the ‘mitochrondial Eve’ and the so called ‘Seven Daughters of Eve’ for maternal DNA studies evolved. The seven daughters of Eve represent the seven world clans of Xenia, Ursula, Helena, Velda, Tara, Katrina and Jasmine as proposed by Oxford Ancestors. For further reading see

At our next meeting we will look at paternal ancestry traceable through Y-DNA and show some results for our male participants.

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

 Wednesday 12 March 2008 

Sixteen members attended our second meeting for the year with one visitor.

Topics discussed were:

  • Genealogy Beginners Program
  • Botany Bay Family History Fair 2008
  • Top databases review
  • DNA presentations

A Genealogy for Beginners Program will be offered to interested members desirous of starting up their family tree with an accent on using your computer for data retrieval and storage. It is intended that the course will be held monthly over four 2 hourly sessions in the Annex either on the first or second Tuesday of the month at 10 am or 1.00 pm dependent on number of attendees, choice of time and availability of the venue. Usual costs will apply and all details will be announced in a forthcoming newsletter when finalised.

The Botany Bay Family History 2008 Fair will be held on Saturday 5 April next at 10am to 3pm. at their Research Centre 184 Gannons Road (South) Caringbah. The theme of the fair is “OUR PLACE” Australia and our people, focusing on our life yesterday, today and tomorrow, with a view to building a better future; special guests will be attending. The fair is for all including help for beginners with expert help for those who have reached the brick wall. Their web site is with more and updated information.

We reviewed some top genealogy databases and a handout was given. These include: Ancestry, Scotlands People, The National Archives of England and Wales, International Genealogy Index (IGI), Find My Past, FreeBMD, British Origins, Roots UK, JOhn Genham's site and Irish Rebels to Australia.

Next meeting we intend to present further results of the YDNA (male) and mtDNA (female) survey from the Sorenson Foundation.

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

 Wednesday 13 February 2008 

Sixteen members attended our first meeting for the year with two apologies.

We commenced with a discussion on the proposed program for the year and welcomed any suggestions from the members. It would seem that most of those present were happy to continue in the same frame as last year but to introduce from time to time a review of chart presentations such as PAF Companion etc. and an occasional viewing where appropriate of Roots TV programs featuring key interviews with genealogy gurus like Cindi Howells and John Grenham. It would also seem that the continuation of a beginner’s workshop for PAF5 and/or FTM is still sought and we will endeavour, depending on numbers, to include these in our program for the year. An invited speaker would also be sought.

On the DNA survey in which a number of us contributed, results are filtering through from the Sorenson Foundation which can be accessed on their web site and steps are being taken to have the results expertly reviewed and discussed at a future meeting.

Finally,we had a look at the Australian and English collections now included on

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

 Wednesday 14 November 2007 

Fourteen members attended our meeting this month with one apology.

Our meeting commenced with a review of this year to date which was favourably received by all although one suggestion to follow up will be the inclusion of our member’s interest survey. We then had a discussion on “convicts in your tree”, Fred had five and Val and I, would you believe, had seven.

Vince went through the research he undertook tracing his convicted ancestor Edward Roberts who came out to VDL on the China in 1845 then on to Norfolk Island; I spoke on my Randall/Martin convict connections of the First Fleet, information of which can be found on Ray Fairall’s web site

A question was raised about obtaining access to the London Times newspaper – you need to obtain a Readers Card from the State Library which will provide you with a reader’s number. To access the Times on line at home your reader’s number and a password are required.

Some web sites of interest to look for are: r – Victorian BDM certificate transcription service.
The following is an interview with Cyndi Howells who needs no introduction as nearly every genealogist and family historian would have by now accessed her all encompassing web site.
Caution: You will need to be on Broadband.

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

 Wednesday 10 October 2007 

Twelve members including one new member attended our meeting this month with one apology.

After a brief look at updates and notices from the State Records NSW web site and some selected entries from, Joyce gave us a display she prepared for the Pickup family re-union of which some 60 family members attended. Following on from this Joyce demonstrated Tree Draw 3.

Tree Draw is a computer program which allows you to produce high quality descendent and ancestral charts, the data for which can be imported via a GEDCOM database generated from PAF, FTM etc. Once the tree is established photographs or images in general can be included. If desired it is also possible to combine several different charts to make a larger chart for say a family re-union showpiece such as Joyce has done.

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

 Wednesday 12 September 2007 

Twelve members including one new member attended our meeting this month with one apology. The meeting commenced with a review of a recent case study I undertook concerning a convicted felon and his wife both indicted for forgery and transported from England to Australia during the 1800’s.

Starting with the names of both husband and wife and the fact that the husband was known to have gained a publicans license in Sydney, I was able to ascertain the name of the ship, the date of arrival in 1806 and the Middlesex trial date from Lesley Uebel’s Claim a Convict web site. A search then of their trial from the Old Bailey web site for 1805 provided the background to their sentence, their age and place of abode. The Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence in the NSW State Records web site confirmed the issue of a publican’s license. Then a check of the newly released SAG CD for Pubs and Publicans revealed a list of pubs licensed to the gentleman in question together with details of his family connections of the time and references to follow up. The research continues.

This month a number of topics were discussed as follows:

  • A review of relevant family history presentations of the ASCCA conference namely Why Transportation to Botany Bay by James Hugh Donohoe and A Beginners Guide to Researching your UK Ancestors by David Bennett both of which can be downloaded from the ASCCA web site.
  • A review of The National Library of Australia web site a must to place in your favourites and finally
  • The features available in Family Tree Maker 2008 which is now available. First impressions apart from a whole new look having the Family Tree and Family Group combined in the same window was the ability to import PAF, Legacy, The Master Genealogist and other various file formats directly into the program. The Places feature provided maps to zoom into and a hybridized satellite feature as a bonus but needing broadband internet connection for effective viewing. Other media features were also shown.

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

 Wednesday 8 August 2007 

Twelve members attended our meeting with three apologies and we welcomed one new member.

This month a number of topics were discussed as follows:

  • The Family Search Indexing program being organized by the LDS church. This program calls for volunteers to participate with the extraction of information from digitized images taken from historical documents to create searchable indexes to assist everyone to find their missing ancestor. See for details.
  • The introduction of another Ryerson Index web site. Do we need it?
  • Contributions now sought from relatives of families who settled in the Hunter Valley prior to 1900 to be included in the Pre 1900 Hunter Valley Pioneers Directory. The valley would include Maitland, Morpeth, Murrurundi, Newcastle, Paterson, Raymond Terrace, Seaham, Stroud, Wollombi and possibly others. For your information see Contributions close 30 September so hurry.
  • Family History Week 4-11 August and meetings attended so far.
  • Results to date from the Sorenson Foundation Molecular Research Program.

To sum up a productive meeting was had by all.

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

 Wednesday 11 July 2007 

Nine members attended our meeting with four apologies.

This month we had a 'Free For All' on the Annex computers to give our members a chance to view selections from the CD/DVD library we have available. Next month we will do the same but will have Family Tree Maker installed on all computers which will be available for those members who are interested and need some preliminary assistance and instruction with the programme prior to organizing a workshop.

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

 Wednesday 13 June 2007 

This month we had nine members attend our meeting with four apologies. We commenced with the distribution of a listing of key and updated web sites of genealogical interest followed by a Q & A session addressing some problems related to the availability of Tasmanian records.

The main core of our meeting, however, was a Power Point presentation titled Problems and Pitfalls in Genealogical Research. by John who drew examples from his own family research in order to demonstrate that one can never assume a printed record to be correct without confirmation and all recorded information should be referenced if you are a good researcher.

Topics covered were:

  • If Written, Is It Right?
  • Your Surname- Are You Searching The Right Bloodline?
  • What Did Grandma Say?
  • The Confusion over Dates of Events

We have now purchased six copies of Family Tree Maker (Starter Addition) and intend holding a workshop on a date to be set most probably during the same time as our usual Wednesday meeting in the Annex.

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

 Wednesday 9 May 2007 

This month we had six members attend the first of the beginner’s classes for this year as a morning session and nine members for our regular afternoon session in the Annex. We intend to continue with our beginners classes over this year if the demand is sufficient and will include a PAF basics workshop.

During the afternoon session we commenced reviewing the family history software programs that we have available. For our first presentation, Fred gave us a very informative review of Family Tree Maker. Family Tree Maker is one of the most popular of the family history software programs used today as well as being a top seller. It has many nice features in being able to create, customize and print reports with a wide choice of graphic representation, has web search facilities and is easily navigated. We intend to continue with these presentations.

As a final reminder, we now have 24 CDs in our mini-library available for viewing at convenient times, a list of which appears in our February report so check with Fred or John. Also keep those members’ research interest forms coming as they are a convenient way of disseminating family interests and promoting group discussion.

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

 Wednesday 11 April 2007 

This month we had an attendance of fifteen members in the Annex and were fortunate enough to have Aileen Trinder from PASTKEYS (Genealogical Indexers and Searchers) as our guest speaker. PASTKEYS have been established for many years and undertake the indexing of NSW immigration records. The NSW indexes are available on microfiche and now as a fully searchable series of CD-ROMs which are listed as follows:

Immigration Deposit Indexes

  • Immigration Deposit Journals(NSW) Index 1853-1900
  • Immigration Deposit Regulations Supplementary Index 1856-1857

Free Railway Passes (NSW) Index 1880-1892

Convicts & Employers (NSW) Index: 1828, 1832-1833, Jan 1838 - Jan 1844

Deane Index Re-Indexed 1823-1840

Pastkeys Miscellaneous Indexes

  • Unclaimed Letters (Noting Ship or Regiment) Index 1836-1852
  • Unemployed Registers 1860,1884 Index
  • Wages Paid to Orphans Index 1849-1851

Unassisted Arrivals (NSW) Index 1842-1856 and Ships & Masters to Sydney Index 1842-1856

Aileen’s demonstration showed us what an exhaustive and dedicated undertaking the compilation of the above indexes has proven to be and we can only hope that the set of CDs will be eventually available for viewing in your local municipal libraries along with their other family history and genealogical collections.

Finally, we have now 24 CDs in our mini-library available for viewing at convenient times, a list of which appears in our February report so check with Fred or John. Also don’t forget to fill in those members’ research interest forms which are a convenient way of disseminating information among our group.

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

 Wednesday 14 March 2007 

Twelve members attended our March meeting in the Annex.

A collection was made of the research information sheets distributed last month; the remainder will be collected next month. I will consolidate all the surnames of interest and make them available in hard copy or email and post on our web site subject to each members approval. Hopefully this activity will generate discussion among our group and possibly recognize common family links.

Just as a reminder we now have 24 CDs in our mini-library for viewing which can be one at any convenient time so please consult Fred or myself.

Finally, next month we have Aileen Trinder from PASTKEYS who will give us a viewing of their current CD products and a sneaky preview of forthcoming updates on Immigration to New South Wales.

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

 Wednesday 14 February 2007 

Twelve members attended our February meeting in the Annex including two new members. Five members notified their apology and for your information we now have 31 members in our group.

Firstly I distributed a research interest form for members to jot down the surnames they are researching. Hopefully this will generate discussion among our group who may possibly recognize common linkages to their family as this has proved quite successful in many family history society surveys. When I receive them back in due course I will consolidate them as an information source for distribution as hard copy or for inclusion on our web site subject to approval. A number of web sites of interest were viewed, some of which are listed as follows:
• Ancestors on Board A database featuring BT27 Outboard Passengers leaving the British Isles from 1890 - 1960 for Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and USA.
• Behind the Name –the etymology and lists of first names Find out the origin of your given name.
• The End of PAF? This interesting article appears in the October 2006 edition of Dick Eastman’s Newsletter. Go to ‘Search Past Standard Editions’ and check the October 29 edition.

Finally we have a new CD for our library titled Free Settlers of Australia 1788-1828 by James Hugh Donohoe. This is a consolidated list of 10,000 people who arrived in Australia as free settlers or were returned ex-convicts. Each person is shown in alphabetical order together with their ship of arrival in Australia.

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

 Wednesday 8 November 2006 

Twelve members attended our November meeting in the Annexe with 2 apologies.

As a digression from the normal formalities the members chose to view selected CDs from our existing collection and maybe discover a ‘genealogical gem’ or two. As a matter of interest to some we now have ‘Family Tree Maker’ installed on Computer No 12 and it is intended that this program should be included for instruction at future sessions along with PAF. A list of our current CDs was distributed to all present.

As the December meeting has been cancelled, our next enthralling meeting will be on 10 January 2007. So with no further ado: I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Productive 2007.

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

 Wednesday 11 October 2006 

Ten members attended our October meeting in the Annexe with 5 apologies due to family commitments during school holidays.

As previously agreed, I commenced our meeting with a review of our recently released CD to members titled ‘Genealogy Research Papers for Seniors Computer Clubs’. It is intended to progressively review each section as an ongoing part of our meeting to bring recent members of the group ‘up to speed’ so to speak and also allow them to grasp the topics previously dealt with but with the advantage of providing any web link updates when and as they have occurred. I made a start on the Australian section by navigating the NSW State Records and State Registry sites to show how the BMD records for both pre and post civil registration can be obtained; we will continue on with this next meeting.

Next, I followed with a review of my presentation to the ASCCA Conference on the 6th September last at the Mechanics Institute in the CBD and showed members some aspects of MS Power Point as it can be applied effectively to presentations. My review in part appears on the ASCCA web site.

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

 Wednesday 13 September 2006 

Thirteen members attended our September meeting in the Annexe with two apologies. The meeting opened with a short Q&A session to clarify a few problems in research followed by a resume of the ASCCA proceedings which was attended by some members of our committee including Fred and myself on the 5th and 6th September at the Mechanics Institute in the CBD. The ASCCA conference proceedings will soon appear on their web site for all to see and I am sure we will all agree it will be very informative and instructive.

As a follow on from DNA contributions by members to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) as mentioned in the August report we viewed a DVD provided by the SMGF which gave us a further understanding of the global nature of the survey. However it will be some time before any relative data will appear on their web site but I will keep you informed.

We next viewed a DVD of the State Records NSW titled On The Record which dealt with a description of the Kingswood repository and gave us an insight as to the mode of storage and restoration necessary to ensure the preservation of the valuable documents in their collection which of course dates back to the First Fleet.

For our next meeting I have been asked to commence a review of our recently released CD to members. I intend to progressively treat each section as an ongoing part of our meeting which will bring a lot of recent members to the group ‘up to speed’ so to speak and also allow them to grasp the topics previously dealt with but with the advantage of providing any web updates when and if they have occurred.

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

 Wednesday 9 August 2006 

Twelve members attended our August meeting in the Annexe with four apologies.

The meeting opened with a discussion on DNA sampling which had been conducted by Julie Goldstein at the morning meeting of the Hurstville Family History Society when she had collected samples from contributing members. Julie is acting as a representative for the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) located in Salt Lake City which is a privately funded organization carrying out global investigations to document world origins through the process of DNA technology. A number of members have contributed so far and it is hoped if time permits that more will participate from our club as contributions from Australia are now being sought from the SMGF. At our next meeting we will be showing the SMGF DVD which is a review of the foundation’s vision and activities and we will discuss further the probable outcome of member’s contributions in becoming twigs in the genetic family tree. For your information, the SMGF website is

The remainder of the meeting was taken up by a viewing of the Parramatta Female Factory which is part of a series of presentations on DVD produced by Banana TV Pty Limited under the title of Teapot Genealogy. We will continue on with this series in forthcoming meetings

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

 Wednesday 11 July 2006 

Seventeen members attended our July meeting which was a capacity attendance for the Annex.

At our meeting for this month we distributed a collection of CDs recently purchased from Gould Genealogy SA as follows: Sand’s Sydney and Suburban Directory 1875, Sand’s Sydney and Suburban Directory 1913, New South Wales Post Office Directory (Wise’s) 1900, Hall’s Country Directory and Gazeeteer of New South Wales 1899-1900 and Moore’s Almanac and New South Wales Country Directory 1925. These directories are available for viewing by members at forthcoming meetings and may provide valuable background information on trade, business and places of residence of a forebear during the years recorded in each directory.

On the internet we looked at ‘The Australian Dictionary of Biography’ which is a pre-eminent dictionary including over 10,000 biographies of significant Australians who died before 1980 A ‘must’for your Internet Favourites.

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

 Wednesday 14 June 2006 

Nine members attended our June meeting which was somewhat down on the usual attendance as it co-incided with the twenty year birthday celebration of the Hurstville Family History Society of which many of our group belong. We had a sneak preview of the forthcoming CD release which has been prepared by me under the auspices of our club with the aim of assisting members with their genealogical and family history research. The CD contains a series of papers which were distributed at GIG meetings over the past two years and includes Australian, English, Scottish and Irish genealogy but has been updated at the time of preparation. The CD addresses basic investigatory procedure used in genealogy and throughout contains links to key websites from the ever-increasing information sources on the internet. The opening paper ‘Starting your Research’ is included for beginners but also contains reference to websites worthy of revision for those more advanced in genealogy. The initial response for orders from members has been very encouraging and preparation of the CDs will commence shortly and be available at modest cost.

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

 Wednesday 10 May 2006 

Fifteen members attended our May meeting, with Fred filling in for John who had a “sickie” today. The SAG web site was briefly introduced with particular emphasis on Showcase to be held on Friday and Saturday 19/20 May. Then a selection of CDs were examined including GRD 2006, which is available in book form in most libraries, and the Macquarie Park Cemetery Transcriptions which is held in the Hurstville Family History Society library.

On the internet we discovered the Australian Cemeteries Index containing monument inscriptions and many headstone photographs of graves in 134 cemeteries in rural NSW (mainly the central-west region).

Next we examined the Surname Navigator (which is linked from the Club web site) to demonstrate the wide variety of links it provides by simply entering a surname.

Finally a look at the Proceedings of the Old Bailey unearthed a few members’ ancestors, together with a few interesting forms of punishment rendered in days past.

.................................... FS    

 Wednesday 12 April 2006 

Fourteen members attended our April meeting during which we continued our discussions on Irish genealogy which touched on the available censuses, primary evaluation, probate, land and property, biographies, school records, cemeteries, poorhouse records, and finally a look at Grenham’s Irish Recordfinder which is a detailed guide to the location of original Irish records. Paper 3/06 was distributed which summarised our discussions and Paper 4/06 provided the members with a check sheet offering advice on research to be carried out in Australia before any planned visit to Ireland.

A beginner's session was held on Tuesday 21 March at 10 am in the Annex but unfortunately for various reasons only four members could attend. In future, for classes to be held a sufficient number of attendees must be assured. The beginner's sessions include the basics of tracing your family roots and lead into the use of charts, the PAF5 computer program for documentation of your records and a review of internet access to key web sites. It is envisaged that attending three sessions will bring beginners up to a level sufficient to participate in the general discussions at our monthly meetings.

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

 Wednesday 8 March 2006 

Fourteen members attended our March meeting, being the second for the New Year. Firstly, we discussed the necessity of commencing a beginners group in addition to our normal meetings on the second Wednesday of the month and this was set down for Tuesday 21 March at 10 am in the Annex. The beginners sessions will include the basics of tracing your family roots and lead into the use of charts, the PAF5 computer program for documentation of your records and a review of internet access to key web sites. It is envisaged that attending three sessions will bring beginners up to a level sufficient to participate in the general discussions at our monthly meetings.

The formal part of our meeting this month started with a continuation of Irish genealogy and Paper 2/06 addressed civil registration and a review of LDS holdings. Unfortunately our guest speaker for April is unable to come as he has a commitment to serve on jury duty.

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

 Wednesday 8 February 2006 

Fourteen members attended our February meeting being the first for the New Year. Firstly, we discussed the necessity of commencing a beginners group in addition to our normal meetings on the second Wednesday of the month; as yet this has not been finalized and will depend on numbers and times available in the Annex. The beginners sessions would start with the basics of tracing your family roots and lead into the use of charts and the PAF5 computer program for documentation of records.

The formal part of our meeting started with an introduction to Irish genealogy and Paper 1/06 was distributed for information. For our March meeting it is planned to have an invited speaker with expertise in Irish research to provide us with guidelines into overcoming many of the difficulties surrounding Irish genealogy.

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

 Wednesday 9 November 2005 

Fifteen members attended our November meeting including two new members which represents about full capacity in the Annex. Fortunately some members come rather infrequently which relieves the situation so in the new year if our GIG attracts more participants we will need to consider two sessions, possibly a beginners session where we will start from the basics of tracing your family roots and an advanced session which will be a continuation of topics as yet not discussed namely Irish and Scottish genealogy. As members have requested, we will endeavour to have more hands-on use of our computers and viewing of new internet sites and available CDs. Also distributed was Paper 7/05 of English research on the Royal Air Force to assist those members who may have family connections.

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

 Wednesday 12 October 2005 

Twelve members attended our October meeting in the Annex.

In the absence of John (taking a well-earned holiday in New Zealand) Fred demonstrated a number of CDs from the library of the Hurstville Family History Society. These included the 1828 Census of NSW, NSW PO Directory of 1904, Waverley and South Head General Cemeteries Transcriptions, Rookwood Cemetery Transcriptions and the British National Burial Index.

As a reminder, the third PAF workshop for beginners will be held in the Annex at 10 am on the 23rd November next.

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

 Wednesday 14 September 2005 

Thirteen members attended our September meeting in the Annex with one apology.

Our topic for discussion this time was mainly to do with the records of the Royal Navy as held by the National Archives Office (NAO) located in Kew, Richmond, Surrey. Paper No 6/05 was distributed which explained in some detail the strategies one should adopt in searching the records. Again it was pointed out that because of the fragmentation of British Naval Records one may need to appoint a professional researcher or an informed helper able to negotiate the NAO records on site. However, before any rash decisions are made a very good guide to the National Archives can be downloaded from which literally walks you through all the preliminary and necessary steps to be taken prior to any NAO visit. Additionally there is available at the NSW State Library a dearth of literature containing Royal Naval biographies for commissioned officers etc. and references are included in the information paper distributed.

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

 Wednesday 10 August 2005 

Thirteen members attended our August meeting in the Annex with two new members and two apologies.

Our topic for discussion was British Military records which are not always easy to obtain because of privacy restrictions but by the same token can be very revealing in the life of an ancestor who served as an officer or as an enlisted person and who may have been a medal winner. Most of the 18th and 19th century records are available from the National Archives in Kew, Richmond, Surrey but many are on microfilm at the various Family History Centres of the LDS so it pays to make this your first port of call. To aid with searching, an information sheet (Paper No 5/05) was distributed which included details of all the military establishments to contact for army personal records not otherwise obtainable. As a reminder, our second PAF workshop for beginners will be held in the Annex at 10 am on the 24 August next.

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

 Wednesday 13 July 2005 

Twelve members attended our July meeting in the Annex.

Our topic for discussion was English wills and probate records which are considered to be the most reliable yet probably the least utilized of all the records available. In a lot of cases, wills can become the essential link to a family relationship, especially when searching for a common surname in the same residential area. As there are particular differences in the rules applying to wills made in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland an information sheet (Paper No 4/05) was distributed as an aid to a successful search, more details of which may be found under the Family Records Centre UK web site We will be continuing our PAF5 workshop for beginners on Wednesday 24 August next after which a more advanced session is envisaged.

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

 Wednesday 8 June 2005 

Sixteen members attended our June meeting in the Annex, the most we have had so far.

Our guest speaker was Graham Grant from the Sydney PC Users Genealogy Group who presented in a most erudite fashion the pros and cons of The Master Genealogist (TMG), a family history program which has now become of age since its introduction as a DOS based program some years ago. It even provided for DNA data entry and many more up-market features and truly worth considering for purchase by the more advanced students. Graham then navigated us through the Genes Reunited web page This web page claims to be the biggest of all and achieves contact with connections through the web; well worth a try. Our next venture will be a PAF5 workshop for beginners scheduled for Wednesday 15 June next as a precursor to a more advanced class.

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

 Wednesday 11 May 2005 

Thirteen members attended our May meeting in the Annex.

English parish records were discussed during which time questions were asked concerning the various methods of access such as county record offices and the LDS family history centres film service. An information sheet (Paper No 3/05) was distributed to all attendees which included a description of what can be found in the registers from the time of their inception during 1538 up to the introduction of civil registration during 1837. An excellent web site which outlines in great detail all that may possibly appear in English parish records can be accessed on This site is dedicated to assisting people with their British family history research and as it says is “not just to find an ancestor and build a family tree but to put meat on the bones with information when and where they lived”. To locate an English parish the Parloc Locator is freely downloadable on which is very useful as it contains over 15000 parishes that can be easily checked, the directions for which were included in the paper.

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

 Wednesday 9 March 2005 

Eleven members attended our March meeting which coincided with the Hurstville Seniors week requiring the services of some of our regulars.

We started the meeting with a review of the English census records dating back from 2001 every ten years (except 1941) to 1841 from which time returns were preserved. Because of privacy laws public access is restricted to the census information for a period of 100 years hence the 1901 census is the latest available. Unfortunately the 1841 census information is somewhat lacking in useful information to the genealogist and is quite difficult to read however the 1851 to 1881 returns are an improvement notably in containing added birthplace and relationships of the occupants on the census night. Fortunately the 1881 British Census and National Index has been made available on 23 CDs by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and can be purchased at moderate cost. The 1891 census is fully operational on line at as a voluntary project providing a searchable database while the 1901 census, having recorded 32 million individuals, is accessable on line at One can search this database to confirm a record but you must subscribe to obtain details of the household. Fortunately, however, a ‘decoder software’ has been made available for download on which can provide all that is needed to identify a family without the trouble of subscription. Robin was good enough to demonstrate its usefulness and provide us with additional information and an instruction sheet.

Please note that we will not be having a meeting over the Easter period and our next meeting will on Wednesday 11 May, the topic for discussion being English Parish records.

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

 Wednesday 9 February 2005 

Thirteen members attended our February meeting to start the new year.

Last year's meetings covered a wide range of topics with an accent on Australian genealogy taking in archiving family records, computer programs for compiling a family data base, BMD indexes, convict records, shipping, electoral rolls and probate records all with accent on the use of the Internet and the available CD resources.

This year we started to look at English web sites and the indexes available free or by subscription. We also covered the acquisition of English certificates from the GRO (UK), County Record Offices or locally in Australia through SAG and transcription agents and ended the meeting with a handout of information sheets on English Research and a not to be left behind in the forefront of genealogy and genetics (now termed genetealogy) a handout on ‘The Chronological History of DNA’.

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

 Wednesday 8 December 2004 

Eleven members attended our December meeting with one new member and three apologies.

An information sheet (Paper No 6) on 'Probate Records, Wills and Letters of Administration' was circulated and discussed. Probate Packets, as they are termed, are now available at the State Records Office at Kingswood and their contents can be very revealing on one hand or be of little help on the other. However probate records are considered an important source of information and should be included in any meaningful genealogical research. The procedures for ordering, reading and copying the contents of Probate Packets were detailed in the information sheet provided but can also be seen on the NSW State Records web site under:

Using all computers available in the Annex we then logged on to the Internet for a hands on 'free for all' universal surname chase under the Surname Navigator web site This web site downloads some twelve web sites at once to allow sequential viewing for any given country. In all we had a very productive day to end the year.

Our first meeting for 2005 will commence in February and we will start with a recap of topics covered during 2004 and then commence with an introduction to British genealogy, key web pages and an appraisal of the numerous CDs now available in the State and local libraries.

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

 Wednesday 11 November 2004 

Eleven members attended our November meeting with one new member and three apologies.

An information sheet on Electoral Rolls was distributed among the attendees together with reprints of past information sheets for the newer members and those who did not receive them previously.

The meeting started with a discussion on Electoral Rolls as an underutilized source of genealogical information and went through the steps in accessing these records and in particular those available at the State Library of NSW. We then had a look at 'Surname Navigator' on which provides the viewer with easy access to an international search facility for world surname chasing over a large number of web sites by country. Of particular interest was from which one can check Australian searchers providing email addresses and personal web sites as available.

The CD for the month was the AGCI as published by SAG and this was received with great interest. The CD contains indexes to 3.9 million records from the collections of 39 family history societies and institutions throughout Australia and New Zealand and has a fully researchable format. Data is drawn from cemetery records, shipping arrivals, newspaper entries, council rate books and war memorials. Each entry shows name, date and type of event and the source from which it is drawn.

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

 Wednesday 13 October 2004 

Fourteen members attended the October meeting including one new member.

The meeting started with a resume of information sheets which had been provided to members over the past meetings. For those who did not receive them a reprint will be organized for re-distribution. The information sheets were as follows:

  1. Molecular Genealogy Part 1
  2. Guidelines for searching Births, Deaths and Marriage indexes in New South Wales
  3. Convict Research and Guide Chart
  4. Shipping and Immigration Research

It is intended to continue with the preparation of information sheets on specific topics as we progress and as deemed necessary during the course of our future meetings.

The days activities were largely a 'Free for All' on the computers which included the viewing of CDs on Convict Indexes for 1788-1842 and the Rookwood Cemetery Transcriptions and generally looking at web pages of genealogical interest. Additionally we took in a short presentation on the discovery of genealogical 'traits' in plant life in 1866 by Gregor Mendel (the Father of Genetics) which gave us a lead into the understanding of 'genes' and the chronological history of the discovery of DNA, but more on this for future meetings.

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

 Wednesday 8 September 2004 

Eleven members attended the September meeting and it was agreed that our meetings will now be held on the first Wednesday of the month in lieu of the second Wednesday to accommodate changes in the venue arrangements of our Hurstville Family History Society members.

We started with a review of the new HSCC web site courtesy of Fred, our new Web Master. Fred has now included all our past reports of meetings and genealogical inputs for your information. In our Q&A session we identified some problems with convict names and their variations in spelling; unfortunately one will encounter gaps in their history but are encouraged to keep on searching. We followed up with a presentation by JWS of a convict case study of his maternal Hearne family connections using the convict guide distributed at a previous meeting. It should be stressed that an orderly approach to family research is strongly recommended and notation of all records viewed be noted in that order. We then logged into and were entertained by the mini TV presentation on the 'Female Factory'.

Again a reminder, our next meeting will be on the Wednesday 6th October and it is intended to have a free for all on our computers to review web sites of interest. Help will be available for those who need it.

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

 Wednesday 11 August 2004 

Thirteen members attended the August meeting including one new member.

Firstly, a review of past meetings was discussed for the purposes of the newer members and to do a recheck of our future priorities. A handout of a convict guide chart with explanatory notes was circulated to the group to aid their convict research and this chart can be used in addition to the information sheets given out during the July meeting on convicts.

We then made a start into reviewing shipping and immigration records. Research into shipping records can become an exhaustive pastime in view of all the avenues now available which include the many CDs that have been and are being produced and available at both state and local libraries and family history centres. However it was pointed out that one can experience many gaps in links to family connections and that advertising your interest by way of the GRD and through the various channels now open on the internet is strongly advised as re-inventing the wheel can be a costly exercise. A 'Getting Started' handout was circulated to all with the objective of helping those who have found shipping research daunting.

It is intended in due course to include excerpts and web site links from the papers distributed to the group under Genealogical Info on the HSCC web site.

At our next meeting we will take another look at shipping and include a case study of a convict relative from information taken from records available on CDs and the net.

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

 Wednesday 14 July 2004 

Twelve members attended the July meeting with one apology.

We commenced the meeting with the usual Q and A and tried to satisfy those of us experiencing gaps in the progress of our family searching. The interchange of information and cross fertilization of ideas (no pun intended) has been found to be of very useful.

A handout by JWS provided us with a start to the basics of Convict Research and Immigration. The most important web site for convict research is the State Records of NSW site which gives one access to their ‘Online Indexes’ page, a must for viewing. Other websites looked at included Lesley Uebel’s site which provides one with a search facility to check if you can ‘Claim a Convict’ which also included a long list of relevant questions and answers on all aspects of convict research.

After viewing the CD for convict records of 1788 – 1812 (SAG) we looked at a convict trial of interest for 1792 and checked the ‘Trials of the Old Bailey’ web site for the details.

For a change of pace and a matter of general interest we viewed a recently acquired DVD and a section from Molecular Genealogy on Eugenics.

At our next meeting we will recap on convict research and commence looking at shipping information.

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

 Wednesday 9 June 2004 

Six members attended the June meeting with four apologies.

We commenced the meeting with a handout listing of some 25 web sites* for members to ponder and  then navigated through the  Hurstville Seniors web site to familiarise members of just what treasures can be found on it.

We then viewed the NSW Registry site for births,deaths and marriage indexes, then the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Cemetery followed by the popular Ryerson Index which has indexed all Sydney Morning Herald death notices for the years 1986 -1998 and indexing is underway upwards from 1998 with a planned indexing of the years from 1975 - 1985 if sufficient funding is forthcoming.  

The Banana TV web site allowed for a change of pace and we viewed this TV style presentation of Irish Genealogy including County Cork convict emmigration and Irish girl immigrants of the Irish famine.

At our next meeting we intend to explore Australian Immigration from the inception and to commence a talk on Molecular Genealogy stating with the Living Cell. 

 * These web sites will be added to the Genealogy Info page to the left of the HSCC web site main screen.

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

 Wednesday 12 May 2004 

Nine members attended our fourth meeting for the year.

We started the meeting with a review of the New South Wales Births, Marriages and Deaths Registry records and a discussion on the information available or unavailable as found in church records up to the inception of civil registration on 1st March 1856. Generally, the accuracy and completeness of information found in all records or on a certificate is dependent on that given by the informant and an information sheet together with a self explanatory chart containing the expected information on certificates over the years together with a list of available transcription agents was distributed to all.

Following a short discussion on available family charts that can be downloaded on the net, we viewed a simplified and animated version of the fundamentals of Molecular Genealogy which will continue into future meetings.

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

 Wednesday 14 April 2004 

10 members were present with one new member.

The meeting commenced with a discussion on the archival of your family history records in the form of :
a) an ancestral chart or computer pedigree
b) a computer family history program
c) your 'bottom drawer'
d) production of a book either for publication or for distribution to your family
All of the above work can be deposited in say the State Library, The Society of Australian Genealogists (if a member) or with a LDS Family History Centre in the form of a Pedigree File.
JS went on to describe briefly the research that was necessary which led to the publication of his book titled "The Shortland Family of the Royal Navy and Australasia with Particular Reference to the First Fleet" and a run down on costs involved in self-publication at low volume.
An interview with Marilyn Rowan, Transcription Agent for BMD's was then viewed on This web site contains numerous TV style presentations by 'Tea Pot Genies' and is best viewed on a broadband connection.
Finally there was a short discussion on the State Records New South Wales "Attorney General and Justice - Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Short Guide 4". This guide gives the historical background of early church records and the arrangement of registers prior to civil registration on March 1 1856.

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

 Wednesday 10 March 2004 

8 members were present. FS deputised for JWS. Thanks Fred

The meeting commenced with a Question and Answer session. Topics raised were:
* How to create blank forms when your favourite genealogy program does not support this.
* How to find blank genealogy forms on the internet.
* An explanation of GEDCOM files and their use for transferring data between genealogy programs, with a warning of the pitfalls involved and the possible danger of destroying data.

JP then continued her demonstration on the use of PAF, consolidating last month's lesson. The planned demonstration of the Australian Vital Records Index could not be held because of gremlins, however other members were shown some useful internet sites and the Index to St George's Advocate was perused.

.................................... FS for JWS     

 Wednesday 11 February 2004 

Fourteen members attended the first meeting for 2004.
We discussed our commitment to Open Day 8th March.
For the Genealogy contribution to Open Day a demonstration of two family history programs is planned and will be located in the Seniors Hall. Two members will be enlisted to assist at appointed times.

New additions of CDs at Mortdale LDS include:
"Passenger arrivals in WA 1889 - 1930"
"Tasmanian Indexes 1830 -1930" ( musters, immigration etc)
"Index to Victorian Inquests 1840 - 1945"
"LDS Pedigree Files Updated" ( need checking as to authenticity)
Also it is of note that Mortdale LDS Family History Centre are now on the Net through their own ISP via satellite. You are only allowed to view family history and if you digress you will be cautioned by an independent security screen.

Discussion on State Library databases listed on their web page and available for viewing at the Family History Section at the State Library. Also the State Records holdings listed on - a mention of Probate Packets now available at Kingswood (save money).

We then viewed at leisure a selection of CDs (courtesy of JWS) as follows:
"Tasmanian Convicts 1804 - 1853 (Genealogy Society of Victoria)"
"Convicts to New South Wales 1788 - 1812" (SAG)
"BMD's listed in the Sydney Morning Herald 1831 - 1853"

Several members were interested in an introduction to PAF5 and this was made available and demonstrated most efficiently courtesy of JP. As I always say a little bit of help goes a long way, thanks Joyce.

The next GIG meeting will be held on the 10 March next. As I will be holidaying in Port Macquarie I will endeavour to find a willing member to take the meeting.

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

 Wednesday 12 November 2003 

Fifteen members attended this, the last meeting for the year.

We started with a viewing of the New South Wales Post Office Directory for 1904 which generated much interest allowing one to track down the whereabouts of that elusive forebear and their business residence if any. These records can also provide us with chronological evidence to include in a write up of our family history which for most genealogists is the last frontier in their latter years.

Being the last meeting, we then had a 'Free For All' at surfing the internet for possible web page links to assist us in our research. Suggested sites which may be of interest to some were handed to me (courtesy of JP and FS) as follows: This site has vast searching facilities for starters and the experienced. This site is the State Records Office of NSW and includes many photographs of The Rocks area around the 1900's. PCC (Perogative Court of Canterbury) wills for the period from 1348 - 1858 comprising 1 million wills.
You are prompted to try searching for the will of William Wordsworth or Napoleon Bonaparte. Family and friends of the First Australian Infantry Force. Convict Absconders 1822 NSW Index Convict Absconders 1823 NSW Index Convict Absconders 1832 NSW Index

The next meting will not be held until Wednesday 11 February 2004
So until then good researching , a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Productive New Year to All.

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

 Wednesday 8 October 2003 

Eleven members attended this meeting which commenced with an open discussion on web sites of interest and family history programs. Copies of "Tracing Your Family History in Australia" Third Edition by Nick Vine Hall and "Web Sites for Genealogists" 2003 Edition by Cora Num were tabled for the members' perusal.

A brief demonstration of Personal Ancestral File (PAF) was given by JWS incorporating the Lessons facility. Both programs are freely downloadable from the LDS web site
Other programs mentioned and also freely downloadable were
Legacy and
Brothers Keeper
All programs have export and import facilities via GEDCOM database.

Agenda for the next Meeting - Wednesday 12th November 2003
   Q & A
   Post Office Records - JWS
   Hands on computer searching - All

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

 Wednesday 10 September 2003 

The second meeting of the group was attended by twelve members, i.e. seven + five new starters with two apologies.

Discussion commenced on the databases available for viewing at the NSW State Reference Library. This information is available on their web site at and is recommended as a key site for family research and should be put into your favourites. (Note - this site no longer available)

A questionnaire was circulated to ascertain what family history programs were in use by each member.
   8 members used Personal Ancestral File (PAF) version 4 or 5.
   1 used 'Brothers Keeper' and another used 'FamilyTree Maker'.
   3 as yet have not started a program.
This information is useful for planning future presentations.

A Power Point presentation was given by JWS on the LDS Resources and Holdings at the Mortdale Family History Centre. This was followed by a look at Parloc (Parish Locator) which is freely downloadable from This site allows one to call up a UK parish in the database and observe surrounding parish locations to track down elusive forebears.

Remember, participation by members at each meeting is welcome and given every encouragement, so please forward your thoughts and/or suggestions to the group leader.

Agenda for the Next meeting, Wednesday 8 October 2003
   * Q & A
   * Key web sites for genealogy - JWS
   * PAF5 presentation - Open for participation.

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

 Wednesday 13 August 2003 

The inaugural meeting of the Genealogy Interest Group was held in the Annex, MacMahons St. Hurstville and was attended by thirteen club members with three apologies. The outcome of the meeting was as follows:

1 ......It was proposed initially that meetings should be held on the second Wednesday of each month at 1.30 pm -3.00 pm at a cost to be determined.

2......Concern was raised in regard to the number of members who may attend meetings if they exceed the capacity of accommodation at the Annex

3..... The use of up to three computers in total were considered sufficient for each meeting for the purpose of demonstration and internet access. The use of a projector was considered essential for many of the foreseeable demonstrations and in particular when we have invited demonstrators.

4......The matter of appointment of one or two members to deputise during the absence of the Group Leader will need to be resolved.

5..... Discussion ensued concerning access to the Annex and security of the computer room in the absence of a committee member. The availability of lift access to the computer room needs to be ascertained as this may be an inhibiting factor to some prospective members.

6......Results of the questionnaire on members areas of interest in genealogy were:
Australian 13, English 13, Scottish 9, Irish 9, Other 7.
Inference - Australian and English genealogy rates highest (as expected). Scottish and Irish second.
Although the areas of other interests were not specifically asked for, it is possible they would be widely dispersed over the globe and could therefore be the subject of future discussion.

Next Meeting Wednesday 10th September 03

Proposed Agenda

* Welcome members
* Q&A
* Family History Programs - discussion on future demonstrations by member users.
* LDS Holdings - Power Point demonstration by JWS