Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rootstech 2015 - a chat with Martyn and Heather

Among the Australian returnees to Rootstech this year were Martyn Killion, Society of Australian Genealogists President and Heather Garnsey Society of Australian Genealogists Executive Officer.

Thanks Martyn and Heather for giving up your valuable time to talk with me and soldiering on with so much background noise. The marvellous tech team from Familysearch, did a super job to make the audio on our interview audible.

Heather was most gracious and did not correct me when I claimed that she came from a library background when in fact her initial degree was in Business.

I was thrilled to be able to give the Rootstech attendees an opportunity to hear of the work of the Society and meet the people who keep it running.

Friday, February 27, 2015

GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 27 February 2015

Last week just flew by! It's Friday morning again so it's time to open my GAGs folder in Evernote and see what I have lined up to share with you this week. Evernote makes it so easy for me to keep track of the Gems I find during the week.

Oh dear, I had more than a dozen to share, here are those that made my final cut. 

1. First up I'm being self indulgent because I am so proud of this new endeavour.

2. News of a major new English Database.

3. 20 reasons to write from the New York Public Library.

4. Pauleen reminds us to Do the Right Thing.

8. A vexed question from Fran

9. A discussion of name chnages from a Lithuanian migrant.

11. Because I live on an old citrus orchard site this post from Michelle resonated with me.

12. 175th Anniversary of exiles transported from Canada.

13. In today's baker's dozen Denise discusses future-proofing our family history.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Congress Presenter Interview - Jan Worthington

My latest interview for AFFHO Congress 2015 is from Sydney based professional genealogist, Jan Worthington. Apologies to Jan for taking so long to post this interview but my trip to Salt Lake City and Rootstech got in the way.

Learn about Jan from her detailed responses to my questions.

Jan Worthington

I am a professional genealogist, family historian and researcher specialising in probate genealogy, tracing family histories, locating missing living people and writing historical non-fiction.

Over 30 years ago my mother and my daughter introduced me to my own family history and from that moment the quest to find out more took over my life. I obtained my Diploma in Family Historical Studies through the Society of Australian Genealogists in 1984 and started up a genealogical company which grew to 17 people, which I recently sold. I then started up another company – Jan Worthington Genealogy. For over 25 years I was a Councillor/Director of the Society of Australian Genealogists and served in various roles as Vice President, Company Secretary and Convenor of the Computer Users Group, Computer Committee, Education Committee, Library Committee, Premises Committee, Awards Committee and Diploma in Family Historical Studies and Certificate Course Committee, which I still convene.

During that time I have spoken and given lectures at many conferences in various States of Australia, USA, UK and New Zealand. As a regular researcher at the genealogical library in Salt Lake City I have partnered with Perry McIntyre and taken several family history groups there, so that we could support and share our knowledge with them. I was elected President of the Worthington Family History Society ten years ago and chair the Annual General Meeting every year as well as host the biennial three day Gatherings in either the USA or the UK.

Genealogy has improved and changed my life in many ways. It has enabled me to achieve a lifelong objective, i.e. start and build up a small to medium size successful business. It has enabled me to travel extensively, meet and help people and given me an unexpectedly passionate, exciting and rewarding career in every way. I have been lucky enough to be recognised and rewarded by my peers. In 1994 I was made a Fellow of the Society of Australian Genealogists. In 2012 I was awarded the Association of Professional Genealogists Professional Achievement Award in Birmingham, Alabama and the Independent Book Publishers Silver Award in the regional Historical Non-Fiction category for my book Inky Fingers in New York. In 2013 I was made an Honorary Member of the Society of Australian Genealogists.

The problem solving aspect of genealogy is what I love about genealogy the most. Every new job is an exciting challenge and adventure into the unknown.

I have attended and spoken at many local, interstate and international Congresses over 30 years. In 1988 I was Convenor of the First International Congress on Family History and 5th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry in the newly opened Darling Harbour Convention Centre, Sydney. Many local, interstate and overseas speakers spoke to over 1500 attendees during this hugely successful five day event.

My topic for the Congress is The Abandoned Child – Social Changes in New South Wales 1850-1870 from the records of the Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children. This was a time period of little government support for families in need of assistance and private enterprise came to the rescue. There is also a paucity of primary records for family historians researching the 1850s and what there are can be very misleading. My talk will open up further avenues of research for family historians unable to trace their families back past this point in New South Wales.

There are huge benefits in attending any conference as there is always something new to be learned, no matter how long you have been in the game. For the more seasoned attendee there are catch ups with faces not seen for a while. For newcomers to family history an exciting plethora of sessions to attend, people to meet, new friends to make and lots of things to see.

My favourite piece of advice or tip to share with anyone researching their family history is simple: When researching your family history always go forwards in time to go backwards in time; and always go backwards in time to go forwards in time. In other words if you are not making progress tracing ancestral families, or looking for living relatives, go back to your starting point, or the point where the problem arose, and review your findings again. At that point you may need to carry out further research before continuing. Good Luck!

The Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children

Monday, February 23, 2015

GeneaBlogger Beads at Congress

We can't buck tradition.  In a tradition started by Thomas MacEntee Geneabloggers at large and small Geneaconferences wear Mardi Gras style beads so that they can easily recognise each other. Our blogger beads were a boon at the recent Rootstech Conference that attracted 22,000 people on Family Day.

Aussies at Rootstech - note the red and white blogger beads some of us are wearing
It is my pleasure to sponsor the beads for the AFFHO Congress in Canberra this month. I selected the beads from an online vendor recommended by DearMYRTLE and had them delivered to my hotel in Salt Lake City (as postage costs to Australia are horrendous). I didn't realise how heavy 50 strings of Black and Gold Satin Swirls Necklaces would be in my luggage. Thankfully the beads and I made it home without incurring an overweight penalty (I love Qantas' generous luggage limits).

Black and Gold Satin Swirls
I need to draw up a list of those geneabloggers who will be attending Congress and wish to proudly wear the beads.

I know that Pauleen Cass and Shauna Hicks, my co Official Bloggers will be coming along so I'll be reserving some beads for them. Alona, Carmel, Helen, Jenny J., Judy W and Sharn have indicated that they will be going too. How about you?

Geneabloggers please let me know if you are going to Congress by emailing me at with Blogger Beads in the subject line and stating your name and the URL of your blog. Once I have my list I will make arrangements for your beading..


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