6 October 2011

UK and Australia: genealogy news

In these family history 'items of interest' for the United Kingdom and/or Australia, links open in new windows so you won't lose your place on this page.

  • The Romany and Traveller Family History Society is dedicated to researching British Romany Gypsy, Traveller and Fairground ancestors.

  • 2011 'Who Do You Think You Are' handouts from talks and workshops are free to download.

  • British Parliamentary Papers are very useful for both British and Irish family history.

  • A programme and booking form are now available for the Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry (Adelaide, South Australia, 28-31 March 2012). I'll be there! I've only missed one Congress since 1986.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed the Family History Fair and State Conference at Inverell last month. The next two NSW and ACT State Conferences will be at Botany Bay (14-16 Sep 2012) and Canberra (2013).

  • There are three possibilities for another history and genealogy cruise in 2013. You have until 10 Oct 2011 to cast your vote. (You may have seen my description of Unlock the Past's first conference on a cruise.)

  • Other news for Australian and UK research is in Updates Genie No.9. Note the item about temporary free access to some Ancestry databases.

  • You are invited to take part in the 'Genealogists for Families' project. Our motto is, We care about families (past, present and future). We believe that our small actions can make a big difference to those who are less fortunate. This project was initially a way for me to honour my father's memory by continuing his tradition of 'good deeds'. Now others are joining in and thus establishing the tradition in their own families.

  • Some Australian Commonwealth electoral rolls up to 1980 are now on Ancestry, but scroll down and read 'State and Years Presently Included'. Years with no asterisk have not been indexed. Remember that Queensland has four series of electoral rolls, and the annotated State rolls are much more useful than the Commonwealth rolls on Ancestry.

22 April 2011

Thrifty Thursday: This Week's Freebies

There are some interesting freebies and discounts available at present (and, in the future, more will be listed on a Discounts and Freebies page).
  • LostCousins is totally free to 2 May 2011. This is probably the only web site that has virtually 100% accuracy in matching people who share the same ancestors. You do not waste time corresponding with people who are not related to you. To use LostCousins you need to have found relatives in one of these censuses: USA 1880 or 1940; Canada 1881; Scotland 1881; Ireland 1911; England and Wales 1841, 1881 or 1911. Be sure to enter data for brothers and sisters of your direct ancestors, as it is their descendants who are most likely to have letters or photos from your line. Start by reading the LostCousins 'How-to' page. Remember to log in periodically, go to your 'My Ancestors' page and click 'Search'.

  • Free access to Gale's historical newspaper and periodical collections, including more than 10 million digitised pages, to 24 April 2011.

  • In honour of ANZAC Day, free access on Ancestry during this Easter long weekend to 40 million military records for Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada and USA.

  • England & Wales marriage indexes 1837-2005 on Ancestry are free to search to 30 April 2011.

  • Until 5pm AEST 27 April 2011, order a New South Wales full certificate transcription for just $16.

When I hear about more offers, I will list them on the Discounts and Freebies page on my main Web site.

2 April 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

I was delighted to receive the One Lovely Blog Award for this blog (from Ros), for Queensland Genealogy (from Helen and Kay) and for Jottings, Journeys and Genealogy (from Chris).

Now I am supposed to share some facts about myself (see '99 Things') and pass on the award to fifteen other blogs:
I hope you find them interesting, informative and entertaining.

25 January 2011

Campbell immigration 1839: my earliest Australian document

Graphic by Shelley
To celebrate Australia Day (26 January), Shelley at Twigs of Yore invited us to write about the earliest piece of documentation we have for an ancestor in Australia.

The earliest Australian document I have is an immigration record for my great-great-great-grandmother, Ellen (Helen) CAMPBELL. On 28 Feb 1839, Ellen and her thirteen children arrived at Sydney NSW on the British King. (NSW Immigration Department: Persons on Government Ships, 1839. State Records NSW: 4/4780, pages 230-231.)

The ship sailed from Tobermory in Scotland, but the family came from the Isle of Tiree. Ellen was a widow aged 49. Her children's ages ranged from 3 to 24. One daughter (Anne) was accompanied by her husband, Dr. Donald Rankin MACDONALD, and an infant who died on the voyage.

Helen CAMPBELL, in a letter dated July 1839 (NSW Colonial Secretary In Letters 39/7892 and enclosure; AONSW ref. 4/2454.3) says that her elder daughters obtained situations on arrival, but one was attacked with fever, which obliged one of her sisters to leave her situation to nurse her, and she being also attacked with the same disorder, another sister was also obliged to relinquish her situation to nurse her sick sisters. She 'arrived in this Colony without funds' and 'what little money she has been able to obtain by her own exertions and that of her other children, is now expended and she has no further means of assisting her child who is lying very dangerously ill, and in a state of wretched destitution'.

Ellen's three sons (John, Malcolm John and Archibald) became well known pioneers of Gippsland, Victoria. I have some information about most of Ellen's daughters, who married COCKBURN, COULSON, HOLMES, LAMONT, MACDONALD, McKENZIE, McNAUGHTON, WEBSTER and WELLS.

Believe it or not, Ellen's youngest daughter was named Duncan (her late father's name). She remains a mystery. A Scottish baptism register, NSW shipping records and NSW Colonial Secretary's Office correspondence all say that Duncan was a girl. Her mother's death certificate, 26 Apr 1858, lists Duncan as 'living'. If you are related to a Miss Duncan CAMPBELL born about 1835, please contact me!

Tuesday's Tip: School registers - parent or guardian?

If someone 'vanished', it may be because they changed their name. If children are involved, try using school admission registers. I once overcome a genealogical dead end by finding a school admission register entry that listed the child's 'parent or guardian' as the mother's new partner. She did not marry him, but she and the children used his surname. Once I knew what that surname was, the research progressed in leaps and bounds.

School admission registers usually show the child's date of birth. Although it's not always totally accurate, it can be helpful if you haven't found a birth registration.

Some indexes to Queensland school pupils (from admission registers, school histories, etc) are now on the Internet.

Australian school admission registers should be either at the school or in State Archives. By law, historical societies or museums should only hold copies, not originals. Many indexes to school registers are listed in the book Specialist Indexes in Australia: a Genealogist's Guide (1998 edition and 2006 Supplement). For specific advice about Queensland school records, see the latest edition of the book Tips for Queensland Research. Those books are described in more detail on my Web site.

('Tuesday's Tip' is a theme used by Geneabloggers.)
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