Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Win a free pass to RootsTech 2020, or get a big discount on the registration


I am running a competition for one person to win a 4-day pass (valued at $299) for RootsTech 2020 in Salt Lake City.

If the winner has already purchased a RootsTech pass, they will get a full refund on their purchase price.

As there can only be one winner, if you haven't already purchased a pass, then for one week only (until 11.59pm December 9, MST) you can register for a 4-day pass, valued at US$299,  for only US$169. That's a saving of $130 dollars. Just register at https://rootstech.org/ using the promotional code THANKS.

But what about winning a free 4-day pass?  The pass includes
  • Over 300 classes
  • Keynote and General Sessions
  • Access to the Expo Hall
  • Evening Events.

It does NOT include paid lunches or paid labs.

In order to go into the draw to win, send an email to jenny@jennyjresearch.com with the answer to the question below:

Who am I?
  1. I have been working professionally since I was five
  2. I married my childhood sweetheart when I was 21 and have 5 children and 10 grandchildren
  3. I have eight siblings and my two eldest brothers were born with severely impaired hearing
  4. I just completed a record eleven-year residency in Las Vegas
  5. I starred in Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, won Dancing With The Stars and was the runner up in The Masked Singer.
  6. I appeared as a Keynote speaker at both RootsTech 2015 in Salt Lake City and RootsTech London 2019


The competition will close at Midnight GMT on 22 December 2019.  The winner will be chosen at random from the correct entries.

Please note that the pass does not include food at the conference, any add-on purchases you make, travel to the conference, or accommodation during the conference.




Disclaimer: As a RootsTech Ambassador I receive complimentary admission to the event, invitations to some extra events and dinners and a free registration to give to one of my readers. I bear the cost of my return airfares from Australia and pay for my accommodation and meals.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

The same RootsTech, but also a different RootsTech



RootsTech London has been strangely familiar, but also very different.  It is not the same as RootsTech in Salt Lake City, yet in many ways it is.

One familiar aspect was meeting up with friends, though many people I am used to seeing in SLC were not at the London event, though a large number were. There were also friends who have never attended the Salt Lake City conferences.

Nick Barratt
The most obvious (and unsurprising) difference was the number of talks relevant to people with only UK ancestry.  While in SLC there are often more than one talk at any one time I would like to attend, in this case there were lots! Hence the delay in getting some of these blog posts out!  I loved the chance to hear several talks by Nick Barratt, as not only is he familiar to us all from TV, I am particularly interested in the medieval period and he is a medievalist by training.


Another difference was the number of European exhibitors. There was
  • Adam Research Centre (Arabian Peninsula)
  • American Ancestors
  • Belgium and Luxembourg Societies – Historie de Families
  • Bella Italia Genealogy (Italy)
  • Coret Genealogy (Dutch)
  • Coutot-Roehrig (European heirs research)
  • Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogisher Verbände (Germany)
  • Federation Française de Genealogie (French)
  • Filae.com (French)
  • International Genealogy and Probate Service by Ukrainian Bar for Foreigh Affairs
  • My China Roots


In addition there were the usual stands: Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage and so on.
















Disclaimer: As a RootsTech Ambassador I receive complimentary admission to the event, invitations to some extra events and a free registration to give to one of my readers. I bear the cost of my return airfares from Australia and pay for my accommodation and meals.



Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Discover more about your ancestors and you'll discover more about yourself.


Saturday’s keynote was the Peter Pan of music: Donny Osmond.  I’m not saying that he isn’t grown up, it’s just that he hasn’t grown old. At just under 62, he looks no older than mid 40s. Yet he has ten grandchildren and a career in the music industry spanning five decades.  This didn’t always look like it would be the case. When he was 21 he was told that his career was over, that he was a “has been”. He is glad he didn’t listen to those advisors.

When you study your family history you learn which side of your family bequeathed you not only your hair & eye colour, or nose shape, but also out attitudes and character traits. And he credits the tenacity, the work ethic and the “never say never” attitude he got from his ancestors with giving him the determination to keep going in the fickle music industry. Donny told us the story of his life and of those ancestors.

Donny standing in front of a picture of
Elizabeth Williams & Thomas Davis,
his great-great grandparents
Elizabeth Williams, his great-great grandmother from Wales, is one of those influences. She had grown up in Wales, and then converted to the Mormon faith and moved to the States, where they lived in a two-roomed log cabin.  She never went to school, and couldn’t read or write, but she was determined to do what she could to give her children an education and a better life.
George Virl Osmond
The other ancestor whose attitudes influenced him enormously was called Virl. He lost his father when he was just six weeks old, had two step-fathers over time, and was kicked out of home by one of those step-fathers when he was just a teenager. He went to the local store to see if there was any work, but there wasn’t. So he asked to storekeeper if he could borrow a broom. Every day he swept the porch clean and greeted every customer. At night he slept on that porch. He was in survival mode, living on just bread and milk. Occasionally he would get hold of some tomato ketchup and add it to water, calling it tomato soup.

Virl eventually married and the couple’s first two children were born completely deaf. The doctors advised them not to have any more children. But they went on to have nine children, and Donny was the seventh of those.  From six-weeks of age, Virl had prevailed over all sorts of adversity and subsequently did all he could to make sure his children had a better life.

RootsTech attendees lining up to meet Donny
We inherit our personality, attitudes, creativity and sense of humour from our families, not just our DNA.  Donny has been in a unique situation in that almost his entire life has been lived out in the public eye and documented and recorded. But we need to make sure WE document the stories and experiences of OUR lives, no matter how quirky or funny, and we should document them before time runs out. Your descendants deserve to know who you were, what you were like and what you experienced. The most insignificant thing to you could be the most valuable to your descendants.  Donny told us how he keeps a file of the baby-words his children used to say.  I keep one too, though my son would kill me if I ever shared it outside the immediate family. One day he may feel differently.

Donny left us with one important thought: when you discover more about your ancestors you discover more about yourself.


Donny and his wife with his descendants

Disclaimer: As a RootsTech Ambassador I receive complimentary admission to the event, invitations to some extra events and a free registration to give to one of my readers. I bear the cost of my return airfares from Australia and pay for my accommodation and meals.




Thursday, October 24, 2019

Walk the ground your ancestors walked to truly understand them


The keynote speaker for the first day of RootsTech London 2019 was TV historian Dan Snow. He told us that we are all here because of history, we are all a little part of a great continuum from the past to the present. Growing up, history was a big part of his family life. His childhood was spent visiting historic places and cemeteries, and his love of history developed. Even more influential was his maternal grandmother: an Indian-born Welsh woman living in Ontario and married to a Scot.  When he was young all her grandchildren would visit and at night she would tell them stories about their family. She told them they were descended from King Arthur, Llewellyn and Owain Glendower.  While this may not be true, it did instil in them a love of history, and their family’s history.

She told them stories about their ancestor who started in very humble circumstances in north Wales and became the only Prime Minister of the UK for whom English was a second language: David Lloyd George.

Dan’s father was descended from a man who hated Lloyd George: Lt General Sir Thomas Snow. Snow was in charge of a section of the line on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. That section was highly unsuccessful in their goals and suffered huge casualties.  While the battle was going on Snow was safely miles behind the lines in a Château, completely out of contact with the reality of what was going on.  His men advanced to enemy lines, and then got caught behind the enemy. They fought bravely, once their ammunition ran out they used their rifles as clubs and then their fists. The majority of them died. General Snow reported “I regret to inform you that the men lacked offensive spirit.”

While Dan did not feel that his great-grandfather was anymore culpable than any of the other British Generals, it is this one statement that he is ashamed of. Having had the opportunity to be in that château, and to read the journal and letters that his great-grandfather wrote in the place that he wrote them was a powerful experience. To actually walk the ground that your ancestors walked, to be in the places and buildings that they were in brings it all to life. On our family history journey we will find people who were deeply imperfect, and events that were unpalatable. But this is all part of that continuum of history and part of what made us who we are.



Dan's talk was live-streamed and will be available on the RootsTech website soon.

Disclaimer: As a RootsTech Ambassador I receive complimentary admission to the event, invitations to some extra events and a free registration to give to one of my readers. I bear the cost of my return airfares from Australia and pay for my accommodation and meals.


Thursday, October 17, 2019

One week til RootsTech London


It's just a week until the first RootsTech conference to take place outside Salt Lake City opens.  This conference, at London's Excel Centre, opens on 24 October and runs for three days. And it's not too late to register. A three day pass is currently selling for £99 (valued at £149), or if you can only attend for one day, the pass will cost £49 (£99 value).  These passes will enable you to hear the fantastic keynotes (Dan Snow, Kadeena Cox, Steve Rockwood and Donny Osmond) as well as having access to over 150 talks (classes) on a variety of topics from DNA, to methodology, preserving family memories, and more traditional genealogy topics. These are not limited to UK research, but cover family history from a variety of countries. The full schedule can be checked out on the RootsTech London page.


The passes will also give you access to the Exhibition Hall, with over 100 stands from the big companies (Ancestry, FamilySearch, Findmypast and MyHeritage), family history societies (including the Society of Genealogists), software vendors and even a few unusual exhibitors like the Ministry of Defence and the Museum of Freemasonry.

But if you don't want to purchase one of  the (heavily discounted) passes, you can still get free access to the Exhibition Hall.  This will allow you to see everything going on there, including any talks at the vendor stands, but does not give you access to the classes or keynotes.  While this Exhibition Hall Pass is free, pre-registration is necessary at the RootsTech website. You will be sent a confirmation email which will act as your pass.


For those unable to attend at all, or who want to relive the event later, three sessions will be live-streamed each day. After the conference is over they will be able to be viewed online for free.  The list of streamed sessions can be viewed at https://www.rootstech.org/london/live-stream-schedule

There is one other pass that is available, which is the Premium Virtual Pass. For £49 you will be able to see twenty sessions which will never be available online for free.  Not only is this great for people who can't make it to the conference, but for those who do come, it allows you to choose another class while these are on, and to view the classes as often as you like.  The list of the twenty sessions covered by the Premium Virtual Pass is available at https://www.rootstech.org/london/premium-virtual-pass

You can't imagine how much I am looking forward to this conference, especially as the conference I organised in Sydney (Exploring the Past) has just ended, and I don't need to do any organisation for this one!


Disclaimer: As a RootsTech Ambassador I receive complimentary admission to the event, invitations to some extra events and dinners and a free registration to give to one of my readers. I bear the cost of my return airfares from Australia and pay for my accommodation and meals.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

WIn a 3-day Pass to RootsTech London



RootsTech London is rapidly approaching. It will take place at the ExCel London conference venue from 24-26 October 2019, and I am privileged to be able to give away a free registration.

The three-day pass, valued at £149, gives you access to:
  • Over 150 classes (lectures)
  • The Keynote and General Sessions
  • The Exhibition Hall
  • An evening event
Read on to find out how to enter the competition.

A RootsTech conference really is an experience not to be missed. Only one keynote speaker, Donny Osmond, has been announced so far, though I am sure those to follow will be very interesting. Donny was a keynote speaker at RootsTech 2015 in Salt Lake City, and I was able to see him live. Here is my blog about his appearance. Speaking as someone who is not a fan of the Osmonds, I can still say that Donny is an excellent speaker and well worth listening to.

The Exhibition Hall will also be a major draw card. A handful of the exhibitors have been announced in this blog post, but there will be many more organisations represented than just this sample.

Expo Hall at RootsTech in Salt Lake City

There will be a wide variety of classes of all levels from beginner to advanced, and of course, many DNA sessions. The class schedule is available online, so you can have a look at the topics on offer.

If you want to win a free 3-day pass to RootsTech London, send an email to jenny@jennyjresearch.com with the answer to the question below:

Who am I
  1. I was born in Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.
  2. In 1895 I was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the British Army, and saw action in British India, the Anglo-Sudan War and the Second Boer War.
  3. I was First Lord of the Admiralty during the early years of World War I.
  4. I was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for two terms.
  5. I wrote the multi-volume book series The Second World War.
  6. Throughout my life I suffered from prolonged fits of depression.
  7. When I died in 1965 I was given a State Funeral.
The competition will close at Midnight GMT on 14 August 2019.  The winner will be chosen at random from the correct entries.

Please note that the pass does not include food at the conference, any add-on purchases you make, travel to the conference, or accommodation during the conference.

If the winner has already purchased a RootsTech pass, they will get a full refund on their purchase price.



Disclaimer: As a RootsTech Ambassador I receive complimentary admission to the event, invitations to some extra events and dinners and a free registration to give to one of my readers. I bear the cost of my return airfares from Australia and pay for my accommodation and meals.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Is 1828 really the start of Assisted Immigration to NSW?


If  were to ask you when Assisted Immigration to NSW began you'd probably answer 1828. And a couple of months ago, so would I. But now I'm starting to wonder whether that date is wrong.

True, the NSW State Archives and Records website includes digitised copies of what it describes as "Assisted Immigrants Shipping List 1828-1896" and also a link to the "Bounty Immigrants Index 1828-1842". I'll talk more about these later on.

These are the facts I have been able to gather:

The Secretary of State (Viscount Goderich) developed a scheme in 1831, which was put into place in 1832, to send unmarried women and skilled mechanics (by which is meant tradesmen) and their families to New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land. The scheme was to be administered by the Commissioners of Emigration in London, Dublin and Cork. All people sent out were said to have been vetted and supplied testimonials. The initial suggestion was that the scheme be funded by a tax on assigned servants, though the colony rejected this and instead used funds from the sale of Crown Lands. The women would receive a bounty of £8 (about half the cost) towards their passage. They were expected to pay the difference themselves. Men did not receive a bounty, but were given a £20 advance towards the passage for them and their families.

The first two ships to arrive in 1832 were the Princess Royal, carrying single women from England, and the Red Rover, carrying Irish single women. A further fourteen ships arrived carrying single women. The selection of these women had been overseen by John Marshall, a shipowner who acted as an agent. As he received money for each emigrant on the ships, he had a vested interest in making sure the ships were full. The colonists claimed that many of these women were prostitutes, had no ability as domestic or farm servants, and that many of them had a disability or disease. The number of mechanics that came out was small.

In 1835 Governor Bourke suggested an alternate system. Two schemes would co-exist. Colonists who could fund the transport of immigrants of whose skills they were in need had the opportunity to use their own agent in the UK to find mechanics or agricultural labourers who would emigrate to the colony. The colonist would be given a bounty equal (or nearly) the expense of the person’s passage if and only if an Immigration Board in the colony deeded the immigrant suitable after examining them. This would eliminate those who were clearly of the wrong ages, or disabled, or unhealthy, and so on. They could bring out married couples under 30 (with their family), unmarried women 15-30 who come out with the consent of the settler or his agent under the protection of a married couple, as forming part of the family and destined to remain with it until such female be otherwise provided for, and unmarried male mechanics or farm servants aged 18-25, brought out by a settler, who at the same time brings an equal number of females, accompanying and attached to a family as before described. The government had no control with this scheme: the emigrants were selected by agents of the colonists and ships were engaged privately. The government role was limited to the Immigration Board who examined the new arrivals for suitability.

The other scheme which would run alongside the Bounty Scheme was the Government Scheme, which would account for a larger number of immigrants. Under this new scheme, Surgeon-Superintendents from convict ships who had knowledge of life in the colony and the needs of the colony, were sent from the colonies to select the immigrants. They would also accompany them back on the voyage. Payments which were close or equal to the cost of the voyage would be made for these immigrants.

Farewelling the Immigrant Ship St Vincent, 1844
(Illustrated London News, 13.4.1844)

These schemes were tweaked several times over the years to iron out problems that became apparent.

Before these schemes the government had brought out wives and children of convicts for free from 1817 onwards. This was a free passage, not assisted immigration. It also started well before 1828. The only other scheme that the colonial government was involved with before the schemes described above was the emigration of 50 girls from the Cork Foundling Hospital in 1831 on the convict ship Palembam in an attempt to redress the imbalance in numbers of male and female colonists. The Governors of the hospital provided the girls with their required outfits, and the colonial government paid all other costs.

The idea of using revenue from land sales was first proposed by Edward Gibbon Wakefield in 1829. Although South Australia was the only colony to adopt Wakefield's scheme in toto (which they did from ?), the idea of funding immigration through land sales was adopted by many states. But this was one year after the magical date of 1828.

The Australian Agricultural Company and the Van Diemen's Land Company brought out people to work for them from 1825, but these were indentured workers, not assisted immigrants.

John Dunmore Lang first brought out emigrants in 1831. They were allowed a free passage, but it was expected that they would repay the cost from their earnings in the colony.

So what about these State Archives collections "Assisted Immigrants Shipping List 1828-1896" and also a link to the "Bounty Immigrants Index 1828-1842"?  The former was compiled by Janet Reakes. The records, digital copies of which are on the Archives web site, are all written in the same hand and cover many ships, often having more than one ship on the same page. There is no indication where Janet got the information on these voyages from. I don't doubt for a minute that these people arrived on the ships that are nominated, but I can find no evidence that they were assisted in their immigration.

The second dataset is an index to the first, created by FamilySearch.

So, am I missing something? Did assisted immigration (or bounty immigration) start in 1828?  Or is 1831 or 1832 the earliest date we can claim?