Monday, March 21, 2011

First full day of the Genealogy Cruise

Saturday continued wet and raining.  Dinner that night in Luke Mangen’s Salt Grill Restaurant was really yummy.   Sunday morning it was still raining, and continued raining most of the day. 

First talk was at 8am (bit early for a holiday!) and it was Shauna Hicks talking about the conditions on the emigrant ships that bought our ancestors to Australia.  She pointed out the importance of looking for diaries etc to get the feel of what the voyage was like, even if those are not written by your ancestor, or even from the same ship.  It will all paint a picture of the voyage.  She mentioned various sources that can be used to get pictures to add to that understanding, such as Picture Australia and the Illustrated London News (available on the NLA site under eResources)

Next talk was Jeremy Palmer on “Tracing Back to the Country of Origin”, which was about where you can look to find clues as to where people came from.  He kept using an example of his wife’s Kelly ancestors, and then he put up a copy of a death certificate of a Kelly, which had been registered in Hampton.  After the talk I asked if they were the Kellys who had run the Half-Way Hotel at Hampton.  They were.  My great-grandmother, Merab Annesley, had a half sister, Minnie, who married Joe Kelly!  So that was a connection found.  Maybe one day it will lead me to a better photo of Minnie.

Next I had a bit of a break, then off to hear Helen Smith talk about breaking down brick walls.  It really was a good talk.  I had never heard her talk before, but will definitely look out for any other talks she gives.  In this one she talked about a lot of things that should be common sense, but which people forget.  She particularly stressed going back to the start and reviewing what you know.  It may be that a witness to a marriage is now someone you know, whereas you didn’t when you first got the marriage certificate.  Interestingly, that had happened to me, when I went back and saw that the witnesses to the marriage of Joseph Brockbank and Agnes Nelson were Jane Ellen Brockbank & Ned Ward.  By that time I knew that Ned Ward was Jane Ellen’s fiancé, who went on to murder her and kill himself. 

Another point she made was not to skip straight to an index, but to make sure to read the introduction etc, which most of us don’t do.  Even though a particular index may say it covers a certain date range, the introduction may make it clear that some years are missing, and there is no point in looking for an event if that year is missing.

Next thing it was my turn to give my UK Census talk.  It had to be very rushed, as it is a one hour talk and I only had 30 minutes to do it, so couldn’t spend as long stressing the different search techniques as I would have liked to.

After lunch I listened to Carol Baxter again talk about the Biographical Database of Australia, and then Dr Leigh Summers talk about fashion history in the 1920s.  Not strictly genealogical, but a very interesting talk – she is a very good speaker – and I kept thinking about my grandmother who was a flapper in the 1920s, so I guess for me there was a genealogical connection.

By the end of the day the rain was starting to clear up....

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