Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kerry Jones - a Positive Genimate

One of my readers, Kerry Jones, completed the Accentuate the Positive 2016 Challenge and sent it to me in a Word doc. With Kerry's permission I am sharing it here. Congratulations on a beaut year, Kerry.

Accentuate the Positive 

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was: David Culley, my fourth Great Grandfather.

2.  A precious family photo I found was:  A photo of my great great Grandmother, Ellen Crowley.  I found it quite by accident.  I went to the website of the Female Convict Research Centre and there sitting prominently on the site was Ellen!  I was delighted as I have never seen a photo of her before.

3.  An ancestor's grave I found was:  It was actually a photograph of the grave of my grandmother (who I had never met). Edith Ballard’s grave is in Queensland and I hope to see it one day.

4.  An important vital record I found was: So many!  But one of the most interesting ones that I found was the Apprenticeship of my fourth Great Grandfather, David Culley.  He was apprenticed to be a plumber in 1803 and later in his life worked at Windsor Castle.

5.  A newly found family member shared: I discovered some new information about my husband’s ancestors through meeting a new found family member.  Her Great Great Grandmother and my husband’s Great Grandfather were twins.

6.  A geneasurprise I received was:  Being contacted by a distant relative who had done a lot of research into subsequent generations.

8.   I made a new genimate who: I am studying the Diploma of Family History online through the University of Tasmania and I met two ladies who are also studying it.  One of them lives in the next street to me!  We have now met twice and have formed a nice little support group.

9.  A new piece of software I mastered was: Wavepad.  I used this to edit an Oral History interview that I had done.  It was remarkably easy.

10. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was:  Probably Facebook.  There are many different Facebook groups and reading some of the posts is very interesting.

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was: A presentation at the Dead Person’s Society in Melbourne.  This was on Finding Hidden Records and the presenter, Ada Ackerly was excellent.

14. I taught a friend how to: Use Ancestry.

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was:  Not a new book, in fact a very old book was ‘Tasmanian Convicts’ by Alison Alexander.  It is very well written and easy to read and very informative.

20. Another positive I would like to share is ...Learning as much as possible about genealogy is great.  Reading blogs, Facebook posts and studying online all help one’s knowledge.  

Friday, December 30, 2016

BDM Places - A Rant

I get annoyed when people often incorrectly use the NSW BDM Indexes to provide place names for Birth Death or Marriage events.

In so many trees I find that the Place of an Event is incorrectly recorded as the Place of Registration (the registry where the event was recorded). If I don't have a second reliable source (like a certificate) for an NSW event I record the place accurately as NSW, Australia.

Just because a birth was registered in Sydney does not mean that the event occurred in Sydney. My Grandfather died in hospital Darlinghurst but his death was registered in Rockdale close to Brighton-le-sands where the family lived. Aunt Jane's death was registered in Sydney but I know she died at Waverley. My Grandparents were married at Lavender Bay but their marriage was registered at St Leonards. My Maternal Grandmother was born at Thompson's Creek but her birth was registered at Rockley.

I could go on and on and on.... but you get my drift. Registration Place does not equal the Place of the Event.

Unfortunately many people in their online Public Trees have recorded the places for these events erroneously.

How can we educate our fellow researchers to do the right thing?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Family Traits

I snapped a pic of this comic strip that I spotted in a newspaper on a recent trip to Canberra.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Eye Contact - A Rant

Here's another rant from 2015 that I found in my drafts folder.

The tables were turned on me recently when I spent a day on a trade table at a family history conference. I am usually one who wanders around looking at the displays on offer and chatting to the exhibitors.

I was surprised at how many people walked past our table with eyes downcast and therefore failed to make eye contact with we exhibitors. Mr GeniAus and I were representing a new family history group and didn't have much to offer except for a friendly smile and ears willing to listen to the stories of those who passed by.

I realise that many folk are shy and find it hard to chat with strangers but it also isn't easy sitting at a table all day watching people pass by.

When next you're at a geneaevent please spare a thought for those folk (often volunteers) who are at the event to share information and make connections with fellow genies.

A friendly smile or greeting might add to someone eles's enjoyment of the event.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2016

This year I actually remembered to prepare this post ahead of time as once December hits life gets very busy and genealogy takes a back seat. I will be holidaying in Hawaii with the family over Christmas so I won't be paying much attention to the dead relatives.

For the fifth consecutive year I am asking you to reflect on your geneayear, don't beat yourself up about what you haven't done but rejoice in your successes.

Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2016

I invite you to take part in this activity by responding to the following statements/questions in a blog post. Write as much or as little as you want or answer just a few questions.

Once you have done so please share your post's link in a comment on this post or to me via email to I will, in early January, compile a list of links to your contributions here on this blog.

Remember to Accentuate the Positive 

(Please delete the items that are not relevant to your situation.)

1.  An elusive ancestor I found was

2.  A precious family photo I found was

3.  An ancestor's grave I found was

4.  An important vital record I found was

5.  A newly found family member shared

6.  A geneasurprise I received was

7.   My 2016 blog post that I was particularly proud of was

8.   I made a new genimate who

9.  A new piece of software I mastered was

10. A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was

11. A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was

12. I am proud of the presentation I gave at/to

13. A journal/magazine article I had published was

14. I taught a friend how to

15. A genealogy book that taught me something new was

16. A great repository/archive/library I visited was

17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was

18. It was exciting to finally meet

19. A geneadventure I enjoyed was

20. Another positive I would like to share is ...

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Mele Kalikimaka

Seasons Greetings to all my friends in cyberspace. Best wishes to you as you celebrate the Festive Season.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

102 Audience Members.....

.... and I couldn't see one of them.

I started to write this post many moons ago and it has languised in my drafts folder. Rather than delete it I am posting it as a record for myself which you are welcome to read.

Thanks to The Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) for giving me an opportunity to present as part of  a panel session in their first online "Lost in" conference.

While I have been in the audience for several webinars I have never taken on the role of the presenter. I'll use a favourite method, PMI, to evaluate my experience.

I was thrilled to be taking part in this first SAG online conference.
I was able to present from home.
The interface caused no problems.
My connection held.
I learnt a few tips.
I was able to reach a new audience in distant locations.
My performance must have been ok as I have received subsequent invitations to present for SAG.

I could not see the audience and felt very alone while presenting.
I missed the interaction one has with a live audience.
I had to talk too fast.
One of my co-presenters went way over her allocated time and ate into our discussion time.

I managed to keep to time.
It was good to see the unique ways co-presenters used Excel and Powerpoint.
Although it was an online event there was practically no discussion on social media channels.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Mind your Language at Rootstech

When I was giving my very first Rootstech presentation I was going along fine until, when I uttered a phrase that is commonly used downunder,bthe audience let out a large collective sigh.

Apparently the term I used was not one to be used in polite company in the US.

If you are an international visitor attending Rootstech and don't want to offend our American hosts you may wish to study this post from the Oxford Dictionaries blog. (WARNING: it mentions some words that should not be uttered in polite company).

Rootstech 2015

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Rootstech Innovator Showdown Semi-Finalists

The semi-finalists are...

Champollion 2.0
CSI Crowd Sourced Indexing
Double Match Triangulator
OldNews USA

See the official announcement and program details here:

Congratulations to the semi-finalists and thanks to all who entered apps in the competition.

I  spent an enjoyable couple of days last week evaluating the 42 entries for the Rootstech Innovator Showdown. I was honoured to receive an invitation be a judge on the selection panel for the semi-finals of this award.

Having met the other judges online I figure that I represented the older generation,  amateur genealogists, the southern hemisphere and women and Rockstar Genealogists (with Christine Woodcock from Canada).

The judges individually selected their top ten apps (and two reserves) from the list before we met to discuss our choices with David Pugmire from Familysearch in a teleconference earlier this week. There was a deal of consensus among the group but we also had lively debate on the merits of some programs. Once we settled on our list David and the Showdown organisers went away to give the good news to the semi-finalists. We came up with a worthy list of semi-finalists whose products will serve the diverse needs of family historians.

I look forward to attending the Innovator Showdown during the  Innovator Summit at Rootstech and hearing the developers pitch their products to the judges and audience. If you are going to be at Rootstech 2017 make sure you register for this event on Wednesday 8th February and be in attendance to support your fave software and developer. The five finalists chosen on this day will present their apps again during Rootstech on Friday 10th February where there are some handsome cash prizes on offer.

You can see what my genimate Christine had to say about our gig here:

Friday, December 16, 2016

Giggle and Scrape

I have suggested on a couple of occasions to two of my first cousins that they might consider doing a DNA test and they seemed open to the idea.

I have on a shelf in my study a few FTDNA kits and have been dithering about potential victims. One was reserved for a grandson who scraped his cheek earlier in the week when I realised that I was going to the US soon and that it would cost me less to post off the samples from there. Grandson has wanted to test for a while but I didn't want to push him or his parents into it. Thankfully his parents have been happy to have him tested. I am thrilled that he has an interest in both science and family history. Perhaps his young brain will help me with interpretation of results.

 As I was meeting the two cousins today for a Christmas catchup lunch I popped two DNA kits in my handbag and thought that I would broach the DNA subject with them over lunch. As soon as we settled at our table I mentioned that I had the kits in my bag, they both responded enthusiastically and agreed to give a sample on the spot. (That's more postage saved). I checked that they hadn't eaten since breakfast and wouldn't allow them to drink the wine that arrived at our table until the cheek scraping was over. They were allowed water.

Cousin 1 scraping
What was a serious event was quite a gigglefest as we considered the skeletons the tests might uncover. I tried to be serious as I explained the issues but I am fairly confident that we won't find any NPEs in recent generations, the cousins bear strong physical resemblances to their late parents. They agree that anything in earlier generations that we might uncover would just provide interest. I think I have uncovered most stories through my traditional research but who knows?

Cousin 2 follows suit
We must have looked a funny sight in this hip restaurant that was populated with people a generation younger than us as our table was littered with FTDNA bumph and a watch to time the scrape sessions.

Scrapefest accessories
As soon as they had performed their duty I (as the bossy eldest cousin) allowed the girls to attack their wine and we toasted DNA and our ancestors. I am so grateful to these two generous ladies who consented so readily to DNA testing (minimal arm twisting was involved).

I am an only child so have no siblings to test. Cousin 1 is my double cousin (our mothers were sisters, our fathers were brothers) so I expect to be a close match with her. It will be interesting to see how many matches we have in common. Cousin 2 is a paternal cousin so having her results will help me determine which of my matches are from the paternal side.

I am feeling on top of the world tonight and thank those three family members who have supported my genealogy obsession with such good grace.


GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 16 December 2016

Where did that week go?

It's December and I am turning my attention towards living family so this will be the last GeniAus' Gems post for 2016. I will return in the first week of January.

Let's dip into my collection of saved posts in Evernote and see what we can find.

1. Janet Few asks is the 20th century really history?

2. First time I ever heard this Word of the Year.

And now for Christmas

12. Vive la difference.

New to Me Blogs
St John's Cemetery Parramatta
Tinker - Tailor - Soldier - Sailor

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Can you spot the problem with this advice on the State Library of NSW's Family History blog?

I may be confused but I think that St James Church, Beaconsfield is in the Sydney Diocese ( so the advice given to anonymous is a bit off the mark.

Am I missing something here? If I am the one that is confused I'd love to be set straight.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Christmas Tree

Last year my Canadian genimate, Lorine, created a Christmas Tree.  At this time of year it's a nifty way of visualising one's ancestors.

I've copied Lorine's idea and made a Christmas tree similar to hers. I don't know how Lorine created her tree but I did mine in an Excel spreadsheet. I was going to be really clever and have each layer of the tree represent one generation but that got too hard in the short time I had so my ancestors' surnames are in no particular order.

As I look at my Christmas tree I think of those who have gone before me.
GeniAus' Ancestors
How about joining me in creating a Christmas Tree?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Genetic Geneameme

Doing the rounds on Facebook is a Geneameme created by The Genetic Genealogist, Blaine Bettinger. Rather than posting a response on Facebook I am posting my response here.

If you are not on Facebook and would like to take part you too could copy the questions and paste them on your blog. Here is my contribution.

1. First person you DNA tested? Myself
2. What was your own first test? MtDNA and Autosomal

3. Year you took your first test? 2015 (although I had the kit at home since 2011) I was a sceptic - now converted.

4. What was your most recent test?

5. Have you done full mtDNA genome?

6. What is your mtDNA Haplogroup? K1a10a

7. Any exact mtDNA matches? Not yet

8. Max Y-DNA markers you/male relative tested? 37

9. What is your father’s Y-DNA Haplogroup? I wish I knew. Too late to test him

10. Any exact Y-DNA matches? 
Not yet

11. Tested at all of the Big 3 Companies? Just 2

12. Have you had a whole-genome test?  No

13. About how many tests do you control/administer? 4 (but I have 5 more in the wings)

14. Do you use GEDmatch? Yes

15. Favorite GEDmatch tool? The whole site

16. Were you able to test any of your parents? Yes, my Mum

17. Were you able to test any of your grandparents? Too late

18. Age of the oldest person you’ve tested? 93

19. Are you all done testing relatives? No way
20. If you could ask ANY one ancestor to test, living or dead, who would it be? All of the offspring of Elizabeth Phipps so I could determine their paternity and work out who my male ancestor is on that line.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Rootstech Innovator Showdown - The Submissions

What sort of app would you like to see developed to solve a genealogy issue you have?

Among the 41 submissions for The 2017 Rootstech Innovator Showdown I can see a few apps or programs that would make my life easier while I wonder about the usefulness of some of the other entries. I enjoyed looking at the programs and wonder which ones will win the generous prizes on offer.

There are programs/apps for several operating systems.  Some are for Windows, some for mobile devices, some are web-based and there's even a Chrome extension. It's interesting to note that seven of the entries were also submitted to the 2016 showdown. Some submissions have been made by individuals while some come from teams with expertise that covers technology and genealogy.

Submissions come from a range of countries including Australia, Canada, England, France, India, Ireland, Morocco, Tunisia and the United States. Some apps integrate with Familysearch and one is an addon to the ShotBox. Quite a number are based around preserving stories while some are unique. There is something for just about every genie.

Of course price is always an issue with cash-strapped genies. Unfortunately it is hard to ascertain the costs associated with many of these programs/apps.

I'd love to know which programs/apps on the list are your favourites. Please take a look and let me know.

GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 9 December 2016

My week has been focused on the living family. We have celebrated a grandchild's birthday, watched two granddaughters perform in their ballet concert, attended speech days/presentations/prizegivings for six grandchildren and watched in pride as the children have made music and collected awards for their academic efforts. We have just one ballet concert and one presentation day next week and these events will become family history. I have been taking photos and diarising these events so that they will be kept alive for future generations.

In my downtime I have enjoyed reading blog posts from several corners of the earth. I have also penned our annual Christmas epistle - another means of preserving our family history.

1. Kudos to John Grenham for correcting his error.

2. Thanks Liz for introducing us to Cedric.

3. Ideas for the bibliophile's Christmas stocking.

4. Fleshing out the family story from Barb.

5. Jo counts down the days.

6. Which would you choose?

7. A new app to try.

8. Welcome home Shauna.

9. Helen's Heirloom.

10. Love being  a member of Alona's tribe.

11. Kerry knows why so many DNA matches are treeless.

12. Christmases past.

And this isn't a blog post but a story of a tree in which my friend Robert Marsh plays a part.

New to Me Blogs

Underneath the flight path

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

It's a Time Thing

I tend to give priority to my DNA links on FTDNA and Gedmatch ... but then there is Ancestry.

Overwhelmed by my DNA matches on Ancestry DNA I've had to find a way to manage them all and get through the 115 pages of "New Matches" for less close matches that I haven't yet examined. At 50 per page that's 5750 matches.

Having had some success recently in finding a 3rd cousin and a 2nd cousin once removed in the Confidence: Moderate range that I had previously ignored I realised that I should further investigate these 115 pages but I am Time Poor.

Whilst I'd love to connect with all potential cousins including the beginners with no trees there is no way I can in this lifetime. So I have had to be ruthless.  

I am going through the new matches page by page. Firstly I check for shared matches as these may give me a clue to a relationship. Just this morning I worked out where a treeless match fitted in by looking at shared matches and then the contributions the user had made to Ancestry Message Boards. His message posts gave me a clue to where the match was. 4th cousin found.

Where they have them I check the matches' online trees (including their full trees) and lists of surnames for something that may ring a bell. If I work out a connection I send off a message, if not I move on. I will continue to respond to each and every message I receive but this is not an onerous task as I get such a paltry number.

In order to tame this beast I have to be cruel so it's if there is  No Shared Match, No Tree, No Surnames there will be no contact from me. Hopefully this will enable me to prune down my list of new matches (some of which are really old).

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Trove Tuesday - Cradle, Altar, Grave

When I posted my recent entry on the Geneadictionary I found more hits than I expected for my search Cradle Altar Grave. Once I added a couple of extra search terms I found what I was seeking for that post. However, I thought some of the other articles I found deserved an airing.

The first article on the list  provides analysis and commentary on statistics from The South Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriage in 1911. The first section of that long article follows, the remainder can be read here.

1912 'CRADLE, ALTAR, AND GRAVE.', Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931), 24 August, p. 34. , viewed 04 Dec 2016,,
This handsome chap, John Ambrose Plunkett was a Deputy Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. The interviewette that accompanies his portrait can be read here

1897 'INTERVIEWETTES.', Quiz and the Lantern (Adelaide, SA : 1890 - 1900), 18 November, p. 4. , viewed 04 Dec 2016,

It was interesting to read that in 1909 the "child harvest" was the highest ever attained in the Commonwealth and the death rate was the lowest on record.

1910 'Cradle, Altar, and Grave.', The Methodist (Sydney, NSW : 1892 - 1954), 25 June, p. 7. , viewed 04 Dec 2016,

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Cousin's Call

When we returned yesterday from a couple of days away (paying attention to living family members) I found several messages on our answering service.

We were thrilled to hear from one of the callers who had left two messagees. It was Mr GeniAus' newly discovered second cousin making contact. I had tracked down her brother via Linkedin and he had promised to give her our details.  As the days went by we wondered if we would hear from her -  she would call when we weren't around.

When Mr GeniAus phoned her this morning the cousin had visitors so we arranged to call back this afternoon. She was as thrilled as we were to make contact. She says she is not tech savvy so hasn't used Trove and other online resources. I have found several things about her grandfather and mother that will add to the family history she wrote in 2005. She has photos, documents and memories of her grandfather who was Mr GeniAus' grandmother's brother. What a Win-Win situation.

As she is moving house in two weeks and we are taking off overseas for Christmas we have promised to exchange details via email and will organise to visit her in the New Year - she'll only be a six hour drive away!

It is only because someone had posted some info on this family in an online tree that we were able to find this lady. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 2 December 2016

It's summer time downunder .....and the living is easy when one can sit back and relax in the heat of the day and read some excellent blog posts.

I hope you enjoy the suggestions I have for you today. I definitely learnt a thing or three from blog reading this week.

1. Edublogger, Richard Byrne, shares the lessons he has learnt from 9 years of blogging.

2. The Pages from one of my fave bookshops share their best reads of 2016 .

3. Jennifer's posting brings results.

4. A beaut idea for the festive season from Helen.

5. Helen's really getting into the Christmas spirit.

6. A handy tech tip from Carmel. Shame it was too late for my library visit this week.

7. Beaut biography of a Hawkesbury from Michelle.

8. Sailing with Kay Cottee.

9. I was attracted to this post because I have Bowe ancestors.

10. Another site to see in Tasmania.

New to Me

Anglo-Indian Project  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Daily Grind

Sometimes Mr GeniAus asks me what I have done during the day so I thought I'd take a leaf out of the Geneaholic's book and keep a note of my activity on Tuesday. Here's how my geneaday went.

With my mate The Geneaholic, Randy Seaver, at Rootstech 
While enjoying breakfast in bed I checked social media and emails, commented on posts and shared a few bits and pieces.

Attended to the dishwasher and washing machine and pegged out the washing.

Promoted my weekend's blog posts on social media.

Ordered a .pdf copy of a Death Certificate from the GRO.

Searched Trove for ideas for Trove Tuesday post and did a few text correcions while I was at it..

Published a Trove Tuesday post on GeniAus.

Added new book purchases to Librarything account.

Downloaded photos taken on weekend from camera and phone to hard drive. Organised and tagged them. Sorted ones taken from resources at National Library into Family History folders.

Extracted info from some of the resources gathered on the library visit.

Ordered a .pdf copy of a birth from the GRO. (That's 12GBP spent on my hobby today.)

Had a break for lunch and brought the clean washing in off the line.

Went off on a tangent doing research and discovered another branch of Mr GeniAus' family had emigrated from England to Australia. Hoping we can track down some Fielding cousins in Australia.

Had a break for two hours to prepare and eat dinner, watch the news and chat with Mr GeniAus.

Back in the geneacave I wrote and scheduled another two blog posts.

Spent half an hour on the CurryAus Surname study.

Of course I dipped in and out of social media all day.

What is a typical geneaday for you?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Library Love

This post isn't about how Mr GeniAus courted me when I was a young librarian - it's about another love of mine.

A friend of ours in Canberra has been experiencing some serious health issues so Mr GeniAus and I took a spin down the freeway to spend Sunday afternoon with him. Rather than doing the 600km round trip in the day we decided to stay the night in a hotel so on Monday I could visit another love of mine, The National Library of Australia.

Entrance to the library
It's over a year since I visited the Library and, at that time, I enthused about the facelift given to some of the areas. I discovered yet more changes on my visit yesterday. The cloakroom that was on the right hand side of the entrance to the Main Reading Room has disappeared so that the entrance now seems less cluttered. I didn't notice any other changes in the Reading Room.

By 1:00pm I was ready for a comfort break and sustenance. It was when I went down to the Lower Ground Floor to grab some lunch that I noticed more changes.
The Paperplate Cafe has had a makeover (shame that there was only one sandwich left)
The casual eating/chatting area has been expanded
There are lots of power outlets and a recharging station

There is a new free locker area.
with a new water bubbler and bottle filling station
When I went back upstairs to the Family History/Newspaper area I noticed that all of the microfilm storage drawers and newspaper racks had shmick new labelling. On my last visit, the day the area opened, there were some finishing touches needed.

Storage for current newspapers with schmick labelling
On my way out of the library I heard commentary of a cricket match. There was in an area near the Main Reading area some comfortable seating and a large screen TV playing the cricket.

Anyone for cricket?
After a productive six hours of ancestor chasing it was time to head home.

I wonder what changes I will find on my next visit.

Looking out into the foyer from the Reading Room entrance

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Trove Tuesday - Ancestry

For today's post I did a simple search "trace ancestry"and was rewarded with the following post that was published in several Australian newspapers in 1911. I chose this one to share because it was the clearest image of those I viewed.

Although written over 100 years ago much of  the content in this article rings true today.

1911 'HOW TO TRACE YOUR ANCESTRY.', Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), 7 October, p. 5. , viewed 29 Nov 2016,

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Christmas Chronicle

As November draws to a close Mr GeniAus asked me what I am going to do about Christmas cards and the annual epistle this year. I thought that I'd prune down the Christmas card list and forget about accompanying letter.

Then my son who is a doctor called me. He is very serious about respecting the confidentiality of his patients but, if the patient says to say hello to your parents, then he tells us. And so the phone call went "Guess who I saw today?" and my response was "I don't know". The next clue was that it was a lady who loves getting our annual Christmas letter. Another clue and I said "Was it Barbara?".

This elderly friend of my late mother-in-law told my son how much she enjoyed getting our newsletter and keeping up with the news of my husband (whom she has known for 50+ years) and his family. Other recipients of our letters over the years have expressed similar sentiments.

So the answer is "Yes Barbara, there is a Santa Letter". I just have to write it

A search of my blog archives reveals that I have written on this subject several times. I am resharing two of those posts below.


Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2010 - December 4 - Christmas Cards

Enclosed with my Christmas cards for the last ten years or so has been a family Christmas letter in which I summarise the hatches, matches, dispatches, trials and triumphs of immediate family members. I have heard people scoff at these annual epistles by calling them "brag bulletins" and other derogatory names. To these people I say "Bah, Humbug".

When I look back at my collection of Christmas Letters I find that I have a neat summary of important family events for the last decade. If I continue the practice for another couple of decades I will have a rich resource to pass on to future generations who may not be simply interested in the dry Birth, Death and Marriage facts in my family tree but in our activities.

I must admit to not fully reading some of the Christmas letters I get as they are just too long. I love hearing of the doings of other families but prefer an "executive summary" rather than a novel. I edit, edit and edit again and make sure that my letter is no more than an A4 page in a font size that is readable.

As it's now 4th December I must away, reflect on the past year and write my Christmas Chronicle".

This post was written for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories


Christmas Newsletters - Trash or Treasure?

As we will be overseas before Christmas I am thinking of what I can do so that when I return, on December 23rd, I will be prepared for the Yuletide festivities. I write an annual Christmas letter (never more than one A4 page) so I can make a start on that. Elderly aunts and old neighbours tell me that they enjoy reading it each year

I just spotted this post in an online forum "Does anybody get those annoying Christmas letters EVERY YEAR EVERY DETAIL of the families history???...I dont even read them anymore I just trash them."

Trash them? As the writer unwittingly said they contain details of a family's history.They are precious resources for future generations Sure people brag about how clever their kids are but they also convey news of hatches, matches and dispatches and other family milestones. There is no way I would trash these epistles that give a potted (but often skewed towards the positive) history of a family's events during that year.

For those newsletters that come from  family I record the details of births, deaths and marriages that I glean from them into my genealogy database. I then file them in my family history files in the author's file. I have over ten years of newsletters from one cousin's family that when read sequentially tell a beautiful story, warts and all. She is not into genealogy but one day her descendants may be; there may be nowhere else that this story is recorded for these youngsters. I am pleased that I can curate this collection for the future.

Do you send out a Christmas letter? Do you enjoy reading them? Are they trash or treasure?

Friday, November 25, 2016

GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 25 November 2016

Just a month to go until December 25th - isn't that scary. I'm feeling organised this morning as I have scheduled a couple of blog posts to cover the Christmas period when I will be holidaying with the family. One of these is my annual Accentuate the Positive Geneameme, please look out for the 2016 edition on Boxing Day. (Here's the 2015 challenge)

Now let's dive into Evernote to see what Gems I have saved this week.

1. Although we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia Alona has taken time to reflect,

3. Melissa's tips for reeling in the relos.

5. Janine shares another title for our reading lists.

9. I'm pleased that times have changed.

10. A trip down memory lane for those of us who were around in 1956.

12. This isn't a post bout my daughter, Elizabeth Anne Ball.


Lilian at Lilian's Tree


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