Category Archives: Education

My Genealogy Year 2012 : Accentuate the Positive!

Jill from Geniaus came up with a wonderful idea to celebrate the high points of 2012:  Accentuate the Positive 2012 Geneameme, rather than concentrate on what we didn’t achieve during the year. So instead of feeling a bit depressed over all the things I didn’t quite manage to do this year, I get to feel a whole heap happier about all the cool stuff that happened!

An elusive ancestor I found was James Florey. Well, he’s not actually an ancestor, which I suspected but can now prove. He was the first husband of my 4 x great grandmother, Elizabeth Knott, and I couldn’t figure out what happened to him – it was as if he had abandoned his family and disappeared off the face of the earth. He hadn’t – he got transported to Australia for 10 years for sheep-stealing. Meanwhile, his wife found comfort in another’s arms, gave birth to my 3 x great grandfather (Henry Richard Florey/Pope), and eventually remarried. I have yet to find out what happened to James after he gained his Certificate of Freedom. Did he return to England, or stay in Australia?

A precious family photo I found was one that may be of my Nanna, Jean McGonnell, when she was young.

Possibly Myrtle Jean Louisa McGonnell (1915-2011)

Possibly Myrtle Jean Louisa McGonnell (1915-2011)

An ancestor’s grave I found was my great grandparents and grandparents’ final resting place in Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, NZ – thankfully with little damage from the earthquakes in 2011.

A newly found family member who shared a photo of my 3 x great grandfather (the previously mentioned Henry Richard Florey) and his family – I could finally put a face to the ancestor who has led me a merry dance through all sorts of records.  Then, the wife of a fourth cousin sent me a family history of “our” Brosnahan family – amazing! And yet more family members contacted me with stories and photos, either through this blog or via my tree on Ancestry.

My 2012 blog post that I was particularly proud of was.. all the ones in February – I blogged every day that month.

My 2012 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was difficult to work out as my Stats plugin fell over and won’t play nice, but I think  it was my post on James Brosnan’s will.

A social media tool I enjoyed using for genealogy was Twitter. I love keeping up to date with genealogy news, and also with fellow IHGS students.  I also joined a couple of groups on Facebook, and a Google+ community, and will see how those pan out over the next year.

A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was all of them! I had a busy year starting with WDYTYA? Live in February, then several weekend seminars at IHGS later in the year, and finally Celia Heritage’s one day workshop on Fleshing out Your Family Tree. I think the one where I learnt the most was the Military Records seminar at IHGS, given by Les Mitchinson, as this was an area I wasn’t familiar with.

A genealogy book that taught me something new was Helen Osborn’s Genealogy: Essential Research Methods.

A great repository/archive/library I visited was the Perth and Kinross Council Archive in the A K Bell Library in Perth, Scotland. I didn’t have much time there, unfortunately, but enough to find the burial records for my 3 x great grandparents, Michael Burke and Bridget Flynn, and take a quick look at some of the Perth valuation rolls.

 A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was Ciarán Ó Murchadha’s The Great Famine : Ireland’s Agony 1845-1852.

It was exciting to finally meet my IHGS tutor, Celia Heritage! Plus twitter pals and fellow IHGS students at Canterbury in October, and also my Temuka cousins at the beginning of the year in New Zealand.

A geneadventure I enjoyed was my trip to Temuka in January, meeting cousins and visiting the family farm, and places where my grandfather grew up in South Canterbury. Also the trip to Scotland in May to visit the areas connected with my Burke and Philp ancestors. And visiting Deptford, London, with my mother to see where her grandfather was born and raised.

Another positive I would like to share is I finally indexed my research notebooks! And it has already proven to be a worthwhile exercise.  Who knows, maybe this year the data may find its way into Reunion?  I also worked on my IHGS assignments, submitting two batches this year, and received some not-too-shabby marks in return.

Thanks to Jill for a great opportunity to share my year of family history research!  You can read about the 2012 highlights of other geneabloggers through her Geniaus website.

 

Task list ~ Sorting Saturday

Well, we’re over halfway through December already and I haven’t even thought about a task list for the month!   So much for being more organised…

Anyway, a quick look at how I did on my November tasks:

  • outstanding emails    -  half done, need to finish the rest before Christmas
  • lecture 3 assignments   -   a miracle indeed, finished and submitted!!  Have even started on lecture 4 assignments
  • regular blogging (including finishing my West Yorkshire research trip series)    -   not done so well here, though completed my West Yorkshire posts
  • filing and inputting data for maternal side   -    ummm…
  • book tickets for WDYTYA? Live in February  -   yup indeedy, tickets bought and workshops booked.  Even have hotel booked, woohoo!

I also fitted in a day course at IHGS on The Parish and the Manor, and a day’s research up in Suffolk on the Wright side of my family.

The rest of this month will kinda be taken up with Christmas activities, but I’m also hoping to:

  • complete two lecture 4 assignments
  • undertake more Wright research up in Suffolk
  • do some prep work for my New Zealand trip in January
  • maybe some filing…?? ho ho ho

Sorting Saturday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

November task list ~ Sorting Saturday

I am still behind in all my filing and sorting and such like, and not much, if any, progess has been made since September.

Happily though, my grandfather’s biography is finished.  Shrieks of joy and jubilation! Two weeks ago I finally submitted my Lecture 2 assignments for the course I’m doing with IHGS.  It’s taken me a year to do the first two lectures, and I have 22 more to go…. I think I may need to speed up a little.

I’m hoping a task list might help me get focussed over the next month.  There are six more weeks before the kids break up for Christmas, so I have to make the most of my kid-free time. These are my  priorities for November:

  • outstanding emails
  • lecture 3 assignments
  • regular blogging (including finishing my West Yorkshire research trip series)
  • filing and inputting data for maternal side
  • book tickets for WDYTYA? Live in February

Sorting Saturday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Celebrating the Census at the National Archives, Kew

So much for getting back to blogging regularly, I keep getting distracted by other tasks.  One of the more pleasant ones was attending the Celebrating the Census conference at the National Archives on Saturday.

It was an all day event with two streams of presentations.  Of course, there’s always a session or two where I’m torn between two different lectures!

The ones I enjoyed the most were Sharon Hintze from Family  Search giving an entertaining overview of worldwide census returns, and Helen Kelly on Irish census returns and census substitutes that made me much more optimistic about finding my Irish folk. (And that the most important thing is not trying to trace your family back to the mists of time, but actually finding the place, the land where your ancestors trod.)

Dee Williams from ScotlandsPeople gave a great background of, and searching tips for, the Scottish censuses, and TNA’s Mark Pearsall highlighted their pre-1841 censuses and listings.  Humphrey Southall (University of Portsmouth) gave a geographer’s view of the censuses and showed us their wonderful website of historic geographical information, A Vision of Britain through Time: “A vision of Britain between 1801 and 2001. Including maps, statistical trends and historical descriptions.”  Go check it out.

One of the nice things about events like this, is that you get to meet like-minded people.   Thanks to everyone at TNA for a fantastic day!

Hitting the books ~ Sorting Saturday

I had a couple of kid-free hours today, so I could tackle some assignment work.  This current block of assignments are all focussed on family records, and I’m currently drafting an appraisal of the records I have in my possession, and how they’ve helped (or hindered) me in my research.  I also did a little work on the third assignment – my grandfather’s biography – adding some more information to the timeline I’ve created, and making notes where more research is required.  I need to incorporate significant historical events into the biography, and found some great timelines for New Zealand history online.  Hopefully I may also be able to source some New Zealand history books through my local library, otherwise I’m kinda relying on the internet.

I had great plans to do more organising of my Stuff today, but that fell by the wayside.  I’m motivated more to start planning a research trip to Yorkshire in the summer.  With three young kids in tow, it will be “interesting”.

On Monday, I’m hoping to visit the London Family History Centre if I can get myself sorted with a research plan before then.   It requires a bit of a search through their catalogue to see what records they have that might be useful – I know they have Casey’s O’Kief, Coshe Mange, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland on microfilm, for example, which may help me greatly with my Co. Kerry ancestors.

Stuff and censuses ~ Sorting Saturday

Some of the blog posts I’ve been reading lately have inspired me to start tackling some of my stuff that’s Not Been Dealt With. For instance, while writing yesterday’s post I realised most of the census records I have collected are just images on my computer, a few have been transcribed, none have been printed out, and only a couple have made it into my Reunion family file.

What to do? I wonder what everyone else does?

This afternoon I have been printing off census images, then transcribing the information onto blank UK census sheets from Ancestry. I’ve also noted down any extra citation information like date accessed and GSU roll. Once done, I place both pages back to back in a clear punch pocket and file away in my surname ring binders. This is going to take some time, but I figure if I do a bit every Saturday, it’ll get completed eventually. And then there’s adding all the information into Reunion as well, which I probably need to do as I go, or it will become a nightmare job!

Two books I had requested from the library turned up this week – more background reading for my course work: The Female Line – Researching your Female Ancestors by Margaret Ward, and Family Photographs & How to Date Them by Jayne Shrimpton. I met Jayne at Who Do You Think You Are? Live back in February and she dated a photograph for me, so I’m looking forward to reading about how she does it.

And in other news, I passed my first two assignments! (I’m studying towards the Higher Certificate in Genealogy with the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies). I received a B+ for my autobiography and an A- for my Seize Quartiers (drop-line pedigree chart up to my 16 great great grandparents). It was great to get the comments back before I finish my next lot of assignments. I’m currently working on my paternal grandfather’s biography, need to get cracking on that.

Sorting Saturday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

At last!

Finally I have submitted the first assignments for my course!  Knuckled down this week and got them finished and sent off yesterday.  So I kinda missed my self-imposed deadline of Monday, but at least they are done. ( I’m doing the Higher Certificate in Genealogy by correspondence with the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies in Canterbury.) And I’ve already downloaded and read the next lecture and started some prep work for the next three assignments, one of which is the biography of a grandparent.  I’m looking foward to this as it sounds like fun, and I shall be grilling my father and his siblings for information about my paternal grandfather.  It would be a great exercise to do for my other grandparents as well, so might think of tackling them later on in the year.

It took me six months to complete that first lecture and its assignments – yikes!  Am aiming to finish this next one within six weeks, and plan to schedule set times during the week for study time.  Of course, my schedule will be all out the window come Easter school holidays, but hopefully I’ll have made a good start by then.

A Canterbury Tale

Just back from a fantastic few days away in Canterbury (England) – it was a tutorial weekend for my correspondence course with the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. We had lectures on wills and probate, parish records and palaeography, with some hands on exercises, and lots of opportunity for research in their amazing library and discussion with lecturers, tutors and fellow students. Nothing like being with a bunch of like-minded souls!

The course is self-paced and I have been pretty slack so far – while I’ve spent some time on course work, I haven’t submitted any assignments yet. Erk. However, am feeling re-energised and motivated and have already done an hour’s work tonight. *shines halo* Plus, I have some other students on my back now nagging me, giving me deadlines.

I have to submit a “Seize Quartiers”, which involves a (non-computer-generated) dropline pedigree chart up to my great great grandparents, plus accompanying source citations. This is almost completed, just a little tidying up of the chart layout, and listing all the citations in an understandable report.

The other assignment is my autobiography, and I’ve not really enjoyed doing this, though it will be a fantastic genealogical resource for my descendents one day. The guide word limit is up to 3000 words, though I know other students have written much more. I’ve completed a first draft, and this week need to embellish and edit. And maybe add some photos.

My deadline for submission is Monday week (that’s the 21st of March) – wish me luck!

WDYTYA Live 2011

I’ve finally booked!

We arrive back from New Zealand on the Friday afternoon, so I’ve been tossing up whether I’ll be compos mentis, or a pile of jibbering jet-laggedness.  Still, can’t pass up one of the genealogical highlights of the year, so I’ve bought a Q-jump ticket for the Sunday, and booked into three workshops and an Ask the Expert session.  (Will have to figure out what I’m going to “ask” at that.)

I also have a Beginner’s Tutorial weekend coming up for my course with IHGS in Canterbury in March, which I need to book before I go away next week.  Have to psych the hubby up for a weekend with the three kids on his own.   I’m hoping this will really push me forward on the assignment front (aka get my A into G and do some work), plus I get to meet fellow students. Oh, and a kidfree weekend! :D