iwiKiwi

A Kiwi in search of her Irish, English & Scottish tribes

Tag: DNA

Family History Month 2019

August is Family History Month in New Zealand and Australia, and there’s quite a bit going on for both hardened researchers and those just starting out. Here are a few events happening in the Wellington region and a couple further afield.

City and Harbour, Wellington NZ

City and Harbour, Wellington NZ 4073, from family collection, date unknown

Getting more out of your DNA results
> Saturday 27th July: 10am – 4pm
> Kapiti Community Centre, 15 Ngahina St, Paraparamumu
Just sneaking in at the end of July, a sort of pre-launch for Family History Month, is Kapiti DNA Interest Group’s event with Michelle Patient and Lorna Henderson. All welcome. $15, book by emailing DNADay@KapitiGen.org.

NZSG: Kilbirnie
Talk: Bolton Cemetery and the Motorway with Gabor Toth (Local & NZ History Specialist)
> Thursday 1st August: 10am
> Matairangi Room, ASB Sports Centre, 72 Kemp Street, Kilbirnie, Wellington
All welcome (visitors $2).

Finding Families in New Zealand – Legacy Family Tree Webinar
> Wednesday 7th August: 2pm NZST / 12pm AEST
Too cold to go out? Stay wrapped up warm at home and learn how to use electoral rolls and school records to discover more of your family history, from Kiwi genealogist Fiona Brooker. Free. Register for the webinar

Auckland Family History Expo
> Friday 9th August: 5pm – 8.30pm
> Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th August: 8.30am – 6pm
> Fickling Convention Centre , 546 Mt Albert Rd, Three Kings.
Presenters Nick Barratt (UK) and Cyndi Ingle (USA) are joined by some great speakers from around NZ and Australia, plus there’s also an exhibition with genealogy-related companies and groups. There is a welcome reception and two presentations on the Friday evening ($15 charge). Entry on Saturday and Sunday is free.

NZSG: Porirua
Talk: Using Porirua Library genealogy resources
> Wednesday 14th August: 7.30pm
> Genealogy Section, Porirua Library, entry opposite Harvey Norman Carpark, Wi Neera Drive, Porirua
Bring your laptop and research enquiries. All welcome (visitors $2).

DNA Down Under
> Wednesday 14th – Saturday 31st August
> Brisbane (14th), Perth (17th), Adelaide (20th), Melbourne (23rd), Canberra (26th), Sydney (29th – 31st)
One day events in five cities, plus a three day event in Sydney, featuring genetic genealogist Blaine Bettinger (USA) along with 11 other renowned speakers, with presentations suitable for DNA newbies and gurus alike. $A155 for one day, $A335 for three days, plus discount for combining Sydney with another city. See the DNA Down Under website for venue and programme information. I’m excited to be a DNA Down Under Ambassador and will be attending the Sydney three day event!

NZSG: Hutt Valley
Talk: Sharing her own family history research with Tui Lewis (Hutt City Councillor)
> Thursday 15th August: 7:30pm
> Petone Public Library, 7-11 Britannia Street, Petone
All welcome (visitors gold coin).

Wellington Family History Open Day [PDF, 1.2MB]
> Saturday 24th August: 9.30am – 4pm
> The Hutt Bowling Club, Myrtle St, Lower Hutt
NZSG Combined Wellington Branches event hosted by the Hutt Valley Branch, with  speakers from NZ Society of Genealogists, Wellington City Archives, Digital NZ, Papers Past, Hutt City Libraries, Hutt City Archives, and Archives NZ. Help desks available. $5 entry.

NZSG: Wellington
Talk: Wellington City Archives with Adrian Humphris (Wellington City Archivist)
> Wednesday 28th August: 6pm
> Connolly Hall, Guildford Terrace, Wellington
All welcome (visitors $3).

For other regions in NZ, check out the NZ Society of Genealogists events page for Family History Month activities near you.

 

The Travelling Genie

It’s been over a month since we arrived back from a family trip to the UK, where I managed to squeeze in a few genealogy-related activities.

While our main reason for visiting was to see family and friends, the timing of our visit was so I could attend the award ceremony for my Advanced Diploma in Local History at the beautiful Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.

University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education, 2019 Award Ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre

University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education, 2019 Award Ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre

I would absolutely recommend the course – just be prepared to give up your life while you’re doing it!  There was a lot of reading. And by a lot, I mean A LOT. You’d start off on one book or article and then disappear down a rabbit hole of footnotes and references until your eyes weeped from tiredness. The assignments were evenly spaced throughout the year, though there was also the unit homework to complete as well (did anyone ever finish it all?), and the weekly online tutorial chats to attend. These were relatively informal, but just like with the online course forum, I suffered a little from imposter syndrome and was reticent about posting much.  Which was all very daft, as the students and tutors were welcoming and generous. It was often a struggle fitting in studying with holding down a day job combined with family responsibilities, but oh, the joy in learning and having my eyes opened! And the opportunity to combine my love of history with a love of data wrangling and analysis. It was definitely the most intense and challenging course I have ever undertaken.


After Oxford, it was on to Leicester – where the Guild of One-Name Studies was celebrating its 40th birthday as part of its annual conference, and happily the dates coincided with our travels. The conference organisers had arranged an optional tour of the Richard III visitors’ centre and nearby cathedral, and it was a great chance to peer down into the spot where Richard’s body had been discovered, and also to see his impressive final resting place.

The tomb of Richard III, Leicester Cathedral

The tomb of Richard III, Leicester Cathedral

The conference itself was a combination of socialising and learning, with some fantastic presentations, including one from Simon Wills on ancestral travels by sea, Voyages from the Past. I’ve now since bought his book of the same name. (A fuller review of the conference appears in July’s Guild Journal.)


Before my trip, I had decided I would focus my research on my 3 x great grandfather, John Clark(e), and I spent a couple of days at The National Archives at Kew and three days in Belfast, chasing him up in muster rolls, pension payment records, and parish registers.  Which John Clark was he – Thing 1 or Thing 2??

John Clark (1) and (2) in the muster rolls for 74th Regiment of Foot

John Clark (1) and (2), 74th Regiment of Foot muster roll, 1 Jul – 30 Sep 1846, WO 12/8099, National Archives (UK)

I had been to Belfast several times before, but never visited the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). On my first morning in the city I stopped in at the Ulster Historical Foundation to see about booking a research consultation. Fortunately there was a researcher available right then and there, and Gillian Hunt was a huge help in reviewing what I’d already found and suggesting ways forward in my research, as well as finding a baptism I hadn’t come across.  I’d really recommend doing this, especially if it’s your first time in Belfast, though at busier times you’d need to book an appointment in advance.

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), Belfast

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), Belfast

The facilities at PRONI are fabulous and the staff incredibly helpful.  It’s located in the Titanic Quarter, not far from the Titanic museum, and I opted to stay in the city centre, about a 30 minute walk away. The Hop-on Hop-off City Sightseeing bus travels through the area regularly, and on my last afternoon I hopped on and took a tour around the city before heading to the airport.


The last genealogical event I attended was Family Tree LIVE at Alexandra Palace in London at the end of April.  After a dearth of similar events last year due to the closure of WDYTYA? Live, suddenly there’s a whole heap of genie treats this year, and I was thrilled to sneak this in to our trip.

Queuing up to get in to Family Tree Live, Alexandra Palace, London

Family Tree LIVE, Alexandra Palace, London

The venue was fantastic, and although there were few nearby eating and sleeping options, there was parking available plus shuttle buses from Wood Green underground station.  I thought the atmosphere was wonderful, and it was lovely to catch up with many genie friends and put faces to Twitter handles. The range of talks was excellent – highlights for me were Pam Smith’s presentation on her one-place study of Rillington, and Jonny Perl’s chromosome mapping with his DNA Painter tool.


Back on this side of the planet now and there’s lots to look forward to!  My father is celebrating his 80th birthday and the launch of his family history book this month. August is Family History month in Australasia, and I’m heading to Auckland for the Family History Expo there, and have also booked for the DNA Down Under three day event in Sydney at the end of August.

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