Wednesday, 31 December 2014


Happy New Year! No meeting this month but lots of exciting things planned for 2015.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Panania Markets

Bright and early, (7.30am) this morning, I set up our stall at Panania Markets. Paul came with me an carried our table and display board from the car to the spot. We were allocated the verandah of the library and as such were under cover and out of most of the breeze.

Teresa arrived about 8.00am and Paul decided to go home and Teresa went and got a cappuccino for herself and a welcome hot chocolate for me. Elaine arrived soon after and we three girls were soon 'spruiking'   the group!

People were interested and we handed out lots of leaflets and answered lots of questions. Just as there was three of us because at times were each had an interested person.  It will be February before we know if anyone, we spoke to joins the meeting. Several were interested in both the web site and the Facebook page, so we might pick-up some there.

Speaking of our Facebook page,  we have three new members added in the last 24 hours!

The markets were missing several stalls and there wasn't the crowds, that have been before. It was also the LAST Panania markets as council wants to re-develop the site.

Our spot.
I am foot sore and tired but had a great time promoting this group.
Bye for now,


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

What a Year!


Twelve months ago this family history group was just a small spark that wanted to grow and now as we finish 2014, that spark has grown steadily and I thank you for that. Last night saw our last meeting for 2014, with a presentation from Rowan.

The evening started with me forgetting the computer cable, finding one, then the data projector not wanting to work and a room change! We will have to consider asking about using the community room as we have had problems the past few months, with the data projector.

We welcomed a new member, Graham, we hope you will enjoy being an active member of this group.

I remembered to take some 'show-n-tell', ok I remembered at 5.30pm that I should find something to take. I found a pair of cufflinks that Paul's dad had made, using Three Pence coins, from the 1940's.

I also showed a medal that Paul's Grandfather, Frederick Sigrist, was given in 1911, when the Eastern Suburbs, Junior League, Darlinghurst team were A Grade Premiers.

Our speaker was Rowan and he gave a very interesting talk on how he used the internet to find information on his Grandfather, Henry Harrison Brisco. Rowan showed us our using Google Books, you can sometimes discover real gems. He had a reprint of a book , that his ancestor had written back in the 1800's. Rowan also made us jealous, with one of his ancestors being born in Jamaica and others in the Court of French Kings. I felt I was watching an episode of 'Who Do You Think You Are?'

We won a prize of a $200 book voucher from Gould Genealogy;  I purchased 15 books from their Unlock The Past series and the plan is to have a library for financial members, who attend meetings, being able to borrow the books, for a month. This has to be worked out, in greater detail. Watch this space!

We are also thinking of a Journal, either paper or e-journal, so get your fingers typing, as we will need articles. Watch this space!

I will have a table at the Panania Markets on Saturday 13th. Come and say 'Hi' or come and spend some time with me. This is part of our drive to increase our numbers. Any ideas on that are very welcome.

The discussion turned to the Society of Australian Genealogists;  This is a very worthwhile society to join, as an individual, something I recommend. I was asked if we were an Affiliate Member, no but I will look into the benefits for our financial members.

While I will blog, over the Christmas period, especially if I here of any 'free' trials, new websites,  I would like to take this time to thank my fellow committee members for their help and support in getting this group started. I would also like to thank the members that come every month for their support as well, without you the group wouldn't exist.

May this Christmas Season be a blessed one for you.

Our next meeting is February 2015.

Bye for now,


Sunday, 2 November 2014

The SAG, "Lost In" Weekend


I am a member of the Society of Australian Genealogists, (SAG) and this past weekend they held their annual "Lost In" weekend. Held every year, it  alternates between a country town, like Goulburn and the Dixon Room, State Library of NSW.

This weekend was "'Lost In' All Your Stuff" and we had a full program. Saturday started with the air-conditioning not fully working and we found ourselves using our notes to fan us. It did get fixed and it made the rest of the day more comfortable.

We had talks on topics as varied as what happens to your "stuff", when you pass from Christina Nicola, Senior Legal Officer Genealogy NSW Trustee and Guardian, to 'Beyond Your Lifetime', with the focus on who to pass your information onto.

Copyright was discussed with Nathan Webster, Legal Officer, Australian Copyright Council, giving a very interesting talk, complete with a monkey selfie!  Look at the Australian Copyright Council's website for lots of useful information sheets,

Kay Soderlund  from Preservation Australia showed us way we can preserve our precious document and artefacts. Having her Kay speak before, this reinforced what I had learnt, that we need to make sure that we treat old documents with care. It was interesting to here Kay say that white gloves are out, as you can pass sweat through the cotton and that blue nitril gloves are best. The websites are and

Talks on Solving Your Photo Dilemma by Jonathan Auld, from Auld Genealogy and Capturing the Memories by Sally Forsstrom, Dubbo and District Family History Society, were also part of Saturday's talks.

Jonathan, spoke on how to scan and save photos and documents.

Sally spoke on the importance of recording oral family history. Something we all seem to put off for another day.

Sunday dawned cooler, after a vicious storm rushed through Sydney on Saturday afternoon and we settled in for another day of interesting talks.

Ben Mercer from gave an interesting talk about what new records Ancestry has just uploaded. Look at Recently Added and Update Collections to see what is new. Ben then took questions from the group and was hit with such things as "Who owns what is put up, ie family trees?" The reply was the person who loads, owns. He also recommends reading the terms and conditions and contacting Member Services if you have any issues

Alison, from the SAG Writing Group, to which I belong, gave a wonderful talk on Getting Into Print. Alison has a book due out this week, so was well able to speak on the many ways to go about printing your book.

Carole Riley, from SAG, spoke on the different types of technology we can use. Everything from scanners to the cloud was covered. My head was spinning with technology overload.

Ralph Hawkins, Alison Wolf and Martyn Killion finished the weekend with how we can pass our "stuff" and, be it to SAG or to other family members. The theme was make sure your family know, NOW, what you want done with the documents, etc, that you have collected. Put it in your will, tell your family and leave a letter, so that people know what had to be done.

Another interesting point that came up several times was BACKING UP. Something we all need to do but how many do, do it?

This is what was recommended, the 3, 2, 1 method
3 copies of your data
2 different types of media
1 stored offsite

Hope your weekend was great,

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

An Interesting Webinar

What is a Webinar I hear you ask? A webinar is a series of talks run by The Society of Australian Genealogists, for members only. Not a member? What not join and reap the benefits. You can find all the information about membership at   but back to last nights webinar.

It was about the Australian War Memorial's collection and how you can access it online and how they are combining all their data sets into one. This is so that when you type in a name, ALL the information they have on that person will come up. No more searching through the different data sets one at a time. So far they have ANZCA Connections running because of the centenary of
World War 1.

Robyn Van Dyk, the head of the Research Centre was the speaker and gave a very interesting tour of the site. Robyn also mentioned that they have two new data sets just added to the list.

AWM266 Australian Naval Force (ANF) Engagement and Service Records now online.  "The records in this series relate to men and boys – mainly residents of Australia and New Zealand – who served in the Australian Squadron of the Royal Navy under the terms of the Naval Agreement Act of 1903. Similar to attestation papers of soldiers in the First World War, they contain information on each individual engaged in the ANF between 1903 and 1911."

AWM190 Researching Australian military service: First World War, 1914-1918   This is useful as it cover those that served in New Guinea at the start of World War 1, in 1914, before Gallipoli.

The AWM website is  and is well worth using. Have a good search around and see what you find.

Bye for now,

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

New Patron

A letter arrived today from Clr Linda Downey, thanking us for our congratulations on becoming Mayor and inviting her to be our patron.  She is very happy to accept our invitation. Pleased that we have continued patronage.


Saturday, 11 October 2014

Christmas Party Please Reply

Our Christmas Party is on Friday 5th December 2014 at Panania Diggers. We need to know numbers to work out our costs and thus be able to tell you how much it will be. Partners are invited as well and the cost will be per person.  We would like to know if you can come by TUESDAY 28th OCTOBER and the details will be given out at the November meeting.
Bye for now,

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

October Meeting

We had a good meeting last night with some wonderful 'Show 'n' Tell'. Kay had a hand made silk postcard, sent from France in WW 1. It is beautiful and the writing on it is still very clear to read. She also had a Canadian pay book. That was interesting to see the pay rates.

Elaine had a beautiful fob watch with an uncut wax seal attached. She also showed us a medal that was one by her great-grandfather for pigeon racing!

Kerin, from the Canterbury and District Historical Society, was our guest speaker and gave a very informative talk on Enrolled Pensioner Guards in Western Australia. I know that I learnt something from the talk and I think others did too. Kerin has two Enrolled Pensioner Guards on her family tree.

Our meetings often become an open discussion with questions being asked and answered, if possible. Last night we discussed where to find different types of records, before and after Federation. Also why someone might have both changed their surname and become naturalised in the early 1900's.

Next month Craig is going to give a talk on an aspect of World War One. Very timely with Remembrance Day on the 11th  and the Centenary of World War One ongoing.

Hope to see you there.
Bye for now,

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Have a great weekend.

A long weekend, what better way to spend it than researching family!

Here is the link to show what databases are free to look at this weekend (in the card catalogue) -

Have a great weekend,

Monday, 29 September 2014

Advance notice

This is advance notice that our AGM will be 2 June 2015 not July. Circumstances are such that we have had to move it forward. More details next year.
Bye for now,

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


I have made the group open and will monitor the posts.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Part three

I was going to do a write up of the AGM but all the details will be going onto the website and as they are our parenting body, it would be better to look at the website,

They also have a Facebook page  NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies Inc. It has photo up already.


Joy and Allan's table. They had jelly beans to share in tiny little packets. Yum!
This was on one of the slides that were playing. I would love to know who wrote it and where it came from.

The cutting of the 30th anniversary cake by the President Gail and Terry Bugg, from Illawarra.

Next Year!

The Society of Australian Genealogists table.

An interesting idea, all nicely bound. Done by the Kiama group.

Contains form, pictures etc. for when you want to publish.

Useful books.
Two more useful books.

This is going to be very useful.

Part One of my Conference

I left home at 7.30am Friday morning and arrived back 2.30pm Sunday afternoon after three wonderful days and two night at the NSW & ACT Association Conference. As I mentioned in my previous post Friday was open to the public as a Family History Fair and it was really good.

There were four talks on Friday and I went to three of them.

Joy Murrin talked about NSW BDM's and said that is it often best to think outside the box, with regards to names and registration districts. She gave and example of a person, occupation was a mason and when the child was entered into the register it was with the surname Mason. With registration districts Joy explained that each are were allocated a number of pages and it they filled up, the next entry went where ever there was a space, so you could have a Kempsey in a Kiama spot.
The best thing is to be open minded and with a transcription agent, you can do a check and verify, before getting the full document.

Gail Davis from State Records always does a good presentation and this was another good one.

Amanda, the Register of the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages braved the 'lions den' and answered all our questions and gave an apology to us for the way the site is operating. There are changes in motion and she asked for our patience with this. The wildcard * is back and they are also setting the date selection to Yes as the default. Amanda also mentioned that while she can understand our frustration with the new site, priority has to be give to the people registering deaths, marriages and births now, for obvious reasons. Keep checking back to see the changes.

After lunch there was a forum and Allan Murrin did a presentation on the use of technology in regards to our websites, blogs, Facebook and other social media. Enewsletters and journals were also mentioned. This has given me some ideas for our group. Our Facebook page was shown and given a good wrap!

Friday finished with a 'Meet and Greet' for the conference attendees. It was wonderful to catch up with friends from last year and make new ones.

Saturday was from 8.00am to 3.30pm with the AGM at 4.00pm, for me and the Conference Dinner at 6.30pm. I think it was 11.00pm before I got to bed!

A Welcome to Country started the day and then the conference got underway.

Dr Perry McIntyre presented the Vincent John Crow Memorial Address with the topic 'Memory, Remembering and Commemoration.' Perry is a fantastic speaker.

Terry Bugg and Marisa O'Connor spoke on the Illawarra Remembers 1914-1918 project and how it came about. Look at the website for more information

Other talks were, 'Tracking Down the Magnus Family', the story of the first manager of the Port Kembla copper smelter,  'Women of the Illawarra', this was very interesting and presented by Gillian Baker. 'The Gallipoli Project' by Kim Phillips and "I think great-grandma might have been Jewish' by Robyn Dryen finished off the day.

Dinner was a noisy affair, with 138 people attending. It was lovely to catch up with friends and here what they had been doing, since last year.

Sunday was a 8.45am start, most welcome after the late night!

Dr Jen Roberts gave a very moving talk on 'Hard Labour: fathers and Wartime Bereavement'. She spoke how fathers often carried the sorrow with them, for the rest of their lives and that they would put on a brave front, while grieving. Several very moving stories had the audience captivated.

The next speaker was Lambis Englezos. This gentleman was responsible for the discovery of the burial site at Fromelles.  His presentation was fantastic. It was wonderful when in the audience was a relation of one of the soldiers found a Fromelles and she shared her experience. Tears were shed.

Carol Herben OAM spoke about the Waterfall Sanatorium and Cemetery, you might know it as Garrawarra. They are looking at how to look after the cemetery and want any information on people who might have ben there.

The conference ended with the Call to Port Macquarie, for 2015. Their website is  Check it out for next year. Their theme is Journey of Discovery and the dates are Friday 11th - Sunday 13th September 2015.

I did pick up a few books and some ideas for us and when I am able to, will upload the photos. That will be part two, part three will be about the AGM.

A great weekend!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Some Links for Searching Diggers


After lasts nights wonderful talk by Ellen, I have got together my collection of links that just might help you find what your ancestor did in WW1.   This is the AIF Data base.   The Australian War Memorial.  Trove, for newspapers. National Archives, Australia.  A new site Mapping our ANZACS.   Another new site, Discovering ANZACS.   These two are UK records.

Hope they help.


Tonights Meeting

Home after another great meeting and in before the wind and rain hit.

Tonight Ellen spoke on her research on soldiers of WW1, who gave their place of residence as Bankstown. She has found 284. An impressive number, when you consider that the population of the area was around 2,000 at the time. Thank you Ellen and we look forward to seeing the information on the Library's website.

The wonders of technology! Tried to show a couple of website, relating to our questions and bombed out. First attempt, had the display on the big screen, but no internet. Second attempt, had internet but no screen. Managed to show a couple of sites with everyone looking over my shoulder.

Bye for now,

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Research Help

I have been doing some research into my Great-Grandmother and her death in the Hospital of the Insane, Stockton. I commented on this on Facebook and several of you asked how to go about accessing any records and I have decided to write up how to go about it.

Once you have the death certificate or transcript of the persons death, you need to contact NSW State Archives. They are wonderful in pointing you in the direction you need to follow. As Mental Health and Asylum records have a 110yr access period you will most likely need permission from NSW Health, to see the records, Archives will point you in the right direction.

Looks at these two Archives in Brief for more details on what is held at the Archives,
Archives in Brief  - 85 - Mental health facilities - Patient records  and Archives in Brief - 86 Infirm and destitute asylum - Inmate records.  Both of these can be found at;  and look under Quick Links.

Having made contact with the relevant department, you will need to prove your relationship to the person. Start with yourself and work backwards, married ladies don't forget to show your name change. Below is a list of the documents I had to provide;
1) My marriage certificate
2) My birth certificate
3) My Mum's marriage certificate
4) My Mum's birth certificate
5) My Grandparents marriage certificate
6) My Granddad's birth certificate
7) My Great-Grandparent's marriage certificate
8) My Great-Grandma's birth certificate
9) My Great-Grandma's death certificate.

With NSW Health I was able to scan and email these to them and they emailed me the permission letter in return. The process to around two weeks.

Re-contact NSW State Archives and let then know you have permission, to see the records. They will then see what they hold and let you know, again about 10 working days is required.

With mine, because she died in Stockton, I have also had to get permission for those, separately, using the same documents. They will do the searching and let me know. I don't know if they will copy and send them to me or what?

A few words of caution, don't get your hopes up as to what you might find, this is my second person I have asked to view and I hope it will be more fruitful than the first. With the first one I received a one line entry in the admissions and discharge book, that was it. If you don't search, you wont know. I will keep you posted as to what I find.

Happy Searching,


Saturday, 16 August 2014

What are you going to do today?

For those of us in Sydney, it is  raining and has been all night, something we haven't had for awhile. Being wet it is a perfect day to stay inside and do family tree research.

I don't know if this will show up as a link, but if you had ancestors that lived in the Holroyd area, you might be able to help them out.

Call for submissions of Holroyd pioneers
If your ancestors lived in Holroyd prior to 1927, these ladies want to hear from...
This link is to the new Discovering ANZACs site and I'm going to spend some time searching through it.  is another good site to search. There are family tress on it but remember they are only as good as the information the person had. The indexes that you can search are great.
If you are trying to use the NSW BDM's and are having problems here are a couple of tips,
1) If you don't know all the details you can use the wildcard *
2) Go yes for the date range and you get better results.
Now if you don't feel like doing research, you can always find a good book, knit or quilt.
Stay dry,

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

What a fantastic meeting!

I'm to hyped up to go to bed, so thought I'd to my blog now.

Tonight we welcomed three new members, Paula, Frank and Peter. Paula had also become our minutes secretary, thank you. I hope that you all enjoy being part of the group and that you can also share your knowledge with the group.

We also welcomed Allan Murrin as our guest speaker. We could have gone for another hour, it was so good!  Allan gave a very enlighing talk on NSW birth, death and marriage records and the quirks that you can find. He also explained that transcription agents copy everything that is written in record, where those details might be left of a certificate. An example is if a marriage is dissolved, the transcription agent copies the details of that onto the marriage transcript as well. Useful to know. I know several members who are going to go back through their certificates, that have blank spaces and order transcripts to see if there is more information available.

Don't forget that August is National Family History Month. Check out your area to see what is going on or look at the National Family History Month web site for details.

Bye for now,

Friday, 1 August 2014

Meeting and NEW email address


The Committee had a meeting last night, to sort out how we would like this group to run and we have come up with some exciting changes.

1)      A new email address        This email can now be accessed by ALL Committee members and I will no longer have to forward emails to the different members. I don’t mind doing that but this step is a very logical one, now we are growing.

2)      How the meeting will run. We are going to try and keep the business side of the meetings to no more than half an hour. We don’t have a lot of business so this will give us time for two new things.

3)      Question and Answer.  Using the new email address, email us a query, help wanted etc, before each meeting and we will endeavour to have an answer for you at the  meeting. I know that some of you can’t get to meetings but still send us your queries and we will try to help out.

4)       Show and Tell. Each month we will ask you to show us  or tell us about what you are researching. This is your group and we want you to take an active role in the meetings.   We are working on these two things taking around 45 minutes and will be followed by

5)       Our Guest Speaker.  Each month we will try and have someone talk on  a topic relating to family history. If we don’t have a speaker that month we will have hands on workshop, with your own laptop, again looking at different aspects of family history.

6)      Outings. Something we are looking into but they will be on a  weekday and you will have to make your own way to the different  venues. This is due to how our insurance is setup. More about that  once we have looked into it more

7)      Membership Cards. These will happen, soon and all financial members will get a card.

8)      Newsletter. We will need your input here, stories etc  and we are working out what format to produce it in. It should happen early 2015

9)      For financial members our Christmas Party will be Friday 5 December 2014 at Panania Diggers. More details to come.


The meeting was very productive and ideas were discussed. We are still looking for a Minutes Secretary but have had a lady come forward to fill that position. This will be voted on  Tuesday. 

Tuesday, our guest speaker will be Allan Murrin, talking on NSW’s Birth, Death and Marriages.  Well worth the visit.

 Last Thursday I accepted a cheque from the Bankstown District Sports Club, in the form of a Seeding Grant. This money will help us meet the tasks we have set in motion. New flyers are going to be printed and distributed to other areas. I will contact Australian Family Tree Connection magazine, with a view of having a permanent listing in their Where to Go section. Any suggestions as to how we can ‘spread the word’ about this group will be very welcome. Other ideas we have looked at is local market stall at Panania and Revesby markets and trying to get local newspapers to do a story on us.


Bye for now and have a great weekend.
Lilian Magill


Thursday, 31 July 2014

An Interesting Morning

This morning I attended the presentation of grants to various groups. We were given a seeding grant by the Bankstown District Sports Club, to help with the start-up costs of the group. It is a most welcome boost and will enable us to go ahead with plans to invite guest speakers and promote the group to a larger area.

The presentation was held at the Revesby Workers Club and 71 grants were given out, covering a wide range of areas. One group is wanting to start a walker swap and go, where by you take your walker, that needs repairs, to them they will take your walker and give you one in working order and then repair yours, for someone else.

Light refreshments were provided before it began and then a light lunch was waiting at the end.  Photos were taken and I expect they will be in the local papers, next week.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

English 1881 Census

I have just read an article on the English 1881 Census, in Your Family Tree magazine, May 2014.  It mentions that when it was completed officials noted a rise in the number of 'deaf & dumb' people. It seems that many enumerators had recorded babies as being deaf & dumb because they couldn't talk!
Something to keep in mind not just for that census but any records. Look at the persons age before making judgements.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Exciting News

We have been given a grant to help with  our start-up costs. I'm thrilled and doing a happy dance.
It is a great way to start the weekend.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Member Packs

Thanks to Carmel our packs are done and Teresa and I have spent time, today, soring out who needs  them. I'm going to post them tomorrow. They aren't big but it is our way of saying 'thank you' for joining the group.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Flip Pal Scanner

Ever been away and someone gets out a really old photo and says, 'this is your great grandma' and you think I want a copy?  Now when you go away you can take a scanner with you and copy the photo straight away! I have a Flip Pal scanner, photos below and it is fantastic!

Gould Genealogy in South Australia sell them and accessories.
I did a class today,  by Carole Riley at SAG and she showed us how to get the best out of the scanner and how to stitch large documents or photos together, once they are scanned. Software comes with the scanner. It runs on 4 AA batteries and you can use rechargeable ones. It comes with a 2GB SD card, it has the stitching program on it. The cove comes off and you flip it over for scanning larger items.
Go to and have a look.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

July Meeting

Last night 14 people braved the chilly weather to attend the meeting. We had two visitors, welcome John and Frank. The group is gradually working out the best way to run our meetings, with a committee meeting organised  to work out the kinks. Our finances are doing well, with the account in the black. Not bad for a group that has had five meetings!

Jenni, the local family history librarian, gave a very enlightening talk on Preservation and Storage of Photographs. How many of us are guilty of using  magnetic photo albums or using sticky tape to repair a torn photo?  She showed photos that were damaged, faded or had mould on them and ways to stop them deteriorating further.

Jenni suggested several cheep but safe ways to store our photos, using acid free tissue paper and oven bags! If they are safe enough to cook a chicken in, they are safe for photos and documents. If you used the magnetic photo albums and the photos are really stuck, use fishing line or dental floss to gently lift the photo of the page. Jenni is at the Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre and she  runs different lectures. Give the library a ring or look on their website to see what is on.

Jenni, with a magnetic photo album.
One of the members, Margaret, had show and tell, with two beautifully framed photos and medals combinations. They were the photo, medals and insignia all superbly framed. The place is at Ramsgate, NSW but I didn't get the name.
  Kerin, from the Canterbury & District Historical Society attended and left a flyer about their July 22 meeting. The guest speaker is Cassie Mercer, Editor of Inside History Magazine. Cassie will be talking on Irish Convicts to NSW.
Place: Seniors Citizens Centre, Redman Pde, Blemore.
When 22 July form 7.30pm

Bye for now,

Saturday, 21 June 2014

What's in a Name????

Yesterday the Royal Australian Historical Society, in Sydney had a series of talks on the topic, Place Names as Historical Records: An Open-Air Archive. There were four speakers, Dr Joshua Nash, Dr Terry Kass, Angela Phippen and Bruce Baskerville and they covered a range of topics.

Bruce spoke on place names as historical records. How there are layers of names for places and how they evolved. Angela's talk was on houses with names of First World War battles. Who built them and the how to search to find them. Both were very informative.

Dr Joshua Nash spoke on the different names that are used on Phillip Island in the Norfolk Island Archipelago. This lead to a lively discussion on wether 'unofficial' names should also be listed with gazetted names.

Dr Terry Kass spoke on Official Histories and Records of Place Names: The NSW Geographical Names Board. This talk also spoke about how areas are known locally as one name but gazetted as another. An example of this is Mosman Bay, in Sydney Harbour. It is gazetted as Great Sirius Cove, a bit of a mouth full!

It was an interesting series of talks and I know I certainly learnt valuable search tips and ways to look at areas to find the layers of names.

The RAHS run various talks and the list is on their website

Thursday, 19 June 2014


Several weeks ago I approached the office of the Mayor with a request that they become our patron and heard nothing. I made a phone call after our last meeting and they were surprised that we hadn't had a reply and that they would get back to me. Well... today I received a letter from Councillor
Khal Asfour  accepting the position and welcoming us to the Bankstown's family of community organisations.

I hope you have a great weekend.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Last night's meeting

Our second meeting in our room saw us use the data projector, for the first time.

Rowan did an excellent talk on The Master Genealogist (TMG). He started with an overview as to why we need programs to enhance our research, this was very informative and then he showed us how the program works.  Different pages for children and siblings, along with source and citing features make it a very good program.

Teresa spoke about her program for the Mac, as when we went to connect the cable, it didn't fit.

I then set up my PC to show Brother's Keeper and as with all things new,  I couldn't get the screen to show on the wall. Much fiddling and pushing of buttons and we got it to work! It was weird as the computer screen was blank and I had to operate it by the mouse on the data screen, then use the keypad for entering information. Technology!

Brother's Keeper has been around for years and is the only one I have used, so I am biased in my review. I find it very simple and easy to use, with help just a mouse click (F1)  or an email away. It has a good selection of charts, trees, reports, with the ability to print photos on several of the reports.

Gerry then showed us his hand drawn tree, going back to the 1600's and it is going to be done in tapestry. I look forward to seeing the finished tree, it should be stunning.

There were discussions about how much we should upload to the internet, with the concern about privacy and people taking your information for their trees. Other topics were discussed and ideas were suggested, for future meetings.

We had 18 attend, with three visitors, Natalie, Bridgette and Kerin, from the Canterbury & District Historical Society. We also welcomed back Elaine from her across Australia trip, which did include meeting new cousins in Perth. It is also wonderful to see now familiar faces each month. Ours financial  members have now increased to 30.

Kerin will be our guest speaker in October. Craig has volunteered to speak on military matters at our November meeting.

I will be the guest speaker on 24 June at the Canterbury & District Historical Society meeting. Something I am looking forward to.

Until next time, Happy Ancestor Hunting!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Our next meeting

It is almost time for our June meeting and we are going to try something different. We hope to be able to use the data projector and several of us will give  brief presentations. The presentations will be about the family tree program we use to record our information on.
It should be an interesting evening. I will post more after it happens.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Settled in our 'home'

Last night we held our first meeting in out new, permanent home, the Landsdowne Room. Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre. The room will be just right for our meetings, with tables, chairs, access to WiFi and data projection and a small kitchen as well.

We started our evening in the foyer of the library, where Jeni met us. As the lift is small it took two trips to get  us to the Local/Family History Resource room on the second floor. Jeni is the family/local history  librarian and her knowledge local history and some of the first families is extensive.  She is passionate about local and family history.

The local/family history room is long with resources on easy access as well as two computers and a table. Local history is at one end and family history at the other. It looks as if it would be a quite place to work but with 20 people in it, it was hard to tell. Jeni demonstrated to new computer system, that also takes micro fiche and micro film. What looks like a bench down the middle of the room holds hanging files, containing such things as old photos, maps, plans, subdivision plans.  The list is endless. Several of us wanted to stay and research.

We were also shown what family history resources are held and how to use them. Births, Death and Marriage records for various state, convict and passenger records, council minutes, the history of Bankstown and suburbs are just a small amount of what is on offer. The library also has Ancestry and Find My Past, for people to use, free. There is also a collection of Historical newspapers.

Jeni explained that in the old library much of the resources  were in compactus and couldn't be accessed and that they are able to be accessed now. Wonderful for researchers!

Bankstown Library has a good website and this site is easy to use/ You can also ring (02) 9707 9728.

After this we went to our room, yes I know it belongs to council but it is nice to know we have a permanent spot. We welcomed a new member, Geoff and talked about what is happening, in the next few months and had a report from the treasurer.

Next month we are going to give the data projection a workout with a workshop on family history programs.

Happy Researching,

Thursday, 24 April 2014


I have just returned form the ANZAC Days Dawn Service, at Panania. The size of the crowd gets bigger each year, a wonderful thing to see. There was a little girl, about 3yrs old, she wiggled her way to the very front because she wanted to see what was going on. It was lovely to see the club members make way for her and how quite she was, as if knowing the solemnity of the service. We must encourage the younger generation to actively commemorate ANZAC Day, so that the legacy doesn't die.

If you have servicemen and women on your tree, the Australian War Memorial web site, Australian National Archives and TROVE are somewhere to start your searching.



Friday, 11 April 2014

What the Group has been doing.

As I mentioned in my Presidents Message our Group is up and running. It has been an interesting time for all the committee members and as President I have been learning the intricacies of NSW Fair Trading paperwork!

Our first meeting had 29 attendees and we have maintained steady numbers since then. I hadn't realised that so many were interested in family history.

March 4 saw our first formal meeting and the vote to accept or reject our new constitution. The constitution was a merger of two constitutions, with  additions and subtractions, to suit our group.   Members were sent a copy and asked for submissions. The committee looked at any submissions and these were discussed at the meeting. A vote was held and the constitution was accepted.

Our April meeting had us nomads back at Panania Diggers. This meeting was a workshop looking at six free web sites people can use. Some of the group were happy to browse each site, others had brought research, with the hope of finding answers. The squeals that were heard seem to indicate that there were some success stories. Another workshop is planned for our June meeting.

Our May 6 meeting will find us in our new 'home', the Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre. While the room isn't in the actual library, it is in the same building and we will be able to make use of the resources in the Family and Local History Room.

Why not join us?