Tuesday, 1 December 2015

December Meeting

After an interesting start to the meeting, being locked out, the night was great.

Mel did a fantastic presentation on how to restore old photos and her results were great. She uses Photoshop for her restoration work and it seems very easy to use.


Following Mel's talk, we had some show and tell, with Wendy and Margaret having some really old photos to show us.

Wendy with her Grandfather's football team's photo. Her Great-Grandfather and an Uncle are also in the photo. The Uncle died in World War 1.

                                 Margaret with her Gallipoli photo, showing then and now.

We ended the evening with some Christmas cheer.
Thank you everyone for your support, this year, there are some interesting times ahead.

Merry Christmas,

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

October Meeting

A small group, last night but we had some interesting discussions. The sharing of knowledge is great and I know several people filled in some blanks.

Elaine had interesting show and ask. One was an evening bag that looks like it was knitted metal and the other was a shawl, also with metal through it. She wanted to know where she could get information as to the period they were made in. The Powerhouse Museum and a local librarian where suggested.

Another of our members has found details of an ancestor, who served in the Union Army, in the American Civil War, fascinating.

We also had Rowan show his newly published family history book. So much research has gone into the book about a fascinating branch of his tree. Rowan self published through lulu.com.

Next month we have Natalie giving a talk on her book.

Bye for now,

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

September Meeting

On Tuesday, Janette Pelosi, from NSW State Records, was our guest speaker. Janette gave a very interesting talk about the types of records held at State records and how beneficial they can be for family researchers.

 The NSW State records have a wonderful range of pamphlets, called Archives in Brief. A copy of Archives in Brief #7, Tracing your family history , is useful in that it mentions the different records. 
Some other useful ones are #1 - Shipping and arrival records; #2 - Convict records; #4- Inquests and coronial records; #19 - Teachers; #26- Schools 1788-c1979 and many more. Janette mentioned that there is 126 Archives in Brief now available. Look at the web site www.records.nsw.gov.au for the full list and spend some time searching for your ancestors.

I have found many interesting pieces of information, from visiting State Records and recommend visiting them, at Kingswood.

Here are some photos of Janette's presentation.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

I'm back

I've been reading the emails and have looked at the photos, seems like you have had two great meetings. Our trip was amazing and it is nice to be home.
looking forward to seeing everyone at our September meeting.


Sunday, 7 June 2015

Tuesday's Meeting Photos

Barbara Short gave a witty, interesting talk on her book about her father.  Her presentation was wonderful to listen too and the research she has done, to present her book leaves me in awe. Reading journal entries, Barbara pulled out information as to what happened personally, locally, church, town, country and world wide, thus placing the story in the context of the times. It was a shame that we had to limit her time to only one hour as we all could have listened to more. Perhaps we need an encore?

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

President’s Report for the year 2014-2015

Welcome to the first Annual General Meeting for our group.

The past twelve months have seen the group maintain a steady attendance at the monthly meetings, with an average of 14 people at most meetings.

We settled in to our new premises in May 2014 and this has enabled us to promote the group, to the broader community, by leaflets left at local libraries, community hubs and an interview on the local radio.

We have had a range of guest and group presenters, with Jeni Madden giving the group a tour of the libraries’ Local/Family History Room, before the start of our first meeting, in our room.

Allan Murrin has given to excellent presentations, the first on NSW, BDM’s and the second on Family Search. Our use of technology was tested with Allan’s first presentation, when we were missing cables.

Several of the group showed us what family tree programs they used and explained how they worked.

Jeni gave a very useful presentation on preserving our photos and what to use.

We have had two speakers on Soldiers, with Ellen and Craig, sharing the knowledge about World War 1 Diggers. Kerrin, from the Canterbury Historical Society spoke on Enrolled Pensioner Guards, in Western Australia.

We had a change to the Committee, with Rosemarie Marsden stepping down as Minuets Secretary and Paula Tuffy taking over that position.

We have had two patrons, the Mayor, with Councillor Asfour stepping down and Councillor Downey becoming our patron.

We were awarded a $2000  seeding grant, in the Clubs Grant scheme. This has enabled us to cover our initial expenses and undertake publicity for the group. We have to report back to the Bankstown Sports Club on what we have used the money for.

We also won a $200 book voucher, from Unlock The Past, part of Gould Genealogy, for promoting the group on the National History Month Facebook page. We purchased  sixteen books and set up our own library. Ingrid O’Neil is our librarian.

We have been represented at two Botany Bay Family History Fairs, with mixed success.

Elaine, Teresa and I promoted the group at Panania Markets in December. Comments were positive and we featured in both local papers.

This year we have moved into Community Room 2 and have made use of the technology, with several ‘hands on’ workshops, so far this year.

In May we celebrated our first birthday, with several hours doing research in the Local/Family History room. This was followed by the cutting of a birthday cake, in the café.

Show and Tell has been a wonderful part of the meetings, with members showcasing interesting articles, that belonged to their ancestors. A highlight was a World War 1 bugle.

We have a website, Facebook page and our own email address and have just had a logo designed for us and it is now on the website. I blog to the site and Teresa keeps the What’s On page and the Photos page up to date. Thank you.

The committee are in regular contact and work well together, bouncing ideas around and working through any problems. One of our aims is to have guest speakers booked, in advance and up on the web site. This will enable others to see what is happening.

As President, I would like to say ‘Thank You’ to my committee and to you the members, without your support and encouragement, this group would not be where it is today.

May we grow, in strength and numbers in the next twelve months.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Our May Meeting

We had a wonderful workshop, last night, with Allan Murrin running a workshop on Family Search.

Several of us had problems with getting our technology to work but reports filtering through, this morning lead me to believe that computers are working and that interesting things have been found.

If you haven't had a look at Family Search in ages, it is well worth taking the time to do so. Play with all the different areas and see what is there. I recommend that you sign in as you do get access to other areas.

Some snapshots of the evening.

Allan and Joy have written a very useful book, Exploring Family Search and you can find it at

Bye for now,

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Some changes.


The committee met, last night and we tossed around several very good ideas. We are going to design a logo, this will make us standout, when we do fairs etc. We are also going to get a stand banner, with this on it.

We have come up with a slogan, that makes people realise that the group isn't just about Bankstown. This was something that Jenni and I found a problem, at the Botany Bay Fair. We weren't interested because that think we just dig for old Bankstown families.

Teresa is going to update the Events page, check it out.

We also discussed that for a meeting/workshop, where we have a guest speaker, that we charge a nominal fee, for guests. Most societies have one fee for members and a dearer one for guests. What do you think?  We would still have the door prize.

We discussed our fees and they will remain at $50 for a single and $75 for a family, this is so we can met our ongoing expenses. Fees are due by 1 July 2015. You can pay by cash, cheque, made out to Bankstown Family History Group or by direct deposit. Please email for those details.  Don't forget to update any changes to your contact details.

We have been asked to take part in the Royal Australian Historical Society's annual conference/fair in October. This is being held at the Bankstown Sports Club on the 23 - 25 October. I have asked that we have a table and that has been agreed upon. More details as they come.

I can't think of anything else.
Bye for now,

P.S. Allan Murrin is presenting a workshop on Family Search at Tuesday's meeting. Bring your laptop/tablet.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Abbreviations Found in Genealogy.


This link is for abbreviations that you find in genealogy and don't know what they mean. While it is from Roots Web and Ancestry, it is free. If you print it off, it is 13 pages.

Bye for now,

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Botany Bay Family History Fair

Jeni and I have had a wonderful day, meeting interesting people and catching up with those we know. Our table was between Joy and Allan Murrin and Laurie and Lorraine Turtle, both are transcription agents and enjoyed talking to them. Joy watched the video if my TV spot.

Gail, from NSW State Records, Cassie Mercer, from Inside History, Teapot Genealogy, Fellowship of First Fleeters and Carol Baxter, author were just some of the people I caught up with.

We had some nibbles but people are under the impression that we only deal with families from Bankstown. Might have to write a piece for the Torch newspaper and Australian Family Tree Connections, to see if we can change that. Our handouts and chocolates went down well!

Tired but it was a good day. Plans for doing our own next year have been discussed on the drive home.

Bye for now,

A couple of photos.
Our display board.

Jeni and I ready for the day.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Colonial Secretary Indexes

I hadn't paid much attention to these but on the weekend I did some browsing. They contain a wealth of information and while you still have to go to Archives NSW, at Kingswood, they give you the reel number to search. very interesting.


Tonights Meeting.

As I write there are many discussions happening. We had a work shop on TROVE and there have been some interesting discoveries. A murder-suicide was the most interesting. Our Visitor, Shirley and member, Kay discovered that they were related and had exchanged information, years ago.
 We had John join the group, welcome.

Here are some photos of the evening.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Free Guides


From Family Tree magazine they cover a range of topics. Might be worth a look.

Bye for now,

Thursday, 26 March 2015


Registration and meet and greet were good. I caught up with lots of friends and meet new ones.
Today is the meaty part with different sessions, throughout the day. These are pre-booked, so you know what you are doing. I'm going to wander through the trade hall and probably spend some money.

More later.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Early reminder for April meeting

Tuesday 7th April, same time, same place.   Remember to bring your laptop or tablet for the workshop on TROVE.
Have a wonderful Easter.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Happy Birthday to Us!

Yes, today we are 1 and last night we celebrated!

We started the night in the Local Studies room, of the library and we were able to spend time browsing the resources and searching for information. The room has so much from old maps of the area, BDM's of several states, Windsor Church records, (no luck there for me) and much, much more. I know I need to spend days there, with my research.  One of the resources they do have is the Sydney Morning Herald, from the start to I think last year. Useful as TROVE only goes to 1954. Keep that in mind if you need information.

                                                This is just one end of the room.
                                           Members looking at family history resources.

                                          Using the computers. Now where is Aunt Maud?

We had to leave the room by 7.45pm, as the library closes at 8.00pm, so we adjourned to the café, where we celebrated our birthday.

I had the honour of blowing the candle out and cutting the cake. Thank you Ingrid for the number one.

We followed this with show-n-tell, something we enjoy as unique items are shown.
Elaine had a small coin holder, complete with sixpences and farthings!

Wendy has a very special item to show us. Her grandfather's bugle from World War 1. Granddad and the bugle both it home.
It is really beautiful and if only it could talk, what stories it must hold.

A highlight of the night was a 'tune' on the bugle from Margaret.
A wonderful evening to celebrate a fantastic year.

Thank you all for your support.
Bye for now,

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Lands Webinar

What is a Webinar I hear you say? Well a webinar is a (sem)inar done on the web, webinar, simple.

This one was run by the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) and it was on land research- the Parish Map. Carol Liston, Associate Professor, University Western Sydney.

Carol gave a very informative presentation on Parish maps, giving an overview of how they came into being, what to look for on them and how to follow the numbers trail, (those written on the map). She also recommended looking at ALL editions of the map, so you can see the changes that happened. One thing to take note of, is that only the name of the ORIGINAL purchaser is on all of the maps, for other you need the numbers. The only names that changed where Crown land was leased.  You need both the Parish and County name to find a map and for that Carole used the Geographical Names Board web site. www.gnb.nsw.gov.au  select Search Place Names and follow the instructions. There is a Fact Sheet that is useful.

Once you have the county name, you then switch to web site http://six.nsw.gov.au/wps/portal
this site is where you locate the maps. Go to the little box marked HLRV and that will take you into the  correct area. I haven't looked at the site for a while and can't remember if there is a fact sheet. Have a play and see what you find.

Remember that some Parish Names where used more than once, so check that you have the correct County. Make a list of the different ones, if you aren't sure and check them all.

Happy searching,

Monday, 16 February 2015

I'm a Celebrity, no I'm not!

Well that was interesting…

I was interviewed by Chris, of the Today Show, for Find My Past.

It all started with a request on Facebook and it has gone on from there. I was contacted by James, from the PR firm, to see if I was still interested and he organised an interview with Rebecca from the Sunday Telegraph. While the interview was done, politics got in the way of it being published.

Last week James rang and asked if I would be happy doing a TV interview, as the Today show had read/seen my interview and wanted to talk to me. More emails and phone calls and it was set.

Never having done this before I had no idea what to expect!

One van, one cameraman, one sound recorder, James and Chris, spent nearly 2 hours with me and it was fun, nerve racking but fun.

They moved furniture, set up chairs, lights and the camera. While they were doing that Chris and I chatted and were miked up, then it was all systems go. I was seated, facing Chris and on camera the whole time, while he asked a variety of questions. It must have been about 15 to 20 minutes of questions. Then Chris faced the camera and ‘asked’ me the questions, so they could get his face.

Out to my study, no wait, walk in when we say so, stop, wait okay, sit down and look at the screen. Looking for information, with a camera over your shoulder is very interesting. I thought the sound was off and then Chris asks if we could have sound on this bit, only to be told it was being recorded, the whole time. I can hear some editing being done on that. They then did a shot of my hands, just typing anything, interesting. If that bit gets shown, see if you can work out what I typed!

They had me going through my filing cabinet looking for stuff, browsing through my magazine collection, mindful not to show the ad for  Ancestry! We then adjourned to the lounge room, where Chris and I sat and looked at old photos. That’s a wrap!

I don’t know when it will be shown, they will let me know and they have promised copies on the internet link as well.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

New South Wales Police Gazettes, 1854-1930

Have you had a look at these?

 I was looking for an uncle's charges and it was suggested that I look at them. Well...  What a mine of information they are, not all of it good.  I have found my grandfather being charged with desertion of his children, great-grandfather reporting two stolen horses, there is a reward and said uncle up on several charges.

I also discovered a mystery. One of my great-grandmothers was Mary Abberton, with of the above great-grandfather. She was a mother of 15, 13 raised to adulthood, 11 still living at her death in 1914. To me a remarkable woman. So while perusing the Police Gazettes I stumbled on an entry that has me very puzzled.
"Release of Prisoners, week ending 4 August 1861, from Goulburn Gaol, Mary Abberton."

Is this my ancestor? What was the charge? How long did she serve? Questions I'd love to find the answers for, so next stop TROVE.  There are two mentions, in the Goulburn Herald on the 8 May 1861 of a Margaret Abberton being sentenced to three months imprisonment. But wait, the article says that her surname was "erroneously given as Cummings" and that her son was Peter Cummings!

I suppose that Mary could be a pet name for Margaret, a middle name an outright lie? The time frame is right for it to be the same person, so it is one mystery that I don't think I'll be able to solve, yet.

I know what my Mary was doing in 1861, her sixth child, a daughter, Margaret was born.

( I found the gazettes on Ancestry, NSW State Records would have them along with the Society of Australian Genealogists.)

Monday, 9 February 2015

Some helpful websites

With my studies I am often asked for useful websites, to share with the group. These below are some I've 'played' with this week.


For those tricky phrases that we come across in some old documents. It does Latin to English and the reverse.

Glossary of Old Medical Terms - Craig Thonber


For when we find a really strange cause of death or illness. I love finding really peculiar causes and then discovering that they aren't that strange after all.

Old Maps Online


It is a portal to historical maps that are in
These are free but some would like you to log in.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

3 February 1788

Yes, the date is correct! Yesterday was the 227th Anniversary of the first church service held in the Colony of New South Wales. Governor Philip's journal states that it was held under an 'old gum tree' but yesterday there was a service on the corner of Bligh and Hunter Streets. The Australia Christian Nation Association Inc organised it. The Rev Hon Fred Nile did the welcome and a prayer for the nation. Professor The Honorable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO did the official welcome. Speakers mentioned how the service came about and one speaker broached the topic ' Does Out Heritage Matter?' A very  interesting talk.

Professor The Honorable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO delivering her welcome.

                                  The monument on the corner of Bligh and Hunter Streets.

The 3rd February 2015 was also the first meeting, of the year for the Bankstown Family History Group Inc. Barry Ryan was our speaker and he explained the pitfalls of researching his Ryan Family. Most interesting. If you would like to read Barry's story, the February 2011 issue of Australian Family Tree magazine has the story.

We welcomed three new members and members talked about what they had been researching. Several books and web sites were discussed.

Barry Ryan

The group, last night.
We have several hands on workshops, this year. April will be a workshop on TROVE and in May Alan Murrin is going to guide us through FamilySearch.org.  Our March meeting is going to start in the Family History Room of the Bankstown Library, where we are going to do our own research.
Happy Researching.
Bye for now,

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Scottish Naming Patterns.


This is a free link that sets out how this is done. Makes for interesting reading.

Having fun doing research? Lest us know.

My Genealogy week, so far.

Having had a day of, yesterday, for my birthday I thought I'd better do some 'work' today. I finished the ironing and then started on my genealogy filing cabinet, four full drawers! Well one down and three to go. I have sorted, culled and re-filed so that I have the correct families in the correct files. Feeling good that it is done as it has been annoying me for awhile. I still have a desk covered with misfiled certificates and paperwork to finish.

In my December post, A Brick Wall Has Fallen, I mentioned that I was waiting on Arthur Galbraith's Probate Packet and it would be late January before it arrived. Well when I arrived home on January 5th, it was waiting for me. It makes for interesting reading, with him being a grocer and having borrowed money. I also found his will and reading it, he fully expected his wife to re-marry as he states that if she re-marries her portion of the estate goes to the sons..

After Monday's effort I was inspired to do more. Off to Officeworks, on Tuesday and I picked up two packets of suspension files, dividers, sticky labels, 'in tray' (for my desk to hold all the paper that gets on it) and some more sleeve protectors. Now to do some really serious filing!

I took each file out, one at a time and really sorted through them. Did I really need five copies of a document that I had on the computer? No, into the recycling bin. I sorted as I worked and now have the family files all the same colour and marked as to what is in each one. I found documents that should have been entered onto the data base and filed, they are now done. Photos not in their albums and lots of scraps of paper, not dated, no idea where the  information came from. Some I re-checked and filed some were tossed.

Today I tackled the photo drawer and I copied 20 CD's of photos to an external  hard drive and will now give my daughter the box of  CD's for safe keeping. I also 'found' four DC's of documents and maps that I had requested from the Australian War Memorial and the National Library. I uploaded them and can now use them.

Only one drawer left to do and it is tidy as it is but I will still go through it and check. The new paper tray as a bundle in it that I am slowly working through.

I have also spent time doing some serious research and have found documents and articles that have been very helpful. Trove has been fun and it is so easy to get side-tracked by someone not related to you.  trove.nla.gov.au/    Have a look and it is free!

http://www.aif.adfa.edu.au:8080/index.html   This is another free site and is the AIF Database. Easy to use.

Might sort through some more in the paper tray, might go to bed and read.