Friday 29 August 2014

Who served, when and where?

Military ancestors

Today I attended the fourth workshop this month provided by the Noosa Library Service for National Family History Month.
Bob, the volunteer genealogy expert ably assisted by the heritage librarian Jane, once again provided an excellent session, this time on finding one's military ancestors.

He addressed why one would expect to find some military among one's forbears, likely sources of information and then introduced the group to a wide range of sources.

How do you find out if you had military ancestors? Perhaps there are mementos, medals, family stories, photos or information on certificates and in newspapers.
Such a comprehensive topic cannot be summarised in a single post but listed below are some sources mentioned in today's session and some ideas for research.

Types of military records that exist

  • lists of officers and enlisted men and naval ratings
  • Regular service records and militia records
  • pension records
  • various published lists - such as the annual Army Lists 
  • Medal rolls
  • promotions and awards citations in gazettes: such as London, Belfast and Edinburgh Gazettes all free online
  • honour rolls
  • books - early records of battles and campaigns
  • casualty lists, missing and wounded
  • Muster lists
  • Attestation papers 
  • Biographical records eg naval biographical dictionary, specialist books on individual campaigns or battles
  • POWs of WWI Red Cross records now freely available 
  • regiment and unit histories 
  • Australian War Memorial digitised collections 
  • Courts martial

Records that are available

  • Pension records: exclusion period for service and pension records in Britain - 70 years
  • Not all records mentioned above have survived  - WW1 and other casualties (Britain)
  • Increased digitisation, some may be available only by application/request
  • Some may be available but are not indexed
  • Officers records may be more difficult to obtain

Location of Records

After learning so much in this session I was delighted this afternoon to be notified that I had won a 12 month subscription to Ancestry through their sponsorship of National Family History Month. All in all it has been a good month for learning and now I have a wonderful opportunity to further my research.

Other useful lists and blogs

Military Records guide - State Library of South Australia
Military medals - Shauna Hicks
Australian Colonial Forces State Library of Victoria
Australian Light Horse Research  - covers 1899 -1920
Find a soldier's will British Armed Forces 1850 - 1986

This post first appeared on

Thursday 21 August 2014

Newspapers: A family album of stories

Finding your family in the news

Newspapers are a wonderful source of information for the family historian. In Australia we are so fortunate to have free access to hundreds of digitised newspapers through Trove dated from early white settlement until recent times. 
Below is a presentation about these newspaper sources. The notes that follow were prepared for the participants in the National Family History Month workshop at Noosaville Library.

Types of information found

Sale of farms and equipment
Land selection details
Newspaper article of husband seeking letters of administration after wife’s death
Probate notices
Engagement, Marriage, Silver and Golden wedding celebrations
Birth and death notices
Tragic accidents
Ownership of businesses
Social events
Details of jobs held
Prizes won and performances given
School concert details

Tips for thinking about search terms

Name variations

Think of the time - the war not WW1. Search  an event instead of name.
Search for husband to see referrals to wife search for Mrs. Horgan, Mrs J M Galvin sometimes with intials included, sometimes no initials.

View whole page to get other ideas related stories. Single name search “johanna horgan” what else can I learn when I view the whole page from 1880                                
· cost of loaf of bread, price of a pair of shoes, entertainment of the day - Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Think of combinations from known data e.g. name and ship
“o’leary dugdale” search led to 90th birthday article detailing arrival of couple with 3 children, then working in Adelaide, purchase of land at Salisbury and subsequent family of 12 children
Name search: ‘Andrew O’Leary’ signature of petition against introduction of convicts to SA
Surname and Town: O'Leary’s were big into ploughing matches around Salisbury and Dry Creek perhaps this is how Honora O'Leary met John Horgan (my great grandparents) in the early 1860s.

Best use practices

Use of limiters: whole country or state, dates, type of information
Saving articles – PDF, Image, Citing
Making lists
Text correction – improve search, leave a legacy pay it forward
notifications of new material
Choice of how to save, always include citation. Enlarge on page for jpg, PDF
Screen clipping tools

You may also be interested in these articles
Adding citations to images
Trove's tools

This post first appeared on Library Currants

Thursday 14 August 2014

National Family History Month 2014

NFHM2014 Geneameme

This challenge was posted by Pauleen at Family History across the seas.

1. What are you doing for National Family History Month?

  • I have participated in Geniaus' NFHM Hangout on Air.
  • I have attended 2 x 2 hour Branching Out workshops for family historians at Noosaville Library.
  • I will be listening to Shauna Hick's webinar hosted by MyHeritage
  • Next week I present a workshop at Noosaville Library on Your family in the news (Trove) and then I'll report it here.
  • Blogging - Troveictionary and this meme so far.
  • Following #NFHM2014 on Twitter and reading links from there.
  • Reading my daily collection of genealogy blogs collated in Feedly.
  • Skim reading these email subscribed geneadailies from  Genealogy Geek and Australian Genealogists to make sure there's nothing I've missed through Feedly.

2. What do you hope to learn in NFHM?
How to improve my research and recording of my family's records and stories.

3. Do you research at a family or local history library?
So far just the local library.

4. Do you do all your research online?
Nearly all of it, especially if one counts in downloaded ebooks and PDFs. Since I started this research only a year ago,I've not yet had the opportunity to visit any relevant archives,cemeteries etc.

5. What’s your favourite place to store your family tree?
Currently I've been using My Heritage Family Tree Builder as I can share the associated online site with my siblings and their offspring but I'm considering trying out Family Historian. I would like more sophisticated reports and better media management than I presently have. PDF documents do not display online.

6. If offline, which genealogy program do you use?
As above - I do like that it has a mobile app so I can have data with me anywhere.

7. How do you preserve your family stories for future generations?
I've started a family history blog at Earlier Years and this NFHM focus has reminded me to "get on with it!" I also have a shared Dropbox folder for my siblings and their offspring to contribute documents and photos.All data and documents backed up to Dropbox and external hard drive.

8. Have you any special research projects on the go?
Not so much a research project as an indexing project adding the WWI soldiers from the Cooee SA! project to my Trove memorials and then linking the original Trove articles to individual profiles in Discovering Anzacs. I do hope this may improve the chances of other family historians finding these ancestors.

9. What is your favourite family history research activity?
Piecing together stories of the time by reading the newspapers of the day. I also like to share and teach how to find information, so I enjoy leading sessions for other learners.

10. What is your favourite family history research place/library etc?

11. What is your favourite website for genealogy research?
Trove - I have found so much there, lots of BDMs, celebrations, shipping lists, farm sales and more. I like being able to make lists for families and sort them into date order, gives a quick timeline to put folks in context.

12. Are you part of a Facebook genealogy group? If so which one?
County Kerry Genealogy, and have "liked" so follow quite a few other genealogy related pages as well as archives and libraries.

13. Do you use webinars or podcasts for genealogy? Any tips?
I like recorded webinars as one can then choose to selectively watch - i.e fast forward, rewind as needed.

14. Do you use social media?
Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Librarything,

15. What genealogy topic/class have you learnt the most from this year at a  webinar/conference/seminar? 
How to structure and use research logs.

16. Do you have a favourite research strategy to knock down your brick walls?
Look and look again.

17. Have you used DNA testing for your genealogy?

18. Have you made cousin connections through your DNA tests? 

19. Do you have a wish list of topics for NFHM 2015? 
There is much to choose from so I'm delighted with what is on offer now.

20. What do you most love about your family history research?
Finding unexpected and interesting stories.

Sunday 10 August 2014


Dear family historians and genealogists,

Humour and fun played a large part in my family upbringing. My mother was a word-lover and was quick with repartee and rejoinder. My brother continually did his best to outwit and out-word her often with hilarious results. The rest of the family did our best to disparage and better his offerings, meagre though our efforts were.

It is in this spirit of family fun that I offer you the inaugural, unofficial Troveictionary for National Family History Month 2014. #NFHM2014. Many of us who have sailed in the good ship Trove place great value on this free source of information from the National Library of Australia. The work of those who continue to support and grow this resource is appreciated. Thank you trovekers and troveors! (see below)

Your additions, corrections and suggestions for further edits are sought.
Trovefully yours,


retroveal n. information sourced from Trove
to trove v. to seek information in Trove
troveable adj. able to be found in Trove
trovearium n. nurturing environment for Trove products, home of the family API with progeny @TroveBot, @TroveNewsBot. queryPic, Trove traces with new family members regularly added. AskTrove is a new member of this family.
troveatorium n. houses working spaces for TimPaul and the trovekers
trovectionary n. sweet unexpected finds
trovee n. beneficiary of Trove information
trovefully adv.
troveia n. tidbits of information seemingly useless but great for pub nights or as conversation starters
troveial adj. (see troveia)
troveient adj. well suited for inclusion in Trove
troveite n. one addicted to Trove
troveitis n. addictive disease prone to strike late at night
troveker n. a data worker, manager, librarian within the troveatorium
trovel v. to dig around in Trove
troveller n. an information digger a.k.a. family historian
trovement n. repository for found information
troveor n. major contributor to Trove
trover n. seeker of information
trovesty n. misleading OCR errors

to be readers troveadour, trovester, Trovember

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Just note it!

Notoriously yours

Tired of those scraps of paper around the house? Collect all your notes together so that they are easy to find and search.Your tablet or phone usually has a note or memo app installed. On iPads and iPhones it is just called Notes. On Samsung devices SNote is installed and on other Android devices you may have Google Keep or one of a dozen other note-taking apps.

My favourite note-taking app is Evernote and I use this on my phone, my laptop and my ipad. At a glance I can see and search for any notes I've made no matter which device I am using. By adding titles and tags to my notes that makes it even easier to locate my information. All good note apps have search built in so that any word within a note can be found.

Here's some ideas for things you may like to keep notes for, so that you always have them handy.
  • Shopping lists - with favourite brand names
  • Names, models and serial numbers of electrical appliances
  • Car/cat/dog or any other registration number
  • Size of room, space or cupboard
  • Recipes or lists of ingredients
  • Clothing and shoe sizes and brands for self and others
  • Optometrist
  • Dental
  • Medical
  • Names of any prescription drugs you take
Out and about
  • Meeting notes
  • Titles of books to read
  • Music to acquire
  • Films to see
  • Places to go
  • Price comparisons of intended purchases
  • Travel notes
Some notes will be permanent and others ephemeral. Notes can be edited, altered, deleted to suit. Experiment with the note-taking app on your device to find the best way to use it to suit your needs.

Saturday 2 August 2014

Trove's tools

Lists in Trove

In preparation for a session about Trove for Family History Month, #NFHM2014 I've been reviewing my activities, lists and more on Trove. Currently I have 10 lists related to different South Australian families who are of interest to me in the realm of family history. Some of these lists are public and some private. Lists are a great way of keeping track of the articles found. They can be sorted into date order providing a quick timeline overview of family events.

You can learn about creating and using lists via the very useful Help Centre on Trove.

South Australian Register
 (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 26 May, p. 8,
Another list Mortuary Returns South Australia covers South Australian deaths from 1850 that came to the notice of the Police Department. They were Persons who died, or were found dead, in any Public Place in the Province of South Australia from 1850 onwards. This also covers deaths in the Adelaide Hospital, Lunatic and Destitute Asylum, and other Public Institutions and hospitals. Usually these persons had no known relatives within South Australia.
I add to this list as I correct the text in these notices in Trove. These returns often detail occupation as well as date and circumstances of deaths so could be very useful for genealogists and family historians.

Trove bots

I've also been having even more fun than usual with some of Trove's less well known treasures built by Tim Sherratt. I've been following  @TroveBot and @TroveNewsBot on Twitter and often text correct the articles that are tweeted by the news bot. For some time I've wondered what it would find for me. If you tweet @TroveNewsBot with a keyword, it will respond with its most relevant find. The Galvin vs Galvin court case does not refer to my husband's ancestors as far as I can determine, but given the double occurrence of my keyword, this was news bot's return tweet five minutes after my enquiry - see below.

The other bot @TroveBot is listed as: Tweeting the riches of Trove Australia. These bots are both powered by the Trove API. Thank you Tim and the Trove team.

Have fun during Family History month exploring all that Trove has to offer.

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