Tuesday 21 November 2017

Merciful Trove

Searching Trove for the religious

Where is that elusive nun, brother or priest? In preparation for a series of posts on the relatives who entered Catholic religious life, I’ve been trawling through Trove once more.
Name searches sometimes come up trumps but without dates to narrow the field, some more creative searches are  needed to find the required information.

Two female relatives entered the religious order of the Sisters of Mercy, Western Australia in the beginning of the last century but I was uncertain of dates of their commitment to religious life. Many religious orders have archives and some may hold the information sought, but some creative searching in Trove often yields results. Once I had some key dates from a helpful archivist, I set to work searching to see if I could any find further details. When I had located my two candidates, I thought it may be useful for others to have access to a list of those who had joined this order of nuns.

To make such a list in Trove, I decided to concentrate on finding  the women of the order rather than information about their convents or the work they undertook. Background information and the history of this order in Australia is available from the archives of the  Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea.

To become a member of the order the young women usually joined a convent novitiate as postulants. The next step in the membership was the formal reception into the order where the young lady dressed as a bride and was presented to the church as a suitable candidate, a bride of Christ.

After committing herself to the service of God, she was given a religious name, as well as a nun’s habit and veil. In the case of the Mercy order of nuns, this was a white veil. Two or more years later when the Mother Superior adjudged her suitability, the final profession of vows was made and the black veil donned. A professed Sister obtained the title Mother through a variety of circumstances usually those of position, responsibility and expertise.

Key words, terminology to use when searching for female religious

novice, novitiate, postulant, reception, profession, vows, convent, religion, sister mary [name], mother mary [name], and the name of the religious order.

A wide variety of combinations of the above terms yield results. Results also vary according to styles of reporting over time.

The two most successful advanced searches : Mercy convent reception, profession vows Mercy,  LIMIT articles, to exclude all advertising LIMIT Western Australia, to focus on this particular branch of members.
Once names had been located and identified, I was then able to search using
sister mary [name] OR mother mary [name] OR sister m [name] OR mother m [name] to find extensive obituaries and in some cases death or funeral notices.
Another effective search I used for death and funeral notices: Digitised newspapers - Advanced Search - The phrase - Convent of Mercy - Limit - Western Australia - Limit - Family Notices.

To complete the task I had set myself, I then checked the burial records by surname and year at the  Metropolitan Cemeteries Board of Western Australia.

Here are the results of my searches in the form of a chronological list on Trove about the Sisters of Mercy – Western Australia from 1846 - 1954.

Novices, profession ceremonies and jubilee celebrations of the Sisters of Mercy in Western Australia. This list deals with women's personal details, the ceremonies that celebrated their entrance into the order, their profession of vows, some appointments and celebrations of jubilees in their religious lives. Death and funeral notices as well as obituaries are included. Brief notes detailing given and religious names where available have been extracted and included in the comments.

1913 'The Woman of the Hour in Western Australia! And Her Life's Work of 60 Years !', The W.A. Record (Perth, WA : 1888 - 1922), 27 September, p. 3. , viewed 21 Nov 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article212627100

If you have "lost" a Catholic female relative in your family history, this may be one way to find her. To search this list from a computer use CTRL-F (Win) or CMD-F (Mac) and on a mobile device use Find in Page from the browser's menu.

UPDATE - Additional lists of religious on Trove

This list pertains to the nuns of the Dominican order - Cabra and Franklin Street and associated convents. It lists receptions into the order, professions, some death and funeral notices and obituaries. The same notices may appear in more than one paper, so a selection for each event has been made. 

Additional personal details taken from SA, BMD indices and from http://religiousorders.gravesecrets.net/cabra-dominican-nuns.html have been added in brackets [ ]. 

This list pertains to the nuns of the Dominican order - Molesworth Street, North Adelaide and associated convents. It lists receptions into the order, professions, some death and funeral notices and obituaries. 

Additional personal details taken from SA, BMD indices and from http://religiousorders.gravesecrets.net/dominican-sisters-of-north-adelaide.html have been added in brackets [ ]. 

This post first appeared on https://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2017/11/merciful-trove.htm

Monday 2 October 2017

The joys of travel

Unexpected delights and tribulations have always been the lot of the traveller. so too has been our experience in the last two weeks of touring England and Wales as an add on to a planned family visit to our daughter, son-in-law and their delightful 18 month old.

Revisiting the Cotswolds after forty two years renewed our acquaintance with this charming area. Our travel through to North Wales reminded us of how intensely the UK is farmed and we saw a wide variety of agricultural pursuits throughout these regions. The driving on very narrow roads can be challenging but the Brits are very polite drivers and are accustomed to pulling over in the narrowest of spaces.


The rich fields of Wales support more sheep to the acre than one can ever imagine to see. The mountain area of Snowdonia and its glacial valleys were a treat to see. Somewhere in Wales with the unpronounceable name (for me) of Gwernymynydd we mananged to collect a parking fine. Wow £60, a king's ransom, despite our assiduous search for the pay and park sign. The hillsides of slate and abandoned mines in Wales are reminders of times past whereas the ubiquitous blue P, a sign of the present day, has had us digging deep for many pound coins in all the places we have visited across the UK. After a three day stay in Llandudno, from where we explored as far afield as Anglesey and Holyhead as well as the nearby beautiful National Trust Bodnant Garden  we moved to Chirk to begin our narrow boat adventure.

Bodnant Garden near Conwy, Wales

At Chirk marina we boarded our narrow boat 'Ruby' for four days. This was a novel experience and thanks to my husband's persistence and skill in manoeuvring the beast we conquered the curves, tunnels, locks and aqueducts. Our route towards Ellesmere revealed a twisty tree lined canal where we were amused by all the cows canal side, along with hundreds of ducks and sheep wandering down for a drink. Two locks conquered and rest breaks for morning tea and lunch and soon the day was gone. Passing through overhanging trees and viewing the attractive countryside from the walking pace of the boat, this was a magical experience.

One of the many bridges to be negotiated along the canal

Next day on our journey back past Chirk there was another challenging tunnel. Light on, power up against the current and through we went. Once past that we approached a swing bridge, another new experience. Once wound up and we were through, the famous aqueduct of Pontyscillite was only a short distance from there so we decide to cross and find a turning place at Trevor.

Entering the aqueduct high above the Dee River

What an experience, 38 metres high above the Dee river with a sheer drop and no fence on the left hand side approaching from this direction. I stepped off on to the walking path on the right to take photos. With a phone camera it is difficult to get perspective but the valley was far below. Across the aqueduct lies the small basin and settlement of Trevor. We had decided not to progress to Llangollen township taking into account the time it had taken us to get this far and the rapidly deteriorating weather conditions. Chris threaded the boat through the narrowest of spaces and managed a five point turn. This led us back to the aqueduct where two boats were slowly progressing towards us. The rain was now steady as we recrossed in the other direction. No photos this time as the weather closed in. The narrow canals near the aqueduct provide no mooring space so about half an hour later we were relieved to tie up for the night. The next morning dawned sunny and bright so we walked back and crossed the aqueduct again, this time on foot and we marvelled once again at this amazing engineering wonder. On Friday morning we returned the boat well before the 9 am deadline and left the marina to head north.

'Ruby' our home away from home for 4 nights

We arrived in Chester to once again be charmed by its buildings and general ambience and set out in somewhat drizzly weather to explore. Chester boasts a magnificent collection of 'black and white' buildings incorporating 'the rows' where the covered walkway is above street level with shops below. After enjoying a croissant and coffee we visited the ancient but well endowed cathedral where modern sculpture was on display in the enclosed cloisters and side passageways.

At the corner of Bridge Street and Eastgate Street, Chester

Next to Liverpool where we marvelled at the size of the municipal and civic buildings from earlier times. Walked down to the pier area where we saw and photographed the famous Royal Liver building and next to it the huge square block of the Cunard headquarters. More than 9 million British and Irish immigrants left for the USA, Canada and Australia from the port here. A sculpture of a family of immigrants commemorates their departure. The history of the Cunard line is engraved on large stone tablets near the front of that building. 

The size of many of Liverpool's buildings reminded me of the immense buildings in both Washington and Delhi. St. George's Hall is a huge structure atop the hill, incorporating concert halls and courts. Nearby are the museum and library. The walkway leading into the library has book titles and authors' names engraved into large pavers. There are many signs of renovation and renewal in the city centre.

The Royal Liver building

Onwards to Blackpool in heavy Friday afternoon motorway traffic. Loathe it or like it, it is a cultural phenomenon like no other. The old central pier stretches well out to sea and is crowded with sideshow alley stalls and rides. Pinball parlours are prominent and the whole length of the promenade must be the world's longest sideshow. After dark the Blackpool tower flashes its neon glow as thousands of people crowd the pavements. About thirty Cinderella style carriages await passengers to transport them in their blue, pink or white glass bubbles along the length of the promenade and back. It was a cold windy night but thousands were out with children twirling every imaginable shape of neon lit baubles. 

I write now from the comfort of Toll Cottage in Cockermouth where we arrived yesterday after a day touring some villages of the Lakes District and venturing over the Cumbrian hills. Until now we've had relatively good weather and will venture out again tomorrow after a day of rest and recuperation, essential for the traveller.

Wednesday 9 August 2017

Newspapers: a family album of stories

National Family History Month in Australia

Around the country events are underway once more for National Family History Month.  Noosa Library Service has four events to celebrate NFHM starting today with Newspapers: a family album of stories.

A wealth of family related material is available through newspapers of the past and the rapid digitisation undertaken by organisations, libraries and other authorities provides unprecedented access online. Here's a limited list and some search tips for investigating those resources.

Today's presentation is available to view from this link.

In newspapers of the times one can expect to find family notices, obituaries, details of social occasions, sports teams, memberships of organisations and churches, advertisements, businesses, awards, letters, shipping news, real estate, wills and probate notices, scandal, criminal and divorce proceedings, accidents, photos and more. These pictures of everyday life and situations enrich our family history.


At the top of my list is Trove the National Library of Australia's fabulous free compilation. Use the free login to keep track of your research.

  • Make Lists - public or private, public lists are searchable, allow you to connect with others, share URL Lists for families, people, places, interests – can add related web pages to lists e.g. blog post or other research
  • Check for lists when searching
  • Add tags –  these can be public or private, single or multiple word

PapersPast provides an excellent starting point for New Zealand  and related areas research.
Ryerson index -  index to death notices appearing in current Australian newspapers and includes some funeral notices, probate notices and obituaries

A variety of other top sites

If you are an Australian resident be sure to obtain your free National Library card to gain access to the National Library of Australia eresources –   then browse by Category>Newspapers and Media>Newspapers (O’seas) for these collections
  • British Library newspapers - 17-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers and British Library Newspapers (parts I - V). The time period covered by these combined collections is 1600-1950.
  • Times digital archive – 1785-2011 
  • The Telegraph Historical Archive 1855-2000  over 1 million pages of content and includes the Sunday edition from its inception in 1961.
  • The Sunday Times Digital archive 1822-2006 - Early issues contained colourful information on murders, mysteries, theatre, sport and politics
  • The Illustrated London News Historical Archive - complete access to every issue of this illustrated newspaper for a period of 160 years
  • Irish newspaper archive  -Dates from 1763 to the present and includes a mix of out of print titles and current titles, providing word-searchable access to articles or full pages
With  your State Library of Queensland login visit the eresources
At Search databases choose News>Australia and New Zealand
  • The SMH archives - 820,000 pages  Sydney Morning Herald and The Sun-Herald,  1955 - February 2nd, 1995  All articles, captions and advertisements are fully keyword searchable  Search birth, death and marriage notices
  • The Age 2006 -2017 toggle for current issues of SMH 2006 - 2017
British Newspaper Archives $ site – also available through FindMyPast 
List of titles available  Register for 3 free views
The London Gazette, Edinburgh Gazette and Belfast Gazette  - Free 350 years good for appointments, obituaries
No longer being updated but still useful to find free Historical European newspapers 
Wikipedia List of Online newspaper archives
Family Search Wiki Digital historical newspapers
Library of Congress - Chronicling America  free site 

Learn more

Shelley at Twigs of Yore has published a useful Trove helper.
Barbara Kernos has published a free ebook Getting the most out of Trove
Kenneth Marks at Ancestor Hunter has written extensively  and provided tutorials about searching newspapers.

YouTube channels

View a variety of channels to pick up the best tips from the experts.
Enjoy National Family History month and search those newspapers for your families

Book for the next three sessions detailed below

A Brief Introduction to Family History Research

Learn what’s online, useful books to read, the benefits of joining genealogy and family history societies, and how to record and organise your research. Presented by Shauna Hicks.

Noosaville 10-11am Tuesday 15 August. Free. Bookings required. Book here.

Court Records for Family and Local History

Discover the treasures that family and local historians can find in court records including those created by the Supreme Court, Court of Petty Sessions, Licensing Court, Small Debts Court, Coroner’s Court, District Court, Circuit Court, Children’s Court. Presented by Judy Webster.

Cooroy 1-3pm Thursday 24 August Free. Bookings required. Book here

Writing Your Family History

Do you want to share the family stories you’ve found in researching your family tree? This presenatation will help with what to consider before you start developing a plan. Presented by Pauleen Cass.

Noosaville 1-3pm Wednesday 30 August Free. Bookings required. Book here.

Thursday 15 June 2017

How to find and manipulate Google news archive information

As a family historian I aim to find as many records as possible for individuals. It is not always possible to visit repositories where copies of required articles are held or indeed to find them online.

I had located a death date for a Thomas Joseph Horgan on 8 December 1975 through the Ryerson Index. I searched in the Sydney Morning Herald archives narrowing by date for the notice but without success.  However I am aware that there a quite a few editions of this paper in the Google News Archive as I have used it several times to obtain information about other relatives.

Here’s the process I follow to locate and then transform an image into something useful. The Google news archive search function is usually not specific enough to locate particular information needed.

1. Select Sydney Morning Herald from the list of newspapers.

2. Enter the the month and year, this seems to be the most efficient method of getting to the required edition. An exact date sometimes only takes one to a near month.
The search bars in Google News Archive

3. Select the edition required – in this case I was interested in December 9

Individual editions detail - Google news archive

I then scrolled through the pages until I came to the page with the Death Notices. Oh no! the scanning had been done as a mirror image! No quality control applied....

Several pages in this issue had been scanned in reverse

4. I clipped the two notices and saved the image. [N.B. in most cases one can click on the headline to get a link to the section where the notice is published but this was not possible with the reversed image]

5. Open photo editing software. I used Photoshop but this can be done in most robust photo editors such as the free IrfanView or free online Pixlr editor Use Flip Image then rotate to make the text legible. I added some pixels to the canvas size and included the citation on the bottom of the image obtained.

6. The final product – blurry but legible

Clipped notices with citation added

7. Before adding this to my family history database I opened the image in Google Keep and used Grab the image text. This minimises the amount of typing I need to do but gives me plenty of exposure to analysing the text as as I look for the errors that may need correction.

Image in Google Keep - Grab image text
Transcription of notices – with Google’s help.

HORGAN Thomas Joseph.
December 8, 1975 at hospital of Glebe, dearly loved brother of Agnes (Mrs Daly)
and Mary, dear friend of Rheta. Requiescat in pace.
See Wednesday's Herald for funeral announcement.
HORGAN. Thomas Joseph.
December 8. 1975 devoted friend of all at Mount St. Margaret's
Little Sisters of the Poor, Randwick.

1975 Deaths, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 December, p.30 online in Google news archive,
viewed 15 June 2017.

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2017/06/how-to-find-and-manipulate-google-news.html

Thursday 8 June 2017

Picture this

Noosa river at sunset
A view of Noosa river at sunset

Each day in April I posted a picture along with my short recollection for the day over on Earlier Years. Many of those pictures I had sourced throughout the year from my own files and some from Pixabay. I created the daily graphics in Canva, Pixlr, Over, WordSwag or Haiku Deck. Some of these are available as apps on both iOS and Android, some have a web interface and all require minimal skill to output an acceptable graphic.

Now as the cooler weather of winter bids me spend more time indoors, I’ve sorted many digital snaps taken on my daily walks around the local area along with some photos from trips we’ve taken. I’ve  added some generic text that may focus my thoughts on a particular area of family history.

Dead palm frond
Dead palm frond
So far I’ve uploaded 35 of these pictures to Flickr in this album Images for family history blogposts. They are in a variety of sizes and shapes and will load quickly on any page. Some of these may prove useful for my readers, so I’ve made them public and set the date on all of these as June 2017, not the original date these photos were taken. If you have suggestions for further graphics along these lines, please add your ideas in a comment.

For those who will be attending Congress 2018 in Sydney next March be sure to get along to Jill’s session on Beaut Blogs: Ideas for Tarting up your Geneablogs. She will have lots more, ideas galore, for you to explore.

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Introduction to Family History

Heritage month

During May the local library has been celebrating Heritage Month with a range of events. On Thursday I attended an informative talk by Judy Webster on Ancestors who Moved or Vanished.

This week it is my turn to present a session entitled An Introduction to Family History. Last year I collaborated with the local heritage librarian on this session. Here are my updated, revised slides.

Essential Australian resources

Archives - States WA, SA, Vic, NSW, Qld, Tas, NT, ACT National - NAA
Australian Births, Marriages and Deaths WA SA , Vic NSW Qld Tas NT ACT
National Library of Australia - Family History guide, Trove
Each State library has a guide to researching your family history. Sign up to obtain a card for both your State library and the National Library of Australia to gain free access to their eresources.

Additional places to find lists of resources
CoraWeb Helping you trace your family history
Cyndi'sList Australia

Family History forms and charts Free from Family Tree magazine
Free forms and charts from Ancestry

There are a wealth of resources digitised online and so many more offline. Join your local family history society for some expert help and guidance.

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2017/05/introduction-to-family-history.html

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Android phone 2

This second 2 hour workshop for Android beginners at Noosaville Library covers the functions within these basic apps.

  • Clock
  • Google app
  • Chrome
  • email and 
  • note taking with Google Keep
How to add and manage apps and widgets is also covered. Time is allocated to helping individuals with the wide range of different Android phones and to answering queries generated since the previous session.

Useful everyday apps

  • Books and reading - BorrowBox, Kindle, Google Play Books, Overdrive, Scribd, Feedly
  • Documents - Adobe reader, Docs, Sheets, Slides
  • Listening - ABC radio, TuneIn Radio, Google Play Music
  • Notetaking - Evernote, Google Keep
  • Online storage - Dropbox, Google Drive, Photos (Google), Flickr
  • Phone calls and messaging - Viber, Skype, Whats app
  • Photography - Aviary, Photos (Google), PhotoFunia, Photoshop Express, Pixlr, Prisma, Snapseed
  • Scanners - Camscanner, Photoscan, Scanbot
  • Social - Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, Google+, Twitter
  • Tools - Maps, Calendar, Calculator, Smart measure, WiFi transfer, Airdroid, Photosync
  • Video - YouTube
  • Voice recording - Evernote, Google Keep, Easy voice recorder
To use magnification in any app, including using the camera as a magnifying glass go to - Settings, Accessibility, Magnification gestures to turn it on. Triple tap in any app to activate. 

Drop in to Tech help - 2 pm on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month at Noosaville Library for more friendly assistance.

 This post first appeared on https://librarycurrants.blogspot.com

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Android phone 1

This is the first in a series of two workshops for Android phones to be held at Noosaville Library on 9th and 23rd March, 2017. the slides are based on Android 6.0.1. on a Nexus 5.

Useful guides for Android phones

Both of these sites provide a wide range of manuals and guides for many modern phones. Choose the manufacturer or brand first then select phone.

This post first appeared on https://librarycurrants.blogspot.com

Monday 27 February 2017

iPad basics

This session was presented at Noosaville Library in February 2017 and again in August during Seniors Week. A keen group of seniors gathered to learn some basic iPad functions and operations.

Use right arrow or tap on slide to advance

Useful links

iPad User Guide iOS 10 from Apple. Here's a tutorial on how to use the guide
iPad basics - brief tutorials from GFC Learn free 

This post first appeared on https://librarycurrants.blogspot.com

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Three simple code tweaks for bloggers

Here’s some easy code for your blog. I like to add references to the end of my family history posts rather than have them intrude in the story. Blogger and the free Wordpress sites have limited tools so a little code is useful for improving the view on the blog.

Three easy ones to use are:
  • blockquote
  • superscript or subscript numbering
  • horizontal line
Here’s how they look along with the code to make it happen.


This is an example where the text is indented and continues to remain so on the following lines. It is ideal for highlighting such things as text from newspaper notices. I sometimes use it for extensive obituaries in preference to italics. Use the HTML page of your blog and insert the code shown in the picture below. In some blog themes blockquotes may appear with a different background colour or font compared to the rest of your post.
blockquote (1)


Rather than interrupt the flow of text insert numbered references, footnotes below the finished post. Decide on either superscript or subscript and use the code shown below to surround the number. I suggest you add the numbers as you type and add the appropriate references below your post. When the post is finished go to the HTML page and find each number within the text. Add the chosen code either side of the number as show below. Superscript1 subscript2

Horizontal Line

This one is super simple, but again finish the post first. On the HTML page place the cursor where you want the line to appear. Using the same bracket < to open the code, type hr then > to close. Here I’ve used a horizontal line code directly after the heading Horizontal Line, then I’ve added another one at the end of this paragraph. These simple tweaks can enhance your blog and break up long sections of text. See the use made of this code on my family history blogpost The family rally around.

This post first appeared at http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2017/02/three-simple-code-tweaks-for-bloggers.html

Monday 13 February 2017

Tips for Windows 10

Whether you have tablet or computer, Windows 10 has some great features to make life easier for computer learners. There are a wide range of tutorials and guides to Windows 10 published on the web but a hands on session with one's own laptop or tablet gives people a chance to have their questions answered. Here’s a basic guide I used today at my local library with a keen group of senior learners.

To view full screen for clarity, use the four pointed arrowhead, press ESC to return to this page.

Useful articles and videos

Enjoyed this post? Want to see more?