Friday 29 November 2019

10 years on

10 years on

On Monday 30 November 2009 I wrote my first blog post about the generosity of librarians who curate and share a wide range of resources. Ten years later and now retired, I still find much to read and share from those in the librarian sector. My posts are irregular but the beauty of blogging is in the longer form of content, more than a tweet, more than a picture on Instagram, less fleeting than Facebook. My original title Library Currants reflected my idea of providing small bites of hopefully useful information. Over time this blog has morphed more into a random collection of articles that I think might be of interest to others usually with a touch of “did you know about this” or “did you know how to do this.”

The world of blogging has connected me with a wide range of people throughout the years many of whom I continue to follow and learn from their wisdom. I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge from Richard Byrne’s friendly advice at Free Tech for Teachers and Tim Sherratt’s explorations of the possibilities of digital collections. Dozens of other bloggers continue to  inspire. I use Feedly to gather the blogs and sites I want to read.

My family history interests have opened up a world of genealogy bloggers who share their tips and tricks. Just this week a referral from Dick Eastman’s Online newsletter sent me to a previously ‘unknown by me’ tool on Randy Major’s site. His most recent post Have you tried AncestorSearch on Google Search for searching for ancestors (or living people) lately? makes clever use of Google search advanced features. The tool AncestorSearch compiles a range of possibilities for the names that are input. Head over there and do try it out.

I used AncestorSearch to look for great grandparents Edward Smyth and Margaret Byrne. Yes, I already have quite a lot of information about them but was interested to see if anything else would be revealed. When the full Google search is run, the first result is a blog post I wrote on my family history blog over at Earlier Years.

No surprises there, but further down the results page is a Flickr reference to a stained glass window in their memory. While I have a similar photo taken with my phone, this one is so much better but I would never have found it by searching on Flickr.
Smyth memorial window - Tarlee Catholic church
Detail from Smyth memorial window - Tarlee Catholic Church (my version)
In the Flickr album photographer aquilareen has added all the photos of the windows in the Tarlee Catholic Church and some details of the families that can be found in Trove. In the comments section of these photos I have now added the links to my blog posts about some of those families the windows commemorate. So from a blog referral to a tool to a picture and back to my family history blog.

10 years on, still learning, still blogging. What joys has blogging brought to your life?

Wednesday 21 August 2019

An essential tool for family history bloggers

Is your blog print friendly?

If you have a Blogger blog consider installing a Print Friendly button for those who wish to save your posts or indeed for you to save your own posts to PDF.

Not all browsers have a reading mode to remove the annoying distractions found on many blogs, and not all readers will have a PrintFriendly extension installed on their browser. Many bloggers use Adsense to generate some income. The PrintFriendly button allows your reader to save a post without that extraneous content. It also removes the sidebar and any gadgets contained therein.
  1. In the Layout mode from your Blogger dashboard choose the area where you want to insert the Print Friendly button. On this blog, I have chosen to insert it at the bottom of the post in the Footer area.
  2. Add gadget - choose the HTML/Javascript gadget

  3. Head over to and choose the style of button you want to add.
  4. Select the features you require, decide whether to allow click to delete sections or not, then copy the code generated into the blogger gadget and save.
  5. Save the Layout and choose a post from your blog to view. It will now display your chosen button.
Here's how the heading of a PrintFriendly page appears from one of my recent posts. Notice the choice of text size and image size. Image size can be set to 0 to remove all images.

Once the PrintFriendly page has been generated, hover over individual paragraphs or headings to reveal the bin to delete any sections not needed in the print or PDF version. This only works if you made that selection before copying the code. I have it disabled on this blog.
Do experiment and test what works best for you.

To view an alternate PrintFriendly button head over to my family history blog, Earlier Years or view the PrintFriendly button inserted in the sidebar in Just at Tarlee.


  • If the button is installed in the footer area of the page, it displays at the bottom of all the posts you have chosen to have display. To determine how many posts show on your main page go to Settings | Posts and Comments | Show at most and select the desired number.  It will always display when an individual post link is selected.
  • If the button is installed in the Sidebar it is always visible, but will print all the posts you have chosen to display.

For your own use, consider installing the free PrintFriendly extension for Chrome and simply click on it when you visit one of those annoying sites with dozens of advertisements.

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Sunday 30 June 2019

Email subscriptions to blogs

Checking out Feedburner

A reent notification from Google had me scurrying to Feedburner to check out my email subscription settings on my blogs. The Blogger platform uses Feedburner to manage email subscriptions.
To check out your email subscriptions head to

  1. Click on My Feeds at the top of the page 
  2. Choose from your blog list to view the dashboard for that feed

From here you can see when and from which country your email subscribers accessed your blog.

From the Feed Stats Dashboard I chose See more about your subscribers. This indicates 0 reach on June 28 as there was no blogpost on that day. One can select the last 7 days, or month or all time to view the email reach.

At the bottom of the next screen choose Feedburner Email Subscriptions then Manage your Email Subscriber List

It was here that I found dozens of dodgy email addresses many subscribed on the same day or within 2 or 3 days. It is a tedious process to delete them one by one.

This sample was from 2017 and there were more instances of these type of subscriptions recently. 

You can also see the incomplete subscriptions, so if family members were confused by the process of subscribing by email, there is an opportunity to explain to them that the email they received from Feedburner was a legitimate step to follow in signing up to your blog.

Do you know who is subscribing by email to your blog?

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Tuesday 18 June 2019

A Scurry Hurry in Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire County Show

What better to do on a warm sunny day than attend a County Show. Well accustomed to Australian shows it was interesting to view the similarities and differences with this very English experience. The county showgrounds are not far from St Albans where we had been staying, but with no public transport to get there, the traffic was endless in all directions. Cars parked in fields with a long trek to the grounds. Lush grass everywhere, no dusty areas or bare ground.

A variety of arenas provided the venues for horse riding and jumps, cattle showing and judging along with novelty events. Each arena had portable grandstands either end and marquees down one side. I saw no permanent buildings, rather those that could be transported to, or moved around for the next show or event. Show attendants clothed in dark suits and bowler hats were located at every gate as areas were opened and closed to allow passage of beasts or people. 

A new event to me was the scurry driving. We had wandered past a practice area where small ponies in pairs were attached to carts but we had no idea what was to come next. There were a variety of sizes of ponies, some Shetlands and some Welsh. Inside the Jubilee Arena a course was marked out with cones. The driver guides the ponies through these cones at speed and points are awarded for speed of completion and accuracy. The crowd cheered wildly at this skilful spectacle. At the back of the scurry (cart) the second person leant into the corners much like a motorcycle rider.

These pony pairs also had paired names so Pride and Joy, Suited and Booted, Bangers N Mash, Stand and Deliver, Morse and Code, Blink and Miss It, Fast and Furious being a few of those I remember. Fun all around.

Pony cart at Hertfordshire county show

Pony cart

Shortly after this spectacle the working shire horses plodded in. Two magnificent whites towing a brewery waggon demonstrated their skills by following voice commands to back up and manoeuvre that heavy cart. Others pulled ploughs and carts demonstrating skills and equipment from the past.

On to the cattle which were housed in large temporary marquees, no pens here but copious amounts of hay underfoot. Large beasts of a variety of breeds stood side by side in comparative peace seemingly untroubled by the stream of humans passing nearby.

After sharing a lunch in the sunshine we ventured into the sheep pavilion. Here was the biggest surprise of all. Vintage breeds looking nothing like many of the sheep we are accustomed to in farms in Australia were housed in small pens with ribbons on display.
Below is a collection of photos of these weird and wonderful beasts, some loooking more like goats than sheep, but sheep they indeed were!

We had a delightful day out with our daughter and her parents in law, it has just taken me a couple of weeks to finally get around to writing about it. Hertfordshire County Show was held on 25th -26th May 2019.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Hellfire on a sunny day

A gothic facade, chalk tunnels and a mausoleum
Entrance to the caves

Such was the vision that greeted us on arriving at West Wycombe on this sunny May morning. We descended into the chalk tunnels to learn of their history and the characters involved.  Long winding passages led us downward with side passages revealing the history of the excavations funded by the Baronet of Dashwood to build a road to High Wycombe back in 1750 after the failure of local harvests in the three preceding years.
Chalk was chipped and then taken by wheelbarrow through these narrow passages up to the surface. The men were paid a shilling a day. It is unclear why  the chalk was mined in this manner with the creation of the long passages and culminating in a grand central hall. It seems that he was working to create a new phenomenon underground while others built their follies above ground.

The Hell-fire club from which the caves take their name had been established by Sir Francis Dashwood firstly with the name of the Knights of Sir Francis but as the meetings became more ribald through the years, the underground chambers were more suitable for secrecy than an above ground venue.

High above the caves the Dashwood Mausoleum stands atop the hill. The hexagonal structure is open air with iron gates barring entrance to mere mortals. The scale of the structure dwarfs us as we trudge uphill.
  This enormous structure is made of walls covered in flint and internally there are arches and niches to contain urns and busts of the deceased. 


The tower of the church of St Lawrence rises behind the Mausoleum and is topped with a golden orb which can be seen as one approaches the town.
A graveyard full of ancient markers surrounds the church. 

On descent into the village we see that here is a medieval centre not adapted to tourists as it retains it charms of old.

An enjoyable day out shared with family - my husband, daughter and son-in-law.

Further details about West Wycombe attractions 
Wikipedia Hellfire Caves
Dashwood Mausoleum

Saturday 11 May 2019

A pathway to indexing

Local History Preserved

Volunteers at Cooroy Noosa Genealogical & Historical Group have created a new index. Over the last 20 years the members of the Group have collected and collated a wide range of historical documents, photos and newspaper clippings about the residents and events in the local Cooroy region and its surrounding districts in the Noosa Shire, Queensland.

These collections are housed in folders which until now have been of limited use except for those with amazing local knowledge. The scope of the collection covers the early days of the region up to and including local living legends from the last twenty years. It has been the long term intention of the group to provide a comprehensive index to these materials and now that the new Heritage Centre has been planned, paid for from extensive fundraising efforts, built and occupied for two years, the time for this undertaking has come.

Driven by stalwarts of the group, Bev Warner and Margaret Rickard, a planning meeting was held, the data fields decided and templates developed. I held an introductory session to indexing which was well attended by a representative body of members. A core group of six volunteers have commenced this task. We view this task as an ongoing one which may take several years to complete given the size of the collection.

In order to provide ongoing funding for the group it has been decided to publish a limited selection of the data to the public website so that further information about the resources can be sought through the group’s research services, or by visiting the centre for full access to the records indexed. The data fields include:

  • Surname
  • First name/Initial
  • Date
  • Business/ Organisation
  • Town/Location
  • Subject/Occasion
  • Media
  • Notes
  • Source
  • Shelf location
The data provided on the web includes these three fields:
  • Surname
  • First name/Initial
  • Subject

Indexers have been provided with a range of templates in versions of Word, Excel, Writer and Calc along with a Google Form for those who may choose to enter data directly online. Not all fields will have data for each item.  Data is compiled into a master spreadsheet and stored in the Group's Google Drive and is also housed on local external hard drives.

In only one month of indexing almost 700 items have been added. These include newspapers articles that are not on Trove, local ephemera such as business receipts from the 1930s and much more. As more folders are indexed the data will be progressively updated. This new index is a valuable addition to the Group's research capabilities and will be a treasure trove of information for future historians and genealogists. If you had ancestors or relatives in this area, take a look at our newly minted local resources index or visit the Heritage Centre in Cooroy to learn more.

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Saving articles from current news

Today I've read an article about the restoration of the Smyth chapel in West Terrace cemetery, Adelaide. This chapel was established as a memorial to John Smyth, the brother of one of my great grandfathers.
While it remains available online it can be read at the home of The Southern Cross newspaper under this title Major restoration of historic West Terrace funeral chapel.

Online articles often disappear quickly or can only be found in subscription archives after their expiry date. To keep this article for my family history records, I prefer to have it stripped of all advertising.

On this website there is the handy option of Print article which strips the advertising but retains the reference details of the date and page of publication. My preference is to Print to PDF then save to an appropriate folder on my computer and to my Smyth family notebook in Evernote.

Print Options

In the Print Options the choices depend on the programs installed on the computer. From the Destination drop down menu in the Print dialog choose More to reveal all the options available
Print options

Web clippers

If you have the Evernote clipper installed in your browser, one option provided is to Save the simplified article to the notebook of your choice. This also eliminates all the advertising.

Using the Evernote web clipper - simplified article

Another option from the Evernote web clipper is to take a screenshot. This provides the user with annotation tools. This is useful if saving articles from local papers that are published via where printing and saving is usually disabled.

Using the Evernote Screen clipper - use the annotation tools to add source details

Similar options are available through Awesome Screenshot and OneNote. These add ons are available for most browsers and both Windows and Mac operating systems.

This post first appeared on

Monday 1 April 2019

Genealogy blogs A-Z challenge

Each year the A to Z challenge provides an opportunity for bloggers to choose a theme and post using the letters of the alphabet during April. There are over 550 bloggers participating. Below is a list of those who have indicated that their theme is Genealogy focussed.  

This is my third year of participating, once on this blog and now for a second time on my family history blog. My focus this year is on digitising my mother's recipe collection to preserve her handwriting and pass on some of her favourite recipes.

Anne's Family History
The Old Trunk in the Attic
Cheryl Hunnisett
Finding Eliza
Nanniemarcy Family History Stories
Genealogy Blog: A blog about genealogy in Denmark
Family Wise Limited
The Genealogy Show
Virginia Allain
Pressing M
Jollett Etc
A Home for the Family Tree
Earlier years
The Past Whispers
Family history across the seas
The Keough Corner

This post first appeared on

Saturday 9 March 2019

On World Genealogy Day

Heritage Centre at 17 Emerald St, Cooroy, Queensland
How appropriate on World Genealogy Day that this afternoon at Cooroy, the local Historical and Genealogical Society was presented with the Centenary Medal from the Royal Historical Society of Queensland.

This medal recognises
Service to the Discipline of History in its many Forms with particular reference to the Research, Preservation and Promotion of the History of Queensland
The group which commenced operations in 1996, has worked tirelessly and successfully to raise funds to build and establish a Heritage Centre. The new building was completed in December 2016 and now houses the Group's comprehensve library and well equipped research centre.

Congratulations to the hardworking members of the committees throughout the years and the members who contributed to the success and realisation of this venture. Through their efforts and the ongoing efforts of the members of the group, the local history of the region is being preserved.

Please visit our website to learn more about the group and the local history resources available.

Snapshot of web site

This post first appeared on

Friday 8 February 2019

Using emojis in blog posts

Could emojis be useful in blog posts?

Following a tip from Jake Miller about using emoji bullets in Google Docs and Slides, I investigated a couple of ideas for using them in Blogger.

📌 subsitute for plain bullet points
📌 to add some colour

Several ways to access emojis

 1️⃣   From the blogger menu bar, Insert special characters reveals a wide range of emoji.
Insert special characters from Blogger menu bar

2️⃣   In Windows 10 Use the WIN logo key and period to reveal this pop-up from which to select emojis. It is displaying the 1 and 2 I've just used.

Pop-up displayed - WIN key and period

3️⃣   Use the Windows 10 touch keyboard. To enable the touch keyboard on non-touch screens, right click on the task bar and ensure touch keyboard has a tick next to it. The icon for the keyboard now shows on the task bar. Click on the task bar icon to use the keyboard on screen with either mouse or touchpad.

win10 touch keyboard
Touch keyboard

4️⃣   Can't find the emoji you want? Try EmojiCopy

Keep in mind that emoji may display differently to the one you inserted depending on the device your reader is using. These numbers I have used 1- 4 appeared blue when inserted, but display as white when published here on Windows 10, but retain their colour on the ipad. Have fun investigating.

This post first appeared on

Annoying Anonymous

Is that really you?

My blogs are set up so that any comments made are sent to me for approval before publication. Most days I receive a comment from that unidentifed person or robot Anonymous. 

Anonymous, your comments are never going to be published even if they are sometimes complimentary. Comments are only published when the commenter's details are provided so please stop wasting your time and my time.

This post first appeared on

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