Hi all, firstly I would like to thank Julie Goucher and Jill Ball for drawing my attention to, and inviting me to join the Worldwide Genealogy collaboration. I don't know about you, but I continue to be amazed at how the world of genealogy and family history research is advancing. Every day, new and innovative programs, social media and access to more and more records and information becomes available. One of the keys to this advancement is the collaboration and sharing of information and ideas, so I am really thrilled to be involved in this new venture.
A little about me. I live in Sydney, NSW, Australia and work at The University of Technology, Sydney. Yes, another Aussie! I think I have been interested in our family history ever since I was a little girl! when my father used to entertain me with colourful stories of our family history as passed down from older generations. Stories of life on the gold fields, working in the timber industry, driving bullock trains and bushrangers! A collection of elements made to ignite the curiosity of a young girl.
In my early twenties (such a long time ago) I began to seriously research our family history, collecting photos, stories, old letters, newspaper clippings, writing to extended family, searching cemeteries and visiting elderly relatives. The luxury of Internet research wasn't even thought of at this time.
For me the fascination of family research is more than the dates of significant events in family member's lives. I want to know what they thought, if they went to school, what work did they do, what significant social events affected their lives, why did they immigrate, how did they contribute to their community and so on! I believe it is this approach to family history that has led me to take up blogging. It provides me with a platform to share stories, discover connections and in my small way preserve some of our family history.
I started my first blog, Family Stories:Photographs and Memories, about two years ago, not really knowing where it would take me. It has been an interesting journey, with my interests, experiences and connections expanding continually. The realisation that most of the family stories that had been passed on to me were about my great grandfathers and great uncles led me to start a second blog, The Other Half of My Tree - stories of my female ancestors. I view both these blogs as a learning process and an opportunity to connect and share with those who are researching similar themes. I also have to admit that I often procrastinate, have so many stories to tell but as yet haven't put pen to paper.
As others have mentioned access to family research and genealogy is accelerating with amazing developments in new programs, social media and the opportunity to share and collaborate with others. Let me share a couple of sites and tools that I have found useful.
Evernote: I have found Evernote to be an extremely helpful tool for collecting all my family tree bits and pieces. You are able to tag and file articles, pictures and websites with appropriate family connections for further use and reference. On my recent trip to the UK I used Evernote to tag and file photos (taken with my IPad) of gravestones, church and street signs, family homes as well as interesting articles, maps and pages of books discovered while researching in the local library.
Pinterest: Besides being lots of fun, this visual tool is a great way to collect photos and links to articles and blogs on "boards". I have found Pinterest a rewarding method to share blogs and to link with other people interested in genealogy and family tree research.
Two web sites that are definitely among my favourite are TROVE and The British News Paper Archives. These web sites which are being continually updated, hold collections of newspapers from Australia (TROVE) and the United Kingdom (British Newspaper Archives). Both of these sites have not only provided me with many clues in solving family tree links, but also allowed me to learn more about the times and events surrounding the lives of my ancestors.
Though I am an amateur genealogist come family tree researcher I am only too happy to share or assist others with their family tree discoveries if I am able. Looking forward to future interaction and collaboration!