I arrived bright and early at 8:30 am to register and receive my goody bag. I walked in to the main area and noticed all the exhibition stands around the perimeter. I noticed stands for Ancestry, GSQ, Gould Genealogy and History, Guild of One Name Studies, Society of One Place Studies, Nepean Family History Group, QFHS, Queensland State Archives, Ryerson Index, Queensland State Library, and the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. There were a couple more, but I did not get a chance to visit them all.
Soon after arriving, I met up with fellow Geneabloggers Helen, Chris, and Alex. Photos were taken with Helen and Chris, and Alex and I went exploring to suss out room locations and bathrooms. A girl's gotta know these things! We found our seats in the conference room to await the official opening, where Pauleen soon made her entrance.
The conference was declared open by Dr Denver Beanland. Dr Beanland has been involved in local and state politics, and is currently Chair of the National Archives Advisory Council. (Side Note: I remember his name because Beanland was the pink house at my high school.) Then it was time for the talks to begin!
Keynote #1 Dave Obee
Dave's keynote address encompassed the importance of context. Family history isn't solely about births, deaths, and marriages. What was going on at the time? What was the social context of that time period? Were there outside influences on your ancestors lives? Sometimes it is easy to forget these things. Dave also highlighted links between British Columbia and Australia through maps, people and events.
Jan's talk focused on female convicts and ex-convicts who lived in Queensland. They may not have arrived in Queensland - they could have arrived elsewhere such as NSW and Tassie, but moved to Qld later on. This makes Jan's research interesting. How is she going to find convicts who moved to Qld? She found one through Who Do You Think You Are? which was pretty cool. One example of a female convict she mentioned was Caroline Haines. Caroline arrived in NSW on the ship Buffalo in 1833. She married Robert Schofield and moved to Qld in 1858. Guess what?! My convict ancestor Elizabeth Graham also arrived on the Buffalo in 1833! Same ship. How neat! A very powerful message from Jan's talk was "telling the stories of female convicts makes them visible in a society that was overwhelmingly male."
I said hello to Shauna Hicks who I hadn't seen since 2013, and enjoyed a lovely assortment of cakes and cookies.
Rowena is the Manager of Client Services at the Queensland State Archives. She talked about the importance of archiving, and went over the records available, including the online indexes. Rowena's talk reminded me that I need to look over land records for my 3x Great Grandfather David Gill. He was the only ancestor of mine to live in Queensland, albeit for the last 5 years of his life. I'm not sure if he owned land though. I also plan on checking if his daughter's (my ancestor's sister) husband owned land in Wondai and Brisbane. Rowena mentioned upcoming seminars and webinars. One that caught my interest is Wills & Intestacies on November 17.
Diana's talk was about the RMS Quetta that sunk in the Torres Strait on February 28, 1890. I had never heard of the RMS Quetta before, so it was interesting to learn about some of the people who sadly lost their lives and the locations of different memorials.
Another wander of the stalls. I bought a book from the Nepean Family History Group about the history of The Hills District in Sydney where my Dad grew up. I also had a chat to another lady from State Archives about work experience and qualifications. Good career advice.
Keynote #2 Janis Wilton
Janis' keynote address focused on the importance of oral history. She talked about how memories can be things we are interested in, selective, and reconstructive. We tend to remember events, rehearsed memories, places, feelings, sights, sounds, routines, activities, people, attitudes, values and beliefs. We don't often remember facts, dates and statistics. However, it is important to keep in mind that everyone's memory works differently. Personally, I remember a lot of numbers (dates, phone numbers etc).
Janis suggested that if you're conducting family history interviews, structure your questions in a way that will trigger the persons memory. Another great idea that Janis gave is when someone passes away, take a photo of their house before things are packed up. I think this is a neat idea and something I wish had thought to do when my Dad's parents passed away.
Rosemary's talk was about the suffrage movement - women gaining the right to vote. The suffrage movement was a big part of history at high school and it was good to go over the facts. An interesting fact I had not heard was that Victorian women were accidentally given the right to vote in 1864. This was revoked by an amendment to the Act in 1865. Why were Victorian women accidentally given the right to vote? The government granted rate payers the right to vote without realizing that some rate payers were women. Women were officially granted the right to vote in Victoria in 1908.
An interesting point to remember is that sometimes different addresses for married couples show up in the Electoral Rolls. The husband is listed at one address, while the wife is listed at a different address. This can confuse people and make people think that the couple had split up. Rosemary suggested that is not always the case. The husband might have updated his new address while the wife had not, which is why she is still listed at the old address.
Geoff's talk was about his detailed world wide search for Joseph Dunn. He never did say if Joseph was an ancestor of his or not. However, it was very intriguing to hear how Joseph went from Australia to Mexico (he ran off with another woman) and the US. Sadly we ran out of time and could not hear the end of the story.
Evening & Buffet Dinner
That brought us to the end of Day 1. I had an hour to kill before the Buffet Dinner, so I hung out with Chris and Lynn, and chatted to Dave Obee for a bit too. The Buffet was wonderful and it was fun to chill and relax with my friends Helen, Pauleen, Alex, Chris and Lynn. We were the Geneabloggers table!
|Buffet Dinner! L-R: Alex, Me, Pauleen, Chris & Lynn.|
Photo taken by Helen
Upon arriving I had a lovely chat with Helen Connor from GSQ. I also had an interesting chat with another lady (whose name I've forgotten - sorry!), but I gave her my business card as I think she is interested in blogging. Alex - you might remember her name. She was the lady who you thought you knew.
Keynote #3 Shauna Hicks
Shauna gave us a most intriguing talk about her family and revealed things about her family she hadn't known til this year. I don't want to give anything away because she has put the slides on her website - you really must look at them. Shauna had us hooked from beginning til end. There was much giggling and laughter. Shauna mentioned that she was taking fellow Geneablogger Jill Ball's challenge for presenters to provide new ideas and make the audience think. Shauna successfully fulfilled that challenge. We all loved it! My favorite quote from Shauna's talk? "You can't have family history without sex!"
Dave talked about some common myths in family history and why we shouldn't believe them. He also provided a handout fort his presentation which I shall have a read of soon.
Pauline's talk focused on the importance of providing citations and evidence. I learned a lot about referencing at high school and university, but it was good to refresh my memory. Pauline mentioned that as soon as information is put into the public domain, it is incumbent upon the researcher to document sources. Information needs to be appropriately referenced so others can follow your research trail if they wish and examine the sources you used to prove your point.
For me, this was the final talk of the conference while others attended the concurrent session. Helen's talk was about government inquiries, something which I have not delved into before. Helen reminded us about the importance of language, and how the language used is relevant to the time period. Words and their usage can provide information on the social context, but it can also depend on education level and beliefs and opinions. One example is that today, it us unlikely for a child to be named 'Gay' or 'Gaye', while in the 1800s and 1900s the name is more common. Helen reminded us that government inquiries can include royal commissions, committees of parliament, boards of trade inquiries, and inquests. Helen provided us with lots of examples of each one which were really interesting. I am going to have to look more into government inquiries at some point.
Close of Conference
That brought the conference to a close. Raffles were drawn, thanks were given, and goodbyes were said. All in all, it was a wonderful conference and I am so glad I made the decision to attend. It was wonderful to catch up with friends, meet new people, and I definitely learned a lot. Oh, in case you're wondering, I was the youngest attendee!
I wonder which Queensland Society will take up the challenge of hosting the next state conference?