Sunday, 27 August 2017

Genealogy Roadshow: Researching Abroad, Day 2

Wednesday, August 9, was day two of Unlock The Past's Genealogy Roadshow - Researching Abroad: Finding European and British Isles Ancestors. Day two was all about researching European Ancestors with German genealogist Dirk Weissleder taking the lead.

Dirk's talks focused on primary and secondary sources in Germany, researching European ancestors in general, and Archives, Libraries and Genealogical services in Germany. I have not discovered any European ancestors in my family thus far, so I have not had to do any research using European records. However, I recently started doing my best friend's family tree, and he's got a few German ancestors. I thought it would be great to listen to Dirk's talks and figure out what on earth I'm doing with European records. Even if I wasn't doing my friend's family tree, I definitely would still have gone. Regardless of whether you have ancestors from the area or not, I think it is always great to go to seminars because you never know what you might learn.

Genealoot [Source: Personal photo]
I walked in having very basic knowledge of German history, and at level zilch with European genealogy. I walked out with a significantly improved understanding of both.

Did you know that Germany has states? I did not! I always thought it was a country that was one big country, with no states - just hundreds of towns and suburbs. Dirk really stressed the fact that when you are researching German ancestors, or any European ancestors for that matter, you need to know what you are searching, where and when. Are you researching in the former east or former west Germany? Before 1871, there was no Germany - it was made up of different kingdoms. Currently, Germany has 16 different states. But was the town you are researching, in the same state 50 years ago?

These are a few things Dirk mentioned that we should be thinking about, and can easily be applied when researching ancestors in other countries - the place of interest, most recent knowledge on an area, churches/archives in the area, what information is already accessible, local societies, experts and translators, cemeteries, and the social life in the area.

There was something that Dirk mentioned which I thought was important, and that is we need to Think Geneaglobally.

Think Geneaglobally
[Source: GIPHY]
My good friend Helen Smith also took to the stage and talked about DNA and the benefits it has for genealogy. I did an AncestryDNA test in 2015, and I am still learning how it all works. Each time I listen to a DNA talk, it sinks in a little bit more.

All in all it was a wonderful two days full of learning and socializing with my geneafriends. Thanks Unlock The Past for putting on an awesome Roadshow. It is hard to believe it is now over - the team deserves a sleep in! 

As an Ambassador for the event, Unlock The Past kindly gave me free entry.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Genealogy Roadshow: Researching Abroad, Day 1

On Tuesday, Unlock The Past's Genealogy Roadshow - Researching Abroad: Finding European and British Isles Ancestors - began in Brisbane.

Tuesday was British Isles day with Scottish genealogist Chris Paton giving four talks about researching ancestors from that area. As a majority of my ancestors came from England, Scotland, and quite possibly Ireland, I was eager to hear Chris' talks and pick up some new tips. I have been stuck at a Scottish brick wall for a while now...

Click the image for more information
Chris' talks were on British and Irish Newspapers, Scottish research resources before 1800, Irish family history resources online, and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching ancestral crisis. I was most eager for the Scottish resources before 1800, and boy did I learn a lot! I have a long list of websites to check and indexes to search. I feel more confident in understanding Scottish land records too. I also learned that not everything was bequeathed in a Will! I have my Great Great Grandfather William Gow's Will. He died in Scotland in 1874. I will be reading that again with a different mindset. In the final talk, I learned that 'illegitimate' was noted on birth records from about 1855 - 1918. My 2x Great Aunt Jeannie Gow had four illegitimate children (with three different men I believe) between 1889 and 1910.

One of the overarching points of the day was that if you are struggling to breakdown a brick wall and go through it, you might have to go around it...

What we wish we could do. Instead, our ancestors make it
more challenging (and fun!) by sending us on a roundabout.
Aside from the educational aspect, it was great to catch up with my awesome geneamates and meet some new ones. A bunch of us had dinner on Tuesday night and it was wonderful to catch up with Chris. If you have British Isles ancestors and you've got a chance to hear Chris speak - do so! You will learn a lot. Trust me.

Stay tuned for my report on Day 2.

As an Ambassador for the event, Unlock The Past kindly gave me free entry.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Getting Excited for the Genealogy Roadshow

I'm excited.


It's August, which is National Family History Month.

It's August, which means Unlock The Past's Genealogy Roadshow - Researching Abroad: Finding European and British Isles Ancestors - is about to begin! Woohoo!

Two leading international genealogists Chris Paton and Dirk Weissleder are coming down under for a few weeks, visiting most major capitals to talk genealogy.

Click the image for more information.

The roadshow kicks off in Brisbane on the 8th and 9th of August - this coming Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, Chris will be talking about Scottish and Irish research, and on Wednesday, Dirk will be talking all things German genealogy. Before my ancestors ended up in Australia and the USA, they were predominantly from Scotland, so I am very keen to hear Chris' talks. I am also curious to hear what Dirk has to say about using German records. I do not have any European ancestors...that I know of...but I have started looking into one of my best friend's family history, and he has a few German ancestors. I need all the help and advice I can get. I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to German records.

I am looking forward to meeting Dirk, and it will be great to catch up with Chris who I met at  a previous Unlock The Past event in 2014.

Me & Chris Paton, February 2014.

As with every genealogy event, I cannot wait to catch up with my friends and meet some new ones. I wonder if there will be a dinner on Tuesday night?

Click here for more information on the Brisbane event.

Click here to find out when the roadshow is coming to a major capital near you.

I will be live-tweeting as much as possible (@caitieamanda) so make sure to follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with all the news from the event.

As an Ambassador for the event, Unlock The Past are kindly giving me free entry.