Letter P challenge

Another unit I have been doing at UTAS is called

Photo Essay

Whenever I write a blog post I try to include at least one image that relates to the topic of the post. But this unit taught me more about telling stories using images and captions.

I always thought a caption was like the little description underneath an image or the title of the image, but in this unit a caption was between one and three sentences per image.

We had to decide on the story-line for our photo-essay, take photos using the new skills we learned in the first few weeks and then write captions for the images we were using.

As this unit could be used as part of the Family History course, and many students who took part in the first Intro to Family History unit are nearly at the stage of graduating in August next year, I decided to make that the theme for my photo-essay.

I saved my photo essay as a powerpoint and have uploaded it here for you to look at. It hasn’t been marked yet by UTAS markers, so I wonder what they will think of it.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with P that relates to your family history or your research.

letter P

Letter O challenge

Interview Nico & JC, managers

Christophe Losberger via Compfight

Sorry for the long delay since the last letter challenge in April but doing online study at UTAS has been taking up a lot of time but we are back in the swing of things again now.

Oral History

  • How often do you formally interview or tape stories told to you by your relatives?
  • Have you ever been to a nursing home or residential home for the elderly to tape their stories?
  • Maybe you live in a neighbourhood with lots of migrants. Have they ever told you their stories.

Recording and editing the interview

This was one of the units I have just completed at UTAS. I had already interviewed my dad using the Soundcloud app, but when I went to use it again, I found I couldn’t record with it, only listen to a recording. This meant I had to use a new app for the actual interview. I downloaded three of them on my iPad – Recorder (looks like a tape recorder), Quickvoice and Quick recorder. I used the Recorder app as it looked more comfortable to my aunt who I was going to record.

Once the interview was complete, it was in m4a format when I emailed it to myself. It needed some editing and as I had used Audacity before with lots of problems (it also doesn’t like m4a format), I found another editing program called Wavepad. I got the free trial version and it was just like using copy and paste on a word document – very easy to use so I would recommend that to anyone in future.

What type of questions do you ask?

There are quite a few great websites written by genealogists and oral historians giving lots of questions to think about. But remember to make sure the person you are interviewing is comfortable before you start. You also need to make sure you have their permission to use the interview and recording, whether it is for your own personal family history or to put on a blog like mine or to include in a book or put in a display for the public.

I used some of the questions from the Centre for Oral History Research, but you can also look at these from Family tree magazine, About Genealogy (be careful of all the ads) and don’t forget to look at Oral History Australia and their guidelines.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with O that relates to your family history or your research.

Copper Uppercase Letter O

Letter N challenge

Today is ANZAC Day here in Australia and New Zealand so I thought I could combine three things in one post.

Wreaths in Hall of ValourThe letter N is for

New Course

I have enrolled as a student in a new course HAA007 (part of the Diploma of Family History) at the University of Tasmania titled “Convict Ancestors” run by Hamish Maxwell-Stewart and his team. I have previously been involved with “Founders and Survivors” also organized with Hamish and a different team. They were looking at descendants of convicts and how their improvements in health evolved over time eg height , weight of sons, grandsons  etc

So this leads to the second part of this post which is looking at the descendants of my convicts who may have served in WWI. I will need to carefully look at my database and check them out – so far I know of three in the COLGRAVE side of the tree.

Finally to the third thing in this post is a link I found on another facebook group which is about a special blog post for Military Monday and relating to ANZAC Day. For those searching for information on their soldiers in WWI, check out the great links in that blog post.

So now let’s start the true part of the post.  My convicts and their descendants who served in WWI:

Francis COL(E)GRAVE:

Great grandson – Private Roy Graham COLGRAVE who I have researched carefully and already written a post about his life in WWI. His records are in the National Archives of Australia SERN 5996 – 56 pages

Grandson –  William COLGRAVE – SERN 834 – 66 pages

Grandson –  Walter COLGRAVE – SERN Depot – 20 pages

Great grandson –  Walter William COLGRAVE – SERN T9050 – 15 pages

Great grandson –  Tasman Allan COLGRAVE – SERN 1060 – 33 pages

Great grandson – Angus Colin COLGRAVE – no digitised record yet

William TEDMAN

Grandson – Edward James TEDMAN – SERN 6096 – 37 pages


Grandson? – Edward ENGLAND – is this Vivian Edward ENGLAND? – SERN 2177 – 16 pages

I haven’t researched the BOYD side of the tree enough to know the grandsons and great grandsons who might be mentioned in the Discovering ANZACs website.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with N that relates to your family history or your research.

 letter N

Letter M challenge

Wow, I am slow at getting this challenge up. But helping to Moderate the Modules in the UTas Family history course has been great and one thing I have noticed is how many research aims relate to

NW Elk Rapids MI 1960s Bayview & GD Rapids Postmark Downtown Stores Businesses Corner where Franks Drugs would be plus a SALOON or two Dirt Street Horse Buggy Era2

Don…The UpNorth Memories Guy… Harrison via Compfight


How often are there stories from family members or memories that turn out not to be true?

  • Like my grandmother saying her grandfather was black because he was sunburnt from being on the whaling boats too long …
  • Or my mother thinking her grandfather was an only child as she never knew any great aunts or uncles …
  • Memories of how big those rooms in your childhood house were, then re visiting and finding they were really small …

Our role as family historians or genealogists is to flesh out those stories and either prove or disprove those memories by using records and repositories.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with M that relates to your family history or your research.

letter M


Letter L challenge

This was easy to think of this week.


Creative Commons License Simon Evans via Compfight

Life long learning

When I think back to the early 1970’s when I first began my research, I could have given up so easily as I had to travel to the archives to do any research at all.  I had to search lots of microfilms and microfiche. I had to search many different card index for photos, arrivals, departures etc.

But as a beginner teacher at that time, I knew the value of learning all the time. I became a life long learner.

Genealogy is a life long journey of a quest for knowledge on our ancestors. At least it is easier now using digitized records but it has also become easier to make mistakes by copying inaccurate information from other people.

I can now do all that searching online for Tasmanian ancestors by using a Tasmanian Names Index from LINC Tasmania, which includes the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (TAHO).

I made mistakes with one branch of my tree thinking John DAVEY a free settler from Devon was born in Cullompton, Devon. I even visited there when on an overseas holiday. Took photos, shared them at family reunions, only to find that I couldn’t prove that was actually my John DAVEY once I had looked at census documents now online. I have the possibilities now down to 7 persons from the 50 I had to start with.

Another of my ancestors Martha VICO (VIRCOE) nee HEARN I had as coming from Shebbear, Devon. But now I have found her marriage records in London showing she was born in Edgeware, London. Again this information had been shared with others at reunions.

I have a database with nearly 10,000 people on it all related to me somehow, but this is only on my home computer, not online at all. So there is less chance of any errors I have made being passed on ad infinitum to everyone in the world.

As part of Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do Over, I have decided to start a new database concentrating on only direct lines with spouse and siblings included. Also any information added will have to have at least 2 different sources.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with L that relates to your family history or your research.

letter L

Letter K challenge

Victory.....and defeat

Philip Watts via Compfight

Wouldn’t we all like to descend from a King or Queen? Their genealogy is so well documented but instead we have to start with

Kith and Kin

According to the MacMillan Dictionary, the British definition is

Kith comes from a word of Germanic origin meaning ‘known’. Kin is also of Germanic origin, from an Indo-European root meaning ‘give birth to’. Your kith are your friends or acquaintances, while your kin are all the people you are related to.

Here in Tasmania some of your kith can also be your kin somewhere down or across through the generations.

When starting out your family history research, it is so important to question those kin about their memories and knowledge of the family or person you are researching. Start asking questions as soon as possible or perhaps show them a picture they can reminisce about, even finding a newspaper article might bring back memories. All these will help build the story of that person or family group you are researching.

Kin often have heirlooms handed down through the family; not so in my family though. All I have is a handwritten copy of dates from a birthday book for the DAVEY family in Evandale area.

For the family history course I participated in during December/January 2014/5 one of our activities was to interview a person. I chose my dad as I wanted to gather more info about his parents and grandparents. I  recorded using Soundcloud app on my ipad and had a list of questions I wanted to ask. But after asking the question I would let dad ramble with his thoughts and I found out lots of things I never knew and probably would never have asked him about.

So make sure you question your kin (and even your kith) as they might have something to add to your family history research.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with K that relates to your family history or your research.

letter K

Letter J challenge

Had to think hard this week for a topic and then suddenly lots of J words appeared: judges, justice, Justitia hulk but I thought of my ancestors and what they had to do.

Carpentaria Lightship CLS4, and the James Craig

Pete The Poet via Compfight


Each person arriving in Australia had to make a journey including the indigenous landowners.

  • What were their journeys like?
  • How did travelling by ship as a convict differ to that of a free settler or a marine?
  • What did each of them bring with them on their journey?
  • How does the journey of the modern Australians differ to the earlier Australians?
  • How did they feel journeying to the other side of the world?

Many of my ancestors did not come of their own accord but had their journey paid for by the government of the old country England. They then worked hard to make better lives for themselves here in Tasmania. In fact for at least three generations they all remained in Tasmania.

But my troublesome ancestor William Smith took off on many journeys as the captain of a whaling ship. There would have been many special problems on a whaling journey especially when chasing and flensing a whale once it was caught.

I also have made many journeys to various countries around the world but have always come home to Tasmania.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with J that relates to your family history or your research.

letter J

Letter I challenge

Character Question Mark

Creative Commons License One Way Stock via Compfight

This week I am still trying to decide what I will use to collate all the


I will be gathering about my ancestors.

  • Will I use Evernote or OneNote?
  • Will I use a checklist associated with a timeline?
  • What is the easiest way to keep track of all this information?

Previous to this genealogy do over with Thomas MacEntee, this is what I used to do:

At archives or library

  1. Decide on surname to research – check microfilms, microfiche, newspapers
  2. Write info on paper with some basic source – I could find again but perhaps not another relative
  3. Go home and add the info to the database on my computer software programme
  4. Before the next visit, print out family group sheets to add the new information on there, instead of scraps of paper

But now I am researching more online, how can I make use of my time more effectively and efficiently?

I am thinking of buying a MacBook Air that is light to carry, download Microsoft Office 2016 on it – that means OneNote, keep the Macbook just for genealogy, learn how to use OneNote so I have a notebook per family and pages per family member with a checklist and timeline per person on their page. Hopefully clip and add to their pages. ALso have my genealogy software on this Macbook.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with I that relates to your family history or your research.

letter I

Letter H challenge

Despite having researched my family tree for over 40 years, there are always times when I need

Ad - Macro'ed

Becky McCray via Compfight


Because I am doing the Genealogy do over, I am needing help with my new software programme Legacy. After having used The Master Genealogist since it began, and making a mess of the sources in my database, I am determined to not enter any data in Legacy unless I have one or more sources for the information (and not from public trees on Ancestry). So I have joined a couple of Facebook groups to get help for this: Legacy User Group, Genealogy Do Over and Genealogy Cite your Sources. NB: I still haven’t installed Legacy despite having it for a week – I am going slowly with this do over.

With regard to sources, I am still undecided what style I will use. Most US genealogists follow the Chicago style used by Elizabeth Shown Mills in her book Evidence Explained. But when looking at Trove, I notice this is not one of the options so I think I might use the Harvard/Australian style – there is plenty of information about Harvard version on the net. I might send an email to the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) to find out what they expect for professional genealogy courses in Australia.

As I now have a desktop computer, a heavy laptop which needs renewing and an iPad, I need a programme that will sync across all three for when I go researching on the net, at libraries or archives. As a teacher I got used to OneNote from Microsoft but have noticed Evernote is also used a lot with genealogists. So at the moment I am checking it out and making comparisons to OneNote. Again I have joined the Evernote Genealogists Facebook group.

Once I start researching in England and Ireland I am going to need help there as well, even though I would love to go there again on holidays. So I will be doing a lot of emailing for county records, but also using rootsweb email groups. Often I can get help from someone actually living in the area where my ancestors lived. Or they might know some other resources I could use.

 Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with H that relates to your family history or your research.

letter H

Letter G challenge


Government Gazettes and publications
There are many ways to find information on your ancestors and their life. The government is great at keeping records other than a census in Australia.

As a true blue Tasmanian descended from both free settlers and those who had a journey overseas paid for by a government from a previous country, I can find a lot by checking government Gazettes and other publications like electoral rolls and almanacs.

The Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (TAHO) has been digitising a lot of their records that used to be microfilmed or in huge books. Here is a list of some online:

  • Government gazette papers – Trove
  • Electoral rolls
  • Convict records
  • Arrivals and departures
  • Census and musters
  • Divorces
  • Wills
  • Inquests
  • Tasmanian Post Office Directories – early form of white pages
  • Publicans licenses

It is very important to check out guides from your local archives to find out what they have either online or available if you visit them. National Archives Australia has a series of fact sheets about what is available there.

Cora Num has some great links to look through on her website including some references to England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with G that relates to your family history or your research.

letter G