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Unlock the Past Cruises

Unlock the Past Cruise March 2011 - Day One (Part One)

I am here sitting in the internet cafe on the Pacific Dawn, typing away as speedily as possible to not use up too much internet time (.75c per minute, for future reference).

As I have a copious amount of time on board, when I'm not lying down feeling sick or in talks (still feeling sick), I thought I could let those who may be interested know what's happening and what to expect from future cruises.

This morning's talks consisted of Shauna Hick's and Jeremy Palmer. I have never heard Jeremy speak so was interested in sitting in. First I will discuss Shauna's though.

Shauna's talk on 'At sea - then and now' was, obviously enough, a comparison of voyages from the mid-1800s to our experience now. It was interestingly presented; pictures and diaries and journals were used to show the differences in how they passed their time (obviously not blogging on the internet), their sleeping quarters (swinging hammocks, mostly), and even the toilet facilities. The last was very enlightening and rather horrific = one voyage had over 400 people with only 2 toilets! Enough said about the luxuries we face. Shauna spoke well and used humourous quips throughout. I was not disappointed as it was a history topic and I do love hearing about history. Unfortunately the microphone didn't follow her when her head turned, however if I could still hear I hope others could too. Shauna's talk also included a decent list of where to find resources (always useful). An interesting twist was the plea for help in finding an image of her ancestor's ship - 'Legion of Honour' (I think that's what it was called!), so if anyone reading this can help, let her know by contacting her through the 'Our Team' page.

The second talk of the morning was by Jeremy Palmer entitled 'Connecting back to the country of origin'. His talk can be described as being 'back to basics', covering what many attending may have already known. It was also a rather dry topic and difficult to engage with. Jeremy mentioned some internet resources, including (I think it's called) 'Origins', and 'the Internet Surname Database'. He reminded us of a few key points when researching this area:

  • migration may have occurred more than once
  • place names may have changed
  • start with BDMs!

The final point is where he spent a great deal of time, and his use of examples might have offered insight for some. Passenger lists were also given an overview; probate records, army service records, newspapers and TROVE were also mentioned. Unfortunately I did have to leave for a moment as quisiness took a strong hold over me, so I missed what looked like some of the move advanced databases to look into.

After the talks people lined up to book in for the seminar and discussion groups that are running all day and later in the evening. These have proved to be extremely popular, with most booked out with many hopeful people on a waiting list for possible repeats.

So far so good with Unlock the Past organisation of the cruise, with only a few hiccups which will undoubtedly be overcome over the next few days as experience is gained. All participants seem to be enjoying themselves and the relaxed atmosphere of the cruise suiting the program well (the early start of 8am is a bit of a shock though and I wonder how many will drop off over the next few days for the 8am talk).


Thanks fro your report

Hopefully you'll get your sea-legs soon.

Thanks for telling us about the cruise. I am trying to decide whether to go on the one later in the year or to save my pennies sfor Rootstech 2012 so am most interested in what you have to say.

Shauna's talk sounded interesting - wouldn't mind hearing that one.

I have been to three of Jeremy's talks and they have been pitched at the raw beginner.The one I did enjoy was his Parish Chest talk - if he does on the cruise get along to it.

Please type you reports up offline and paste them into you blog when online so that you can give us lots of news for minimal cost.


Regards, Geniaus