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History & Genealogy Expo Sydney - Talks

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Behind the scenes on 'Who Do You Think You Are?' (Aust) - Megan Gibson

She used to annoy her Nana with all those family tree questions, now she gets to annoy the families of famous Aussies!  Freelance Researcher Megan Gibson from Family Tree Time has worked on episodes of the hit genealogy series 'Who Do You Think You Are?', and will let you in on some of the behind-the-scenes research, including tantalising details about the upcoming series.

British in India - Sylvia Murphy

Sylvia will introduce you to the basics of researching births, marriages and deaths in India using resources on-line and locally in Sydney. She will also show how a regular dose of FIBIS is good for you and how you can get involved in making more records available for researchers, especially the 'Domestic Occurrences' from the Times of India. 

Caring for your family history archives—Shauna Hicks

This talk addresses three areas - organising your family records and memorabilia, storing and preserving your family archives and finally, sharing the results of your research with others and the long term future of your research and records. 

Convict transportation overview - Ray Thorburn

Covering peculiarities in criminal law throughout the British Isles, systems under which transportation occurred and dealt with colony to colony and records on public access regarding transportation.

Discover Scottish church records  - Chris Paton

The Scottish Reformation of 1560 dramatically changed Scotland from a Catholic to a Protestant nation, creating an institution that soon became one of the main arms of state, responsible for discipline, education and the moral well being of its flock. With the Church of Scotland's obsession with antenuptial fornication, its constant splits and the hellfire damnation of John Knox himself, understanding the Kirk's role and history in Scottish society is crucial to understanding how to research your family history prior to the advent of civil registration in 1855.

Discover Scottish family history  - Chris Paton

A general introductory talk covering the basic online records used for researching Scottish ancestry. As well as exploring the new and improved ScotlandsPeople website the talk will also look at further sites for Scottish maps, gazetteers, newspapers and other useful resources. Along the way it will also point out some of the key differences between the pursuit of Scottish research and that within the rest of the United Kingdom.  

Discover Scottish land records  - Chris Paton

Although part of the United Kingdom since 1707, Scotland has always enjoyed its own separate legal, religious and education systems, meaning that in many regards the country remains a genealogically foreign country to its southern neighbour of England. Where England abandoned feudalism in the Middle Ages, in Scotland it remained the principle method of land tenure until 2004, with major implications for land transfers and even inheritance. This talk will explain the systems and records of land transfers, and show how to pursue them successfully for your research.

DNA for genealogists—Kerry Farmer

Learn how the genetic markers in DNA can help you find your ancestors, when genealogy is combined with genetics. How do you decide which DNA tests and which DNA testing companies best suit what you want to know? Links for further reading about the subject as well as for the DNA testing companies and DNA databases can be found at familyhistoryresearch.com.au/courses/DNA

Family history on the cheap—Shauna Hicks

This talk highlights a wide variety of tips and tricks that researchers can use to save themselves time and money when researching their family history. Areas covered include family sources, archives and libraries, online resources, technology, travel tips and so on. 

FamilySearch: ancestors at your fingertips—Paul Parton

FamilySearch is developing exciting, free, on-line tools to assist family historians and has released a beta version of ‘England Jurisdictions 1851’. A map of England is displayed, underneath which is a database of the jurisdictions of England as they existed in 1851. Knowing a jurisdiction is a vital clue to finding records for family history research. By clicking on a location on the map of England, a link will take you to the Family History Library Catalog where a list of filmed records for that location will be found. These records could be census, church, poor law, family history, tax, land, school records and many more categories.

FamilySearch: more records to more people faster—Paul Parton

An aim of FamilySearch is to bring ‘more records to more people, faster’. A major initiative in achieving this is FamilySearch Indexing. This is an on-line community based transcription project consisting entirely of volunteer indexers. With 300,000 volunteers currently registered we are the world’s largest community-based transcription service. A major project, using our own equipment and services, is digitising and indexing 2.4 million rolls of microfilm held in the FamilySearch vaults. Take a peek in the vaults and see how this project works and the benefits it provides.

Findmypast.com.au—Rosemary Kopittke

Findmypast has come to Australasia! Learn what a great range of unique records are available for researching your families on this new site and learn the best way to do your searching.

Findmypast.co.uk—Rosemary Kopittke

This presentation looks at the hundreds of millions of records currently available on Findmypast.co.uk and how they can help you with your family history – records predominately covering England and Wales though there are people from elsewhere in the passenger lists and other documents. It will also look at what is to come – more military records, reindexed marriages and deaths, and much more.

Gallipoli and the Spirits of Gallipoli project  - Kim Phillips

This talk will give a brief history of the Gallipoli campaign and look at what happened on that first Anzac Day.  The Spirits of Gallipoli project will be outlined and other options for researching our First Anzacs looked at.

Government & Police Gazettes - Vicki Eldridge

For family historians Gazettes can be nothing short of a treasure trove. They have the potential to expand our knowledge providing leads and insights we may not have otherwise imagined. Events which touched the lives of our ancestors but were never passed down in the family folklore may now be revealed. An overview.

History & heritage cruising and touring—Jacqui Haraldstad & Liz Doyle

A brief introduction to:

  • Custom Tours to the British Isles
  • Unlock The Past History & Genealogy Conference-Cruise 2011

Have you ever watched 'Who Do You Think You Are' on TV and sat there thinking something like 'Wow, wouldn¹t it be great to do that. To go back to where my ancestors are from and see where they lived, worshipped, got married etc'? Customised Heritage Tours help you to do this. We take the precious research you have already done on your family, and by using experts in the various locations, help you further that research and then take you on a personal journey of discovery. If you have ancestors in the UK, Ireland or even in the Victorian Goldfields and Tasmania, Liz Doyle will give an overview of how you can experience this wonderful connection as you fulfill your dreams of "standing where they once stood".

How to get more family tree time - tips for the time poor! - Megan Gibson

As a Freelance Researcher, Writer and family tree Coach for Family Tree Time, and having worked on episodes of 'Who Do You Think You Are?' (Series 2&3), Megan will share her tips for the time poor, from her book 'How To Get More Family Tree Time - Tips for the Time Poor!'.  Learn from her quick tips and real-life stories.  Her motto is ...before it's too late!

Immigration from Ireland - Dr Perry McIntyre

Over one third of the 161,000 convicts transported to Australian between 1788 and 1868 were the first 'forced' immigrants but compared to the floods that arrived after transportation they were a mere handful. This lecture will give you an overview of Irish emigration and come clues to how you can find your Irish ancestors. Freelance researcher, Writer and family tree Coach for Family

Look Local: it's not all on the web - Susie Zada

Researchers today are spoilt with the plethora of resources available on the web, particularly with some of the on-line sites such as findmypast, Ancestry, Scotlands People, FamilySearch and Documents Online to mention just a few.  One of the effects of these massive databases at your fingertips is that the 'basic' data can be found much quicker than a decade or more ago.  And of course we want more!  These online sites have created a huge opportunity for both researchers and local and family history societies across Australia.  This presentation will demonstrate how a potential threat to local societies is really a chance to find MORE that you won’t find on the web.

London: tyranny of cost & distance - Neil Chippendale

This talk covers all the major London repositories such as the Guildhall Library and the London Metropolitan Archives, then topics such as Crime, Apprenticeship Records, Workhouses, Directories, Gazetteers, Wills and Cemeteries. Also includes a look at organisations which are involved in the history of London.

The National Library: family historians treasure trove - Jenny Higgins

 Used the National Library for family history? Come along and find out about the treasures there to help you research your family history. Learn about our new discovery service TROVE, which includes free digitised historic Australian newspapers. Find out about the resources available to YOU - wherever you live in Australia.

NSW births, deaths and marriages: Understanding transcriptions and index search - Allan Murrin

This talk will explore the development of Civil Registration of births, deaths and marriages and Early Church Records in New South Wales. Case studies will provide understanding to the Index and registrations and the often hard to find entries.

Pauper migration to Australia - Ray Thorburn

Pauper migration was invariably driven by pressure which had a different basis at various times in diverse areas of the British Isles. Much of the early free, assisted migration was of this nature and also surprisingly, some in the 20th century.

Researching Irish convicts before 1800—Cassie Mercer

The 1790s saw 912 Irish men and women sentenced to transportation to New South Wales. A time of political and social upheaval in Ireland, the authorities were convinced these unwanted citizens would be better off out of sight, out of mind. Irish Wattle's co-founder, Barbara Hall, has spent 20 years researching their stories, from their convictions in Ireland, to the lives they carved out in the colony. Barbara’s editor, Cassie Mercer, will speak about some of the terrific stories they have uncovered along the way and the contributions these convicts made to early Sydney society.

Sewerage records: an untapped magnificent resource - Susie Zada

Sewerage is not something we instantly associate with our ancestors nor is it a resource that many people have high on their list for checking.  For those who have looked at sewerage plans, you will start to understand the value of this resource but when you dig even deeper into sewerage records [pun intended!] you will start to understand why this is a magnificent resource.  These records don’t discriminate between large mansions and small workers’ cottages – they are all encompassing – you just have to dig them out!

Social media - Carole Riley

The internet has made social interaction possible on a scale unimagined a few years ago, and is a boon for family historians. Information and photos can be shared more easily than ever before, and communication with distant relatives can become a part of everyday life rather than an annual Christmas card. Social media will be defined and described, and some social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and some genealogy-related blogs will be shown.  

State Records of New South Wales - Lindsay Allen

Lindsay will be talking about recent developments at State Records and what's on the website.

Telling your story: producing a video documentary - Mike Murray

Involves making a DVD: planning, filming, editing, and producing a life-story documentary.

The Mitchell Library and its collections - Paul Brunton

The Mitchell Library celebrates its centenary this year. Based on the original collection bequeathed by David Scott Mitchell, it has been added to continuously  since 1910. It is a major research library specialising in Australia, the Pacific and Antarctica with collections of printed works, manuscripts, pictures, photographs, maps and oral histories. This talk will look at  these collections and how they are re-interpreted.

The SAG treasure chest: how the Society's collections can help you - Heather Garnsey

The Society of Australian Genealogists has been helping people trace their family histories since 1932 and has a marvellous collection of unique material. This talk will illustrate highlights from its collection and show how important it is to look beyond the internet and to use library and manuscript collections. The answer to your research problems might jsut be at the SAG!

The saga of Australia's circus people - Mark St Leon

From the goldrushes of the 1850s until the spread of television in the 1960s, the travelling show was the principal means by which entertainment was delivered throughout Australia, especially in regional and remote areas. Dozens of travelling shows of all types, sizes and reputations rose, fell and moved with the economic tides throughout Australia. At its zenith, this industry of travelling showpeople employed thousands of people - performers, musicians, managers, agents, labourers and so on. Some families were active in this industry for well over a century. This talk will set out to explain the origins and genealogical characteristics of one special group of travelling showpeople, Australia's circus families. Who were these people? How does one construct the geneaologies of  such transient, marginalised groups? Were children really given away to the circus? What lessons do they offer wider genealogical and historical research? Your speaker, who is a descendant of Australia's earliest circus family, earned his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2007 for his dissertation Circus & Nation.

What was the voyage like?—Shauna Hicks

This talk illustrates how researchers can find out details of an ancestor’s trip to Australia. There are a range of resources covered including passenger lists, on board reports such as medical officer’s reports, ship’s diaries and logs, newspapers, photographs and government reports - from these it is possible to learn what our ancestors may have experienced during their voyage to Australia.

Which genealogy program?—Kerry Farmer

People delving into their family history often ask, ‘Which genealogy program is best?’ There is no simple answer. Everyone has their own research practices and aims, as well as varying technology skills – all of these, and even individual personality, may influence the best software ‘fit’. This was the subject of a recently written publication, “Which Genealogy Program?”, written by Kerry Farmer and Rosemary Kopittke and published by Unlock the Past. This presentation introduces the major genealogical programs available and highlights some aspects of each, encouraging users to determine for themselves the program most likely to suit their needs.

Your story, our history – Family History records in the National Archives - Fiona Burn

Your story, our history - this paper will discuss the rich resources of the National Archives for 20th century family history research including records relating to immigration and naturalisation; defence service and service on the home front; post office records including the wonderful petitions for postal services found on these files and records of the security services such as alien registration, wartime internment and security investigation files.


Immigration from Ireland