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Unlock the Past Cruises



Norfolk Island: the first settlement, 1788-1814

Many convicts and soldiers who arrived in the early years of settlement spent time on Norfolk Island until, in the first decade of the 1800s, the authorities decided to close the settlement and transfer the settlers to Tasmania. A wealth of documents have survived for this period containing information about those resident on the island. This seminar covers the type of records and other sources available, their contents and where they can be located.

- 45/60 minutes – Powerpoint presentation

Bearing arms for the King: tracing British military ancestors

Carol Baxter is the descendant of a First Fleet marine who later joined the NSW Corps, and of a British soldier who was taken prisoner during the American War of Independence, and has spent a considerable amount of time researching these ancestors. She has also examined military records in depth in her role as General Editor of the Biographical Database of Australia. This seminar will provide an overview of military records available in Britain and Australia and guide you towards the sources you can readily access.  

- 45/60 minutes – Powerpoint presentation

Something from nothing: reading between the lines of military records

While General Editor of the Biographical Database of Australia, Carol Baxter examined all the Muster Books and Pay Lists for Governor Macquarie’s 73rd Regiment of Foot, which served in New South Wales between 1810 and 1814. By examining the records of all the soldiers, rather than simply looking for information about an individual soldier, she made the astonishing discovery that she could determine a huge amount of information about the lives of the rank and file even when the lists themselves included no information against a particular soldier’s name.

Findmypast - the World Collection

Exactly what is happening at findmypast? The last couple of years have seen huge growth in multiple directions – in records from Australia and New Zealand, Ireland, America, in the original UK site itself and the launch of the British Newspaper Archives by brightsolid. All this means much better access to records for local and family historians and is very exciting to see. Where to now?

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