Sunday, July 18, 2010

Genealogy Special Interest Group - meeting report for 16th July 2010

This is what we discussed at our meeting on Friday, 16th July.


Agreed that in Term 4 Deborah (and other topic experts) will run this as a series of short courses and members can choose the topics relevant to them. Most popular topics are:

• Research English/Welsh ancestry

• Researching Australian convict ancestors

• Researching other Australian ancestors

• Researching Irish ancestors

• Researching Scottish ancestors

• Genealogy software: Personal Ancestral File (PAF) and other software

• Genealogy networking sites (such as Genes Reunited and Lost Cousins)

• Researching European ancestors

Other topics were:

• Researching Canadian ancestors

• Researching USA ancestors

• Researching NZ ancestors.

We recommended that Judy Joyce be a guest speaker at a Members’ Meeting to talk about researching indigenous family history.


Options included:

• Society of Australian Genealogists

• Family History Centre (Latter Day Saints)

• Parramatta Heritage Centre

• Unlock the Past events (Deborah to find out what’s on in Sydney*)

• State Records at the Rocks

• Cemeteries

We agreed that Deborah would find out about doing a tour of Society of Australian Genealogists research library in Kent Street, Sydney.

*Unlock the Past:

• Expo at Parramatta RSL, Friday, 22 October to Saturday, 23 October

• Roadshow at North Ryde RSL, Friday, 19 November to Saturday, 20 November


We asked members what genealogy software they are currently using:

• Family Tree Maker (various versions)
• Legacy

• Brothers Keeper

• Genes Reunited (web-based) – -

• RootsWEb (web-based, Ancestry) –


We asked members what subscriptions to Pay To View sites they have:

• British Vital Records
• Ancestry  –

• Genes Reunited -

• Find My Past UK –

• Find My Past AU - (currently have an introductory offer of two months free when you subscribe: quote UNLOCK in the voucher/promo code field after completing your registration and payment information)

• Scotlands People -

• The Genealogist -

• Lost Cousins (NB this is free) -

Bev, Margaret, Margaret and Deborah are willing to look up these records for other members. (Please provide as much relevant information as possible when you make a request.)


An article in the Travel Section of the Sun Herald about researching Irish ancestry mentions these sites:






• (Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland)

Genuki’s gateway website is and it provides links to other websites, organised by geographic location as well as general resources.

We talked about historic newspapers online at the National Library of Australia - - and Margaret  reminded us that Ctrl + F opens a Find dialog box to help with searching within a web page. [Trove searches other digitised NLA resources besides newspapers. Note that you can also help the project by correcting scanned text.]

The Ryerson Index is an index of death notices and obituaries from Australian newspapers: .

We also mentioned FreeBMD - - free access to the England and Wales Civil Registration Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths. See also FreeCEN (census data) - and FreeREG (parish registers) -

Margaret  says the Parramatta Computer Pals website has genealogy links (click on Links on the home page, and then Genealogy) and she will add more.


Margaret G. brought along her Asus EEE netbook, on which she has loaded Legacy. She asked how to copy her family tree data from Legacy on her PC to Legacy on her netbook. Deborah said look in Legacy on the PC for a way to export the data as a GEDCOM file, and then save the file to a memory stick. Then look in Legacy on the netbook for a way to import the data from the GEDCOM file on the memory stick. All good family history software will have this ability so that you can move data around (from an old software program to a new one, or from your computer to a web-based program like Genes Reunited) without having to retype it all.

Margaret T wants to know how to go about researching ancestors in Scotland. None of us have much experience. We suggested starting with Scotlands People ( ). There are good books available on family history research for particular countries, e.g. Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors.

Margaret G asked how she could research ancestors who worked in mines in Broken Hill and Western Australia. We think Hazel  may have some experience with this.

John L reported on his research into a military ancestor, Richard Guise, who came to Australia with the Second Fleet in 1790. He has found some old records in the Mitchell Library. John is trying to find out more about Richard’s wife Elizabeth. We suggested looking for Elizabeth’s death certificate.


Next meeting will be after the Members’ Meeting on 15th September.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Julie Owens MP visits Parramatta Computer Pals

As we mentioned in an earlier blog, the club was successful in obtaining a grant through the Commonwealth government's Volunteer Equipment Grants Program 2009.  With the grant we bought a new laptop, a data projector, a digital camera and a new sound system designed to assist members with hearing impairment during their lessons or at a members' meeting.

We thought it would be a good idea to invite Julie Owens, the Federal Member for Parramatta to the club to see how we operate and show her the new equipment in operation.  The photo above shows Aileen Williams, a member with a severe hearing impairment chatting to Ms Owens.  Aileen is very impressed with the hearing equipment, as are many other members of the club.

Julie also had the chance to chat to members of our management committee over a cup of coffee.  More photos can be seen on Google albums - just follow the link to

Thursday, July 1, 2010

ParraMac Luminary - a cold but enjoyable night out

Last night six club members and a spouse met in Parramatta's Eat Street - Church and Phillip Streets - for dinner prior to hot-footing it to Parramatta Town Hall to watch the Lantern Parade wend its way to Old Government House via Church and George Streets.

Most of us are members of the club's Digital Photography Special Interest Group and of course took our cameras with us.  We took some really interesting photos.  Many buildings - including Parramatta's Old Post Office, Westpac bank, the former Rural Bank, Brissington House (now the Blood Bank) and of course Old Government House were illuminated with an ever changing patterns and colours.  See John Moxon's photos at

It was just as good as anything we saw in the Sydney CBD during Vivid Sydney.  The blue light-houses which were spotted on many a corner were obviously "borrowed" from the City of Sydney.

If you want to see the buildings lit up, you only have five nights to do so, until Sunday 4th July. Check out the full program celebrating Governor Macquarie's bicentennary at