Month: February 2011

A thankyou to all my cousins

Gate and treesI have just generated a long-overdue update to my family tree. There is a lot of new information in it now that wasn’t there before. New cousins, new ancestors, new information about ancestors I already knew about. Of course, I didn’t have to spend all day adding all the new information I’ve found since then into my family tree program. I do this as I find it.

I also didn’t spend as much time as I should have fixing up my sources. I first starting using a program to collect my family tree information about ten years ago, and I didn’t know what I was doing in those days, I just did it. I am slowly fixing them up but it takes time – time I don’t have – so I just live with it as it is. I would rather publish the sources I have, warts and all, than leave them out.

What took the most time was adding to the list of family and new friends who have helped me along the way. The list gets longer and longer every year. I’ve lost touch with some of them, and some we’ve lost altogether. Some are now friends on Facebook.

All have been generous sharing what they know with me and with others, and I’d like to acknowledge all of them here:

Larraine Abbey, Joe Andrews, Stein Andrews, Marion Batchelor, Irene Bell, PJS Boaden, Jennifer Brooks, Judith Anne Brunskill, Margaret Burns, Talai Burness, Graham Campbell, Anne Chambers, Jean Chambers, Russell Cooper, Narelle Corbett, Orlin Craig, Mareta Davila, Gillian Eason, William Eason (“Uncle Bill”), Leigh Evans, Steven Evans, Karla Eyre, Larraine (Ewin) Abbey, Russ Ewin, Emma Field, Michael Flynn, Norm Flynn, Geoffrey Goode, Helen Harman, Dianne Marie Hoger, Deborah Horrocks, Terry Riley Hulme, Betty Hunt, Lena Irvine, Raewyn Irwin, Jackie Jensen, Olwen Jonklaas, Terri Keck, Alicia-may Laaman, Sharyn Lamont, Christine Liava’a, Yola Macken, John Francis MacKenny, Martha Martin, Brad McKenzie, Greig Melrose, Graeme Moad, Fran Morton, Courtney Oates, Ken Oates, Paul Padley, Rae Paine, Richard Parata, Wayne Parker, Jo Parsons, Melanie Pascoe, June Paterson, Florence Petersen, Gretel Pickering, Winston Kitchener Powell, Graham Ralph, Mireya Ranger, Lady Jessie Richmond, Adi Milian Riley, Diane Riley, Everett Riley, Lavenia [Riley], Tulia Riley, Julie Ruzsicska, Nigel and Vinita Sharma, Jenny Shea, Milford Southon, Lisa Steedman, Dulcie (O’Connor) Stewart, Gail Stewart, Ken Sutherland, Margaret Taylor, Mary Taylor, Elizabeth Nicholls Walling, Peter Webster, Michael Whippy, Paul B Whippy, Tui Benau Whippy and Judy Woodley.

If any of you are reading this now, please accept my heartfelt gratitude for your kindness and generosity.

Have you considered a One Name Study?

GONS bannerThe Guild of One Name Studies has sent me a press release to publicise their special membership offer, and I think it’s worth having a look at what they have to offer.

The Guild of One-Name Studies is the world’s leading organisation for one-name studies. A one-name study is a project researching facts about a surname and all the people who have held it, as opposed to a particular pedigree (the ancestors of one person) or descendancy (the descendants of one person or couple).  The Guild is a charitable organisation dedicated to promoting the public understanding of one-name studies and the preservation and accessibility of the resultant information. Founded in 1979, the Guild now has over 2,300 members spread across the world, studying over 7,800 individual surnames.

Check them out and see if there is a study for your surnames of interest. If there is you would do well to contact the member concerned. But if there isn’t, why not consider starting your own? If you have already collected a lot of records for your surname that aren’t necessarily related to you they may be of interest to others.

The Guild of One-Name Studies has a freephone/toll free helpdesk for members of the public in the UK, North American and Australia to call the Guild to find out:

  • more about undertaking a One-Name Study
  • the benefits of joining the Guild of One-Name Studies, and
  • the assistance members of the Guild can provide to anyone researching their family history on any of the 7,800 plus names currently being researched

The toll-free numbers are:

  • Australia  1800 305 184
  • United Kingdom 0800 011 2182
  • North America 1-800-647-4100

What’s more, if you join during the week of Who Do You Think You Are? Live in London you will receive special benefits:

The Guild of One-Name Studies is to offer a special extended membership to new joiners at the forthcoming Who Do You Think You Are? Live show being held in the UK at the Olympia, London on Friday 25th to Sunday 27th February 2011.

Normally membership of the Guild costs £15.00 and covers a period of up to a year with renewal on 1st November 2011.  This special extended membership will cost £20.00 but will include a full year’s extra membership, renewal not being due until 1st November 2012.  The aim of the scheme is to attract more new members and to encourage these members to stay with the Guild for longer and to appreciate and utilise the various benefits available to members.

For people who cannot attend the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show, the special offer of an extended membership will be made available to them for a week from when the show opens on Friday 25th February 2011 on the Guild website at:

This extended membership option has been introduced following the completion of an internal membership retention survey which identified why existing members joined the Guild, their knowledge and use of Guild services and facilities and the reasons why members failed to renew their membership.

If this offer of an extended membership proves successful it could be introduced on a wider basis.

Details of all the Guild facilities can be found at:

What time zone is that?

I have finally solved my inability to calculate international time zones.

We are increasingly becoming more global. Social media allows us to communicate and collaborate with people from all over the world, in real time. This means that we can chat with people and take part in live video-conferences and video-streams from around the world when they actually happen.

An essential requirement is knowing what time something is going to happen. It is no good deciding to watch a video telecast at 6:00 PM US Pacific Time when I have no idea what time that is in Sydney.

I’ve needed to be aware of time zones most of my life. When my Dad moved back to Fiji and I was old enough to call him I needed to know that Fiji is two hours ahead of Sydney, or one hour when we have Daylight Savings Time. If I called too late in the morning he would have left the house, and too late at night he would be in bed. Unfortunately the knowledge wasn’t reciprocated, and he has quite often woken me on Sunday mornings because he’s been up for hours!

Later my good friend moved to the US, and I needed to know when she was likely to be home. She used to tell me that all I had to remember was that Florida was 14 hours behind Sydney. Subtract 24 hours and then add 10. Unless one or other of us had changed to or from Daylight Savings Time this worked, but unless you do it often, as she did because her family is here, it becomes a bit of a nightmare and the easy option is to just not make the call.

More recently I took part in the first ProGen Study Group. A choice of times for group chats was much restricted by most of them being either in the middle of the night or the middle of the day for me, so I began by running the blog-only group. The personal interaction was important, though, and one by one my members left to join other groups, and in the end so did I. I joined a group that met on Wednesday nights, which was the middle of Thursday here in Sydney. No sooner would I have finally worked out that I was was supposed to be there at 1pm than one of us would change to or from Daylight Savings, and I would have to rethink the time. I don’t know why time zone calculations are so much more difficult than the simple addition or subtraction would suggest, but they are.

My Google homepageI use iGoogle as my homepage, which allows me to install gadgets to give me the functionality I need. One of my gadgets was something called ‘World Clocks’, which gave me two analogue clocks showing the time zones of my choice. This worked when I just needed to know Florida time, but now that I need other zones the two zones are not enough, and they are a hassle to change every time I need another time zone. My friend has since moved back to Australia, and I had stopped using the gadget.

My new phone, an HTC Legend, gives me a choice of time zones to display as many as I want and is ideal. I do not need a calculator so much as a display of the current time. Problem solved! But no, my phone is not always at my side, especially at home.

Surely, I thought, a similar gadget must be available on iGoogle?

I tried two and selected one – PolyClock.

PolyClockIt gives a list of cities from around the world that you can choose from. Unfortunately Salt Lake City wasn’t on the list so I had to find a map of US time zones to find a city in the same time zone, and I found Phoenix, which is close enough. I also like that it shows the cities where it is still yesterday in red – this is important in Australia as we are ahead of everyone except New Zealand and Pacific Islands such as Fiji.

Now it’s easy. I hope to attend many more chats and watch more conference streams than I have in the past.

Another, similar problem I have is that a lot of people in the US give the name of the time zone, for example 1pm Mountain Standard Time. When I am trying to find out the current time I am usually presented with a list of cities, and I don’t know which cities are in which time zone.

I don’t think there is a quick solution for this other than to learn the US time zones and some basic US geography. There are only four mainland time zones and once you know that they are, from left to right, Pacific, Mountain, Central and Eastern, you are on your way. I know there are the Rocky Mountains over towards the Pacific coast so I can usually not confuse Mountain and Central.

So on the list I’ve chosen for PolyClock I just have to remember that Los Angeles is on Pacific Time, New York is on Eastern Time, and Phoenix is on Mountain Time, which is easy enough.

See you in cyberspace!