Unlock The Past Expo Victoria

The last of the four Unlock The Past Expos was held this weekend in Geelong, and it was the biggest and best ever. It was held at the Geelong Arena, the home of the Geelong Supercats (a basketball team, I believe). The Exhibition Hall was a transformed basketball court, with carpet laid over the shiny wooden floor, and was swarming with visitors and exhibitors.

Exhibition Hall in Geelong

There were two streams of talks and my biggest regret was that I didn’t get to see any of them. I was kept very busy, helping out with registrations at the beginning of both days, and helping people with their research the rest of the time. There were lots of interesting questions and even though I couldn’t always find answers immediately for them we always managed to find somewhere else they could look. It’s important to remember that not everything is available online!

Gould genealogy table

For more photos go to my photo album in Facebook, and for a full rundown of all the talks see Shauna’s blog.

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:

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History 1 – New Year’s Day

That’s a long title and it’s going to get tedious as the weeks go on.

The question  is:

Week 1: New Year’s. Did your family have any New Year’s traditions? How was the New Year celebrated during your childhood? Have you kept these traditions in the present day?

The answer is no. It wasn’t. I don’t know anyone who celebrated New Year’s Day, certainly not in my extended family.

So we’ve had to make our own traditions. My husband and I used to do the NYE thing when we were younger.  These are from 1988. we had a great spot at Taronga Zoo, which is on the harbour at Mosman:

Carole at Taronga Zoo

1988 fireworks

As you can see, the fireworks were not as spectacular twenty years ago as they are today. Cameras didn’t take great pictures in low light either. These were scanned from prints. Actually the photos are from the Bicentennial celebrations on Australia Day, 26 January 1988, but you get the idea. I think this was the first year the Bridge was used for fireworks.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 1988

We still like the fireworks but we don’t go in to the city to see them in person any more. It’s all too much hassle. It took us nearly an hour just to get out of the Taronga Zoo car park that night in 1988. We’d had to camp all day to get a good spot, and that was even after buying two of the restricted number of tickets for Zoo Friends. We had the Zoo to entertain us but once we’d picked a spot we had to stay there.

These days we watch them on TV. Up until this year we had a tradition of getting takeaway Thai food, but this year we had leftover risotto. We drink champagne, or sparkling shiraz, and watch movies, interrupting them for the kids fireworks at 9 and the big ones at 12.

New Year's fireworks 2011

Courtesy Channel 9 Sydney

The TV is much bigger, and with a much better picture, than the one we would have watched in 1988. All the more reason to stay at home. We prefer watching movies at home these days too. A sign of age, or of better technology? Perhaps both.

I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions, but I do think about what I’ve achieved in the last year and what is ahead of me this year. Perhaps it’s time to formalise this process and write things down.