52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Week 1

Week 1

Go to your local public library branch. Make a note of the genealogy books in the collection that may help you gain research knowledge. Don’t forget to check the shelves in both the non-fiction section and the reference section. If you do not already have a library card, take the time to get one. If you have a genealogy blog, write about what you find in your library’s genealogy collection.`

I have been into Hornsby Library many times, and I have a library card, and it even has money on it for printing. Hornsby Library has a good family history section, with two microfilm readers/printers.

They don’t tend to keep up with later editions of important how-to books, and I find that my own are more up-to-date. They have a good local history collection, as you would expect.

The microfilm and microfiche collection is much more useful to me. They have a large part of the Archive Research Kit developed by the Archives Office of NSW (as it was then, now State Records NSW), which includes:

  • the Early Church Records collected by the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages from the churches once civil registration was introduced
  • Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence from 1788 to 1825, covered by the online index at State Records NSW
  • various convict records
  • the Immigration Agents’ Lists
  • lists of ships arriving
  • [forgive the lack of proper citations, I’m writing this from memory on the train]

They also have the Tasmanian birth, death and marriage records up to 1899 on microfilm, which always surprised me until I realised that Tasmania is the only other state that has published theirs on microfilm.

They have a good collection of local newspapers on microfilm, although not full runs.

They also have the rate books and minutes of the local council on microfilm.

I must admit that I have never investigated the resources available on the computers at the library, as I usually have my own, or have used mine at home before I get there. I can also usually find what I’m looking for on the Hornsby Library catalogue online before I arrive.

28-44 George St (entrance in Hunter Lane)
Hornsby NSW 2077

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Week 3

I’m a bit late starting on Amy’s 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy Challenge, but late is better than never, so here goes.

Week 3:

Assess yourself! You’re great at researching everyone else’s history, but how much of your own have you recorded? Do an assessment of your personal records and timeline events to ensure your own life is as well-documented as that of your ancestors. If you have a genealogy blog, write about the status of your own research and steps you may take to fill gaps and document your own life.

What do I have to document my life?

I have my birth certificate, and my marriage certificate. Those are the essentials, I guess.

I have my two university degrees, and transcripts. And my counselling diploma.

I have old journals and diaries.

I have these blogs, and their backups on my computer.

I have masses of family photos, some of which have me in them. The early ones are classified and named as best I can. They are in albums and on my computer and backed up on an external hard drive.

I tell family stories to my nieces, including my own, but I’ve realised they probably don’t really know much about me. I can change that, I guess, or I can write more of it down.

Some of this would need an IT-literate person to dig up, like the blog backups.

If I think of more, or more likely when I think of more, I’ll add them later.

Next morning

I was lying awake last night thinking about this, and I realised I was thinking of the documents and photos that a future family historian might be happy to have. I thought of some more:

  • my resume, detailing the jobs I’ve had and what I did in them
  • copies of references, from the days when written references were normal
  • a folder full of certificates of attendance and such at various courses, mostly in IT but there’s one on Thai Cooking
  • various documents and search results relating to the house we currently own
  • mortgage documents which a really keen family historian could wade through
  • a Google Map, showing where I’ve lived through my life

But the other thing I was thinking was that I could have taken this a different way. Very little of all this wonderful detail is documented in my family tree software. I use TMG, which is more than capable of handling any and all of this stuff. All I have about me personally, though, is my birth, marriage, university degrees, and attendance at various family funerals.

It has never occurred to me to try to document my life as part of the whole family history I am trying to build, and that never really part of the plan.

One good reason to do it, though, is for the practice it gives. I know more about my life than anyone else’s, and the problems I will encounter and the procedures I will have to invent will be useful when I come to document the other members of my family.

So there it is. More work to do! I knew there was a reason I was hesitant to get started on these 52 Challenges!