This a first and last post.
The first being is this is a first time experience writing a post on the fly from a hotel room on iPad. The last because I am determined to become a better writer and this is the last post without an adequate writing structure. You see – I have comer under the spell of Carol Baxter, author of Writing INTERESTING Family Histories, among many other publications.
Having to make the difficult choice of which sessions to attend several weeks prior to the Congress, I opted for Jennie Norberry from the Australian War Memorial’s Research Centre over Carol’s Help! What information is correct? After all, it was Jennie who had telephoned me personally to respond to my logged in query about copyright on a book I wished to cite. Anyway, I met Carol – had an interesting chat and purchased her book. Now all I need do is buy Blogging for Dummies!
The 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry in Caberra is the first such event I have ever attended. While somewhat intense, it has been thoroughly enjoyable and I have learned a lot. The Congress itself went off like clockwork – every session timed perfectly, lunch ready on time, no speakers going over their allotted time and just enough time for a quick coffee (and a fag- fortunately there a couple of others and so the opportunity for deeper conversations) between sessions. The welcome function at the Anzac Hall under the wings of the famous Lancaster bomber “G-for-George” adjacent to the gallery of WWI fighter planes was special. There I met the the ladies from the Western Australian Genealogical Society (WAGS). And wags they were too! I got myself assigned to their table for the Congress Dinner at Parliament House on the Saturday night. Later – the next day, not that night – I had an one-on-one session with Margaret, the foremost authority on the Enrolled Pensioner Guard in WA’s convict era. Through my 3 x great grandfather Patrick Brennan, I am eligible for membership of the WAG Enrolled Pensioner Guard Special Interest Group.
All of the presentations were excellent and thoroughly educative. Naturally, some stood out. Joshua Taylor from FindMyPast (and several other USA and Canada organisations), David Reacher from FamilySearch.org and Paul Milner, born in England but resident in USA, were simply brilliant and the stand-outs for me. David Rencher’s Irish census and substitutes and Chasing the poor and the landless, Richard Reid’s If you are ever going across the sea to Ireland and Perry McIntyre’s The infernal villian will be sent way are particularly useful for my planned Irish research. Including how to plan that difficult research. I attended both of Kate Bagnell’s sessions on Early Chinese Families and Researching your Chinese Roots which have given me a few clues on how to expand the project on my mother-in-law ‘s Chee Quee family. Did you know the first recorded legal marriage between a Chinese man and Caucasian woman took place in New South Wales in 1830, an era when there were only two Chinese women in Australia?
Perhaps the most inspirational address for me was Paul Milner’s Tracing your Pre–WWI British Soldier – I’ve made some progress with the four or so that I am researching and now I know how to take that further. An honourable mention must go to Grace Kersens with her Men, women, sex and desire: family history history on Australia’s frontier which amply demonstrated Carol Baxter’s maxim – ” … A bad ancestor is more interesting Than a good one.”
All in all, a great five days and now it is back to work to finance this rather expensive hobby. All we needed was Jess to bring the average age down!