Sunday, March 24, 2013

Family stories

I was recently alerted to an interesting article from the New York Times, The Stories that Bind Us.
Bruce Feiler reports on the importance of a strong family narrative for the mental health of our children. New research suggests that children who know a lot about their families tend to do better when faced with challenges. ‘The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned’. The knowledge of family stories, particularly family members overcoming adversity, gave children a strong sense of themselves and family support which had a positive effect on their emotional health and happiness. So don’t keep those family stories to yourself, make sure you share them with all members of the family.


Western Australian Cemeteries

For almost 30 years the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board of Western Australia has been clearing headstones from Karrakatta Cemetery and will soon commence this practice in the Fremantle Cemetery. Headstones have already been removed from many graves, including soldiers, founding pioneers and people who have contributed historically to the state of Western Australia. Valuable historic information and artefacts have been sent off and crushed for road base. The Metropolitan Cemeteries Board has other options available without removing headstones from graves but they refuse to consider these options.
Sandra Playle of Pinjarra, has created a petition, which will be sent to the members of the Legislative Assembly of the Government of Western Australia. You can add your name to this petition or get further information at

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Irish Birth Death & Marriage Records

FindMyPast has announced the launch of 21 million new irish Birth, Death & Marriage records covering the period 1845 to 1958.
They also pointed out that they carry the most detailed and thorough collection of Irish records ever seen in one place, providing a fascinating insight into Ireland's history which is sure to make Irish research easier and more accessible than ever. (Their words, not mine)
They claim 'these records are crucial in your family history research as they allow you to quickly search multiple entries and match them against what you already know'.
There is only one way to check this claim  - use the database and see if they are right!
FindMyPast is available to use within Manly Library and many other public libraries free of charge. So check it out first before you subscribe!


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Monday, March 11, 2013

Founders and Survivors

Are you descended from a Tasmanian convict?
If so you will be interested in a new research project being undertaken by the University of Tasmania, which is looking into the lives of convicts transported to Tasmania.
Founders and Survivors: Australian Life Courses in Historical Context is a national collaboration between demographers, historians, epidemiologists and genealogists, who are examining birth, death and marriage records and other historical sources of Tasmanian convicts and their descents. The project is recording and studying the founding population of 73,000 men, women and children who were transported to Tasmania. The researchers are following mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, looking at life span, health, families, occupations and where they settled. They will then be connected with those that served in the AIF in World War 1 and compared with the service records of the male descendants of male convicts to investigate changes in height, childhood diet and health, and resilience under stress.
The project will produce the means of analysing the health and welfare of Australians over the past 200 years. This is a developing website, where increasing information is being released in searchable form. Even if you don’t have ancestors from this region, it is still a fascinating project to follow.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Grave Secrets

Grave Secrets is a website hosting a private collection of cemetery headstone photographs. It began in South Australia and is now expanding to cover other Australian States. It currently lists 289,500 headstone photos from 702 cemeteries accessible with a simple name search. Grave Secrets charge $2.50 for individual photographs. Australian Cemeteries provides a similar service free of charge, but Grave Secrets can provide access to some cemeteries not covered by Australian Cemeteries.
Grave Secrets has also introduced a new World War 1 Pictorial Honour Roll of Australians who served in the First World War with over 11,000 photographs with more being added weekly.
Many of the NSW cemeteries included are war cemeteries such as Cowra Japanese War Cemetery and the Cowra Australian War Cemetery, Rookwood War Cemetery, Bathurst, Coffs Harbour, Glen Innes, Hay, Narromine, Tamworth & Tenterfield War Cemeteries. Certainly worth a look with the centenary of the First World War in 2014.

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