Monday, May 20, 2013

Early Experiences in Australasia

Manly Library is trialling a new database until the end of June that may be of interest to genealogists. It is Early Experiences in Australasia: Primary Sources and Personal Narratives 1788–1901.  According to the vendor this database provides a unique and personal view of events in the region from the arrival of the first settlers through to Australian Federation at the close of the nineteenth century. Through first-person accounts, including letters and diaries, narratives, and other primary source materials, we are able to hear the voices of the time and understand the experiences of those who took the great challenge in new lands.
From the earliest settlers to convicts and free settlers and those who later answered the call of the Gold Rush, these letters and diaries tell us about life on ships and in settlements in a particularly intimate way.
Early Experiences in Australasia: Primary Sources and Personal Narratives 1788–1901 currently includes 33,776 pages of stories semantically indexed to allow users to find stories of life in the new world. Browse by subjects, places, dates and more. You can limit your advanced searches by author details, place written, subjects discussed and more. The collection will continue to grow up to 100,000 pages. Currently live content is a combination of archival content and early published works from around Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.
If you would like to try this database, please ask at the Library


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Passenger Lists to Queensland

The Queensland State Archives has an index to passenger lists of those arriving in Queensland from 1848 to 1912. This index is arranged alphabetically so names are easy to find, and it has hyperlinks to the actual images of the passenger lists. The detail on the Queensland passenger lists does vary over time, but they do include the names of ship, date of departure from European port and arrival in Queensland port, together with the tonnage etc of ships and names of masters, surgeons etc as well as the passenger lists, usually arranged by type of passage (eg free, assisted, remittance, bounty, steerage) or sometimes by type of immigrant (eg railway workers).
Details for each entry for a passenger include the name, whether married or single, male or female and age, whether a child 1-12 or an infant. A summary of passenger totals, including births and deaths, may also be included.

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Irish Wills 1858 - 1920

The National Archives of Ireland have made available on-line tools to search for Irish wills from 1858 to 1920. Wills and testamentary records are of assistance to genealogists as evidence of the date of a person’s death and for other information which they may contain concerning the dead person’s family, place of residence and property.
In Ireland, before a will can take effect, a grant of probate must be made by a court. If someone dies without having made a will, the court can grant letters of administration for the disposal of the estate. Since 1858, grants of probate and administration have been made in the Principal and District Registries of the Probate Court (before 1877) or the High Court (after 1877). They are indexed in the Calendars of Wills and Administrations, which up to now, have only been available in the Reading Room of the National Archives of Ireland.
Up to 1917, the Calendars cover the whole of Ireland, but since 1918 they cover only the 26 counties in the Republic; those indexes covering the six counties of Northern Ireland since 1918 are in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). The Calendars of Wills and Administrations for Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry are searchable online at
You can search the Calendars (alphabetical indexes) of Wills and Administrations for the years 1858 – 1920 and pdfs for those from 1922 to 1982 on the main National Archives website. Further information on how to search these is available at The records for 1921 have not been microfilmed, and therefore not digitised, but it is hoped to digitise them in the future.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

19th Century Immigrants to Britain

The records of thousands of 19th cnetury immigrants to Britain are now available to search and download at the UK National Archives.  The collection, which covers the period 1801 to 1871, inlcudes records relating to more than 7,000 people who applied to become British citizens under the 1844 Naturalisation act, as well as a small number of papers relating to denization, a form of British citizenship that conferred some but not all the rights of a British subject.
Applicants were required under the act to present a memorial to the Secretary of State at the Home Office stating their age, trade and duration of residence. These papers are now available online for the first time.

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Port Macquarie church registers

The parish registers of St Thomas’ Anglican Church in Port Macquarie are to  be published by the Port Macquarie & Districts Family History Society. Society members have transcribed the registers and other volunteers have helped with the proof reading.  They will cover Baptisms 1824-1868, Marriages 1824 -1856 and Burials 1824-1876. The records relate not only to port Macquarie but also to the Hastings, Macleay and Manning River valleys. More information is available at the society’s website


FamilySearch facts and figures

Did you know FamilySearch currently has 3.2 billion searchable names on the website and 429 million names were indexed in 2012. There are 222 digital cameras are currently operating worldwide, capturing images of genealogical documents for FamilySearch and digitization of the records stored in the granite vault above Salt Lake City is now at 37% of the 31 billion images.
I was recently asked to assist someone with finding information on ancestors from Downpatrick in County Down, Ireland, and I found a wealth of information on FamilySearch – just what they needed. Have you looked at FamilySearch since the website was revamped? After all this is one free source of information!


New records on FindMyPast

FindMyPast has just released some new records onto its database. You may be interested in the Irish World War 1 memorial records, New Zealand World War II Soldiers records, New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1853-1996, Irish Court & Prison Registers 1790-1924, Australian school pupil indexes, Australian Censuses 1841-1921, and various Irish records including births, deaths, marriages, will and burial registers. Worth a look if you have checked the database recently. FindMyPast is available to use in Manly Library free of charge.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Genealogy Blogs

Family Tree Magazine (The US version) has released a list of its best genealogy blogs for 2013. They have been divided into different categories. One of those categories is Genealogy Blogs for Good Advice, written by people who have leant through experience. In alphabetical order -
The Armchair Genealogist: focuses on writing your family history, but includes Helpful Research Tips, Irish Genealogy for Beginners, Genealogy Conferences, Old Fashioned Recipe Collection, The Family History Blog to Book Project, Everyone Has A Story—Tell Me Yours, Family History Writing Contests, Mind Mapping for Genealogists and Self-Publishing Tools for the Family History Writer.
Clue Wagon: Funny and opinionated, Kerry Scott holds forth on subjects as diverse as “The Worst Question in Genealogy” and why “You cannot merge other people’s family trees into your family tree. Ever. EVER. NOT EVER.”
DearMyrtle: A pioneer in sharing advice and news about genealogy, Pat Richley-Erickson has been “your friend in genealogy” since 1995. She shows no signs of slacking off—she finished 2012 with a whopping 410 posts. This is one I read regularly.
Genea-Musings: Chula Vista, California, blogger Randy Seaver has racked up nearly 1.5 million page views since 2008 for his lively posts delivering “genealogy research tips and techniques, genealogy news items and commentary, genealogy humour, San Diego genealogy society news, family history research and some family history stories.”
Genealogy Tip of the Day: Delivering exactly what it promises, Michael John Neill’s blog serves up short tips on a daily basis. His advice is no-nonsense and often inspired by his own experiences, with headlines such as “If You Didn’t Write It, Cite It,” “Did It Really Happen There?” and “Never Really Changed the Name.”
Hidden Genealogy: Jim Sanders started in genealogy to learn more about his grandparents, who all died before or not long after he was born. That led him to become an expert on “unusual and hidden records,” which he shares on this in-depth blog.
Midwestern Microhistory: Though Harold Henderson focuses on “genealogy and family history in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan, and neighbour and feeder states,” you can learn a lot from him even if your ancestors never came near the Midwest. His clear, common-sense writing imparts valuable lessons, often from his own research experiences, about techniques you can use to push backward into your family’s past wherever they lived.
Mississippi Memories: Much like Midwestern Microhistory (above), Mississippi Memories takes a relatively narrow slice of genealogical geography and uses it to explore universal research techniques.
Olive Tree Genealogy: A blogger since 2003, Lorine McGinnis Schulze shares “tutorials, genealogy book and app reviews, genealogy news, genealogy specials and more.”

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