Friday, 31 January 2014

A Genealogy Indexing Addict in Australia

Hello. My name is Judy Webster, I live in south-east Queensland (Australia), and I am an indexing addict!

I grew up on a sheep and cattle grazing property in outback Queensland, and I have been doing family history since the 1970s. My mother's grandparents came to Queensland from Germany and Prussia, but at the moment I am concentrating on my father's ancestors and their siblings in England and Scotland, plus a recently discovered Irish ancestor.

Headstone of Mary Agar, 1794, Gillamoor, Yorkshire
Agar headstone, 1794, Yorkshire
Most of my Scottish ancestors were in Argyllshire, and I suspect that siblings may have gone from Tiree to Canada. My English research mainly involves Yorkshire and the Greater London area (Surrey/Middlesex), but a few families were in Somerset, Durham, Lancashire, Kent and elsewhere. Others emigrated to Australia and settled in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. One of my ancestors may have been a Lancashire convict who was sent to Tasmania, but as yet that is only a theory.

I have started using DNA testing for genealogy, and I have already contacted one 'new' relative whose relationship we can confirm by traditional research. I hope my success rate will increase as more British family historians are tested.

After graduating from university in Brisbane, I worked for thirty-four years as a medical scientist in a hospital's Haematology and Transfusion Medicine departments. In the 1980s I switched from full-time to part-time work, did a Graduate Diploma in Local and Applied History by external study (University of New England, Armidale NSW), and established my own part-time business as a professional genealogical researcher and indexer.
Brisbane Prison Hospital register
Prison hospital register
I love working with unusual sources that overcome dead ends in family history. My Web site,, has about 130 pages with advice on sources and techniques for family history, and more than 53,000 names from my indexes to local, interstate and overseas folk mentioned in archival records. I also allowed FindMyPast to publish three of those indexes. As I said, I am an indexing addict!

Apart from my main Web site, I also write about my family and share research tips in... (links open in a new window)
I am the founder and coordinator of the Genealogists for Families Project, which is a magnificent example of international teamwork. In 2011 we received an award for 'Best New Community Project'. After only two years we have more than 270 members in 13 countries (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Germany, Netherlands, NZ, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain, USA and Wales). Many contributors to this blog are already part of the team, and I hope more of you will join us. Please take a moment to read about 'Genealogists for Families'. Together we can make a difference!

In my next post here I will talk about ways in which (perhaps unexpectedly) Australian records can help family historians in other countries. In the meantime you will find many research tips in my genealogy blogs.

I look forward to learning from you all as the year unfolds. It will be interesting to see what thirty-one people can accomplish by contributing to an international collaborative blog.
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Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Joy of Blogging in 30 Days ~

By:  Tina M. Austin

My name is Tina Marie Austin and my relatives call me the family historian.  I live in the windy city of Chicago and it has not let us down this winter.  I began recording family stories at the early age of 15 and I started researching family history at age 26.  The Newberry Library in Chicago was my first stop on the genealogy library circuit.  Those were the days when your eyes were glued to the microfilm reader while you scrolled through rolls and rolls of census records searching for your loved one who you couldn't find until you got to the very end of the last roll.  I don't know about you, but my research always provides a little comedic relief.

I've been  researching my ancestral lines and my ex-husband's lines for almost 40 years now and boy has technology changed the "genealogy toolbox."  There are tablets, smartphones, applications, social media, virtual card catalogs, online documents, etc..... and then there is THIS thing called a Blog.  Ten years ago there wasn't even a definition in the dictionary for the term Blog.  Today, not only can you find the term in the virtual Merriam-Webster dictionary there is a whole culture of Bloggers worldwide.

I am new to this phenomenon called Blogging and that would be 30 days new.  You see, my innovative creative self has had a difficult time convincing my "ole skool" nostalgic self that it is time for a change.  But with a little coaching from my two daughters, I have arrived in Blogosphere.  In December 2013, I challenged myself to start a Blog in 2014 -  City Girl's Blog.  My goal is to write one story a month about my family.  Soon after I posted my Blog, I ran across Julie Goucher's Blog:  Worldwide Genealogy ~ A Genealogical Collaboration.  What a perfect fit for a girl who loves to write, enjoys telling a good family story, and gets to participate in a worldwide collaboration of genealogy Bloggers.
I am excited about the possibilities that Julie has created for us through this Blog, and feel honored to be in the company of such seasoned Bloggers.  I look forward to our words, our stories and our spirit of camaraderie as we collaborate on a subject that is so dear to us.  My wise mother always told us, "Do the things you love and love the things you do, and you will find life a joy."  Happy Blogging Everyone !!!