Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Family Search: 120 Years of Pioneering Genealogy

The ever growing popularity of online ancestry research and the broad range of inviting online family history activities. Elder Packer is the Executive Director of FamilySearch International (, formerly the Genealogical Society of Utah. 120 years ago today, the obscure nonprofit organization held its first meeting under the direction of its first president, Franklin D. Richards. Billions of historic records and millions of subscribers later, it has become a premier global leader in the online genealogy space helping more people than ever discover their ancestors.

Inside History Magazine - November/December 2014

Issue 25, the Nov-Dec 2014, issue of Inside History has a wealth of inspiring features and practical tips to help you trace your family tree and learn about the life your ancestor led. You’ll read about:
  • The latest free records online to help you find your family
  • Why Sydney Harbour’s Old Quarantine Station is the perfect historic city mini-break
  • How you could win a History Lovers trip to Norfolk Island worth $5,000, plus have your ancestor feature on our cover
  • A non-profit company leading the way in reuniting lost war medals
  • How to tell the difference between a ‘cottage loaf’ and a ‘kiss curl’ and why it can help in decoding the date of trickier family photographs
  • The amazing discovery of a “Dead Man’s Penny” buried in a Sydney backyard, and how it was returned to descendants by a thoughtful stranger
  • The centenary celebrations underway to commemorate Ernest Shackleton’s audacious trans-Antarctic expedition and the Australian photographer who captured their death-defying struggle
  • Resident expert Shauna Hicks helps piece together the puzzle of a marriage certificate riddled with errors
  • Inside History sits down for a chat with Christine Bramble, historian and author of Sisters of the Valley, a research project into WWI nurses
  • Take note of the latest historical events around Australia and New Zealand
  • Explore our reviews of the latest historical apps and books
  • We’re giving away 40 copies of Anzac Treasures – our biggest book giveaway ever!

What Lies Beneath: Sydney underground history

As ground is broken for each high-rise development, archaeological remains are unearthed and hidden histories discovered, offering a chance to see what lies directly underfoot.

In Sydney we are knee deep in ruins. Our archaeological sites may well be sarcophagus-free zones but our underground discoveries offer more than muddy boots.  

Parbury Ruins in the historic Millers Point district was unearthed in 2000 during the construction of a residential apartment block, revealing the footings of a 1820s two-bedroom cottage including the remains of a fireplace and veranda, and a building line perched on the very edge of the harbour. This archaeological gem is now preserved below the large residential complex and a great example of what lies beneath the modern concrete jungle.
More ifnormation at Museums and Galleries New South Wales.

World War 1 Link

WWI Link is a research project database established by the history-loving team at Inside History magazine. This website is an online register of research projects taking place across Australia during the centenary of WWI, promoting our WWI heritage and creating an important record of the ways in which Australians commemorated this significant centenary.
WWI remains this country's deadliest conflict, leaving no Australian community unaffected. The centenary of this event has inspired an incredible range of commemorative projects across the country that explore the ways in which the Great War shaped our nation. WWI Link will capture and share information about these important projects to a broad public audience, providing a place for contributors to share information and resources, source volunteers and promote their work to the world.

More information at World War 1 Link website.

Ingleburn at Lorn sells before auction

From the Maitland Mercury report:
One of Lorn’s most elegant and distinguished residences has sold prior to auction.
The immaculately restored Ingleburn was listed with a $1.2 million price guide and negotiations are understood to have eased past that mark to secure the property.
Architect J Scobie designed the home with generous proportions appropriate to Lorn, known as the ­garden suburb, with its wide tree lined streets.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 24, 2014.

Old Maitland service station site for sale

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A former High Street service station opposite Maitland Library, which fronts a proposed nine townhouse development, is listed for sale.
Most recently a showroom for Hunter Irrigation, it and a two-storey building next door, on the corner of High Street and Ken Tubman Drive, were not included in the sale of the townhouse development.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 23, 2014.

Students become historians for Anzac centenary

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The individual names of those men and women who served in World War I so far mean little to the children of Maitland.
But as the world prepares for the Anzac centenary one school will embark on a project to unearth the forgotten stories of the war.
Next year, Thornton Public School ­students will take part in the Find Them Remember Them program to create a living memorial to local soldiers and nurses of their district.
The project has been developed by John Gillam and Yvonne Fletcher, co-authors of Their Story: Service Sacrifice & Community Support 1914-1915.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 19, 2014.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Maitland libraries joins 75th anniversary celebrations

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Maitland's libraries are still relevant today and have adapted to meet the needs of the communities they serve, according to city librarian Keryl Collard.
Ms Collard said today's libraries were more than just a place for story books - they are welcoming, safe and vibrant and offer technology, space and programs that library users expect.
The city's four library branches - Maitland, Rutherford, East Maitland Thornton - joined a statewide celebration last week to mark the 75th anniversary of the NSW Library Act with simultaneous cake-cutting ceremonies.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 10, 2014.

Tocal College 50th anniversary

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Tocal College will celebrate 50 years of education next year and planning is well under way with the release of a logo to mark the occasion.
Graduates from that period are expected to attend a Back to Tocal weekend in July and will also mark the start of a college alumni in the vein of the country’s revered universities.
An ex-students’ association has served the college well and will continue to during the coming months, but the principal Cameron Archer said it was a fitting development.
“It’s sort of a coming-of-age step and it formalises that [association function],” he said. “We’ll be developing an alumni of ex-students and supporters.”

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 9, 2014.

Newcastle NSW Christ Church Cathedral records

The University of Newcastle has placed many of its Cultural Collections online via Flickr. One of these collections is the Register Book of Christ Church Cathedral from the archives of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle. You can browse the images for baptisms (1839-1861), marriages (1839-1855) and burials (1839-1854).

Honour the ANZAC legacy in the 21st Cenrtury spirit

As part of the 100 year anniversary of WWI, State Records NSW and apps4nsw are challenging developers to create an app that uses the collection of WWI state records in new and innovative ways. The goal is to streamline access to state records regarding WWI and find new ways to link the data.
The winning app will help honour the ANZAC legacy. It could also earn its creators $15,000 in prize money.
The data
As part of the 100 year anniversary of WW1, State Records NSW has developed a Centenary of Anzac website, which showcases records in our collection that relate to WW1. Data sets are also available on the NSW Open Data Portal

The challenge
To take State Records NSW data and create new interfaces to connect researchers with the collection and provide new pathways to link material together. Ideally, the app will have a WWI focus; however, it can relate to the period in any way—home front, personal relationships, soldiers, government responses and social trends.

For more information on the challenge and how to enter, visit apps4nsw and NSW Anzac Centenary .

Cracking the code of old handwriting

Sooner or later, family historians will come across a major obstacle in progressing their research - old handwriting can be difficult to resolve and this booklet is designed to overcome some of these problems.
While most of us unknowingly read by identifying whole words by their shape rather than looking at individual letters. When we come across unfamiliar writing, we are forced to look at the individual letters in their context, resulting in considerable difficulties for modern readers. This booklet provides some strategies to overcome this problem.

A range of family history books is available at Maitland City Library.

Steam trains run from Newcastle to Sydney

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A steam extravaganza to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Newcastle to Sydney express trains will come to the Hunter Valley for the next two weekends, to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Newcastle to Sydney express trains.
Tickets are available for steam train rides on the Newcastle line during the Lachlan Valley Railway’s double weekend event, which will also pay tribute to Newcastle’s harbour-side terminus in its final months.
The trips are part of Steam on the Newcastle Line running on November 8 and 9 and November 15 and 16.
Two steam locomotives – 3237 and 5917 – will take centre stage along with restored 1930s-era wooden compartment carriages.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 6, 2014.

Maitland man's part in beaching of German ship in 1914

From the Maitland Mercury report:
At daybreak this Sunday morning, a Maitland family will be thinking about an ancestor who played his part in the destruction of the German raider Emden exactly 100 years ago.
Cecil Gordon Grace of West Maitland was a stoker aboard the cruiser HMAS Sydney that confronted the Emden in the Indian Ocean on Sunday, November 9, 1914.
Known simply as Pops to his family, Grace from West Maitland talked little of his wartime experiences.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 6, 2014.

Paterson rail society's 30th anniversary

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The society will operate four trips to Wallarobba during the day, with trains departing its depot in Webbers Creek Road, Paterson, at 9.36am, noon, 2pm and 4.05pm.
Passengers should be at the depot at least 30 minutes beforehand.
Tickets for train trips will only be available at Paterson on the day – on a first come, first served basis – for a gold coin donation.
Seating is limited so get in early.
Guided tours of the depot and rolling stock will also be conducted on the day.
“November this year marks 30 years since the Rail Motor Society was established,” society president Arthur Burgess said.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 6, 2014.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

From 2 – 11 November 2014 the CWGC, Imperial War Museum and the Lives of the First World War community of over 44,000 people from across the UK and beyond, are working together to actively remember and share the life stories connected to the First World War. Join us to ensure that these Life Stories are remembered now and saved for future generations on Your First World War connection could be a relative who served, someone who shares your surname, or a person listed on your local war memorial.

New plans for old Maitland Mercury building

From the Maitland Mercury report:
The old Maitland Mercury building could soon get a long-awaited facelift.
An architectural firm hired to breathe new life into the former Mercury office has released new images of what the revamped High Street site could look like.
New owners of the iconic building have hired Maitland-based Agcad Building Designers to draw new plans for the site, which could include homes, tourist accommodation and a restaurant.
Owner and director of the firm Anthony Gibb said plans were still in the early stages.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury,

Royal Australian Historical Society events

November events:

November 19
Wednesday: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
The NSW State archives collection comprises many linear kilometres of paper records as well as an assortment of surprising and often quirky objects, such as the model for the 19th century “Torpedo Antidote and Wave Breaker” or a 1918 mesh evening bag. Other objects include watercolour paintings on silkscreen, showing artist’s impressions of the designs for Leeton and Griffith; illuminated addresses; travel brochures; motion pictures; furniture and photographs and fabric samples. Join Gail Davis, State Records NSW, and learn more about these and other curiosities in the collection and how they became part of the State’s archives.

November 27

Thursday: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Even before the launch of the first satellites, sounding rockets were used to explore the upper reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere. Sounding rocket programs for upper atmospheric research commenced at Woomera Rocket Range in 1957.
Shortly afterwards, the Weapons Research Establishment (WRE), inaugurated its own program with the first successful Australian-built sounding rocket, Long Tom. This research would eventually lead to the development of Australia’s first satellite, WRESAT, launched in 1967. This talk will outline the technical and scientific history of the Australian sounding rocket program, examining its origins and its demise. It will look at the sequential development of the various Australian rockets and the particular research projects with which they were associated.
About the speaker: Kerrie Dougherty is Curator of Space Technology and Aviation at the Powerhouse Museum and a lecturer with the Space Humanities Department of the International Space University, based in Strasbourg, France. She is also the author of Space Australia and a number of original research papers on Australian space history.
November 27

Thursday: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Click here to register.
Join Suzanne Holohan, RAHS Executive Officer, for a presentation and discussion on volunteering and managing volunteers. Volunteers play a key role in the not-for-profit sector. This webinar will examine the delights and challenges of managing a volunteer programme. It will examine managing volunteers with diverse skill sets and requirements, steps to retain your existing volunteers and recruit new volunteers. It will also provide an overview of recent legislative changes that impact the volunteer workforce.

East Maitland's Alma Tuting turns 101

From the Maitland Mercury report:
101-year-old Alma Tuting of East Maitland, who is thankful every day of her life and is possibly Maitland’s oldest citizen.
“I am thankful for so many things,” she said. “I still know who I am. Losing your memory, as many people do as they age, is so sad.
“I am thankful that I am able to live here in my own home and sleep in my own bed. To me that is wonderful.”
Mrs Tuting was born in Wellington in central NSW, where she lived for 27 years.
She worked from age 15 in the office of a general store and later married Newcastle man, Ronald Tuting.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Nov. 5, 2014.

Tocal College deputy principal calls time on 40-year career

From the Maitland Mercury report:
Forty years working with adolescents has given Bill Kinsey a rare insight into the minds of teenagers, most notably their desire to learn but also to create mischief.
Mr Kinsey is the deputy principal of Tocal Agricultural College, Paterson, a position he has held for the past 27 years and one he will soon relinquish when he retires at the end of this year.
The highlights of his 40-year teaching career involve seeing students come with little working knowledge of farming practices who go on to become leaders in their field managing successful corporate or large family farming enterprises.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 30, 2014.

Schoolgirl’s search for Maitland WWI soldier complete

From the Maitland Mercury report:
A Queensland schoolgirl whose research uncovered the history of a Maitland soldier killed in France during World War I has traced the probable site of his death.
Charlotte Lambert, 18, from the North State High School in Mackay, began investigating the wartime service of Sergeant Arnold Lambert Worboys from Bolwarra when she discovered her surname matched his middle name.
She then found he had been killed at Villers-Bretonneux in 1917 on March 23 – the same day she celebrates her birthday.
And this week Charlotte accomplished her mission when, together with children from several schools, she visited Gallipoli and battle sites in France and Belgium.

Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Oct. 29, 2014.