Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ancestor Approved Award

I was surprised this week to receive a comment on a recent blog posting from blogger Geniaus for an “Ancestor Approved” Award.
The Award was created by Leslie Ann Ballou at Ancestors Live Here and asks two things of those who receive it:
Recipients should:
•Write 10 surprising, humbling, or enlightening aspects of their research;
•Pass the Award on to 10 other researchers whose family history blogs are doing their ancestors proud.

As this is not a personal family history blog I thought I would go “outside the box” and first highlight what has been happening with family history services here at Yarra Plenty Regional Library. This is particularly relevant to look back on 2010 as we embark on a fresh new Year and I hope that this fits with Leslie’s criteria. I will pass the award on in another blog posting.

1. We have launched our brand new website with dedicated space for genealogy resources. Members can create their own lists, add comments to items borrowed and more. I have been creating lists relevant to specific topics relating to family history – these will be terrific as a resource to accompany a guest speaker. These will be progressively added as guides on this link and will include both items in the collection and websites.

2. Continued success of the Family History Fest program at Diamond Valley Library. A monthly speaker (sometimes yours truly) presents an introduction of a topic of interest for family history researchers. It is gratifying to see researchers return and connect with each other afterwards – I actually really enjoy the informal networking and assistance that goes on before and after our official speakers.
The 2010 program included the following topics:
Starting your family history
Valuing your veterans
Using the Ancestry Database
Using Letters and Diaries
How to use genealogy blogs
Irish newspapers
UK Civil Registration
Bound for South Australia

3. The generosity of speakers to freely share their knowledge in front of a room of people.

4. We had the opportunity to host UK genealogist Lady Mary Teviot in October. She was well received in five of our libraries. She enjoyed the experience so much, she has invited herself back for National Family History Week in 2011.

5. Research queries come my way from time to time and it is always a pleasure to be able to point a researcher to a resource that might help them, especially phone queries that put me on the spot.

6. In 2010 I trained over 50 staff introducing them to Digger indexes, Ancestry database, Times Digital Archives, Wikinorthia, TROVE and more.

7. I am a big fan of TROVE and find it an excellent resource for both local and family history researchers. I really enjoy it when family history and local history queries intersect. I had an example of a researcher interested in the GRIMSHAW name in Greensborough. There is a street named after this family.

8. We have held a number of successful Family History research days with excellent feedback from attendees, including personal comments regarding myself which is always gratifying.

9. On a personal side I will add that I have taken out a personal subscription to Ancestry because I simply do not get time at work to do family history. I recently decided to have a play in the photographs section and found a photograph of a distant cousin “Thomas COMANS” and am now in touch with the researcher.

10. I have enjoyed the recent 7th season of BBC’s “You Do You Think You Are” as well as the recent Australian version. Lessons can be learnt and I was recently reminded not to always rely on information on certificates. One celebrity Rupert Everitt had information on a certificate that his ancestor had died in 1919, in reality it was about 1935. This has reminded me to re-think my search for the death in particular of my ancestor James ROBERTS. From certificate information I am presuming he died prior to 1888 but as I suspect he deserted his wife anyway, perhaps this information is wrong and I should be searching for his death at a later time.
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