Friday, January 30, 2015

Getting Conference Ready - Attend to your blogs

It is so easy to nelgect your blogs when you are involved in conference activities.

One goes to conferences with every intention of blogging while there but when one gets swept up in the hype of conference activities and involved in discussions and socialising with old and new friends our blogs are neglected.

At events like Rootstech and The AFFHO Congress for my GeniAus blog I resort to blog posts with lots of images and little text. I am not going to let my blogging get in the way of  my conferencing activities. Another option is to post short vlog posts (if you can find a good enough gree connection to do so).

But what of my other genealogy related blogs?  I write a few posts in advance and schedule them for the time I am away (I do this when I take long holidays too). I don't go overboard but just plan a post per week to keep the blogs on people's radars.

Part of my travel plans always includes attending to my blogs. These last few days have found me busily writing and scheduling posts.

GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 30 January 2015

Here I am again with a selection of posts from my RSS feeeds this week. I hope you enjoy my selections which include several posts from across the oceans.

1. Amy challenges us to go beyond the usual five records when researching our ancestors.

2. Judy writes about a WW1 soldiers effects.

3. So I am biased, some of my convicts also came from the Hawkesbury area.

4. As a former librarian I love to hear of successful library projects.

5. Sharon discovers that the puzzling word was Kidnapped.

7. Alona from Gould Genealogy reminds us to pay it forward.

8. US based Australian blogger, Matt, writes about the man he thought was his grandfather.

9. 70 years on Jo Ann reflects on Auschwitz..

10. My mate at Moruya Historical Society has whetted my appetite for a visit to Canberra.

11. I appreciate the trouble to people at TNA, Kew go to to preserve records for us to use.

12. Another expat's blog post has convinced me that I must visit this Museum next time I have an opportunity to visit Singapore.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Congress Keynote Presenter Interview - Roger Kershaw

My latest interview is from one of our Keynote Presenters Roger Kershaw who has a dream job working at The National Archives in Kew.  I attended some of Roger's talks at Congress in 2012 and found them most illuminating. I look forward to catching up with Roger and hearing what he has to impart in 2015.

Roger Kershaw
* Are you a genealogist, researcher, historian or representing your organisation? 

I guess I'm a little bit of all, plus an archivist, having achieved an MA in Archives and Records Management. History was my favourite subject at school and since joining the National Archives in 1986 I have become more immersed in it ever since.

* I wonder if you could tell us a little about your background?

I am from a small market town in Cumbria called Brampton, close to the Scottish border. I moved to London when I was 18 to go to college and have been here ever since, though I intend to return to my roots when I retire. After graduating with a degree in Modern European Studies, I joined the National Archives (then Public Record Office) in 1986 on a temporary casual contract and nearly thirty years later I am still here, thoroughly enjoying what I do. Throughout my career I have been public facing and working with the records either through an management, editorial, research or advisory role

* How has genealogy improved or changed your life?

I didn't really start to do any research in my own family history until the late 1990s and have been hooked on it ever since, discovering lines of my family history revealing people in all walks of lives, plus a murderer, not a direct ancestor I hasten to add! I think genealogy is a healthy, vibrant business, where you can meet a lot of interesting and engaging people, many of whom volunteer their time to vastly improve access to archives across the globe by cataloguing and promoting further research.

* What do you love most about genealogy?

On a personal note, the joy of discovering something new and revealing in my own family history is really satisfying. For example, my parents moved to Brampton from Yorkshire in 1967. It wasn't until I started to research our family tree in detail that I realised that his paternal great grandfather was born there in 1842 on a street just around the corner of the Office where my father worked for 20 years. I also like how genealogy is constantly evolving and how it's becoming more about how life has changed dramatically across generations as we embrace the broader public history ethos.

* Have you previously attended Congress?

Yes, in 2003, 2006 and 2012.

* What are your key topics for Congress?

Some a records based mainly around migration from the UK to Australasia, but I am also giving a talk on medical treatment for those in the Army during the first world war, together with two practical sessions on how to make the most of using the National Archives website – and on how archives can engage effectively with volunteers during the current austere years.

* How do you think your topics will help the family historians at Congress 2015?

I'm hoping that the practical sessions will equip them with new skills and methods for using resources at the National Archives. The records based sessions will also demonstrate how so many collections remain difficult to access because the level of cataloguing is too basic or because too little is understood about the collection and further research is required. I'm hoping this may help raise awareness and interest in future collaborative enhancement work, possibly involving volunteers.

* What do you think are the benefits of attending a large conference like this for you personally and for others attending?

Definitely networking, sharing ideas, and seeking collaboration. For me, I'm keen to find out more about the National Archives of Australia and share ideas and knowledge about how we can effectively face challenges of the future. I'm also interested to see how commemorative plans around the centenary of the First World War are progressing to see if we can be more collaborative on this global issue.

* Do you have a favourite piece of advice or a tip or trick you can share with conference attendees?

Don't believe everything you see on TV or online! Shows like Who Do You Think You Are? have been really great for promoting genealogy and increasing awareness of history and archives, be it at a local or at a national level. But they don't really reflect the realities and frustrations of family history and make it sound far too easy. Genealogy is really a skill that can take a long time to master so please use this opportunity to talk to as many people as possible, exchange contact details and engage effectively to help achieve greater accuracy, awareness and understanding of the holdings, wherever they may be.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Getting Conference Ready - Pills and Potions

As well as having travel insurance I travel with another form of insurance in my luggage.

Before I set off on an overseas jaunt I pay a visit to my GP and pharmacy to stock up on my favourite medications. This applies for even short trips like my forthcoming Rootstech adventure.

Once I mislaid one of my regular medications while on holiday in Canada, it was lucky that I was staying with a family member who was a doctor otherwise I would have been in trouble. Since then I have always travelled with my prescriptions that I can get made up in an international pharmacy in a big city. In addition I have saved to my smartphone and Evernote a printout of my medications list from my GP.
Getting my pills and potions ready for Rootstech
I am usually quite healthy at hoome but sometimes succumb to foreign bugs which lead to chest infections. My GP gives me scripts for antibiotics and the cortisone tablets I need to recover from these episodes, I am always pleased if these meet the expiry dates before I need to use them. Luckily I had them on my last US trip or I would have arrived home very, very sick instead of very sick. I also get a script for sleeping pills, I take these on long plane journeys and they help me get a few hours sleep.

Visiting pharmacies and drugstores in the UK and US has taught me that many popular items that one can buy over the counter in Australia need a prescription in these countries. So if you may need a specific painkiller, anti-fungal cream, diarrhoea medication, cough supressant or anything containing codeine make sure you take it with you in your Emergency Kit.


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