It feels great to be an Aussie!



I’ve just finished watching the wonderful memorial service for Bob Hawke – it engendered every emotion imagineable but most of all – pride to be an Aussie.

If you missed it, make a point of watching it when you can.

Especially the rendition of Men at Work’s ‘Down Under’ by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and William Barton playing the didgeridoo – just magnificent.

Valé  Bob.

Important news from Vic Registry of BDMs


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vicbdmlogoWe now have direct contact with senior management at the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

To keep abreast of the current and changing status of the Vic BDM website and searches, follow the VAFHO (Victorian Association of Family History Organisations) Blog site at:

Simply search for BDM to locate current and previous blogs on this subject.

DNA Downunder – early bird closing


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Has 2019 been disappearing very quickly for you too?

I confess I can’t believe that one third of the year is just about gone already.

I’m absolutely thrilled that I’ll be at the Melbourne 1-day event on Friday 23rd August and the Sydney 3-day event Thursday 29 – Saturday 31 August.

Early Bird discount bookings close on Tuesday 30 April so if you want to benefit from them you need to book NOW.

Blaine Bettinger is considered one of the world gurus on DNA and this will be such a great opportunity to benefit from his incredible knowledge.

I’ve also be fortunate to have heard some of the other speakers on the Sydney program – Helen Smith, Kerry Farmer, and Louise Coakley.  Our local Geelong Family History Group has been spoilt with TWO webinars by Louise Coakley and Heather Cox so I know I’m going to have a dilemma deciding on which sessions to go to – I just know that I won’t be disappointed whichever ones I choose.

Do I sound excited?  You bet I am.  I’ve been chatting to Blaine via Messenger since his participation was announced and he is so looking forward to bringing his two boys to Australia with him.  I’m also excited because DNA Downunder falls in our Australasian National Family History Month so August is going to be full-on for me!

By attending the Melbourne AND Sydney DNA Downunder events that means I’m doing DNA TO THE MAX!

You have a choice of:

  • A Single Day Event – DNA in your local city
  • Diving Deeper – a Journey through DNA in Sydney
  • DNA To The MAX – the ultimate DNA experience – your local city AND the Sydney event

As I said, I was excited when DNA Downunder was first announced and I was delighted when I was invited to be a DNA Downunder Ambassador.

The first third of the year has whizzed by and I KNOW the second third will disappear even quicker – by then we’ll all be talking about how much we’ve learnt about DNA testing and using those results to the MAX!  I can’t wait for #DNADU .

Farewell to my mate of 14 years



Today I had to make that heart-breaking trip to the vet – the one when you take your best friend and know that he won’t be coming home with you.

Pinni’s name was so appropriate:

  • Pinni – because when I first got him as a tiny kitten his tail was so pointy it reminded you of a pin
  • Maloppio – because he came from the animal shelter at Point Henry (my favourite place of research) and Maloppio is the aboriginal name for Point Henry

I miss him already!  Goodbye my darling mate.

Memorial Service for Dr Joan Elizabeth Hunt



Memorial Service for Dr Joan Elizabeth HUNT

The Memorial Service for Joan Hunt will be held this Thursday 20th September at 12 noon at the Ballarat Mechanics Institute, 117 Sturt Street, Ballarat.


This suggestion has been put to Gary and his response was “yes most definitely”.

It will be a wonderful way of showing just how much Joan helped groups around our State.

If you know of any group that won’t be at the Memorial Service but they have a banner, ask if you can take their banner.

It would be great if we can have as many banners as possible displayed around the room at the Memorial Service.

Special Memories


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This morning I received a very special email from the Gisborne Genealogical Group – they sent me a photo from just two weeks ago – a VERY special photo reproduced here with the permission of the Gisborne Genealogical Group.

The reason it is so special – Joan Hunt and I were the presenters at the Gisborne Genealogical Group’s Land Records seminar.  It was a terrific day with a terrific audience.  It was also the last time I saw Joan.

I spoke to her the following week when she and Gary were generously chasing up photos from Linton for another friend who had just lost his father and brother in a fire at Ocean Grove.  His late Mum’s ancestors were from Linton and he had lost his family and most of his family history archives in that fire.

This is a special photo because of the smile it brings to my face remembering Joan.  It’s how I remember her – vibrant, generous, knowledgeable and constantly teaching all who heard her speak.

It also reminds me of two people I feel most for at a tragic time like this – Gary – Joan’s soul-mate, and Jamie who lost his father and brother – the last members of his immediate family.  My thoughts and prayers go to both of them.

Vale Dr Joan Hunt


I’m still numb with shock – my heart goes out to Gary and my thoughts and prayers are with Gary and their family.

My thoughts are also with the myriads of people and groups who have been touched by Joan’s incredible knowledge and support with both local and family history.

Facebook pages:

See my Special Memories of Joan.

Still some vacancies – Thursday 30th August 2018 – see you there?


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I’m talking about the National Family History Month Closing Ceremony being held in Geelong tomorrow, Thursday 30th August 2018.  It’s free and full of great entertainment, including afternoon tea.

It’s being co-hosted by the Geelong Family History Group and the Geelong Heritage Centre.  Members of the Family History Group have had a special preview of our keynote speaker – Col Hutchinson – he spoke to our group about local (Geelong) football families.  Even a couple of non-football-loving members said how much they enjoyed Col’s presentation!

It’s all about Football Families and the amazing family connections.

And a special thank you to groups around Australia who have contributed images and details of their National Family History Month events for the special slideshow that you’ll see tomorrow – during the prize draws and afternoon tea.

A great afternoon ahead – hope to see you there.

NFHM – prize drawer closing in THREE days!


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Have you found the details of how you and/or your organisation can enter the amazing prize draw for National Family History Month?  You have until Monday 20 August 2018!

And of course the title should be DRAW and not DRAWER (auto spelling – grrr) – but if I change the title the FB links won’t work! 😦

To register for the draw, go to the NFHM SPONSORS page and read all the details from the generous sponsors and how to register.

And while you’re at it, have a good look at the NFHM Closing Ceremony details.  This is being co-hosted by the Geelong Family History Group and the Geelong Heritage Centre.  You have until Monday 27th to register – remember bookings are ESSENTIAL and LIMITED.

It’s really easy to get to from Melbourne and country Victoria.  And of course there is no reason you can’t combine a trip to the Closing Ceremony with a research day at the amazing Geelong Heritage Centre.

Thank You RootsWeb!


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Sometimes I have to bite my tongue again and again to refrain from an outburst but this morning I read an email that was the last straw and yes, this is an outburst.  BUT it will be a considered, thoughtful and polite outburst – I have no intention of naming and shaming anyone.  Because most of the people who make me bite my tongue probably wouldn’t subscribe to a blog site like this I may actually post a link to this blog on the List Owners Mailing List to which I’m referring.  (Gosh, the nuns at school – more than 50 years ago – would be smiling down on me for remembering ‘up with which I shall not put’!)

Back to the matter in hand.  There are some things we can look back on and reflect on ‘the good old days’.  With genealogy and technology it is sometimes much better to look forward and not complain about ‘what was’.

[Option 1] Who can remember trying to find a birth certificate (I’m talking Australian States here).  You had to come up with an actual date or as close as possible and pay for a search that was +/- n-years from that date.  Nope – you couldn’t go online and request and pay for this certificate.  You had to get a form – sometimes available through a Post Office, fill it out, include a cheque or Postal Note, and post it SNAIL MAIL to the relevant State Registry Office.  Then came the anticipation – waiting MONTHS for the envelope that either included the desired certificate or a ‘Dear John’ letter stating that it couldn’t be found.

[Option 2] Come forward a number of years and joy of joys – Microfiche INDEXES of the State BDMs.  You then had to go to a major library, record office (PROV) or larger genealogical society to search these indexes.  If you found the entry you wanted, you then had to follow the procedure above – fill out a form, post it off with your payment, (or visit the Registry Office), then wait a month or two for your certificate.

Things have progressed with a few more options in between.

[Option TODAY] For Victoria, Australia you can go to the Vic BDM Registry web site and search HISTORICAL Indexes, find the certificate you want, pay online and instantly download the certificate you wanted – fully digitised and immediate!

Which option would you prefer?

I know there are some who would still prefer to search the Digger CDs as they found them easier to search.  The problem is that the older technology Digger CDs didn’t function under new versions of Windows.  Yes, I know there are some technological work-arounds but these are outside the skill sets of the majority of people wanting to search the indexes.  The cost and effort to reproduce new versions of the Digger CDs that worked with the new version of Windows and continue to update them again and again just wasn’t a viable option.

So what has this got to do with RootsWeb – Mailing Lists, Web Sites etc.

It’s an example of some of the demands and rudeness appearing on the RootsWeb ListOwners Mailing List in response to the resurrection of the RootsWeb – they want everything they used to have but with the added advantes of today’s technology.

I won’t rehash all the history but from the mid 1990s there was a free service called RootsWeb.  It included Mailing Lists, Boards, Web Sites and various other functions.  It used emails to communicate with those subscribed and was a fantastic resource for family history and local history researchers around the world.  Personally I adminned a couple of Mailing Lists and still do.

RootsWeb was bought by Ancestry – and of course there were plenty of Ancestry critics who complained and said Ancestry would steal everything and charge us to access our own work.

What eventually happened was that the hardware and software used to run RootsWeb (on multiple different servers) became outdated and needed massive upgrades.  For some time we were without any of the RootsWeb functions.

All that has changed – RootsWeb is back up and running and is still FREE to us all.

That required new servers and new software to handle the myriad options previously available on RootsWeb.

Yes there were teething problems that were being worked on – some functions were suspended for a while as technical issues were sorted out.  They were brought back online but as you can imagine there were thousands of List, Board and Web admins wanting THEIR part of the system working the way THEY wanted.

Throw into the mix a wonderful RootsWeb / Ancestry person called Anne Mitchell.  I was in awe of the patience, clarity, support provided by Anne.  A lesser person would not have had the patience to put up with the abuse and complaints!

One of the guidelines of Admins is to ensure their area (Mailing List etc) remained polite and positive!  Unfortunately many of them didn’t apply those principles to their own behavious on the ListOwners Mailing List.

There are plenty of examples for those with access to the ListOwners Mailing List but basically some Admins DEMANDED functions that were previously available in obsolete software that was no longer available and at the same time DEMANDED new functions.  YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.

I can only guess at the difficulties that Anne had keeping on top of the messages pouring into ListOwners.  Even when she asked for examples it was sometimes like bashing your head against a brick wall.

And inflammatory subject lines – wow!

It was getting impossible to find messages relating to particular topics – there were so many agressive and me-too messages.

Anne made use of newer technology – a RootsWeb Blog that would be easier to manage and allow easier searching for specific items.

Well – the abuse started on the Mailing List about the Blog – complaints, don’t want to use, etc. etc. etc.

I shudder at emails from supposedly adult list admins saying just ‘dumb idea’.

It was encouraging to see many messages saying ‘Thank you Anne’ – there should have been more.

At one stage there was a war between UK and USA users – how each looked on things differently!

When the Blog was created to make things easier there were replies such as …

Have far far too many alerts popping in daily to accept anymore.
Not joining any blog. Your list you made for announcement was enough if it
is used it hits all those people with lists. Send it the notice we will get
it. Having this n that to watch is getting overwhelmed.

Then there was a question about Web Sites – some had been reinstated but not all.  On July 3rd, Anne explained that …

You will be able to request it [web site] to have it reinstated sometime early next week.  We will publish a form to fill out.

Today – July 20th – an admin on the ListOwners Mailing List said …


It’s been two weeks.  When will the form be available?

Another Admin politely referred them to the Blogthe Form had been implemented on July 5th!

RootsWeb users and Admins – you demand things from the past and won’t accept things that are NOW and easily available.


It is WONDERFUL having the Mailing Lists back again (and Web Sites etc) – there are a few issues still being sorted but they are working and all those wonderful archives are being restored – a HUGE asset for all Family History reasearchers.

Thank you Anne, RootsWeb and Ancestry.