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


, , , ,

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?


, , , , , , , , ,

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!


, , , , , , , , , ,

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!


, , , , , ,

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.

Always check the HOME page


, , , ,

Most of us have links to specific web pages that we use regularly BUT this is why it’s important to check the HOME page.

Planned outage

There is a planned outage on Saturday 7 April 2018 from 10am to 2pm due to network upgrade.

During this time you will not be able to access our online services.

We apologise for the inconvenience.

You might change your plans or times for your Family History research this weekend!


World ??? Day


, , ,

They say a lovely image of animals will attract people to a blog more than a boring photo or no photo at all.

This blog is about a ‘boring’ subject and has absolutely nothing to do with those adorable meerkats!

Who is responsible for World ??? Days?  Who decides what and when?  Who is responsible for maintaining THE list?  And who backs-up the list?

Have you picked up the hint?

Do you know what today / tomorrow is?

World BACKUP Day!

And if you wanted a boring image then this has to be it!

The image may be boring but the subject is SO important.  Remember how many hours you’ve spent researching and collecting your local or family history?  Can you imagine if that was all lost in a flash?

We all know of someone or heard of someone who has lost everything – hard drive failure, bushfires, floods, human errors?

They say the date is important because it’s the day before April Fool’s Day and of course no-one wants to be an April Fool.  Although it is a little difficult from the various articles to tell if World Backup Day is 31st March or 1st April.

It really doesn’t matter because in reality EVERY day is important but today is a good reminder of what you should be doing – backing up your data!

Dick Eastman reminds us at the beginning of every month to BACK UP YOUR DATA.

I was once manager of the I.T. Department of a large public hospital.  Our procedures were locked in stone – backup two copies to tape, then cycle what was called Grandfather – Father – Son backups.  We never missed and the operator signed the daily ops sheet to confirm it was done.  When the backup was completed, one set was put aside to be transported off-site so if anything happened to the computer room, mainframe, hard drives or local backups, there was always a safe copy kept off-site.

What could go wrong with such watertight procedures?

WE DIDN’T REGULARLY REVERSE THE PROCEDURE – we didn’t check restoring from the backup tapes!  We found out the hard way – when we tried to restore from backup – we found that our tape unit had a parity error which meant that for months ALL tapes were useless.

To recover the hospital’s vital database an expert had to be flown out from Blue Bell, Pennsylvania to Australia to ‘recreate’ that part of the database that was corrupted with the parity error – literally bit by bit.

Remember to regularly test that you can restore and read the files that you’ve backed up.

Today I got a new external 4 TB (terabyte) hard drive to backup my Desktop Computer, my Notebook Computer, my iPad, and my smart phone.  There are 1,024 gigabytes in a terabyte, and 1,024 megabytes in a gigabyte.  4 TB = 4,194,304 MB – that’s a LOT of room for backups.

It’s a PORTABLE Drive – it fits in a small padded zippered pouch that can travel with me or be stored elsewhere.  It’s my newest backup but I have 2 TB drives that I’ve tested restoring.

No system will be totally perfect but it’s better than nothing.

Have you backed up your precious files?  If not, DO IT NOW!

Finding records on PROV website


, ,

PROV Simple Search 01aPeople don’t welcome change but sometimes the NEW version is better than the OLD version.  That’s the case with the updated PROV website!

There is still more to be added but it’s definitely worth using the new version.

Learn some simple steps and start to really enjoy using it!