Issue 17 :: July-Aug 2013

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blogs you need to read JUL–AUG 2013

Proxy marriages: from italy with love

Aus $10.50 incl GST NZ $11.95 incl GST PRINTED ON FSC-APPROVED PAPER JUL–AUG 2013

9 771838 504008

ISSN 1838-5044


The scandalous dances of the 1920s

Eureka moments!

“I discovered a case of false identity on a passenger list”


“My breakthrough using land title records” “The letter that solved an adoption mystery”

more tips on breaking down those brickwalls!

Contents Issue 17, Jul-Aug 2013

50 On the cover



50 blogs you need to read Inside History’s 2nd Annual Genealogy Blog Awards are here! We showcase the best blogs from around the world


A cache of good fortune How land title records in Queensland provided the breakthrough for finding 300 family photographs


The case of the false identity Why thinking outside the square could help when you’re trying to find your ancestors on passenger lists in the 1800s


Finding the unknown A simple request to transcribe a letter paved the way for one New Zealand family to solve an adoption mystery


From Calabria with love We look at proxy marriages between Italy and Australia in the post-war era, and why it was an appealing option for so many young men and women

55 Scandalous nights Learn about the Artists’ Balls of the 1920s, and why they were the place to be seen for so many revellers




your family


28 Shipwrecks, rice and rum Ever wondered about our colonial links with India, and the role these played in our ancestors’ lives? Paula Grunseit investigates. Plus we hear about what’s new at the Families in British India Society



Editor’s letter

your history


Postie’s here! Your thoughts, your say


Bob’s your uncle Network with other researchers and break down those brick walls!


The Royal Historical Society of Victoria Find out more about the society’s collections, and which ones could help with your research


“Everything is open” In 1913 HMAS Australia, the Navy’s first flagship, arrived in Sydney. We look at the vessel’s role in the country’s nationhood


Cruising into genealogy Want to learn about genealogy while sailing the seas? Unlock the Past’s 2014 cruise is for you!


13 Platform We talk family and military history with the Australian War Memorial’s new director, Dr Brendan Nelson; plus the latest genie news 16

Ask our experts Our experts help two readers glean more information from a family portrait, and treasured World War I memorabilia


History now We spotlight great events you won’t want to miss around Australia and New Zealand


History apps From the music your ancestors loved, to Tasmanian history: we review the latest apps


The book shelf What we’re reading right now


One picture…1,000 memories The story behind one family’s precious image

offers 71 Subscribe to Inside History… …for the opportunity to win one of 10 copies of City of Shadows, valued at $65 each!

our family


PO Box 406 Erskineville NSW 2043 Australia Publisher Ben Mercer Editor Cassie Mercer Editorial assistant and feature writer Sarah Trevor Art Director Lucy Glover Designers Rohana Archer Amy Di Stasio Editorial contributors Jean Bedford Deborah Beck Nicole Cama Alan Davies Anna Maria Dell’Oso Paula Grunseit Barbara Hall Jane Harding Noeline Kyle Thomas MacEntee Sylvia Murphy Richard Offen Chris Paton Kate Prinsley Margot Riley Meg Quinlisk Charlotte Schaefer Neil Smith Judy Webster Mark Webster Valmay Young Print Subscriptions See page 71 or subscribe online at Digital Subscriptions For iPad, find us on Apple Newsstand For Android and PC, find us at

Cover image Earlier this year the Carnamah Historical Society in Western Australia launched their Virtual Museum, which contains nine online exhibitions featuring objects from their collection. The exhibits contain striking photographs ranging from relics of the local railway through to toys of the 1950s. Many are ordinary items that are now valued for their uniqueness or rarity. Among them is this month’s cover, which in another life was the simple cover of a storekeeper’s promotional notepad. It was gifted to the Society by the storekeeper’s son in 1996. To view the virtual museum, visit

Inside History (ISSN 1838-5044) is published six times a year by Cassie Mercer (ABN 13 353 848 961) PO Box 406 Erskineville NSW 2043 Australia. Views expressed by the authors are not necessarily those of the publisher. Copyright 2013 by Cassie Mercer and Inside History. All rights reserved. Distributed by Gordon and Gotch Australia Printed by Ligare Pty Ltd 138 Bonds Road Riverwood NSW 2210

editor’s letter

Put down your pen. Stop tapping on your iPad. Hold off your Google search for just a moment. This issue we want you to celebrate all the wins you’ve had with your family history research — your Eureka moments! I’m sure there’ve been many over the years. Elusive ancestors who’ve popped up somewhere when you thought you’d lost the trail. Reunions with distant cousins happy to swap photographs from your family tree. An “A-ha” moment when you discovered a new avenue not previously researched. And I’m sure there’s still just as many brickwalls to clamber over. But hopefully our stories this issue will inspire you to keep going, and provide new places for you to look, or re-examine with a different outlook. On page 36 Jane Harding tells how land title records led to the discovery of a cache of 300 family photographs. Judy Webster reveals on page 42 the case of false identity she’s found that may have you looking at shipping records in a new light. On page 46 Mark Webster describes how transcribing a letter for his father-in-law led him to solve an adoption mystery from the 1930s. And Nicole Cama’s Eureka moment happened when she realised she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her grandfather having a conversation with a complete stranger! See page 50 for Nicole’s feature about proxy weddings . Blogs have provided many research breakthroughs and Eureka moments for family historians, so it’s only fitting that this issue sees Inside History’s 2nd Annual Genealogy Blog Awards . Jill Ball reveals her favourites to follow in 2013 on page 32. Want to know more about the scandalous dances held in 1920s Sydney? Turn to page 55 and all will be revealed! Plus we look at the anniversary of HMAS Australia, our first Navy flagship, and the day she met her fate off Sydney Heads (page 60). And there’s lots more, including a preview of Unlock the Past’s 2014 genealogy cruise (page 64), book reviews (page 68), and a look at families in British India (page 28). Part of what I love about genealogy , and our history in general, is that new things are always being discovered. More records are being digitised every day. Old images thought to have been long gone are brought to light. Our knowledge of our ancestors and the lives they lived are being further understood. For me, that means there’s sure to be many more Eureka moments to come. Bouquets to you!

Right Bouquet by Caroline Peebles, c.1870–1910. Courtesy State Library of Victoria, ID H2010.77/47.







ma y–Ju


The besT IrIsh famIly hIsTory resources, onlIne and on sITe how To fInd your convIcT In The newspapers

may–Jun 2013


The IrIsh famIne orphan daTabase

aus $10.50 incl GST nZ $11.95 incl GST PRinTed on FSC-aPPRoVed PaPeR may–Jun 2013

9 771838 504008

ISSN 1838-5044


Ireland’s dIaspora: Then and now




11/05/12 12:16 PM


Postie’s here!

I have just finished reading issue 15 cover to cover and have shed a few tears over the beautifully written stories of the child migrants. I also gained some great tips from the ‘Newspaper Masterclass’ article by Sue Reid. Thanks for another great issue of what has become my favourite magazine. I will certainly be renewing my subscription! — Joanne Hardy, via Facebook

best on market

Your magazine is the best family history publication on the market. I used to buy a couple of others but now I only get Inside History because it’s so easy to read. It has clean lines and is neat, with not too much advertising that is busy, so in the end you read every page, even the advertisments. — Belinda Mabbott, Wyoming NSW

local hero

I’m a recent subscriber and I just wanted to say that your magazine is the best family history magazine in Australia. It’s even better or on par with the overseas magazines. Keep up the great work! — Paul Morris, by email

picture perfect

I just wanted to say how thrilled I was to open the Jan-Feb 2013 issue of Inside History magazine

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and see a big beautiful picture of my ancestor Samuel Buckett from the Holtermann Collection. What a surprise, you made my day! — Andrea Buckett, by email

Love the FACEBOOK page

What a fantastic Facebook site you have. I now have a long list of must have, must do, must see, must read. Congratulations on opening up history to all and making it so interesting. I’ll be back. — Anne Smith, via Facebook


I’m so excited to find this magazine... I’m always last to discover great things! I have just subscribed and can’t wait to get my hands on my first copy. — Karly Lane, via Facebook

Want to have your say on our “Postie’s here” page? Write to us at and we'll publish your letters here.

Each issue our star letter will receive a great prize for writing in! This issue, Joanne Hardy wins a copy of Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors by Anthony Adolph (Society of Genealogists, $36.95).

Join us on

your family

Bob’s your uncle Are you looking to connect with other descendants or historians? Each issue we’ll feature who and what people are researching. seeking missing dunkeld records

Image Courtesy Douglas Stewart Fine Books,

I’m wondering if anyone can help me track down missing birth, death and marriage records from Dunkeld, Victoria. I know from 1852 to 1858, most of my family’s births, deaths and marriages are missing. Does anyone out there know where the missing book of registrations is? Could the minister have taken the book with him? I would love to hear from anyone who may be able to help. — Andrea Buckett;

an epic horseback journey

I am researching Lucy Sherrard Atkinson, née Finley (1817-1893). Lucy was a governess in St Petersburg for eight years and then in 1848, with her new husband, undertook a five-year journey of exploration on horseback of Kyrgyzstan and Siberia. Her widowed mother and several siblings, including Matthew, George, Thomas and Mary Ann (later Mrs Francis Smith), emigrated to New South Wales. I have photos of three of Lucy’s brothers and would be grateful to hear from you if you are a descendant and also have photos. — Marianne Simpson;


I’m searching for photographs of the riverboat builders of Goolwa, South Australia from the period 1853–1914 in order to illustrate a documentary film I’m working on. I have located a few images,

including one of the government warehouse vessel Prince Alfred, yet not one shot of the foundry is known to exist. Perhaps some of the descendants of the early workers may have photographs? For more information, visit — Ash Starkey,


Can the Inside History community help me with my research into a Memorial Avenue in Victoria? I believe three of my relatives (A Taylor, W Taylor and T Taylor) had trees planted in their honour at an avenue that was extant in the mid-1970s. I recall seeing a plaque with the name ‘A Taylor’ but we’ve lost touch with the relative who took us there. The men were born around the Strathdownie and Kaldbro areas but their father had a farm at The Sisters in 1912 and their own sisters were living at Terang. The nearest avenue I can locate is at The Sisters near Terang, planned in 1919 and planted sometime after that. The trees were cut down and replanted after the 1970s. I’d love any photos or information about the old avenue or information about Elizabeth and John Taylor, the parents of the Taylor men, who lived at The Sisters. — Ros Lauder;

Lots of researchers have been linking up via “Bob’s your uncle”. To place an ad, email Adverts are free!

Inside History | Jul-Aug 2013 |


Image Children of the Fraser family, c.1900. Courtesy State Library of Victoria, ID H92.206/7. Charlotte Schaefer is a genealogist at Worthington Clark,

what’s on


History now


The best events across Australia & New Zealand

compiled by Charlotte Schaefer and sarah trevor

National Family History Month

1 to 31 August Get to an event any way you can! It seems one week of family history happenings is simply not enough. This year, National Family History Week is being trialled as a month-long initiative so it’s now National Family History Month! Inside History is a proud sponsor of this initiative by the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations that features events across the country. There are seminars, open days, history walks, book launches and more. Planning an event yourself? Register the details now through the website! Visit

Inside History | Jul-Aug 2013 |


New South Wales The Australian Historical Association (AHA) Annual Conference

8 to 12 July History nuts should pack their bags and head to Wollongong to celebrate AHA’s 40th birthday at this exciting, jam-packed conference. Mobilities and Mobilisations in History is this year’s theme, set to be explored through dozens of panels and sessions exploring war and society, religious history, Asian history and much more. Two special tours are also available: one on Sydney’s rural-urban fringe, and the intriguingly named ‘Wollongong’s Hidden Underbelly Tour’. Visit


13 July If you’re excited by the possibilities that digital history offers, then THATCamp OzHA is the event for you. Also held in Wollongong immediately following the AHA conference (above), THATCamp is a conference with a difference: much like the digital realm it’s based upon, it is user-generated, meaning that it will be based around participants’ questions, ideas and problems. There will be no slideshows or written papers — just lots of opportunities to learn. This is a free event open to historians at all levels of expertise. Visit

Writing family history for magazines and newspapers

13 July Do you have a family history story begging to be told? Or have you had an incredible genealogical breakthrough? Then don’t miss Inside History’s Cassie Mercer offering advice about writing family history for magazines and newspapers, giving examples of how to craft a non-fiction story, what to include to hook the reader, and how to get those ancestors’ names in print! Hosted by the Society of Australian Genealogists, bookings are essential. The cost is $20 for members; $30 for non members. Visit

Amaze: The Michael Crouch Gallery

Ongoing Earlier this year, the State Library of NSW opened its first new gallery — fittingly named Amaze — since 1929, with the support of Michael Crouch AO. Amaze is set to display rarely seen objects from the Library’s collections, showcasing the fascinating hidden stories behind the objects themselves. The Pepperbox revolver (pictured left) is just one of these, and was used by a Tasmanian bushranger named Wingy in the 1840s–50s. The gallery displays are intended to change frequently, so you may just have to make regular visits! Visit

Australian Capital Territory The Way We Wear Vintage Fair

5 to 7 July Calling all vintage fashionistas! The Way We Wear Vintage Fair at Canberra’s historic Albert Hall will take you on a journey through the eyes of five generations of one Canberra family — from a dress worn to the garden party for the opening of Parliament House to the fashion students of today’s designs. Bringing together vintage sellers from around the country offering the best vintage fashion and jewellery, it’s also a great place to grab a group of girlfriends and partake in some shopping! Entry is $12 or $10 concession. Visit



Salute: Canberra’s Military Heritage

16 August to 20 November Explore a largely untold side of Canberra’s story in a special centenary exhibition at the Australia War Memorial, Salute: Canberra’s Military Heritage. From the men who first marched at Duntroon to the continuing place of today’s Defence Force, this exhibition highlights the important role the military has played in Canberra’s landscape and life. Drawing on stories of Canberrans and the Memorial’s rich collection, it examines the impact of war on Canberra, the city’s iconic military establishments, and Canberra as the focus of national and local commemorations. Visit

Queensland Japan in the Pacific Talk

9 July Amanda Pontifex, curator of the Army Museum of North Queensland, will give this special presentation at the Museum of Tropical Queensland. In connection with her museum’s new display on Japan in the Pacific, her talk will focus on the bombings of North Queensland and the efforts of North Queensland soldiers against Japanese troops in the Second World War. Free with admission to the Museum. Visit

How to research land ownership

20 July Land, maps, surveys… does this area of family history research raise your blood pressure? Fear no more. Come and equip yourself with a thorough understanding of the sources of information concerning ownership of

leasehold and freehold land at this talk given by Kaye Nardella, senior curator from the Lands, Mapping and Surveying Museum. Hosted by the Genealogical Society of Queensland, the price is $10 for members, and $15 for non members. Bookings are essential. Visit

Advanced ArchivesSearch

20 August Online catalogues can be fantastic as long as you know how to use them properly and can approach them with a few tricks up your sleeve! Discover how to get the best out of ArchivesSearch, the Queensland State Archives’ online catalogue. This seminar will teach you more advanced techniques to locate records of interest and will give useful tips for finding what you want. Entry is free. Call 07 3131 7777

Workmen digging trenches in the grounds of Old Parliament House. Learn more about Canberra’s history at Salute: Canberra’s Military Heritage. Courtesy Australian War Memorial, ID 136236.

Inside History | Jul-Aug 2013 |


Victoria Dirt, Bricks and Mortar

13 July Land records are a powerful way to bring your family story to life by linking people with places past and present. Throw in modern day GPS coding and 3D google mapping and this journey of discovery can be even more thrilling! Enhance your knowledge of land, building and residential records from Victoria, interstate and overseas at this oneday seminar. The Genealogical Society of Victoria will host a team of experts including genealogist Susie Zada. Bookings are essential. The cost for GSV members is $40; non members $80. Visit For more on land records, turn to page 36

Family Photographic Albums

25 July Do you have a treasured family album put together by an ancestor? Then don’t miss hearing Susan Long from the State Library of Victoria explore the history of photography in

Victoria, as well as the historical importance of the stories and treasures that can be found in a family photographic album. Hosted by the Genealogical Society of Victoria this talk is free for GSV members, $8 for non members. Visit

Family History Feast

5 August Feast for a day on free family history information sessions! This annual event is a concentrated collaboration of the key Victorian government agencies for genealogical research: Public Record Office Victoria, National Archives of Australia (Vic), Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, the Immigration Museum and the State Library of Victoria. Each will explain exactly how they can help with your family history research. Bookings are essential. Visit

South Australia Annie Basham — History of the Basham Family

18 July The National Trust Victor Harbor Branch is hosting a special presentation by Annie Basham who will be speaking on the history of the Basham Family, who arrived in Port Elliot in the early settlement years of South Australia. They procured beach frontage farming land and Annie still lives in the family farmhouse. Basham Beach is now a popular whale-watching area. Call 08 8552 4440

Find Your Elusive Ancestors

1 August Why not make a day of breaking down brick walls in the Adelaide Hills? The Mount Barker Community Library is hosting two free sessions to help you find those elusive ancestors. Genealogy guru Graham Jaunay will outline examples of the most common pitfalls and how to guard against them. South Australian Genealogy Society Librarian Marie Maddocks will provide help and inspiration to solve your research challenges. Bookings are essential. Call 08 8389 9281

Western Australia Debt of Honour

6 July to 13 October East Timor remains a little-known theatre of warfare in World War II. Roughly 300 Australian commandos, supported by heroic locals, waged a successful guerrilla campaign there in 1942 against over 10,000 Japanese troops. This moving exhibition, on display in Geraldton, explores the enduring ‘debt of honour’ that developed between these Australian soldiers and the East Timorese. It also surveys Australia’s response to Timor-Leste’s invasion and upheavals from the 1970s onwards. Visit



Barrack Street — A Time to Reminisce

19 August to 6 September Presented by Heritage Perth, this exhibition at the State Library of WA celebrates Barrack Street, a long-favoured meeting spot among Perth residents. A memory wall along with rarely seen photographs will be on display, including some of 19th-century buildings on Barrack Street. A series of talks and self-guided tour material are also available for those who want to explore further. You will never look at Barrack Street the same way! Visit

Tasmania The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

‘The Unfortunates’: Prostitutes transported to Van Diemens Land

Northern Territory

New Zealand

10 August Come along to the Burnie Arts and Function Centre for a bold, speedy, irreverent romp through all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays! This State Theatre Company of South Australia production is a sample of Shakespearean highlights, with improvisation, pop culture, as well as the fastest, funniest Hamlet you’re ever likely to see. Call 03 6430 5850

Government House Open Day

24 August Government House Darwin will open its doors and gardens to visitors from 2pm to 7pm. The official residence of the Administrator of the Northern Territory, the heritage-listed House (or Residency, as it was initially known) has survived cyclones, earthquakes and enemy bombing raids, and is something of an iconic symbol of resilient Darwin itself. Admission is free, and light refreshments will be available. Visit

29 August Convicts transported for prostitution have long gotten a bad rap — the label itself was often a sort of scapegoat applied to immoral behaviour. Chris Leppard from the University of Tasmania will present this talk at the Port Arthur Historic Site, and explore the complex ways in which prostitution has been represented throughout Tasmanian history. Visit

Family History Fair

2 to 4 August Who can resist New Zealand’s largest family history event — the New Zealand Society of Genealogists’ Family History Fair in Manukua, Auckland! Expect the same buzz as previous years around the many exhibits, help desks, resources and seminars, including keynote speakers from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. There is something to suit everyone from the budding genie to the experienced family historian. Entry is free. Visit

Discover how to glean more information from family photograph albums at the State Library of Victoria on 25 July. Courtesy State Library of Victoria, ID H90.72.

Inside History | Jul-Aug 2013 |



historically great reasons to go digital with Inside History

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your family

A cache of

good fortune

Jane Harding had long wondered what had happened to the family ephemera from her great-aunts. Here, she lets us in on how she tracked one collection down.


Above Miniature of Catherine Elizabeth Simpson, Eva Dow’s mother. Opposite, from top the Dow family outside 52 Queen Street, Maryborough; Eva’s father, Louis Henry Dow, taken at Holderness Studio, Hull.



or some time now I’ve been wanting to identify who inherited the estates of two great-aunts (on separate branches of my tree) who I believe were the ‘keepers’ of the family memorabilia. My hope is that these collections (if they still exist) will unearth photos of key family members and fill in some gaps in our family story. This conundrum had been on my research backburner (or possibly the too-hard pile) for a number of years. Two spinsters in the family tree: one, my mother’s maternal great-aunt, Eva Dow; the other, my mother’s paternal aunt, Annie Davey. Both, according to family folklore, lost sweethearts in World War I and never took a chance on love again. Both devoted their lives to caring for their parents and continued to live in the family homes following their parents’ deaths. Presumably, they inherited the properties (coincidentally, both are at number 52 on their respective streets) and their contents which, in all likelihood, included family photographs and memorabilia. The question that had tantalised me for years is ‘What happened when they died?’. Who inherited their estates and thus who might now have in their possession a treasure trove of ancestral ephemera? Determining dates of death and locating will or probate documents should

Inside History | Jul-Aug 2013 |


your family

the case of the

false identity Shipping records don’t lie. Or do they? Genealogist Judy Webster looks at anomalies in the immigration records, and reveals the vital breakthoughs that have transformed her research — and her notions about passenger lists!



heritage travel

Cruising into genealogy

Imagine holidaying in beautiful surrounds, making new friends and learning more about your family history all at the same time. If that’s your ideal, it’s time to turn your attention to Unlock the Past’s 2014 genealogy cruise…


ext year sees the launch of Unlock the Past’s fourth genealogy cruise. On 4 February, the journey embarks from Sydney and takes in Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart over nine days. On the sea days, there’ll be more than 40 seminars across 60 topics presented by genealogy experts from Australia, New Zealand, the US and UK, plus the chance to ask them for help in finding those broken and missing branches that exist in every family tree. Here, we’ve asked four of the cruise’s speakers to let us in on what topics they’ll be presenting on board, to whet your appetite. And if you’d like more info, visit

Noeline Kyle


am looking forward to packing my bags for this fantastic opportunity to get to know genealogists, speakers and other passengers on the fourth Unlock the Past cruise. As one of the speakers I also have the privilege of presenting topics I’ve been passionate about for more than 40 years. Over the decades I’ve written widely about convict women, midwives, women teachers and the women in my family. For my first presentation on the cruise, I’m planning a visit to the dark side with “Deadly Women”, a look at the motivation that drives women to become killers. In this talk I draw on examples (as well as providing information on the plethora of resources available) from midwifery and nursing and the story of the child murderer, Constance Emilie Kent. The family unit has been termed a haven in a heartless world but it is much more than this; it’s the place where women and children live out most of their daily lives. For my second presentation I refer to sources from my latest book, Finding Florence, Maude, Matilda, Rose: Researching and Writing About Women in Family History. I’ll discuss useful tips and strategies on finding and recording the lives of female ancestors, the family and the world of the child. Rhett Butler famously said: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!” as he breezed through a movie version of life. If only we could be as carefree with our research! As family historians we need to follow citation standards and ethics. I use my book, Citation and Copyright in a Digital Age, to demystify the conventions surrounding this important part of the research and writing process. Are you thinking about writing but haven’t started, or are you already writing and would like some help? My workshops on writing family history “Getting Started” and “Creating Lives, Constructing Chapters” aim to help both beginners and experienced writers. Come along and be surprised at how useful it is to listen to how others approach the writing task, how best to organise that mass of documents, take part in writing exercises and begin to write your family history! u Left A mugshot of Constance Kent in 1874. Courtesy Noeline Kyle; SS Ceramic departing Sydney c.1930. Courtesy Australian National Maritime Museum, ID 35571.

Inside History | Jul-Aug 2013 |


Neil Smith


he prospect of sailing the ocean’s waves again brought back a flood of memories of early adventures. Mixed feelings coming home on a cramped troopship from Vietnam. Clinging fearfully to a hand rail on a Navy patrol boat in the South Pacific. Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea during a cruise break from military studies. Perhaps the sea has some mystical power over me. After all, artist Robert Henri wrote, ‘Why do we love the sea? It’s because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.’ Certainly that’s true in my case, although having left a rewarding Army career behind, I’d be inclined these days to think of my more recent passions of tracing our military heritage or finding that elusive digger. I suspect that many of those who join me on the cruise will share my passions. I believe, too, that the cruise will enable us all to think about the things we like to think, unfettered by the usual domestic doings of our lives. Rather we can concentrate on the subject at hand — making inroads into discovering our ancestry. For my part I’ll be taking my travellers down paths seldom trod to find out more about their military ancestors. Here’s a taste of what’s in store. Apart from scores of publications, media work, and presentations on researching military history, I have researched in detail tens of thousands of former

Australian and other service personnel for family historians and others. All too often I have found that my client simply didn’t understand fully our basic military history much less how the Army, Navy or Air Force function, communicate and record information. This I intend to rectify with my first session. More importantly, the cruise will allow my companions to ask questions like, ‘Why can’t I find my Boer War man at the Australian War Memorial?’, ‘What can we glean from this photo?’, ‘I have his records, but what do they mean?’ These and a host more questions we can resolve, face to face, on board, over a cup of tea. We won’t stop there though. I’ll lead other sessions addressing the British Redcoats in Australia, the two world wars and the many other conflicts in which Australians and New Zealanders have been involved. Apart from my own unique research material, I plan to access online resources from Canberra to London, plus many lesser known resources. Simply put, there’s never been a better opportunity to explore your family history through your military ancestors.

Chris Paton


Above Discover more on the different conflicts involving Antipodeans. Courtesy Neil Smith.



n 2011 I was a speaker on the second Unlock the Past cruise from New Zealand to Australia, which was the first time that I had attended any form of heritage-based holiday event. Although a cruise, I very much approached it as a conference, with my wife and two sons along for a holiday while I worked. In fact, it proved to be an enormously fun experience for all of us, both in terms of work and play! The genealogy program was packed with all sorts of lecture topics, but it had a comfortably relaxed informality, allowing you to pick and choose which you wished to attend, and to schedule your days accordingly. To give a flavour, a snippet from my last talk on the cruise, about the murder of one of my ancestors, is available online at http:// I was also able to offer advice to many with specific brickwall problems, and there were various research zones scheduled

Thomas MacEntee


eography is no longer our master when it comes to genealogy. I’m a US-based educator and author who assists family historians in mastering technology and social media. Through my work lecturing and writing about how to use Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to expand the genealogy experience, I’ve come to believe that family historians need to get out and see the world, especially as it relates to one’s heritage. That’s what I keep telling newcomers to genealogy. Those folks who started researching their roots in the past five years seem to think that they can do everything online, which is not true. At least here in the US, only five per cent of all records pertaining to genealogy are digitised and available online. As for travel? Well, when I took my first genealogy cruise, I was amazed at how much it was like one

between talks. The facilities on board were superb, the crew could not have been friendlier (particularly to my boys, who both celebrated birthdays while at sea), and a drink listening to “Piano Man” ended each night perfectly. Having travelled from Scotland, I not only wished to be involved in giving talks on board the ship, I also used the opportunity to meet many genealogy folk in New Zealand and Australia during our stopovers, something I hope to do again on the fourth cruise. On each of our scheduled shore days I visited local family history societies to give talks there also, which allowed me to better understand how things are done within the genealogical world down under. That’s not to say I didn’t get to see any sites with my family! In Rotorua my boys and I risked life and limb on a Sky Swing, at Picton I visited the Edwin Fox (see, in Burnie we took in an early morning helicopter trip within an hour of reaching port, at Sydney we visited the Opera House, and more. All great fun! On the fourth cruise, I will be giving a range of talks on Scottish and Irish topics, reflecting the areas within which I research the most, but also on more generic British topics. I’ll be looking at subjects such as the history and splits within the Scottish Kirk, the laws surrounding marriage in Scotland and our weird land

big genealogy society meeting or conference, but with better amenities! I can attend lectures, share a meal with cruise mates who have the same interests, and exchange information and resources with them. I love to see other genealogists succeed, whether it is with their own research or building their careers in the field. Even if you don’t consider yourself “tech literate,” you’ll find my lectures easy to understand and you just might walk away (or swim away since this is a cruise) with some knowledge to apply to your own research. My lectures will cover: social media and how to use it to improve genealogy research; blogging and writing about your ancestors as a form of ‘cousin bait’; using Facebook to connect with other genealogists and to share resources; tech tips and tricks including metadata for digital images, backing up your genealogy data, and creating a virtual research toolbox. During the cruise, I’ll also be available for consultations. This will be my third genealogy-focused cruise, and I’m excited about being able to see a new part of the world and to meet with new genealogists.

inheritance system (both areas being very different to equivalents elsewhere in the UK), and will examine how to trace the ‘down and out’ in Scotland, when times were tough. I’ll look at civil registration and newspapers from the British Isles, and the use of Irish land records — and in the centenary year of WWI, I’ll describe my Ruhleben Story project (http://ruhleben. examining the untold stories of thousands of British- and Empire-based civilians who found themselves in Europe at precisely the wrong time, for which they were interned in Germany throughout the conflict.  Right John Paton (left) in Ruhleben camp, 1916. Courtesy Chris Paton.

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