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Friday, January 31, 2014

Citing sources in family history

Family historians are more professional today in all aspects of writing and publishing their family histories.  As a judge for the Queensland Family History Society's competition since the 1990s, for the best published  family history (with a substantial Qld content), I have seen much improvement and certainly more interest in producing well written and presented work.

But there is one aspect that continues to be an issue:  how we cite our sources.  In too many case I find the family historian simply does not cite their sources at all.  Others include some certificates and/or other material verbatim in the text but rarely have a caption or note as to its source.  And there are the few who do cite their sources carefully in footnotes but then forget to acknowledge or place captions on the many splendid images in the text.

There is much to inform the family historian today re citation of sources both on the internet and in useful books such as those written by Elizabeth Shown Mills and of course the Australian text (available in all public, regional and university libraries)see following:

Style Manual for authors, editors and printers, revised by Snooks & Co,John Wiley & Sons Australia, Sixth Edition, 2006.

There are, too, many smaller books that take the reader through the various rules and conventions in a simplified and easy way, for example, see Richard Lackey, Cite your sources: a manual for documenting family histories and genealogical records, University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi, 1980, and my latest book:
Noeline Kyle Citing historical sources; a manual for family historians, Unlock the Past, St Agnes, SA, 2013.

If you are planning to be on the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise leaving Sydney next week, do come and talk to me about these aspects of writing or to ask other questions.  I will be in the Research Zone often and I am happy to meet and talk to you at any time during my talks or afterwards.  I will look forward to meeting you, a summary of my talks is at:

Looking forward to catching up.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Latest post from the Unlock the Past Team 4th UTP Genealogy 9 day Cruise

With just six days to go I'm sure most of you have almost finished packing and preparing generally. If so you are well ahead of us. With this final cruise newsletter we have pulled together information on special sessions on the cruise and have prepared a handy FAQ sheet – see attached. You might also like to check out Pauleen Cass's excellent blog post Packing for the 4th UTP geneacruise .

Final program

Please bring the program that was supplied with your ticket. Only minor changes have been made since then. The final version can be downloaded from the program page of the website but these are the main changes:

  • the 4:30/5 PM sessions on Wednesday, 5 February have been swapped with the 4:30 PM session on Friday, 7 February
  • Jill Ball's Ethical dilemmas panel on Wednesday, 12 February has been swapped with Kerry Farmer's DNA talk on Monday, 10 February
  • a few talks in the same time slot have switched rooms to better suit the numbers expected. Check the program to be sure you have the right room.
  • the considerable interest in the special getting to know the Southern sky sessions means we will likely need to run two or more of these, weather permitting and if Mel is prepared to do the extras

Check the speaker biographies and presentation outlines to help you plan ahead. Outlines for all presentations are no online.

Special sessions - BE PREPARED

Anne Daniels – Anne brings something very special to our cruise. As well as presenting Anne is offering discounts on specially commissioned "family history heirlooms". But to take advantage of this you need to be prepared. I recommend you look at her website to learn more about her work – and just in case you would like to go further why not bring along a few photos and documents. And don't forget to attend Anne's presentations on the cruise. Anne writes:

To anyone who is considering commissioning a ‘family history heirloom’ artwork from

I’m really looking forward to meeting you all and maybe getting to know you a little bit. As well as taking a couple of design-based workshops on board, I will be available to accept commissions from any of you who would like a bespoke artwork from ‘Drawing  on the Past’, at a specially discounted price. I will be offering a 20% discount on my online prices, which you will find by looking on Please check out the ‘Family History’ section of the website, and maybe read some of the testimonials, so that you can get a basic idea of how the process works. If anyone is interested, but has questions, please get in touch via my website or email me on

For anyone who is interested in this service, please could I ask you to bring any personal photographs and documents with you on the cruise. As well as being able to scan these into my laptop on the ship, we will be able to sit down and have a chat together, to gather interesting information about your life, which I will use to enrich your artwork. I will be able to begin your artwork on the ship, so you will be able to see its development right up to the point we disembark. By that point, I will have taken all of the details I need to be able to have your final piece printed and posted out to you once I’m back on terra firma.

Scrapbooking workshop with Maggie Clarke – if you are attending Maggie's scrapbooking workshop she has asked that you bring a paper trimmer or pair of scissors, an adhesive runner (she will supply a glue stick for everyone), a 7"x5" photo in portrait and a document that goes with the photo. (Maggie's sample page has her grandmother's wedding photo and her marriage certificate... just to give you an idea of what you need). If people are scrapbookers they could also bring a stamp pad in brown but this is not essential. If anyone has any questions they can email Maggie on Be aware that Royal Caribbean list as prohibited – sharp objects including all knives and scissors with the blade length of 4 inches or more. Also our own experience – our case was held up in security last year because they detected scissors. They did not confiscate them but our case delivery was somewhat delayed while this was checked out. Numbers will be limited to 25 maximum.

Getting to know the southern sky with Mel Hulbert – this may not be a genealogical topic but it has certainly attracted a lot of interest if the topics survey is anything to go by. Well we'll give a brief introductory talk (10 mins) followed by a viewing and guided tour of the southern sky. Any who are interested should bring a small torch with red cellophane covering it (using an elastic band works best) and binoculars if you have them. We will choose suitable night/s on the cruise - the time will be after our own program is over for the day. More than 50% of our survey respondents have indicated interest in this so it looks like we may need to run this two or more nights if Mel is willing and the weather permits. Mel has prepared a night sky map for us. A copy is attached for those who are interested. You should print this out to bring with you.

iPad productivity workshop for genealogists – this workshop by Neil Grill will be limited to 25 maximum. Neil will tell how to use it to boost productivity, assist research, access genealogy applications and work seamlessly across several devices. This is a hands-on workshop and participants are expected to bring their own Apple iPad (or iPad Mini or iPhone). A private WiFi network will be provided for participants to join and exchange data, ideas and ask questions.

Note: if numbers for any of the workshops are more than the 25 limit, priority will be given to those who submitted interest in the topics survey.

Other notes

  • book sales – whilst most purchases on Voyager are made in US dollars on your sea pass card any purchases from our bookshop or other speakers selling books will need to be in Australian dollars. Cash is preferred as internet access for credit card processing is limited at sea. If necessary we can probably process credit cards when we are in port.
  • research interests – a list of these will be displayed on board.
  • shore activities – we put a list of ideas that may interest our group when in ports - in the itinerary page of the web site. Please note that these were for your information only – we are not organising groups to these activities. We were simply gauging interest and are quite happy to bring together those interested in the same activity to travel together on public transport where available or as a group sharing a taxi. Generally this will be worked out on the cruise, probably the day before we arrive at each port.
  • Lutheran archives – this is not open on Saturday when we are in Adelaide, but they have agreed to open for a while if there are sufficient numbers interested for them to do so. There has been some interest expressed but not enough at this stage to ask them for a special opening. If you are likely to be interested in this can you please do the short survey we have on shore activities (we will leave this open) – or email us directly with your interest. It will probably be offered from about 10 AM to 1 PM. The archives holds records for Lutheran interests throughout Australia including indexed parish registers, a large library of books, church magazines, district and regional histories and much more. You can learn more by visiting the website (link on the itinerary page the cruise website) or we can email you more details that they have supplied us about a proposed visit.
  • Stan Hessey book – some of you will remember Stan Hessey from our last cruise. He advises:  "I recently published a book called Walking with Grunts.  Its about my experiences as a chaplain with the 8th Battalion in Vietnam 1969-70.  I have had favourable reviews, especially one by Craig Wilcox, Centre for Historical Research at the National Museum of Australia.
  • Video – we plan to do more video on this cruise than previously. This will be mainly for future cruise promotional purposes, so we will mainly limit this to portions of presentations (with speaker permission), casual interviews with cruisers, conference and cruise life generally. We hope to do a few more formal interviews with some of our special presenters and may film a few sessions fully. We will seek a video release from any who feature in a video if it is to be used in any public way.
  • Recording sessions – neither audio nor video recording of sessions is permitted without permission of the presenter.
  • First day – boarding will take place throughout the afternoon. We expect to have a registration table and gathering point set up in the conference room on Deck 2. It is likely you will want to find your room first. Your checked baggage may or may not be delivered when you first go to your room. You will no doubt want to explore the ship, but please look us up in the conference centre which you will need to locate soon anyway to pick up your nametags and other goodies offered to our group. The conference centre and small theatre are where most cruise sessions will take place. The opening and closing sessions will take place in Cleopatra's Needle on Deck 5.

Our cruise survey

  • Research interests survey – Last chance! We will close research interests submissions at mid day tomorrow – Thursday, 30 January. To submit your interest click here.
  • Cruise topics survey – this has served its purpose in helping us plan rooms for the sessions but we will leave it open if you are still interested in doing it  Click here to do the topics survey
  • Shore activities and places to visit – if you still wish to submit your interests here you can still do so. We won't close this survey. Remember we are not organising tours or groups but rather getting an idea of people's interests so we can bring them together to get there. Two special notes:
    • If you wish to visit the Cascades female factory in Hobart we recommend you visit their website and book in to see their show – see cruise itinerary page
    • If you are interested in visiting or researching the Lutheran archives in Adelaide please do the shore activities survey or email us. We have some interest already but not enough yet for them to especially open for our group.

More cruise information

Just 6 days to go!

Alan Phillips and the Unlock the Past team

Monday, January 27, 2014

Researching crimainal cases in NSW

Check out the following for researching crime in NSW:

Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1824-1899
also see:
For criminal records prior to the establishment of the Supreme Court in 1824 see the list of cases heard by the Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, 1788-1824, check on Archives Investigator at the State Records of NSW...

Getting ready for the cruise: packing, planning and putting it together!!

Ah, yes, packing for the cruise and wondering if I have too much or not enough?  I always seem to pack too much and end up wearing the same thing day in and day out?  Any tips from seasoned cruisers?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Latest update for the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise

The latest news from the 4th Unlock the Past Cruise:
The list of bloggers for the cruise is now a whopping 14!!  Here they are:

Blogs, newsletters, etc. – if you expect to blog or otherwise report on the cruise (before, during or after) please let us know so we can add you to the list below. Here are those we know of.
And the latest update from Alan Phillips and the Unlock the Past Team:

Onshore genealogy/history related activities and places to visit

Many of you no doubt will do tours offered by Royal Caribbean in the various ports we visit. For those not doing these we have put together a list of (and information on) the most likely genealogy/history related things to do and places to visit. If several are interested in visiting a particular place we can help coordinate groups to go by taxi or public transport where available.

We have listed these on the itinerary page of the cruise website. We have also set up a short survey to help you plan and help us organise groups to get to places of interest.

Other surveys still open

Apologies for the flurry of surveys, but this is the best and easiest way to get good information to make this cruise the best we can. We have had a fairly good response so far, but it is helpful to get as many as we can.

  • Research interests survey – we are offering this for the first time since the first cruise by popular request. By submitting your research interests, who knows? You may find someone with a common interest with whom you can connect. It happened on the first cruise. To submit your interest click here.
  • Cruise topics survey – this can help you plan, and help us allocate the right rooms. Click here to do the topics survey. It should take about 10-15 minutes to complete - a great way to start your cruise session planning. A few workshop sessions will be limited to a maximum of 25 people. It is probable that we will be under that for most, but if we get more than that number interested, those who have chosen the sessions concerned in the survey (and have given their name) will be given precedence.

Useful cruising information

Several experienced cruisers have compiled some great blogs with useful information. Check out UTP cruises in the media. Some recent ones with good practical advice are:

If you have questions about other practicalities of going on a cruise there are two places you can put your query:

  • the Unlock the Past Cruises Facebook page – you are likely to get responses from experienced cruisers. This is where quick updates may be given from time to time.
  • the next cruise newsletter – we will compile a list of frequently asked questions with responses. If you have a particular question you would like answered drop us an email to ensure we included the benefit of all –

Two new cruise related videos

Do you know about the Unlock the Past YouTubesite? During the last week we put up two new videos relating to the 4th cruise. Each of these has had over 100 views in the first few days.

  • Chris Paton in Australia February 2014  - Chris as you will know is one the lead presenters on the cruise as well as seminars in seven cities around Australia. He has supplied us this 5 minute introduction - Click here to see and hear Chris
  • Genealogy cruising with Unlock the Past - last Tuesday, 14 January – this is a one hour recording of the first Unlock the Past Hangout on Air. Some of the speakers and cruise activities were introduced and a number of practical questions answered. Click here to see the recorded video of the hangout. A number of questions were answered in the text log of the hangout on this page

Other news

  • Bloggers – we have probably the largest assembly genealogy bloggers ever at an Australian event. These are listed on the program page of the website. If you have a blog and are likely to do the cruise blog, before during or after the cruise, we would love to list you here. Please email Jill has asked me to let you know that she will provide blogger beads for those on board who have a blog
  • Cruise documents – these were posted out over several days during the last week. Some have already been received. The rest should be received over the next few days
  • Geneareaders circle – Jill has asked you to bring a book or two on board if you wish to share in this session. For more information on this see Presentations page of the cruise website
  • Presentation outlines – have you checked out the summaries of talks offered by our speakers? Most of our speakers have given handy short summaries of the talks to help you plan what to attend. If you are a speaker, and have not yet submitted an outline it would be helpful if you can do so soon. 
  • First day – it is expected that boarding will take place throughout the afternoon of 4 February. We expect to have a registration table and gathering point set up in the conference room on Deck 2. It is likely you will want to find your room first. Your checked baggage may or may not be delivered when you first go to your room. You will no doubt want to explore the ship, but please look us up in the conference centre which you will need to locate soon anyway to pick up your nametags and other goodies offered to our group. The conference centre and small theatre where our cruise sessions will take place – except the opening and closing sessions, which will take place in Cleopatra's Needle on Deck 5.

More cruise information

Just 17 days to go!

Alan Phillips and the Unlock the Past team

Australia Day Challenge, family history across the seas....

 Family History Across the Seas has issued this dinkum challenge for Australia Day. So here goes........

A Ghost Gum, painting with light (well a torch actually held by a grandchild!)


My first ancestor to arrive in Australia was:

Joseph Butler – Neptune 1790

I have Australian Royalty (tell us who, how many and which Fleet they arrived with):

To date:

Joseph Butler – Neptune 1790 

Robert Hobbs – Active 1791  

Bridget Heslin (Eslin) – Sugarcane 1793  

Mary Holland – Indispensable 1796

Matthew Elkin – Indispensable 1796  

Mary Moss – Experiment 1804 

John Rose – Somersetshire 1814   

I’m an Aussie mongrel, my ancestors came to Oz from:

Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, England

Did any of your ancestors arrive under their own financial steam?

Don’t think so; either convicts or assisted immigrants

How many ancestors came as singles?

7 convicts -  3 female, 3 male

Two young Kyle brothers from Tipperary, Henry and Michael in 1841

How many came as couples?

My great grandmother Mary Kirkpatrick, her husband Hugh and my grandfather David (Dave) then aged 11 months, from Belfast

How many came as family groups?


Did one person lead the way and others follow?

Not sure, there were Kirkpatricks in the colony but none  related to mine, and my NSW Kyles seem rare and unrelated to others in Victoria and Qld.

What’s the longest journey they took to get here?

7 months, Bridget Heslin on the Sugarcane, all Irish convicts

Did anyone make a two-step emigration via another place?


Which state(s)/colony did your ancestors arrive?


Did they settle and remain in one state/colony?

Yes mostly

Did they stay in one town or move around?

Moved but not far

Do you have any First Australians in your tree?

Not sure

Were any self-employed?

Yes all were, farmers

What occupations or industries did your earliest ancestors work in?

Farming, timber sawyers, midwifery, laundry owners (Sydney), butchers, teamster

Does anyone in the family still follow that occupation?


Did any of your ancestors leave Australia and go “home”?

Not sure, Hugh Kirkpatrick disappeared after her and Mary separated in 1890, and we haven’t found him, perhaps he went home?


What’s your State of Origin?


Do you still live there?


Where was your favourite Aussie holiday place as a child?

Did not go on holiday, it was the 1940s and we lived in the bush


Any special place you like to holiday now?

 I like Ireland (if I can get there), also the Top End

Share your favourite spot in Oz:

Nulla Nulla Creek, Upper Macleay the places of my childhood  - surrounded  by the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, New England National Park Carrai State Forest, Willi Willi National Park, Collombatti State Forest, Ballengarra State Forest, Pee Dee State Forest and much more–

Any great Aussie adventure you’ve had?


Probably Kadadu…


What’s on your Australian holiday bucket list?

The Kimberleys, Tassie again and maybe the Ghan someday, and some good photographic holidays possibly Italy, the Rockies, or .........

How do you celebrate Australia Day?


 Well that's me, why don't you do the challenge, Family History Across the Seas