Unlock The Past Cruise 2013 Review

Genealogy CruiseI’m home from the 3rd Unlock The Past cruise 2013 and even though I picked up a cold on my way home (thanks Sydney!!) I am buzzing with all the things I’ve heard, seen and experienced. I’m sure it will take many weeks to process it all, but I have a list of things I must do and look at, and I keep thinking of new additions for the list.

Let’s start with the ship, the Voyager of the Seas is huge, it seemed to dwarf the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. It holds 3,500 passengers and crew so it is almost a floating village. I wouldn’t go on a cruise on this ship if it wasn’t a genealogy cruise, it’s aimed at families and teenagers not someone who isn’t interested in swimming pools, casinos or Disney Parades, although I must say Shrek & Princess Fiona were nice to talk to whilst waiting for the lift!!

Having said that it was ideal for a genealogy conference. An area situated in a quiet part of the ship that could be configured into one to four rooms plus overhead projector screen, microphones etc. all made for a professional set-up. We had a large, medium and small room set-up which worked well, although one of my talks in the medium room was standing room only (she says with pride !!).

I met so many great people on this cruise from the ladies that I dined with every night to the speakers to the Gould Books team to all the 140+ participants. Thank you all for your company over the nine days Smile

So what did I learn? Here is a quick run down of just some of the information, hints and tips that I got from the conference. I shall be posting more in-depth articles later.

Paul Milner His talk on Irish Land Records inspired me to get researching my Pottingers in Belfast, not a direct line, but  very interesting people. Paul also reminded us that we should all be rereading our beginners genealogy books again and again as there is always something new to be learnt from them.

Jill Ball Jill gave a total of nine talks on technology and genealogy. I was inspired by her talk on the Flip-Pal Scanner to buy the last one that Gould Books had on their sales table on the ship. I shall have to explore the tools that Google has to offer for social media, expand my Genealogy Circle on Google+, have a go at running a Google Hang Out and I shall be talking to my local genealogy group about them having their own blog.

Shauna Hicks – Shauna spoke on Australian genealogy, I learnt a lot more about sources I can look at for my Aussie ancestors, I don’t have a lot, but the chance of looking at some new types of records is irresistible. Shauna also instructed us to go get a State Library card and also to register with Trove, the great Australian Newspaper Archive website. I had one day free in Sydney on my way back so spent the afternoon registering for my NSW State Library card, that fact I didn’t live in Australia didn’t matter, two forms of ID – passport & Visa card – and I got my card. The staff in the Mitchell Library were great and in no time I was looking at a set of letters written by Joseph & Robert Mason who were friends and fellow rioters to my Diddams & Silcock ancestors. I have registered with Trove and will take the time to explore the vast amount of info that the site has available.

Would I go again on an Unlock The Past Genealogy Cruise? You bet ya !!


That’s all for now, I must attend to the over 100 emails that I have sitting in my inbox and then go out and buy some tissues, cough mixture and throat lozenges !!


Genealogy Conference 2009

2009 FFHS ConferenceOpen The Door & Here Are The People is the title of the major UK genealogical conference for 2009.

I attended a similar conference in Northampton a couple of years ago and it was great. Total immersion genealogy for 4 days. The venue, speakers, food and atmosphere was wonderful. I shall try and attend this years conference, depending on the state of the piggy bank nearer the time. If you have the opportunity to attend do go, it will be a worthwhile experience.

The latest press release announces another 2 speakers.

“We are excited to announce two further eminent speakers for the OPEN THE DOOR … conference.

Professor Richard Holmes, the noted military historian, is particularly well-known through his many television presentations, including the Battlefields series and Wellington, the Iron Duke. He the author of many best-selling books including Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front and Sahib: The British Soldier in India.

Dr Nick Barratt is a prolific reviewer and commentator on all aspects of history, notably family history. He is best known as a presenter on Who Do You Think You Are? and Hidden House Histories. Nick is also the author of many books including Tracing the history of your house and The family detective.”

Take a look at the website and start saving those pennies !



Keeping on Track with your Family History

KeepingIf you are like me you can quite easily find yourself side-tracked when doing your research. For example you start looking for Army Records for an ancestor, you go onto Ancestry.co.uk and then find a likely entry, start looking at those record only to find it isn’t your chap. BUT you see that this soldier served in India, you begin to wonder how he coped with all that heat after coming from the low lying Fens and before you know it you have done searches on the British Army in India, the history of the Fens, Malaria and it’s effects on the Victorian Soldier and become what my friend Val calls a "5 minute expert" on the the Raj and it’s consequences down to the present day!!

A 5 minute expert is someone who becomes knowledgeable about a subject after intensive research, but ask them a question about it a few weeks later and they can’t tell you a thing!! According to Val genealogists are very prone to this malady!!

Anyway I came across this link which might help you keep on track.


Having said all of the above I must say I rather like getting side-tracked sometimes 🙂


Technorati Tags: Family history,genealogy,keeping track


Shackelton descendants reached South Pole

Three descendants of Sir Ernest Shackleton reached the South Pole recently and completed what they termed unfinished family business.

Taking family history to a whole new level !!