Unlock The Past Genealogy Cruise review part 1

Voyager of The SeasThis is the first of my reviews of the 3rd Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruise which I recently attended. A little late perhaps for which I apologise.

I boarded the Voyager of the Seas cruise liner in Sydney, I had flown in the evening before and stayed at the Sofitel Hotel in Philips Street that night. I won’t bore you with the details, but I was less than happy with my room, but as it was nearing mid-night decided against asking to be moved to another. Let’s just say having laid a complaint I shan’t be staying there again!

However having got myself and my luggage down to the International Cruise Terminal all was well. Handing in my suitcase was dealt with very promptly, and after having lunch and a look around The Rocks area of Sydney I boarded the ship. Booking in, security, immigration & customs all dealt with efficiently and with a smile. Full marks all round.

I had been upgraded to a disability room from an inside cabin and whilst I don’t have any Stateroomdisability (apart from an obsession with genealogy!) and didn’t need the handrails etc I did enjoy having the bonus of a window and a much larger cabin. A surprise was that my cabin and the Conference Centre which were both on Deck 2 couldn’t be accessed just by walking along the corridor. The Ice Rink was in the way !! But I soon found that by going up to Deck 4 and walking along getting some sea-air and then down to Deck 2 I could get from cabin to Conference Centre.

DSCF0356Collecting my name tag and information sheets from the Gould Books Team was soon completed and it was a joy to meet several people who I only knew through emails, Google+ or Twitter. It was especially good to meet Alan Phillips of Gould Books and Jill Ball the person responsible for convincing me that a genealogy conference on the high seas was a good thing !!

The first full day of conference saw me taking in presentations on WW1 Australia soldiers,  migrating ancestors, New South Wales genealogy research, organising your home library and GeneaGoogling. All the presentations were of an excellent quality and it was obvious that the presenters knew their subjects well.

Jill BallI particularly enjoyed Jill Ball’s talk on using Google for genealogy searches, I thought I was efficient enough at searching, but picked up several hints and tips that I am already putting into practice. There is always something new to learn.

Also Stephen Dando-Collin’s story of 3 Australian brothers who went to France to fight for the Mother Country was excellently researched and presented.

What to do with the body

Early afternoon of that first day I presented my talk “What To Do With The Body – A Victorian Solution”. This talk tells the story of Rueben Room and the scandal of the overcrowded  London Churchyards. It covers the Magnificent Seven London cemeteries that were part of the solution to where to bury the dead and most importantly for family historians I outline  where the records for London cemeteries are to be found. I have a good number of attendees and the presentation created much talk afterwards. It seems I am not the only one who is fascinated by London Cemeteries and the Victorian way of dealing with their dead.

Having gone on deck to see the ship leave Sydney, then had dinner with fellow genealogists I was ready for an early night. I had to be fresh for Day 2 as I had earmarked five talks I wanted to attend and also had my “Researching NZ Ancestors at a Distance” presentation to give. An Unlock The Cruise isn’t for those who want to laze away their days at sea aboard the Voyager of The Seas!!

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