I thoroughly enjoyed the “Researching Abroad” seminar last week with guest speakers, Irish/Scottish genealogist, Chris Paton and German genealogist, Dirk Weisleder at the German club in the city. They and Unlock the Past staff travelled from Brisbane to Auckland, back to the eastern states and finished in Perth on the weekend.
From Dirk, I learnt a lot about the effect German history has on the availability of records today. As my ancestors came from parts of Germany that came under the control of the East German government after WW2, I am in big trouble as genealogists don’t know where the records are or if they have been destroyed. And of course, with the extensive WW2 bombing, many records from the 19th century that we might be looking for were destroyed. He was also surprised how women predominate in genealogy in Australia whereas in Germany, the majority are male.
From Chris, I learnt about Scottish resources prior to 1800, I didn’t realise that the Scottish records, census and legal system is so completely different to that of England and Ireland. While familiar with many of the Irish sites, he mentioned there were a couple I needed reminding about for future research. Chris very kindly had set up a tinyurl for us to pick up his notes which I find really handy when you get home and try to remember the name of a particularly interesting site.
For me, a highlight of this type of event is the opportunity to talk to people who understand the passion that drives us. It’s wonderful to be able to openly discuss my research without getting the usual bored looks. I’ve realised that I rarely find a genealogist who doesn’t have something interesting to say.
We are lucky that Unlock the Past were prepared to organise this Australia wide tour at an affordable price to give us the chance to hear international speakers. I know we can watch webinars and aren’t they marvellous? But there is something special about sitting in an audience and hearing them live. Also when they aren’t talking, we had the usual opportunity to individually ask them questions and I think most of us took that opportunity. I know I did on 3 occasions.
Alona loves to collect the photos of bloggers at these events and this was no exception. I was thrilled to be part of such an august gathering – check out her Lonetester blog here to see her photos of the speakers, the event and the bloggers present. Chris Paton has posted some great photos on his The Genes Blog about the Adelaide leg here
There was great info available from tables set up and staffed by the Pioneer Assoc, SAGHS, SLSA, Open Book Howden and Lutheran Archives
Thanks to Alan, Anthea and Alona for organising this event and to Rosemary and Eric Kopittke who travelled with the event all around the country and made sure that we were on time and organised on the day.