Software Review: Emergency+ smartphone application
28th October 2019
Science and Tech Projects Group Report
31st October 2019

Jan Whitaker

Ed: This article is based on a presentation that Jan Whitaker gave to the Monthly Meeting on October 2 2019. If you’d like to see the full presentation please go to

Why do genealogy?

  • Discover awesome family stories: the highs, the lows and the heartbreaks
  • You’ll be in awe of your pioneering ancestors
  • Find the bad boys and girls in your family
  • You’ll find long lost cousins all around the world
  • Finding old family photos is seriously cool
  • The thrill of the hunt, and of course, the find
  • It’s a jigsaw waiting to be solved
  • Research 24/7 in your pyjamas
  • You’ll make so many new friends

My motivations

  • Curiosity
  • Can easily access information from “back home”
  • “Back home” has extended to places I never expected

The motivations of others (from a Facebook post)

  • Love of family stories and wondering about the people in family photos
  • Why did people move?
  • Love of a good mystery
  • Love of history
  • Brings together many interests, e.g. history, geography, biology, writing, solving puzzles etc.
  • Looking for lost family
  • Pending retirement, looking for a hobby

Where do you look for your family information?

  • Major Genealogy Conglomerates
    • Family Search – free, many databases
    • Ancestry (.au) – fee, more databases and ancillaries ( for extra $)
  • Others
    • Find My Past – UK focus ($)
    • My Heritage – European Focus ($)
  • All of them overlap
  • Some have .au versions
  • Government record and archive services (free and $)
    • national and state libraries, agencies, and departments
  • People
    • family, genealogists (free and $), librarians, historical societies
    • amateurs like us: interest groups, classes
  • Facebook groups
    • genealogy general and locales for local information access

Australian sources

Choosing a genealogy service

  • MOST important:  Geographic coverage – do your research
  • Services provided – databases and sizes and organising (tree creation), personal storage
  • Budget
    • Free
    • Half-price sales, or buy one month to try
  • Alternate access: Libraries and family history centres
    • Library edition of subscription services
    • Books, microfilm, microfiche, family and location histories

What is a record?

  • “Official” information about a person or event
  • Name, date and place minimum
  • Held by a government bureau or church so it can be verified
  • Physical or digital
  • Common records: census, land, tax, birth, death, marriage, wills, military service, immigration

What is an index?

  1. Information transcribed from a record
  2. An alphabetical listing of records kept by the original source (think a telephone directory or volume index or book index)
  • Can introduce errors because the transcriptions are secondary
  • Don’t rely just on index/transcribed information

What to save from and about a record?

  • The index information AND the ACTUAL Record
  • Citation information so you can find it again
  • Try different tools provided on the website – download v print v save
  • TIP: Print in Ancestry tools provides option to capture record AND citation info
  • Set up a local file system that makes sense – surname per folder is a good start

Where do you keep your tree and information?

  • Why: Structure and sharing ancestors and research – To find what you collect!
  • Online provides access from other locations (libraries, traveling)
  • Offline allows for local control and protection from disappearing records
  • Family Search is a common world tree; Ancestry is yours, public or private
  • Best: online and offline with a back-up

How do you keep your tree and information?

  • Family Treemaker (414!)
  • Ancestry (259)
  • Family Search
  • Roots Magic (224)
  • Legacy (143)
  • more than one (74)
  • Reunion
  • Ancestral Quest
  • The Master Genealogist
  • Brother’s Keeper
  • Mac Family Tree
  • My Heritage
  • Family Tree Builder
  • Word and/or Excel
  • Family Historian
  • Paper
  • Heredis
  • GRAMPS (open source)
  • Clooz
  • FTAnalyzer
  • Ages
  • Wikitree
  • Zoompast
  • Google Docs spreadsheets

Fit For Purpose

  • “Ancestry to create files, Family Treemaker for backup and publishing”
  • “Reunion for my laptop and main tree but backups on Ancestry and Family Search”
  • syncing between online and local
  • Free versions available to try out (they have long learning curves, so don’t expect to learn all the features)

Further help for ‘doing’ genealogy

  • The service you subscribe to: videos, webinars, guides and wikis
  • How to use the service AND how to do research on specific topics
  • In person groups and online networks
  • Melbourne PC User Group SIGS

Melbourne PC User Group SIGS

  • 5 SIGS are specifically focused on genealogy and family history
  • 1 has added a DNA specific meeting
  • Melbpc Yammer has a genealogy discussion forum
  • Individual general SIGs may have talks on this topic occasionally
  • Genealogy East SIG, 3rd Sunday of the month, 12.30-2.30pm, Vermont South
  • North East Genealogy SIG, 1st Wednesday of the month, 10-12noon, Heidelberg
  • Mornington Family History SIG, 3rd Monday of the month, 1.30-4.30pm, Mornington
  • Mornington Peninsula SIGAdvanced DNA,
    4th OR 5th Wednesday of the month,2-4pm
  • Yammer Genealogy Discussion Forum, all day, every day

Other Help Sources Online