August is family history month in New Zealand, and Tauranga Library held an event on Saturday 6th August. We had four presentations with a mixture of in-person and Zoom presenters and a mixture of in-person and Zoom audience too. This combination could be problematic, technology being what it is, but all went well.
I was first up, in person, speaking to a live and a Zoom audience on the subject, “First Steps into your Genealogy”, a new presentation written for this event. A PDF of the slides and notes can be viewed and downloaded from here.
Next up was Michelle Patient talking about, “Extracting Evidence from Photographs”.
Interestingly, there were a number of messages repeated in the first two presentations (we didn’t plan this!):
- Talk to your family
- Newspapers can contain descriptions of what people wore to events
Michelle’s handout is only available to attendees, but she has made a checklist available for everyone.
Third up was Emerson Vandy, talking about the Papers Past, which I had very briefly pointed to as a great free resource for family historians. It was great to have an in-depth view of how to use the site.
It is a vast collection of newspapers and yet still it is only 5-10% of all the papers printed in the time. So while there is a lot of material to search through, you should also be aware that there will be gaps.
We again had some (unplanned) shared messages between my introduction and Emerson’s presentation.
- Newspapers are great for finding stories about your ancestors, to make your family history come alive
- Newspapers are Facebook for dead people!
After lunch, Fiona Brooker introduced us to the “Memories in Time” project. This is a project to put old artefacts and photos into public family trees on Ancestry so that the families can find them, and perhaps to reunite them with family members. She demonstrated using Papers Past, NZ Historical BDMs and viewing Electoral Rolls, all things that had been introduced earlier in the day.
We finished up the day with a second presentation from Michelle Patient, addressing when folks say, “I’ve looked everywhere!” with a presentation titled, “Where is Everywhere?” Here she encouraged us to understand the records we are researching; know what is recorded in them, understand how they are indexed and so on.
Her handout is only available for participants, but she made a checklist available for everyone.
We had a marvellous day, and the feedback from participants was looking excellent as well.