23 July 2014

FindMyPast's world records discount offer

FindMyPast's logo
Until 11.59pm (GMT) Friday 25 July 2014, FindMyPast is offering a one month World Subscription for just  $5  instead of the usual $19.95.

The world subscription gives you access to more than 1.5 billion family history records for Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Ireland, USA and Canada.

On FindMyPast, select 'subscribe', type WORLDAU in the promotional code box at the bottom of the payment page, and click 'apply'.

If you do not want your subscription to automatically renew at the normal price after your initial 30 day period, un-tick the 'auto-renew my subscription' box in the My Account section of the site.

You may want to read why I use and recommend FindMyPast.

(This post also appears in Updates Genie, which has replaced my email newsletter.)

30 June 2014

Old Age Pension Records for Genealogy

 Register of applicants for old age pension
Register of old age pension applicants
Most people listed in the source I am about to describe were born in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany or Scandinavia. A few were born in other parts of the world, including Australia. All of them later lived (at least for a while) in Queensland.

Pensions were only under the control of the State Government for a short time, but Queensland State Archives hold records of more than 9,000 applicants for the old age pension 1908-1909. The records give information about people who received the pension plus hundreds whose applications were rejected. Most rejections were on the basis of age, period of residence or annual income, but some of the other reasons provide a clue to the applicant's character (eg, 'intemperate' or 'deserted his wife'). Although many applicants were under the required age, pensions were only granted to those aged at least 65 years (that is, born before about 1843-1844).

In 1908-1909, electoral enrolment was not yet compulsory in Queensland. Old age pension registers give the place of residence of many people who were not on electoral rolls. This includes some applicants who were not British subjects and not naturalised (and thus not eligible to vote) but who applied (though in vain) for a pension.

The vast majority of register entries give the claim date; surname; given name; country or Australian State of birth; alleged age; total number of years in Queensland; town or suburb of current residence; whether the application was approved or rejected; if approved, the amount of pension payable, date payment commenced and town where paid; if rejected, the reason for rejection; and sometimes other remarks such as 'sent to Dunwich Benevolent Asylum'. For many residents of Ravenswood and Townsville, a second register gives extra details (marital status, spouse's name, full address and exact birth date).

Names from my index to old age pension applicants, with full source references, are now on FindMyPast.

The names are also on my Web site, with an explanation of the Old Age Pensions Act of 1908 and its implications for family history research, and advice about pension records and related sources before and after 1908-1909.

28 January 2014

Finding Broken Links (Tuesday's Tip)

This is how I tackle the problem of finding links that need to be changed:

  1. I periodically use W3C's free link checker to identify broken links in my blogs and Web pages.

  2. I have downloaded and sometimes use Xenu's Link Sleuth.

  3. The HTML code for each of my Web pages is saved in a folder on my hard drive; and the HTML code for my blog posts (copied and pasted from the HTML tab while editing in Blogger) is saved in the nifty little programme Treepad. If someone tells me that a domain address or specific URL has changed, I can easily find out exactly where that link appears in my blogs or Web pages. I simply use the powerful search functions in Treepad (for my blogs) and Powerdesk (for text files with the HTML code for my Web pages).

Have you found other ways to tackle the problem?

(You can see more of my tips here. 'Tuesday's Tip' is a theme used by Geneabloggers.)

14 January 2014

Headstones and Distant Burials (Tuesday's Tip)

headstone of George and Mary Hudson
George Hudson is William's son
The fact that a person's name appears on a headstone does not necessarily mean that he or she is actually buried there. Many headstones include the name of a family member buried in another town or another country. Sometimes the inscription makes that clear, but in many cases it does not.

There is a headstone for my great-great-grandfather, William HUDSON (1806-1882) in the churchyard at Crambe, North Yorkshire, England. I had no idea that he was actually buried in Linthorpe Cemetery at Middlesbrough - until I found a funeral card among family documents.

Depending on the geographical location, records that may specify the place of burial could include a death certificate, will, inquest file, newspaper notice, memorial card, or a church, cemetery or local government burial register. (Indexes to many Australian cemetery headstones and burial registers are now on FindMyPast.)

Records created by undertakers and funeral directors are another source of information about the place of burial. In Australia, many genealogical groups have indexed such records for their local area. Some are listed in Specialist Indexes in Australia: a Genealogist's Guide.

The records of Gregson and Weight (funeral directors in Queensland, Australia) refer to burials or funeral services that took place as far away as New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Fiji, Sweden, Greece, Hungary, Austria and the Netherlands.

Have you found other sources of information about distant places of burial?

(You can see more of my tips here. 'Tuesday's Tip' is a theme used by Geneabloggers.)

Genealogy in 2013 - Accentuate the Positive

My response to the latest 'Accentuate the Positive' geneameme will be shorter than most. During 2013 I chose to spend more time with my nearest and dearest, and less time doing my own family history. I also began to change the focus of my work as a genealogy professional. Noteworthy events during 2013 included:

  • After many months of hard work, I finally finished revamping, expanding and moving my main Web site. All 135 pages are now at www.judywebster.com.au (my own domain name). The site has advice and indexes that help genealogists to research local, interstate and overseas folk by using historical records. The emphasis is on unusual sources that are superb for problem solving. (Read about the features of the new site.)

  • More than 16,000 names from three of my indexes (hospital admission records for Croydon and Brisbane, and old age pension records) were added to the Australasian collection at FindMyPast.

  • I had an article published in Inside History magazine ('The Case of the False Identity'). To the amazement and delight of one reader, an example I quoted in my article revealed that her great-grandfather was one of several people who used someone else's identity to emigrate to Australia.

  • Statistics showed that there was an exceptionally good response to two of my blog posts, Tips on Using FindMyPast for Genealogy and Improved Searches for Births Deaths and Marriages.

  • I created a Web page with a reading list to highlight some of my favourite books plus others that I want to read during the coming year. The list includes genealogy, history and fiction titles.

  • In addition to my usual genealogy talks, I experimented with private face-to-face consultations and informal group sessions (which, thankfully, were a great success).

  • I started using DNA testing for genealogy.

  • I visited relatives in outback Queensland, and my cousin let me copy family photographs and WW2 letters that I had never seen.

I wonder what 2014 will bring!

25 October 2013

Italian, Swiss and Austrian Genealogy

I have no personal experience with Italian, Swiss or Austrian genealogy, but in response to a question about research in those areas, I came up with the following suggestions. If you can add to this list, please do so in a comment below.




The person who asked me this question will be delighted if you can add other suggestions in a comment below.

16 September 2013

Are you getting fewer blog comments?

Wondering why you are getting fewer comments on your blog?

If you upgraded your Blogger profile to Google+, readers can now only comment on your blog if they have a Google+ page or profile.

Millions don't!

(Reference: Google Support)

06 September 2013

20% discount for FindMyPast world subscriptions

The 'Family History Month' promotional offer has been extended. Until 30 Sep 2013 you can get a 20% discount off a 12 month World subscription to FindMyPast. This gives you full access to 1.8 billion world records including British newspapers.

To claim the discount, enter the promotional code FHMAUG when you subscribe. You may need to scroll down the page to enter the code.

I am a big fan of FindMyPast for genealogy research. For records that are on FindMyPast and also other sites, FindMyPast's indexes and transcriptions are (in my experience) much more accurate. This is particularly obvious with British census records.

FindMyPast are constantly adding new records for Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, United States and Canada. The World Records page lists categories and all the record sets available within them. Follow the links to read descriptions of what each record set contains and the detailed information that you can expect to find. To narrow your search to a specific record set, use the search box at the top of the page that describes it.

If a particular record set has led to a breakthrough in your research, please share the story by adding a comment below.

(Revenue from ads goes to Kiva)
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