Society of Australian Genealogists


August 2017

An electronic newsletter for family historians from the
Society of Australian Genealogists

120 Kent St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Website -
Tel: (02) 9247 3953
Fax: (02) 9241 4872 

  • Congress Early Bird ending soon
  • SAG library now has access to FHL Digitized films
  • Was your family connected with Sydney Harbour?


  • What's on in September


  • FFHS Really Useful Australasian Information Leaflet



Browse SAGs online bookshop for a great collection of family history books, CDs and software.

  • NEW - Legacy 9.0 User Guide
  • Family History for Beginners and Beyond (15th Edition)
  • Arrivals in Australia from 1788
  • Arrivals & Departures NSW 1788-1825 CD-ROM


  • Subscribe or alter your subscription to these newsletters

Congress Early Bird ending soon

Don’t miss out on the early bird price if you haven’t yet booked for Congress 2018 – it’s due to finish on 30 September. Booking now also lets you pay your registration in two instalments if you prefer. Four days filled with lectures, exhibitions, networking, social activities and more – see the details here. Congress is taking place at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, from 9-12 March 2018 – see you there!

SAG library now has access to FHL Digitized films

We’re delighted to announce that, as an Affiliate Library of FamilySearch, we now have access to nearly all of its digitised film collection in our library at 2/379 Kent Street. With the film hire service closing on 1 September you can no longer order in films for viewing. However, if, when using the FamilySearch library catalogue you see a camera icon next to an item of interest this means that it has now been digitised. From home if you click on that icon you’ll often get a message that says you can only view the image at a FH Library and an Affiliate Library – but if you come into the SAG you’ll be able to view the images within our library. That’s great news for researchers and we thank FamilySearch for their work in making this possible.

Was your family connected with Sydney Harbour?

ABC TV is currently planning a program about the lives of those who lived and worked around Sydney Harbour. Series Producer James Peyton is keen to hear from anyone who has an engaging story to tell and has set out here what he hopes to locate. If you think you can help please email James with a short email providing some background, dates and supporting material.

CALENDAR - September

A chronological list of all activities is now available for online viewing and bookings here. You can also phone Monday to Saturday during office hours on 9247 3953 or book over the desk during library hours Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday.

All activities are held at Richmond Villa, 120 Kent Street unless otherwise specified.

  • Saturday 2 September (10.30am - 3.00pm) - Mobile tech focus day - Cloud and mobile technology
    Feeling behind the technology eight ball as more and more family history tools rely on cloud and mobile technology? Michelle Patient's Mobile Tech Day will help remove some of the unknowns and give you some ideas about how to make the most of these useful tools. Bring along your mobile device to be part of the Q&A session to be held during the day. The day is aimed at Tablet and iPad users as well as those using iPhone or Android phones. Morning tea provided. BYO lunch. Presenter: Michelle Patient. Bookings essential. $45 ($70 non-members).
  • Monday 4 September (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - British criminal records
    Join Findmypast's Myko Clelland as he discusses how to find ancestors in British crime and court records. Learn what life was like for anyone convicted of a crime, the legal process and punishments involved and most importantly the records that are left behind that we can use to learn more about our ancestors from the 1700s to the mid 1900s and how to interpret them. Expect to see court records, records of appeal, prison and transportation registers, admissions, mugshots and records of habitual criminals, newspaper reports and more, learning how to find missing ancestors in them all as we go! Presenter: Myko Clelland, FindMyPast. Bookings essential. $12 members only.
  • Thursday 7 September (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Explore Gulgong and Mudgee through the SAG collections
    The latest of our popular series examining places and topics through the Society’s wonderful collections. Join us, whether you have family from the Gulgong & Mudgee region or just want to find out more about how our collections can assist you with your family history. Presenter: Ralph Hawkins. Bookings essential. $22 ($35 non-members).
  • Friday 8 September (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Hands On @379 PowerPoint
    Learn how to use Microsoft PowerPoint to write, present and share the stories from your family history research. Limit 14. Presenter: Coral Shand. Bookings essential. $35 ($50 non-members).
  • Tuesday 12 September (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - Researching Australian military
    Australia and its colonies have had a long history of being involved in the military including militia units from 1860. When the British Army left in 1870 the colonies were then responsible for their own defence. Helen will discuss what records are available and what alternative sources can be used to give context to your military search. Presenter: Helen V Smith. Bookings essential. $12 members only.
  • Thursday 14 September (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Writing Discussion Group - What's in a name?
    In your family or local history, how do you distinguish between people of the same name? How do you refer to married women and others who change their name during their lifetime? Which name do you use when a person deliberately changes their name, perhaps for nefarious reasons? Do you use someone’s nickname or their "correct" name? Learn how others deal with these and other problems Presenter: Panel discussion. Bookings essential. $10 ($15 non-members).
  • Saturday 16 September (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Legacy software group
    Discover ways to maximise the benefits of this family history software program. Learn from others, share tips and ask questions. Presenter: Bev Hyssett. Bookings essential. $10 ($15 non-members).
  • Thursday 28 September (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Preparing for a visit to the NSW State Archives
    If you are coming along to the reading room at the Western Sydney Records Centre Kingswood on 18 October you should attend this session. It will show you how to search the guides, finding aids and website, how to place pre-orders and make the most of your time at Kingswood. The session will also be relevant for people who have not been to the State Archives before and want to prepare for a visit on their own time. Presenter: NSW State Archives. Bookings essential. $22 ($35 non-members).
  • Saturday 30 September (9.00am - 10.00am) - Free library tour - Where do I start at the SAG library?
    Get an overview of the services and resources at the Library. Explore highlights of the collections and take a guided tour. Why not stay on after the tour & do some research? Bookings essential. Free - members only.
  • Saturday 30 September (10.30am - 12.30pm) - DNA Research Group - Autosomal DNA analysis and GEDmatch
    Hear from members about their research success and goals through case studies. Bring your one ‘burning’ question and work in groups to increase your knowledge of reports and tools available. Presenter: Veronica Williams. Bookings essential. $10 ($15 non-members).

FFHS Really Useful Australasian Information Leaflet

The Federation of Family History Societies has updated their Our Australasian Really Useful Information Leaflet which can be downloaded for free from FFHS here or from the SAG website. This leaflet is produced in association with SAG and the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations.

THe leaflet focuses on how to research your ancestors if you live in Australia and includes a long list of websites and a how-to guide. It also lists family history societies that can help with your research.


Visit our bookshop at 2/379 Kent Street, where we're open 10am to 4pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Our great collection of family history book titles is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week online, where you'll find local histories, CD-ROMs, charts and genealogical software - all at competitive prices!

When you place your order online, the Australia Post Calculator will calculate the correct postage fees according to the weight of your order.

NEW - Victoriana Sydney: A Journey in Photography - $35.00
This book presents 150 high-quality, high-resolution photographs produced from glass plate negatives and rudimentary photographic equipment that offers a window into the life of Sydney in the Victorian era – a time when Sydney grew from a small town to a bustling economic hub, funnelling resources and wealth back to London. These images are artefacts left by people with a Sherlock Holmes-style fascination with science, technology, knowledge, reform and progress coupled with unfaltering resourcefulness and imagination. Softcover, 169 pages, 22cm, Stephen Thompson, Anchor Books, 2016. [More detail]

Story of My Life - $37.00
Record the stories of your life - or a loved one's - for posterity. The 'Story of My Life' workbook makes it easy. Simply follow the prompts to preserve memories from your entire life. The book includes sections on parents, siblings, childhood, high school, career, and adulthood. There's also space to note vital statistics (BDMs) about yourself and immediate family members as a genealogical record. This is a great gift for your children to learn about their parents' lives, or starting point of writing a memoir. This Workbook will help you preserve your memories for generations to come. Softcover, 26cm x 20cm, 191 pages, Sunny Jane Morton, Family Tree Books. [More detail]

Unofficial Workbook - $39.00
The Workbook features include:

  • Introductions to using the seven most important record groups on, plus tips to navigate AncestryDNA and use DNA test results in your research
  • Step-by-step case studies showing how to use to find ancestors and solve research problems
  • Fill-in worksheets and forms that let you apply the book's techniques to your own research
  • Packed with expert advice, handy worksheets, and real-life search scenarios, this workbook will give you the hands-on knowledge you need to mine for your family's records. Softcover, 27 cm, 190 pages, Nancy Hendrickson, Family Tree Books 2017. [More detail]

Stories in Stone: Quarantine - $45.00
Quarantine inscriptions from Australia's immigrant past. Sailing to Australia in 1835, 16-year-old John Dawson watched in alarm as three of his sisters developed smallpox. Although all survived this dreaded disease, their faces bore tell-tale scars for the rest of their lives. Yet John left an even more enduring memento of his family’s perilous voyage in the soft sandstone of North Head, at the entrance to Sydney Harbour. Carving a lengthy message proclaiming that the Dawsons had ‘landed here to perform quarantine’, John began a tradition that continued until Sydney’s Quarantine Station finally closed in 1984. During its 150 years of operation, nearly 16,000 people were held in isolation on this beautiful headland. Interned for days, weeks or even months, many followed John’s example, leaving an extraordinary gallery of more than 1600 carved and painted sandstone inscriptions. Combining intensive archaeological investigation and historical research, Stories from the Sandstone illuminates Australia’s past through the portal of these intriguing and often evocative inscriptions, as well as North Head’s numerous headstones. Drawing upon historical records, diaries and other writings, the book highlights the dramatic personal and social effects of diseases – such as bubonic plague, typhus fever, ‘Spanish’ flu and smallpox – that once terrified the community. We learn where the authors of the inscriptions came from, why they left their homeland and what became of them.

With well-researched text and fascinating contemporary and historical images, Stories from the Sandstone conveys the compelling personal stories of lives lived not just in despair, but also in hope for the future. The result is a captivating and intensely felt picture of the making of our society. Hardcover, 304 pages, 23cm, 200+ colour throughout. Peter Hobbins, Ursula K Frederick and Annie Clarke, Arbon Publishing, 2016. [More detail]


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© Society of Australian Genealogists 2017 - all rights reserved
Any feedback or enquiries regarding this newsletter should be directed to the editor: Lisa Watson. Items for inclusion are also welcome.