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 

December 2015

SAG coat of arms

  • Season Greetings & SAG Closure
  • Family Tree Maker Software
  • Proposed Heritage Listing for Waverley Cemetery


  • What's on in January


  • 10 Easy Steps to Organising Family Photos



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

  • Irish Family History Sources Online
  • Family History on the Cheap


  • Subscribe or alter your subscription to these newsletters

Seasons Greetings & SAG Closure

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of our readers. The SAG library reopens on Tuesday 5 January 2016 and we look forward to welcoming you all for another year of research and genealogical discoveries.

Family Tree Maker Software

An announcement on 9 December from that they are ‘retiring’ their Family Tree Maker product took the family history world by surprise. From 31 December they will no longer distribute the software, and they will only continue to support it until 1 January 2017.

If you are currently using this desktop software nothing will change in the immediate future, but it means there will be no more product enhancements or new releases and, from 2017 Ancestry will not be providing security patches and software updates.

The reason for the change is a commercial one – the company no longer wants to support desktop software and wants to put its resources into its online activities. While this might suit younger family historians (the so called millennial generation) who operate in a completely digital and online world, the announcement has caused much angst for family historians who use the FTM software, either running it completely offline and not linking it to the Ancestry website at all, or enjoying the benefits the desktop version offers while syncing to an online tree which they can readily access when out and about. A great many of our members fall into the latter category.

The full announcement can be read on the Ancestry blog here. This post received over 7,000 comments in the first 48 hours, and it would be a fair assessment to say the vast majority were not supportive of the announcement!

We reiterate nothing needs to change in the immediate future – the product won’t stop working overnight. Our Australian supplier has advised that it still has good stocks of FTM software and has pointed out that Version 14 (with updates) operates well on Windows 10 and that this operating system is likely to be supported for some years. So there is no reason to believe that FTM 2014 will not continue to function normally as a stand-alone product for a number of years.

The SAG will continue to stock the product for the time being and our FTM User group will still meet regularly. Our shop will also continue to offer alternative software for both Windows and Mac users, and will be able to help you choose another program if you decide to make the switch to a different offline product. The VicGum group has noted that ‘ there are currently no other programs that can directly import a Family Tree Maker file complete with media etc, and none can link to Ancestry or support an Ancestry Member tree’.

So if you are an FTM user the message is don’t panic, but be aware that you are going to have to review the storage of your family history data in the longer term.

Proposed Heritage Listing for Waverley Cemetery

The Heritage Council of NSW has announced it intends to consider listing Waverley Cemetery, in Sydney's eastern suburbs, on the State Heritage Register. It invites any members of the community to make a written submission regarding the proposed listing and significance of Waverley - these should be posted or emailed to the Heritage Council of NSW before 9 February 2016 - to Locked Bag 5020, Parramatta NSW 2124 or We know that many members have ancestors buried in this cemetery and have been concerned about its current state.

More details on the proposal will be found here

CALENDAR - January

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 9 January (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Getting the Most Out of Your SAG Membership
    Start 2016 with a look at all that SAG membership offers. Find out about the treasures in the archives, upcoming education events, how to make best use of the catalogues and more! Presenter: Danielle Lautrec. Bookings essential. $10 ($20 non-members).
  • Saturday 9 January (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Introduction to FindMyPast
    Learn what groups of records FindMyPast holds and how to use the search features to find what you want. Presenter: Judy Keena. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Tuesday 12 January (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - Researching South Australian Family History
    Get hints for tracing South Australian family history and learn what resources South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society Inc. has available both in its library and online. Presenters: Nancy Baldock & Emily Richardson from the South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society Inc. Bookings essential. $10. SAG Members only.
  • Thursday 14 January (9.00am - 10.00am) - Free Library Tour - Where Do I Start at the SAG Library?
    An overview of the services and resources at the Library. Explore highlights of the collections and take a guided tour. Why not stay on afterwards and do some research and put into practice what you've just been shown? Held at 2/379 Kent St Sydney. Bookings essential and limited spaces available. Free and restricted to SAG members.
  • Thursday 14 January (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Parramatta - Exploring SAG's Pictorial Collection
    Learn about the history of early Parramatta while also exploring how SAG's amazing pictorial collection can add value to your family history research. Presenter: Ralph Hawkins. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 16 January (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Bankruptcy and insolvency records, NSW
    If your ancestor was unlucky enough to go bankrupt, you could be richly rewarded with bankruptcy and insolvency records. This session will cover NSW online and archival records to 1928. Presenter: Heather Garnsey. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Wednesday 20 January (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - 1939 Register, UK
    Join professional researcher Audrey Collins based in England as she takes us through the 1939 Register – the ‘next big thing’ in England and Wales research that is coming online. This replacement census contains 40 million entries and will revolutionise how we conduct our 20th century research. Presenter: Audrey Collins. Bookings essential. $10. SAG Members only.
  • Thursday 21 January (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Tour - Ralph's Walking Tour of Millers Point
    Walk in the steps of the convict stonemasons, millers, sea captains and merchants of Millers Point. See the history and hear the stories of Sydney's colourful past. Tour Leader: Ralph Hawkins. Bookings essential. $30 ($40 non-members).
  • Friday 22 January (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Hands On - PRONI - BOOKED OUT!
  • Saturday 23 January (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Find Your Ancestor's Land
    Many of our ancestors owned a house or a farm at some point in their lives. This session will show you what records are available and how to find them. We will start with the ancestor’s name and general place of residence and work through some examples of land searches and the resulting titles, deeds, rate books, maps and plans. Presenter: Carole Riley. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 23 January (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Land Research Workshop
    An opportunity to work through a number of ‘land problems’ in a group workshop, drawing on what you’ve learned in the morning session. Carole will address specific land research problems utilising online resources where possible. Presenter: Carole Riley. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).

10 Easy Steps to Organising Family Photos

Legacy Software regularly publishes interesting how to related articles on its website. One of the more recent articles is on how to easily organise family photos, a topic which I'm sure many of us grapple with, not only with our historical photos, but also with the multitude of digital photos we have today. This article focuses on printed photos you may have stored in boxes or old photo albums and offer some useful tips on how to organise them for the future. This article is split into two parts and you can view Part 2 here.


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 on our new bookshop website will calculate the correct postage fees according to the weight of your order.

Irish Family History Resources Online - $19.50

There is a popular belief that Irish family history research is virtually impossible because 'all the records were burned in the civil war'. But as Northern Irish born family historian Chris Paton demonstrates, the glass is most definitely half full rather than half empty when it comes to research in the Emerald Isle. Many records still exist which can help with your ancestral pursuits, and for those unable to make their way to Ireland to carry out research, the internet is finally coming to the rescue, as more and more material is increasingly finding it's way online by the day. Second edition, softcover book, A5, 64 pages. Chris Paton, Unlock the Past, 2015. [More detail]

Family History on the Cheap - $16.00

With the growth of the internet and more information online it is, however, becoming easier and quicker if you know where to look. 'Family History on the Cheap' examines a broad range of topics including family sources, whether someone has already researched the family, when to use professional researchers, how to obtain discounts, what sites are free, how to plan and organize your research and how to maximise research results from your trips to archives and libraries. Softcover book, A5, 72 pages. Shauna Hicks, Unlock the Past, 2010. [More detail]


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© Society of Australian Genealogists 2015 - all rights reserved
Any feedback or enquiries regarding this newsletter should be directed to the editor: Lisa Watson. Items for inclusion are also welcome.