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 

February 2015

SAG coat of arms

  • DNA user group
  • Volunteers Wanted
  • Spotlight on our SAG Cemetery CDs
  • Rootstech 2015 - recordings now available
  • Good news for the future of BDM records in England and Wales


  • What's on in March


  • England's Immigrants 1330-1550



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

  • Colonial Australia
  • The Fatal Shore
  • Hawkesbury Journey
  • Royal Mistresses and Bastards
  • A Girl at Government House


  • Subscribe or alter your subscription to these newsletters

DNA User Group

There has been a request for a new user group focusing on DNA and its application to genealogy. We'd be interested to gauge the level of interest in this topic and would be pleased if people could let us know whether they would like to be a part of such a group. Please email with your details and if there is sufficient interest we will see whether such a group can be arranged. There is no obligation at any stage - we are just looking to see who may be interested in learning more.

Volunteers Wanted

We'd like someone with good copy-typing skills to help with the General Index Cards conversion project. Initially the training and work would be on Thursdays in the Project Room at Richmond Villa, but later it may be possible to change to another day.

Please contact Alison Wolf at or telephone SAG Office on 9247 3953.

Spotlight on our SAG Cemetery CDs

For some time now we have been aware that the Help Files on these three CDs for Rookwood, Macquarie Park and Waverley & South Head Cemeteries have not opened in the latest operating systems for WIndows based computers due to Microsoft updates.

We have now been able to produce files for the Maps & Section Notes portion of the Help files. For information about these files click here.

Rootstech 2015 - recordings now available

As many readers would be aware, the large Rootstech conference is held around February every year in Salt Lake City. This year’s event was held on 12-14 February and was a joint venture with the Federation of Genealogical Societies. It attracted an estimated 20,000 registrants, including a small number of Australians, including our President, Martyn Killion and Executive Officer, Heather Garnsey, representing the SAG.

Key sessions from the conference were filmed and have been made available on the Rootstech website. Click on ‘Previous Sessions’ from the homepage to be taken to a range of very useful sessions on a wide range of topics, all of which help us be better and more efficient researchers and make us aware of new resources. Dates for the 2016 event have already been set for 3-6 February 2016.

Good news for the future of BDM records in England and Wales

The Society of Genealogists in the UK reports on its website the exciting news that England and Wales may soon no longer be restricted to only releasing birth, death and marriage information through certified certificates – in other words, BDM information could be released as an online image or extract, negating the need for researchers to pay for a certified copy. This is due to the Government agreeing to an amendment to the Deregulation Bill currently going before the House of Lords. SoG and other family historians have been pushing for this change for years – read the full details on the SOG website at


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.

  • Thursday 5 March (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Victorian Way of Death
    The Victorians developed a unique approach to celebrating the death of their loved ones through elaborate funerals and the garden cemetery movement of the 19th century. In this talk we will consider the stylistic development, imagery and symbolism used, changes with WWI, and discuss strategies for interpreting difficult inscriptions. This talk is ideal for those who haven't done much research in cemeteries before. Presenter: Stephen Palmer. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 7 March (10.30am - 12.00pm) - Tour - Gallipoli Series - Using and Evaluating Sources in Family History - Macquarie University
    With an emphasis on (but not restricted to) World War I sources, we are invited to Macquarie University's Australian History Museum to learn about analysing and using sources, evaluating their usefulness, bias and value to inform research about any topic at any level. Using hands-on activities and case studies from the Museum's own collections this trip will enable the family historian to apply principles of historiography to their work. The Museum is staffed by qualified academics from the History faculty of the University. The Museum is located within University's North Ryde campus with parking available very close by and public transport servicing the University. Upon registration you will be provided with detailed information on how to get there and where to meet. Limited to 20 participants. Bookings essential. $10 ($15 non-members).
  • Wednesday 11 March (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - Tracing Irish Ancestors on FindMyPast
    Join the Head of Irish Data and Business Development as he explains how FindMyPast can help you with your Irish research. A great way to break down those Irish brick walls as we head towards St Patrick's Day. Bookings essential. $10. SAG Members only.
  • Thursday 12 March (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Writing Discussion Group - BOOKED OUT!
  • Saturday 14 March (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Legacy Software Group
    An informal meeting of current and potential Legacy users to exchange information, ideas and techniques. Bring your questions and laptop. Facilitator – Bev Hyssett. Bookings essential. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Friday 20 March (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Hands On - Sussex - BOOKED OUT!
  • Saturday 21 March (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Gallipoli Series - Finding Your Military Ancestors
    Do you have an ancestor in the Army? Military records in the UK, most Commonwealth countries and the USA are thorough, especially since the Battle of Waterloo. Most European countries also have good records. Asian countries hold a very variable range, and most of these are of officers. Most of all these records are not digitised- as yet. We will look at how to access records for the Army, Navy, the Air Force and Women’s Services, and some means to understand a very complex situation. Presenter: Peter Trebilco. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Tuesday 24 March (11.00am - 12.00pm) - Tour - Preservation Australia
    In November’s Lost In event, Kay Soderlund of Preservation Australia spoke very passionately about storing and preserving paper and artefacts and brought along some tools of the trade. Whether you were in the audience and were intrigued, or would like to know the latest information on how to store what’s in your family archive, this is a great opportunity to learn from the very same experts that the top Libraries and Museums go to help keep their precious items safe for generations to come. Visit Preservation Australia’s premises in Annandale and see their conservation studio, buy from their range of archival products and discuss ways of preserving your family heritage. This is a special event for SAG members, as a follow up to the talk given at our ‘Lost In’ event in November. Meet at their premises at Annandale - exact information will be provided for those who have booked closer to the date. There is 2 hour and all-day parking close by and it is close to Parramatta Road so well serviced by buses. Note - there is a steep flight of steps to reach the conservation studio. Bookings essential. Members Only and limited to 20 participants. $10.
  • Tuesday 31 March (11.00am - 12.00pm) - Tour - Cockatoo Island
    Meet on the island. Cockatoo Island is a site of significance for Sydnesiders, frombeing a convict gaol to WWII when it was a maintenance site for the Australian Navy. Enjoy a day of history with an hour's tour by SHF guides. Participants must make their own arrangements to get to the Island - the ferry timetable will be provided closer to the event. Bookings close Thursday 26 March. Limited to 25 participants. Bookings Essential. $20 ($25 non-members)

England's Immigrants 1330-1550

The England's Immigrants Database is a fully searchable database of over 64,000 names of people known to have migrated to England during the period 1330 to 1550. The site has both a quick and advanced search engine and you can also browse the index alphabetically. If you are fortunate enough to find an ancestor listed, the database will provide the date and their English place of residence as well as details of the original document that provided the information and any other biographical information available such as place of origin.


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.

Colonial Australia - $25.00

A Documentary History of Australia offers a synoptic view of Australian history. It therefore resembles a general history in trying to present the main aspects of a particular period, and in being concerned with economics, society and culture as well as with government and politics. We also have available Volumes 2 and 3. Secondhand, Softcover, 22cm, 621 pages, fair condition, Frank Crowley, Thomas Nelson Australia Pty Ltd, 1980. [More detail]

The Fatal Shore - $35.00

A history of the Transportation of Convicts to Australia 1787-1868. Secondhand, Good condition, Hardcover, 688 pages, 24cm, Robert Hughes, Collin Harvill, London 1987. [More detail]

Hawkesbury Journey - $55.00

Up The Windsor Road from Baulkham Hills. Secondhand, Hardcover, 24cm, 251 pages, very good condition. D G Bowdy, Library of Australian History, Sydney NSW 1986. [More detail]

Royal Mistresses and Bastards - $33.00

An index and biography of some of the mistresses of various members of the Royal Family from George I (1660-1727) to Edward VIII (1894-1972). Secondhand, Fair condition, Softcover, 426 pages, 29cm, Anthony Camp, London, 2007. [More detail]

A Girl at Government House - $25.00

An English girl's reminiscences: 'Below Stairs' in colonial Australia. These reminiscences of an English girl 'in service' present a remarkably lively portrait of Australia in the eighties and nineties. Secondhand, Hardcover, 26x18cm, 145 pp, fair condition, dust cover. Edited by Helen Vellacott, Currey O'Neil Ross Pty Ltd, South Yarra VIC. First published in 1932, reprinted 1983. [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.