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 

January 2015

SAG coat of arms

  • Recorded Webinars
  • SAG Certificate Course
  • Family Tree Maker User Group and Information Hub
  • Congress2015


  • What's on in February


  • Evernote templates from Cyndi's List



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

  • NEW - The Tin Ticket
  • Family History on the Cheap
  • Discover Scottish Land Records
  • Papers Past
  • It's Not All Online


  • Subscribe or alter your subscription to these newsletters

Recorded Webinars

We’re pleased to announce that the Society is now offering members a selection of recorded webinars for viewing as part of its Education program. These are listed on the website under our Full List of Events and are available to SAG members at $10.00 each. They are booked in the same way as places for the live webinars, the only difference being that after payment you’ll receive an email providing a link to the recording which you can then listen to at your leisure. If there was a handout provided for the session a link to that will also be given. These are recordings of webinars previously presented live as part of the education program so bear in mind that if there was a special offer made at the time (such as a discount on a publication) this may no longer apply.

Not all live webinars will later become available as recordings. A selection of two-three recordings will be made available each quarter as a new service to members and you’ll find the first of these here.

We’ve also included a complimentary one so if you’ve never tried doing a webinar you can sign in for free and see how it works!

SAG Certificate Course

Applications for the Society's popular Certificate in Genealogical Research Course for 2015 will be open from 1-28 February. You'll find the information brochure about the course available here, together with the current Course regulations. All applications must be made by visiting and completing the online form.

Family Tree Maker User Group and Information Hub

Do you use Family Tree Maker to organise your family history research? If so, this research group meets at the SAG premises on the second Saturday of February, May, August and November each year ( To attend you must register through the Society’s events program - both members and non-members are welcome (members receive a discount on the registration cost). If you can’t make it to the meetings, or have questions relating to the software between meetings, the group also operates an information hub that can be accessed by completing the form at You will then be sent an invite to join the hub by the group convenor.


Australia’s largest family history conference, the 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry will be held in Canberra from 26-29 March. Congress 2015 will bring together well-respected Australian and international speakers to share their experience and expertise with four days of presentations, forums, hands on demonstrations and social events.

The exciting line up of speakers includes forensic genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick from the US who has worked on the unknown child on the Titanic, the Amelia Earhart Project, and most recently the Abraham Lincoln DNA Project. A number of well-known UK speakers are also presenting including Simon Fowler who specialises in UK records and archives, David Holman a UK military records expert, and Paul Milner who will speak on topics ranging for maps to miners. There will also be plenty of great local speakers presenting. Mat Trinca, Director of the National Museum of Australia, will give the opening address, Richard Reid a very popular historian will present on two of his favourite subjects—the Irish and WWI. Tim Sherratt from the NLA will discuss the National Library's amazing resource, TROVE. It is a packed program, with presentations on: finding your WW1 soldier, newly digitised resources, using Australian and overseas archives, the Irish, the Chinese, Huguenots, DNA, social media, pioneers, convicts, bankrupts, orphans, destitute children and more.

Participants will also have the unique opportunity to gather in ANZAC Hall at the Australian War Memorial for the welcome function, and to dine in the Great Hall of Parliament House for the Congress dinner—both wonderful venues. Congress 2015 promises to be a great event. Register now to guarantee your place.

CALENDAR - February

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 February (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Gallipoli Series - The Boer War: Curtain Raiser for the Great War
    The Boer War was fought between 1899 and 1902 and involved Australia fighting in its first overseas war as a nation. Approximately 23,000 Australian men and women served and about 1,000 never returned. In addition many soldiers in British units migrated to Australia post war. Personnel documentation is both sparse and erratic. This talk will focus on an overview of the war and a discussion of sources for family historians in locating the story of participants. Presenter: David Deasey. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Thursday 5 February (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - Tracing Devon Ancestors
    Presenter: Kirsty Gray. Professional local, social and family historian Kirsty Gray explores the records and research techniques for tracing ancestors from Devon. A webinar not to be missed! Bookings essential. $10. SAG Members only.
  • Saturday 7 February (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Finding Persons of Interest
    How do you start from scratch to get to files you are not meant to see? From someone who knew almost nothing about historical research and the use of Government archives, film maker Haydn Keenan has become expert in their use. Haydn spent five years researching and trawling ASIO's files as he developed the series Persons Of Interest, an award winning four part TV series screened on SBS in 2014. In each episode someone is given their previously secret ASIO intelligence file and asked to explain the allegations it contains. Using actual ASIO files and case histories Haydn will offer insights into how he went about his search, the pitfalls and successes. He'll also let you in on what to say when police grab you with a briefcase full of Top Secret Government documents! Presenter: Haydn Kennan. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 7 February (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Finding Cousins using DNA
    If two people share an ancestor in the recent past, DNA can be used to predict their likely relationship and provide clues to shared ancestors. Learn about DNA testing, online databases and tools. Presenter: Kerry Farmer. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Thursday 12 February (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Writing Discussion Group - BOOKED OUT!
  • Saturday 14 February (9.00am - 10.00am) - Orientation Tour
    Held in the Library at 2/379 Kent Street from 9.00am-10.00am. Members only. Bookings essential. Join us for a tour of the SAG library - learn about its layout and the services offered. Remember you can stay on and do research after the tour. Free - a gold coin donation on the day towards our Collections Fund is always appreciated.
  • Saturday 14 February (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Family Tree Maker User Group - AM Double Day
    Presentations include Using The New FTM UG Spokt Hub with The value & how to use the new FTM UG Spokt Hub (replacing MyFamily FTM UG Forum) - with Cheyne Wright; Using Sources and Media in FTM – How to add a source, add media to it, and add source to one or more people - Lyn Hudson-Williamson; "Why I chose FTM after looking at them all" (even if you have FTM some things you may not know!) - Bill Evans; "Charts – Hourglass" (everything you wanted to know about hourglass chart in 15 mins ) - Michael Brock. Time for Q&A in all sessions. Bookings essential. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Saturday 14 February (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Family Tree Maker User Group - PM Double Day
    Presentations include Corrections of Errors, Corrections and Amendments – wrong family, moving incorrect source quote, non-related family member....facilitated by Michael Brock; Duplicate facts and how to handle them facilitated by Lyn Hudson-Williamson. Bookings essential. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Thursday 19 February (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Life and Death in Quarantine
    Sailing to Australia was a surprisingly healthy experience for many people in the nineteenth century. But when disease broke out on the confines of a ship, layers of discipline, confinement and treatment were quickly imposed. How did immigrants and travellers cope with being quarantined at Sydney's North Head? Why were some given stout to drink and others permitted to swim, while their shipmates were cast aboard a hulk surrounded by those dying of smallpox? This talk draws out some cases from the history of Sydney's former Quarantine Station to explore life and death in this surprising place. Join Dr Peter Hobbins in this fascinating talk, which can be complemented with a tour of the Station the following week, on February 26. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Friday 20 February (10.00am - 1.00pm) - Hands On - County Clare - BOOKED OUT!
  • Friday 20 February (1.30pm - 4.30pm) - Hands On - County Clare PM
    Join us at 379 Kent St for this session highlighting selected online sources and other material available for County Clare, and where it can be found in the SAG Library. The session includes an hour of research time at the Library to consult the county records that have been featured. Presenters - Joan Healy & Philippa Garnsey. Bookings essential - limited to 14. $30 ($45 non-members)
  • Saturday 21 February (10.30am - 12.30pm) - An Introduction to Scottish Family History
    Researchers with Scottish ancestry are fortunate that there is a large amount of information online for them to use which can help establish details of their Scottish heritage. This talk will discuss the digital resources such as ScotlandsPeople that play such an important part in Scottish research and will also address the question of ‘where to go next’ so that a fully rounded family history can be uncovered. Presenter: Jeremy Palmer. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 21 February (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - TMG Software Group
    Users of The Master Genealogist software show how they use the program to record their family history and preserve that information for the future. Bookings essential. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Thursday 26 February (10.00am - 12.00pm) - Carved in Stone - Tour of Quarantine Station - BOOKED OUT!
  • Friday 27 February (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Hands On - Computers for Beginners
    Held at 2/379 Kent St. Using a computer can be daunting. If you have never used a computer before, this workshop is for you. In a fun and stress free environment, learn the first steps to getting onto a computer and getting into the online world. Presenter: Judy Keena. Bookings essential - limited to 14. $30 ($45 non-members)
  • Saturday 28 February (10.30am - 12.30pm) - English Research Group - Having a Yarn about the British Woollen Industry
    Did your ancestor work in the Woollen trade? This industry was a major employer and played an important part in the English economy. Looking into the lives and tasks of our ancestors involved in the industry and the records they left behind. Presenter - Pauline Kettle. Bookings essential. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Saturday 28 February (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Immigration Records at State Records NSW
    Feel the salt spray and hear the seagulls as the State Records NSW talk on Immigration outlines and showcases a wide variety of immigration records available at State Records NSW and online.The talk will overview Immigration ‘at His Majesty's pleasure’ (i.e. the transportation of convicts) and explain the mysteries of the Assisted Immigration programs. The talk will include unassisted immigration and reveal differences in the records with a wide variety of images. It will also showcase the diary of an immigrant providing fascinating insight into the difficulties faced by our ancestors. ‘No rowboat has been left unturned’ in our effort to add experience to researchers of their family history. Presenter: John Cann. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).

Evernote Templates from Cyndi's List

Many researchers will be familiar with the Cyndi's List site containing thousands of links to genealogy sites from around the world. One interesting feature of the site are templates which can be used in the Evernote note-taking app. Examples include a Records Checklist Template which is a checklist that can be used to keep track of your research sources for each individual. Other templates available include a Research Log / Notes template, Research Plan and Timeline templates. You can also access information on how to use Evernote on the site.


Visit our bookshop at 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.

NEW - The Tin Ticket - $28.00

The Heroic Journey of Australia's Convict Women. Historian Deborah J Swiss tells the heartbreaking, horrifying, and ultimately triumphant story of the women exiled from the British Isles and forced into slavery and savagery - women who created the most liberated society of their time. Convicted of minor crimes, four women - Agnes McMillan, Janet Houston, Bridget Mulligan and Ludlow Tedder - were exiled to Van Diemen's Land, later known as Tasmania. Tin tickets, stamped with numbers, were hung around the women's necks as they were loaded aboard the ships set to carry them to their new home. Softcover book, 21cm, 326 pages, b&w photos, indexed. Deborah J Swiss, Berkley Books, New York, 2011. [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]

Discover Scottish Land Records - $20.00

This latest guide from family historian Chris Paton takes a look at the complicated records concerning land and property based research in Scotland. For centuries property transactions within the county were governed by feudal tenure, a system which was abandoned in England and Wales in the Middle Ages, but which continued in Scotland until 2004. Softcover, A5, 68 pages, colour photos, indexed. Chris Paton, 2012. [More detail]

Papers Past - $15.00

This is Coral Shearer's first booklet for Unlock the Past. And it gives you a basic guide on the best ways to find your way around the New Zealand Papers Past website. She has taken the first page of the website and worked her way around the page explaining how to get the most out of the site. She shows users readers how to use each area to find more about your ancestors, or the the economy of the country. More newspapers are coming on line all the time and it pays to check regularly to find more information. Softcover, A5, 28 pages. Coral Shearer, Unlock The Past 2014. [More detail]

It's Not All Online - $15.00

Most researchers these days use the internet extensively in their search for their ancestors but it is very important to remember that not everything is indexed, digitised and online. Even if we do find references to our families in online indexes, we should still check original records for additional details. In many instances, the internet allows us to quickly draw up an outline of our family history, often going back many generations. however, if we want to know more about those people whose names are in that outline, we need to do more research. After reading this publication you will be inspired to research your ancestors in greater depth and will soon realise that It's Not All Online! Written and published in Australia, the examples and addresses relate to places to find more Australian records. Softcover, A5, 68 pages. Shauna Hicks,Unlock The Past, 2011. [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.