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 

July 2014

SAG coat of arms

  • August is Family History Month
  • Croker Prize - Last chance to vote!
  • FindMyPast Subscription Offer
  • Life Interrupted Exhibition Tour
  • NSW BDM Indexes
  • Australian Newspaper Plan
  • Write Now seminar Port Macquarie


  • What's on in August





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

  • It Runs in the Family
  • Military Photographs & How to Date Them
  • Organising a Family Reunion
  • Pitfalls in Family History
  • Solving Riddles in 19th Century Photo Albums
  • The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable


  • Subscribe or alter your subscription to these newsletters

August is Family History Month

During August we join family historians around Australia to celebrate and promote family history. We're offering some free webinars and other special events - see below or visit for more details.

Croker Prize - Last chance to vote!

Financial members have until midnight 31 July to vote for your favourite entry to give them a chance to win the Croker Prize Member's Choice category, with the winner receiving $1000.

We know you'll love reading what your fellow members have written about The Blackest Sheep in My Family's Flock was... So follow the link here, or from the front page of the website, read all the entries and vote for your favourite. Winners will be announced in the September issue of Descent.

FindMyPast Subscription Offer

FindMyPast is now offering SAG members a special discount when they take out a world subscription. Log on to and enter the discount code sag_sd2014 – you’ll save $72 (the cost of your SAG membership) off the normal price of $199.50. This offer also applies to current FMP members renewing their subs on this site – and if you already get a loyalty discount this will be added in as well!

Our recent webinar presented by Elaine Collins from FindMyPast was booked out; the handout for that session which details this special offer will be found at

Special Guided Tour of the Life Interrupted Exhibition at the State Library of NSW

This new exhibition, which runs until 21 September, draws on the personal diaries of WWI soldiers to tell of their war experiences. (see The exhibition Curator, Elise Edmonds, has offered to show SAG members around the exhibits on Thursday 28 August at 2.00pm. Places are very limited and can only be booked online here!

NSW BDM Indexes

Last month we reported on the launch of the new online historical NSW BDM indexes and noted a number of issues with them, such as the lack of information about place of registration and volume numbers for the Early NSW Church Register entries. We’ve now received a somewhat generic response back from the Registry which, while it doesn’t address all the issues we raised, states the following:

“Our technical team is currently investigating all the issues that have arisen since the launch of our new system, no functionality or searching capabilities should of been lost. Issues regarding scrolling and missing search buttons have been rectified. Please note we have reintroduced the wild card * which can be used to replace a person's name. Issues of not finding records has been rectified. We will also be introducing soundex to our records, therefore all records even ones that have slightly different spellings will come up in results.

We are currently in the process of restoring the missing districts and volume numbers on the results page. In regards to the date range we are looking at changing the default to 'yes'. PDF's are being made available. These are being updated regularly. We have recently updated again so if you have our website as a favourite please up date your bookmark. This has also stopped the timing out and crashing issues. We could not keep the old site as it was no longer feasible to maintain.”

We’ll continue to monitor the new site to ensure the changes promised by the Registry are delivered.

Australian Newspaper Plan

The Australian Newspaper Plan is an ongoing program of the National Library of Australia to collect and preserve every newspaper published in Australia. The Library would like to know if you have a newspaper missing from their collection. The search is continuing for these valuable pieces of our social history. The Library has listed some of the newspapers that are missing and you can contact them directly if you can help.

Write Now seminar Port Macquarie

As part of Family History Month, the Port Macquarie & Districts Family History Society is sponsoring a seminar titled 'Write Now', a one day writing seminar with Carol Baxter. The seminar will be held on Thursday 14th August at Panthers Port Macquarie. If you are interested in attending, you can view the program and book here.


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.

Don't forget for Family History Month we've got some free webinars which you can download and listen to at your leisure - see the listing under the full List of Events - Webinars for more detail

  • Saturday 2 August (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Getting Started on Your Family History - Members Only
    For new members with no family history research experience. Learn the basics of how to start researching, what to do, and where to find and ask for help. Members Only. Bookings Essential and limited to 10. Cost $10.00.
  • Thursday 7 - 21 August (10.30pm - 12.30pm) - Writing Family History - 3 part workshop - BOOKED OUT!
  • Saturday 9 August (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Family Tree Maker User Group
    Enjoy a presentation and a Q&A on all versions of FTM software. More details and an opportunity to post topics you’d like discussed are available on the FTM UG Forum - see the SAG website for details. Covers all versions of the FTM software. Bookings essential. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Thursday 14 August (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Writing Discussion Group - August - BOOKED OUT!
  • Thursday 14 August (8.00pm - 9.00pm AEST) - Webinar - Evernote
    Evernote keeps and makes sense of all your research. Order your notes, audio, video and more and sync it with all your devices. Learn the ins and outs of this invaluabvle tool from Cyndi Ingle (of Cyndi's List fame). Bookings essential and limited to SAG members only. Price $10.00.
  • Saturday 16 August (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Manorial Records - Jeremy Palmer
    Manorial records are an often untapped source for ancestry in England and Wales, yet they can offer a surprising amount of information about our ancestors. The seminar will discuss the history of the manorial system, local manorial officials, records that were generated by the manor and how these can be accessed and utilised by family historians. Bookings Essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 16 August (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - TMG Software Group - Adding Ships
    Gail Bryant will explain the reasons for using ‘non-people’ in TMG and demonstrate how to do so. Then, a Q&A session will be held for all user levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced. Bookings essential. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Thursday 21 August (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. The Library opens at 10am so you can stay on and do research. Free.
  • Saturday 23 August (10.30am - 12.30pm) - English Research Group - Blacksmiths
    Blacksmiths were vital to communities in towns and cities as well as industry. This talk will cover the life and skills of the Blacksmith and where records may be found. Presenter - Pauline Kettle. Bookings essential. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Wednesday 27 August (8.00pm - 9.00pm AEST) - Webinar - The Dictionary of Sydney
    Presenter: Dr Lisa Murray. Dr Murray will take us through The Dictionary of Sydney website, highlighting new areas of content that will aid in your understanding of the wider context in which your ancestors lived and worked, from pre-history right up to today. Bookings essential and limited to SAG members only. Price $10.00.
  • Saturday 30 August (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Your Mining Ancestors
    If you have mining as an occupation in your family tree, you will benefit from this seminar on how to tackle general mining research. Margaret will also focus on the health issues connected with mining. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 30 August (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Reunion (for Mac) User Group
    This session aims to discuss the issues and provide answers to the recording of different family relationships such as adopted children, same sex relationships and blended families in Reunion. Presenter - Alison Wolf. Bookings essential. $8 ($12 non-members).

Many readers will know of the resources available at but did you know that SAG provides access to the site for Library users at 379 Kent Street? The site has added some new records this year - see their latest records list for more information.


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.

It Runs in the Family - $35.00

In the quest to uncover our family history, we turn to written records, the family album and even heirlooms. However, they can often be difficult to interpret and sometimes pose more questions than they answer: "Why didn't my ancestors smile for the camera? Why did great-grandfather wear a beard while his sons were clean-shaven? Why is my great-grandmother holding flowers in this photograph?" Softcover book, 162 pages. Ruth A Symes, The History Press UK 2013. [More detail]

Military Photographs & How to Date Them - $35.00

Neil Storey offers advice on identifying military uniforms, badges, insignia, ranks, medals and the equipment worn by our military ancestors. These items can provide a wealth of information about the person or people in the photograph and can lead to many new avenues of research. Softcover book, 23cm, 192 pages. Neil Storey, Countryside Books, Newbury Berkshire, 2009. [More detail]

Organising a Family Reunion - $11.00

From a phone conference to a week long event, a family reunion is a time to gather and share. This book is the help you need to plan a successful reunion for your family. Softcover book, A5, 28 pages. Lesle Berry, Unlock The Past, 2010. [More detail]

Pitfalls in Family History - $12.50

Somewhere there may be a family historian who claims never to have encountered a pitfall in their research, but most of us, if we're honest, will admit to being bruised all over by the number of falls we've taken whilst our family trees have been growing. By reading this booklet you will be more aware of many of the pitfalls waiting to entrap you! Softcover, A5, 36 pages. Graham Jaunay, Unlock the Past series, 2012. [More detail]

Solving Riddles in 19th Century Photo Albums - $18.00

Photographs came in many forms in the nineteenth century and this book assists the reader to identify each type, as this is an essential dating indicator. The booklet then addresses in great detail the other characteristics of photographs with examples to assist the reader in dating the item - the mount itself, the material printed on the back of the photograph, the composition of the photograph including the pose of people depicted and the clothes being worn by the people depicted. Softcover, A5, 44 pages. Graham Jaunay, Unlock the Past, 2011. [More detail]

The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable - $30.00

Told with narrative verve and rich in historical research, this is a delicious true tale of murder and scientific revolution in Victorian England. Softcover book, 22 cm, 391 pages. Carol Baxter, Oneworld Publications 2013. [More detail]


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© Society of Australian Genealogists 2014 - all rights reserved
Any feedback or enquiries regarding this newsletter should be directed to the editor: Lisa Watson. Items for inclusion are also welcome.