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 

May 2014

SAG coat of arms

  • Croker Prize for Biography
  • Duff Down Under - Ancestry & Family Tree Maker Seminar


  • What's on in June


  • Historical Wills of Scottish Soldiers



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

  • Tracing Mining Ancestors
  • British and Irish Newspapers
  • Tracing Your East End Ancestors
  • It Runs in the Family
  • Tracing Your Ancestors using the Census
  • Undaunted: Stories about the Irish in Australia


  • Subscribe or alter your subscription to these newsletters

Croker Prize for Biography

Don’t forget – you’ve only got until midnight on 31 May to submit your 1500 word essay in our Croker Prize for Biography, using the 2014 theme of ‘The blackest sheep in my family’s flock was ….’ .

To enter you need to be a financial member of the Society, and all entries received will be loaded to our website where you’ll be able to vote for your favourite one. To be fair to everyone the name of the entrant won’t be shown and you can only vote once.

We’re offering two prizes of $1,000 – one for the Members’ Choice and the other for the Board prize. So potentially you could find yourself with an extra $2,000 to devote to your family history research if you win both categories!

You’ll find the application form and conditions on our website at – so start writing now and good luck!

Duff Down Under - Ancestry & Family Tree Maker Seminar

On Tuesday 22 July we’re welcoming to Sydney Robert ‘Duff Wilson, the Senior Product Manager for Family Tree Maker from in Provo, Utah. He’ll present a full-day seminar on using the website and also getting the most out of the Family Tree Maker software program. John Donaldson and Doug Elms, members of the team from VicGum (a Melbourne based association for family historians who use computers), will also be speaking.

We’re holding this session at the Wesley Centre at 220 Pitt Street Sydney, and the discounted cost for SAG and VicGum members, including morning and afternoon teas and a light sandwich lunch, will be $50.00. Members of the public can attend for $60.00.

This is a not-to-be missed opportunity to hear from experts about Family Tree Maker and to catch up with all the latest news and tips about the Ancestry website, its contents and its services. Not to mention a great chance to network with other FTM and Ancestry users during the day.

Bookings are now open and places are limited – you can find out more on our 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 June (8.00pm - 9.00pm AEST) - Webinar - Family Tree Maker for Beginners - using them for research success!
    Just bought Family Tree Maker software and don’t know how to use it? Join VICGUM’s, John Donaldson for this beginners session on how to use this ever popular software program for recording your family history. Bookings essential and limited to SAG members only. Price $10.00.
  • Thursday 12 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Writing Discussion Group - June
    Quotations, Abbreviations, Numbers, Dates, Italics, Punctuation. Do you know how to use them correctly or are you guilty of the greengrocers' apostrophe? Bookings Essential. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Saturday 14 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Greatest Hits - SRNSW Top 20
    This talk will examine 20 of the most popular and useful record series for family historians held as State archives. Have you consulted these in your research? Come along and make sure you have not overlooked a record series which could be useful. Presenter - Gail Davis, State Records NSW. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 21 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - UK Criminal Records - Jeremy Palmer
    A convict ancestor’s arrival was the end of a process which left many records for today’s family historians. Quarter Session and Assize records, along with local newspapers and other UK sources can help establish your convict ancestor’s origins and the circumstances which brought him/her to this country. Presenter - Jeremy Palmer. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Thursday 26 June (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 26 June (8.00pm - 9.00pm AEST) - Webinar - Tracing Tasmanian Convicts
    Join Dr Dianne Snowden, an expert on Tasmanian research, as she explains the records and resources available for tracing your Tasmanian convict ancestor. Bookings essential and limited to SAG members only. Price $10.00.
  • Saturday 28 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Find Your Ancestor's Land - Carole Riley
    Many of our ancestors owned a house or a farm. 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. Note - a Troubleshooting Group workshop will be held the same afternoon - see separate event below. Presenter: Carole Riley. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 28 June (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - NSW Land Research: Troubleshooting Group Workshop - Carole Riley
    An opportunity to work through your ‘land problem’ in a group workshop, drawing on what you’ve learned in the morning session. Carole Riley will address your specific land research problems utilising online resources where possible. Bookings essential. Presenter: Carole Riley. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).

Historical Wills of Scottish Soldiers

This week the wills of 31,000 Scottish soldiers are being made available online by the National Records of Scotland as part of commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. The records are drawn from all the Scottish infantry and cavalry regiments, as well as the Royal Artillery, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Army Service Corps, the Machine Gun Corps and other units. Almost all the wills were written by soldiers below officer rank, but some wills for commissioned officers are also included.

In addition there are almost 5,000 wills from Scots soldiers serving in all theatres during the Second World War, several hundred from the Boer War and Korean War and wills from other conflicts between 1857 and 1964. The Soldiers' Wills are available at


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.

Tracing Mining Ancestors - $17.00

A brief guide to resources in Australia and New Zealand. This publication highlights the wealth of information available to genealogists and family historians looking for their mining ancestors. The guide covers archival and library resources, maps, photographs, newspapers, published works and online resources. In addition it looks at where this information may be located including historical societies and museums, genealogical and family history societies, as well as archives and libraries. Softcover, A5, 60 pages, Shauna Hicks, Unlock the Past Series 2014. [More detail]

British and Irish Newspapers - $23.00

Records of births, marriages and deaths provide a fantastic starting point for identifying our ancestors' names and where they lived, but in terms of trying to understand how those ancestors once lived there is no better resource to plunder than a good newspaper. Softcover, A5, 56 pages, Chris Paton, Unlock The Past Series 2014. [More detail]

Tracing Your East End Ancestors - $35.00

East Enders are a very special breed and tracing your East End ancestry is going to be tremendous fun. Everyone has got some East End ancestors (and if they haven’t they invent them), rollicking chaps, larky and resourceful, talking a funny language to keep ‘them’ guessing, eating at eel and pie shops, shouting out their wares in clattering, colourful markets. Softcover, 21cm, 254 pages, Jane Cox, Pen & Sword 2013. [More detail]

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]

Tracing Your Ancestors using the Census - $35.00

This guide to the British census is detailed, accessible and authoritative, and it is one of the most comprehensive titles on this topic available. Written for the family historian, it is packed with advice on how to explore and get the most from the census records. Softcover book, 23cm, 208 pages, Emma Jolly, Pen & Sword 2013. [More detail]

Undaunted: Stories about the Irish in Australia - $42.00

Undaunted is a collection of true stories about Irish men and women who travelled to Australia in search of a better life and battled the odds in a remote and harsh world. From 1788 when the first convict ships landed to the mid-20th century, these true stories about settlers, convicts, and their descendants highlight the best and worst of human behaviour in the kinds of dilemma that faced newcomers. Softcover book, 23cm, 255 pages, John Wright, The History Press Ireland 2012. [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.