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 2015

SAG coat of arms

  • Last call for Entries to the Croker Prize for Biography for 2015
  • Irish Day - Saturday 11 July


  • What's on in June


  • Queensland Place Names Online Search



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

  • Convicts to NSW 1788-1812 CD
  • Papers Past
  • Opening the Doors to Family Tree Maker
  • Researching in German Civil and Church Records
  • Down and Out in Scotland


  • Subscribe or alter your subscription to these newsletters

Last call for Entries to the Croker Prize for Biography for 2015

We’ve already received some great entries for 2015, but the deadline of midnight on Sunday 31 May to enter this year’s competition is looming. So if you haven’t done so yet – start writing! This year’s theme is ‘My Immigrant’s Story’ and again two prizes of $1,000 each can be awarded – one for the Members’ Choice – the most popular entry as voted by members, and the other for the essay judged to be the best by the Board’s Croker Prize Committee. All entries will be published anonymously on the SAG website in June/July and members will have until the end of July to cast their vote for their favourite.

So if you’ve been meaning to start writing up your family history, here’s the opportunity to put together an essay of up to 1500 words – and you might just go home with $1000 to put towards more family history research! Find out more here.

A special day for the Irish amongst us

Don’t forget on Saturday 11 July we have our Irish Day coming up, featuring three great speakers. This is being held at the NSW Bowlers Club in York Street in the CBD and is a great opportunity to spend a day talking to others with an interest in all things Irish – including nuns and convicts. Details 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.

  • Thursday 4 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Finding Your Italian Heritage
    If you have ancestors from Italy or even if you just want to learn about the development of the Italian community in Australia, then this seminar is a must for you. A range of experienced researchers from Co.At.Is (Italian Family History Group) will present a “how to” summary on navigating the minefield of family history research in Italy. Presenters: Representatives from Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Thursday 11 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Writing Discussion Group - June - The Writing Journey - BOOKED OUT!
  • Saturday 13 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Beginner's Guide to State Records
    Presenter: John Cann. Are you a recent convert to the family history research process? Are you an experienced researcher but are yet to tackle State Record what can be found on a visit to State Archives, & hear about the many options for research available to family historians. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 13 June (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Writing Discussion Group
    Croker Prize (Members' Choice Winner 2014).The winner of the Members’ Choice category of the Croker Prize in 2014, Bob will talk about his entry, Old Brine: Terror of the Richmond River, how he wrote it & the elements of a prize winning story. Presenter: Bob Wright. Bookings essential. $8 ($12 non-members).
  • Thursday 18 June (10.30am - 3.30pm) - Welcome Day for New Members
    Commencing at 10.30am at Richmond Villa and finishing at 2/379 Kent Street (SAG Library). Especially for new members with no family history research experience. We’ll start by showing you some of the fundamentals & ‘first steps’ in family history in a fun & stress-free environment. Then, after a break for lunch (BYO), we’ll reconvene at the SAG Library for a short explanation of its offerings and the opportunity to start researching. FREE - Members only. Bookings essential and limited to 10.
  • Thursday 18 June (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - An A-Z of Victorian Occupations
    Have you found an ancestor but can’t understand their occupation? Professional local, social & family historian Kirsty Gray will outline some unusual occupations from the era. Bookings essential. $10. SAG Members only.
  • Saturday 20 June (10.00am - 4.00pm) - Genealogy & Technology Day - Michelle Patient
    A day of immersion in technology with expert genealogist Michelle Patient. Topics covered include: digital indexes & archives, creating digital records, using Evernote & lots of opportunity to ask questions. Full program available on the website or by phone or email. Morning & afternoon tea incl., BYO lunch. Presenter - Michelle Patient. Bookings essential. $40 ($55 non-members).
  • Tuesday 23 June (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - Using the Ryerson Index - John Graham
    Join John Graham, the coordinator of the Ryerson Index of death notices & obituaries in Australian newspapers, as he explores & demonstrates this wonderful resource & how it can help “kill off” your ancestors with newspapers & cemetery records. Bookings essential. $10. SAG Members only.
  • Thursday 25 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Getting the Most out of British Census Records
    A Census of the population was taken every 10 years in Britain starting in 1801. Information gathered expanded over time & the surviving records form the mainstay of researching 19th century families in the British Isles. Learn about different resources, effective search techniques & how to interpret results. Presenter - Sylvia Murphy. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Friday 26 June (10.00am - 1.00pm) - Hands On - English Counties - Yorkshire - BOOKED OUT!
  • Saturday 27 June (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Family Tree Charts - Jeremy Palmer
    This seminar will outline common conventions & guidelines on how to produce a family tree chart, including the setting out of generations, names, marriages, proper abbreviations & standardisation of information as well as a discussion on the importance of simplicity & accuracy. Presenter: Jeremy Palmer. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).

Queensland Place Names Online Search

The Queensland Place Names Online Search is a Queensland Government website that provides access to a range of information about place names in the state of Queensland. You can search the place names database to find details of all official and some unofficial names, access the place names gazetteer as well as address and locality boundary datasets, and access Queensland Globe, an online interactive tool allowing you to view and explore Queensland spatial data and imagery. Full details about using these features are available on the website.

The Queensland Place Names database will provide all references to a particular name in the state of Queensland and includes the type of place, a map of the location and any other available details including the local government area in which it is located, its location (latitude and longitude) and comments or specific details of its 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.

Convicts to NSW 1788-1812 CD - $20.00

SECONDHAND. Complete listings from the transportation records. For Windows 95 or later. Compiled and edited by Carol J Baxter for the Society of Australian Genealogists, 2002. [More detail]

Papers Past - $14.00

New Zealand's yesteryear newspapers. 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 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 how to use each area to find more about your ancestors, or 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]

Opening the Doors to Family Tree Maker - $25.00

How to enter your information correctly. This book is designed to help you get your data entry right first time. It takes users through the various data entry 'doors' in Family Tree Maker encouraging them to focus on correct data entry so that the program can deliver the best outcome and output to the user. For everyone who is just starting out with Family Tree Maker with FTM 2012, FTM 2014 or FTM for Mac 3, this is a useful book for you! Softcover, A5, 76 pages. John Donaldson, Unlock The Past, 2015. [More detail]

Researching in German Civil and Church Records - $14.00

This book is a practical guide that, with the aid of many illustrations, will allow the reader to become familiar with the types of information available on German civil certificates of birth, marriage and death and church records of baptism, marriage and burial. The book then explains how to access these records. Softcover, A5, 44 pages. Eric Kopittke, Unlock The Past Series 2015. [More detail]

Down and Out in Scotland - $16.50

It is perhaps one of greatest truisms of family history research that we will often find that the lives of our ancestors were best documented when the chips were truly down. In this guide, genealogist Chris Paton goes in search of the records of ancestral hardship in Scotland, to allow us to truly understand the situations that our ancestors had to endure and overcome across the generations, to help us become the very people who we are today. Softcover, A5, 56 pages. Chris Paton, Unlock The Past, 2015. [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.