Society of Australian Genealogists


September 2017

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 

  • Congress 2018 Early Bird closing soon
  • City of Sydney Exhibition
  • Forced Adoption DNA Workshop


  • What's on in October


  • Tracing London Convicts in Britain & Australia 1780-1925



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

  • NEW - Mistress of her Profession: Colonial Midwives of Sydney 1788-1901
  • NEW - Australians in Peril
  • NEW - Introduction to German Family History Research
  • NEW - Family Tree Maker 2017


  • Subscribe or alter your subscription to these newsletters

Congress 2018 Early Bird closing soon

Final reminder that early bird registrations for Congress 2018 are due to close on Saturday 30 September – so register now and save $100. You’ll find all the information you need on our special Congress website at We’ve started to announce our sponsors and we’ll shortly be rolling out details of the many exhibitors you’ll be able to see at this event – keep up to date with our Facebook page.

City of Sydney Exhibition

The City of Sydney Archives is running an exhibition in the lower Town Hall from Friday 27 October – Sunday 12 November titled ‘Our City: 175 years in 175 Objects’. They are looking for some volunteers to provide general assistance during this time, and need people to volunteer for two shifts throughout the exhibition – either 11am-2pm or 1-4pm, and also 4-7pm on Thursday nights. They also need help on Sunday 5 November when the exhibition is part of Sydney Open; on that day there is one full day shift of 11am – 4pm. Ideally volunteers will wear a black t-shirt and enclosed shoes, and they’ll receive a complimentary copy of the exhibition catalogue in return for their help. If you can assist or would like more information please contact Susan Kennedy on or phone 9546 7611.

Forced Adoption DNA Workshop

Relationships Australia and Forced Adoption Support Services are hosting a get-together which includes a workshop at Richmond Villa on Saturday 21 October. This is specifically designed for people who do not know the ancestry of one or both parents due to adoption or forced separation, and who wish to learn how DNA might assist them to search for family members who cannot be found through mainstream methods. Places are very limited – if you are facing this issue and are interested in attending contact the organiser Lynne Williamson on or by phone on 4954 3029. Please note that while this is being held at the SAG it is NOT an SAG event and places can only be reserved by making contact with the organisers.

CALENDAR - October

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 October (10.00am - 3.00pm) - Map Focus Day
    This day is all about how to use maps in your family history – from where to find them, copyright issues, the best format to use, how to insert them into your documents, analysing the evidence on maps, how to cite them and much more! Morning and afternoon tea provided. BYO lunch. Presenter: Jeff Madsen, City of Sydney Archives. Bookings essential. $45 ($70 non-members).
  • Saturday 7 October (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Primary sources for early Sydney
    Contemporary records such as letters and journals provide historical context about the lives of those living in early Sydney and if you are lucky they may mention your family. This session will examine some of the key sources and where you can find them. Presenter: Danielle Lautrec. Bookings essential. $22 ($35 non-members).
  • Thursday 12 to Thursday 26 October (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Publishing workshop - 3 part course
    This is a three part course, on consecutive Thursdays (Part 1: 12th, Part 2: 19th and Part 3: 26th October). This course will cover: Writing your research/ memoir; preparing for printing/publication; formatting; book styles; using photos, maps & charts; indexing; cover design; registration; print specifications & quotes; marketing and more. Presenter: Margaret Szalay. Bookings essential. $75 ($110 non-members).
  • Thursday 12 October (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Writing Discussion Group - Back to Basics 4
    Have too much information to put in your story? Think that something might be too technical and needs explaining? Well an Appendix could be just what you need. Come and hear an explanation of the 'ins 'n' outs' of Appendices and how they can help you. Presenter: Sue Stenning. Bookings essential. $10 ($15 non-members).
  • Saturday 14 October (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Don't waste time! Getting and staying organised with your research
    Every year most of us make at least one requisite New Year resolution. For those undertaking genealogy it is usually about getting more organised in chasing up our research or becoming better at organising our finds. The session will be examining aids that will help you organise your research. Presenter: Jennie Fairs. Bookings essential. $22 ($35 non-members).
  • Monday 16 October (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - The Biographical Database of Australia
    The Biographical Database of Australia (BDA) is a research tool for historians and genealogists comprising transcripts and indexes of many original records and published biographies of deceased individuals who arrived in or were born in Australia, starting from the earliest times. This webinar will cover how to use newly added convict, muster and other records for Tasmania, Norfolk Island and New South Wales. Presenter: Michael Flynn. Bookings essential. $12 members only.
  • Wednesday 18 October (8.00am - 4.00pm) - Visit NSW State Archives
    Join the bus trip to State Archives’ Western Sydney Records Centre at Kingswood. Do some research in the reading room and bring your walking shoes if you wish to participate in an optional behind the scenes tour of the facility. The tour takes approximately one hour and involves stairs. BYO lunch. You need a reader’s ticket and should pre-order up to four records one week ahead of the visit. * NB Price includes bus transport to & from the archives. Pick up/drop off from 120 Kent Street or Strathfield train station. Bookings essential. $42 members only.
  • Thursday 26 October (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - High definition ancestry DNA testing by Living DNA
    Go behind the scenes with Living DNA and discover the journey your sample goes on, including the ultra-high definition methods that allow the team to not only pinpoint your ancestry into 21 regions of the UK but also discover how you can explore your ancestry at different points in history. Discover how each wave of migration has affected your ancestors and understand how this tool is proving incredibly useful for family history research. During the webinar David will also address the important issue of privacy and security of your genetic information. Presenter: David Nicholson, Living DNA (UK). Bookings essential. $12 members only.

Tracing London Convicts in Britain & Australia 1780-1925

The Tracing London Convicts in Britain & Australia 1780-1925 website is a joint effort between the Universities of Liverpool, Oxford, Sheffield, Sussex and Tasmania. The site allows visitors to seach records from around fifty datasets relating to the lives of 90,000 conviccts from the Old Bailey.

You can search the site for names, offences, sentences, places and more. You can view information about individual convicts' lives as well as well as learning more about crime, justice and punishment in the past.


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 will calculate the correct postage fees according to the weight of your order.

NEW - Mistress of her Profession: Colonial Midwives of Sydney 1788-1901 - $35.00
Before any official midwifery training was instigated in New South Wales numerous women worked as midwives. Many were untrained and practised independently but a few had overseas midwifery qualifications which gave them prestige in the practice of their craft. In the days of secret abortions and baby farming, before modern medical procedures saved the lives of thousands of women and babies, midwives emerged from the ranks of convicts and free immigrants as entrepreneurs. Their business activities, attitudes, work ethic and experiences formed the foundations that helped to shape midwifery for future generations.

This book weaves the stories of nine midwives into an account of the development of midwifery training in New South Wales. The women’s lives span the nineteenth century and provide a fascinating perspective of maternity care and life in colonial Sydney. Softcover, 22cm, Lesley Potter, Anchor Books 2017. [More detail]

NEW - Australians in Peril - $16.00
The interest in Australian military history continues to grow. Every year, more records are being released, and every year more people get the desire to discover the role their ancestors played in Australian military history. If you are wanting to start researching your Australian World War Two ancestors, this concise, yet comprehensive guide is one for you, as well as giving you a simple overview of Australia's military history.

This book provides readers with a summary of Australia's military history in conflict, a glimpse of where to look and what to look for, as well as some guidance on how to understand military records, which translates to getting the most out of them. For those seeking to search out their World War Two Australian military ancestors, there is no better place to start. Softcover, A5, 64 pages, Neil C Smith, UnlockThePast Series, 2017. [More detail]

NEW - Introduction to German Family History Research - $15.00
Perhaps the biggest hurdle for Australians in researching their family history from Germany, or a German speaking area, is knowing where and how to start. But once you've started you often find that the amount of detail that is available in German records exceeds that of comparable English records.

But it’s not all online by any stretch of the imagination, and the reader is reminded of the value of being part of a family history, genealogy or local history organisation, both locally and overseas. Of course the German records are written in German, usually in old German script, but a range of tools exist that will help you to make sense of these. As well there will be more experienced researchers in local societies who would be happy to help as well. Softcover, A5, 66 pages, Erick Kopittke, UnlockThePast Series, 2017. [More detail]

NEW - Family Tree Maker 2017 - $130.00
Now in stock. The DVD contains both the OS X Mac and Windows PC version. [More detail]


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© Society of Australian Genealogists 2017 - all rights reserved
Any feedback or enquiries regarding this newsletter should be directed to the editor: Lisa Watson. Items for inclusion are also welcome.