From top: Grace Karskens (Associate Professor, historian, UNSW) presenting Men, women, sex and desire: family history on Australia’s first frontier in the Royal Theatre. Richard Reid presenting a Morning Tea session about his forthcoming book Heapstown in Sligo. Panel discussion Family history research- why leave home to do it? moderated by Jill Ball with David Holman, Carole Riley, Joshua Taylor.
The 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry was held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra on the 26-30 March 2015 and was a great success. David Berry from the State Library of NSW gave a paper called Tracing your ancestors in the digital age - State Library of NSW’s Digital Excellence program about the benefits digitisation has made to researchers using the State Library of NSW collections. I attended the last two days of the conference and it was difficult to choose which lectures to attend as they were concurrent and all very interesting. I saw Grace Karskens talk about her forthcoming book about the Castlereagh region in Western Sydney and the complicated and entwined love lives of the residents in the 1800s; Jan Worthington talk about her painstaking research into the lives of the children buried at the site of the Randwick Asylum as well as the social conditions at the time; Richard Reid talking about the dusty letter he discovered in the State Records of NSW over 20 years ago which had so much information about the lives of the people in Ireland and their loved ones who had been sent to Australia; Colleen Fitzpatrick gave an entertaining and different kind of DNA talk and Carole Riley explained how to find land records online and at the State Record of NSW. Cora Num appeared remotely but still managed to keep us all entertained with her detailed knowledge of mapping resources and newspapers on the internet. The stall holders included Australian businesses that capture and store videos and photos of family members on the internet, businesses that offer services to conserve precious photos, books and objects, demonstrations of family history programs to store your information and the popular Ancestry and Findmypast kiosks. Every facet of genealogical research was covered at the Congress. A panel ended the conference and covered the issues that all societies and libraries are grappling with such as is social media a friend or foe and do family history TV programs help or hurt the concept that you can do your family history from home!