31    Aug 20102 comments

Seven Tips for Increasing Your Genealogical Productivity Online

Whether it’s searching for documents, browsing forums, reading blogs or simply googling around, a large part of our genealogy work these days inevitably takes place online. This presents a great time-saving over traditional methods of research, yet at the same time many of us are failing to utilize this technology as effectively as we could.

In the spirit of boosting online productivity, then, we have here a set of suggestions for speeding up your online genealogy work, which – we hope – will enable you to pursue your hobby even quicker and with even less fuss than you do already. Even if these save you just a couple of moments every hour, the cumulative benefit over weeks and years of Internet browsing can really make a difference.
Continue reading "Seven Tips for Increasing Your Genealogical Productivity Online" »

30    Aug 20102 comments

History of the Handshake

Handshaking has an extended history.  

The handshake is thought to have originated as a symbol of peace by demonstrating that neither "shaker" had a weapon in their hand.

If two men met and displayed empty right hands, this presumably meant a basic level of trust existed and that neither would stab the other. Of course, this explanation, doesn’t account for left-handed men, who presumably would have been happy to extend the right hand in greeting while wielding a dagger in the left!

In variations of this story, it is said that the handshake evolved from an elbow-to-wrist “patdown” to check for hidden knives; in another, the shaking motion was supposed to dislodge any sharp objects that may have been kept in the sleeve.  Continue reading "History of the Handshake" »

27    Aug 20100 comments

The Geneatweets: 27/08/2010

A collection of some of the week's weirdest, funniest, and most intriguing genealogy tweets.

“One afternoon in the sun and I'm burnt. Thanks, Scottish ancestors.” (@emillogical)

“For some reason I want to sing along to the radio really loudly today.” (@alisonlodge)

“Unfortunately the cats don't like the F-111 noise. They blame us, as we go outside to look and they think we've caused it.” (@WollemiPine)
Continue reading "The Geneatweets: 27/08/2010" »

26    Aug 20101 comment

The Dust of Life

Miss Saigon is one of the most powerful musicals of modern time.  Many people will remember the horrors of the Vietnam War and the fall of Saigon in 1975.  Set against this backdrop, the story of Miss Saigon is also one of a mother’s love and ultimate sacrifice for her child.

One of the most moving and powerful songs in the musical is “Bui Doi”, which refers to Vietnamese “orphans” – the children of Vietnamese mothers and American soldiers, abandoned at the end of the war.  The term “bui doi” literally translates to “living dust” or “dust of life”.

One of the key inspirations for the musical was
a photograph of a Vietnamese mother who was giving up her child at an airport in Ho Chi Minh City.  The child was being sent to her father, an ex GI who she had never met, to enable her to have a better future.  But she would never see her mother again.

Continue reading "The Dust of Life" »

25    Aug 20107 comments

Does Birth Order Matter?

The honest answer to this question has to be: we don’t really know. I am no specialist in this field, and even the specialists don’t seem to have a clear answer to the question.

Nevertheless, we thought it’d be interesting to explore some of the research that has been done on the topic – the claims that have been made, and the implications of them. You can make up your own mind as to what’s true and what’s not.


Continue reading "Does Birth Order Matter?" »

24    Aug 20101 comment

Five Unconventional Marriage Proposals

Proposing marriage is a major step in anybody’s life, but sometimes the person popping the question really does go the extra mile.

Here are five examples of this, which put the classic down-on-one-knee method to shame. They’re unusual, wacky, and quite simply awesome ways to propose a marriage. Take a look and see what you think.
Continue reading "Five Unconventional Marriage Proposals" »

23    Aug 20100 comments

Top Ten Australian Surnames

Whilst Australia awaits the outcome of the national election, Welsh-born Julia Gillard’s surname may give a little insight into her character.  Gillard is an ancient name of Norman 11th century origins.  According to some sources, it came from the Norman name Willard.  This name is derived from the Germanic roots “will” meaning desire, and “heard” meaning strong or hard. 

Tony Abbot’s ancient surname is generally of early English origins, predating the Anglo-Saxons and Normans.  It was usually an occupational name for a person employed by an abbot, or perhaps a nickname for one who was thought to conduct himself like an abbot. 

Could you be related to the next Prime Minister of Australia?  How common is the name Gillard or Abbot in Australia?  You might be surprised!  Find out below, along with the 10 most common surnames in Australia.

Continue reading "Top Ten Australian Surnames" »

20    Aug 20100 comments

A Whole Lot of Blog Sharing Options

Since launching the latest incarnation of our blog, we’ve added quite a few sharing options for posts. You might not have noticed the range of these, since, to be honest, they’re quite small. Very small in fact.

Share via facebook, digg, twitter or many others

But they are there, and this is how they look. If you scroll to the bottom of this post, for instance, you should immediately see sharing options for Facebook, Digg, Twitter, and Google Buzz. Hover your mouse a little to the left and you’ll see there’s more: MySpace, Delicious, StumbleUpon, and probably every other sharing facility you can think of.

They aren’t going to set the world alight. But they do offer you a little more choice if you want to share what’s happening.

20    Aug 20109 comments

Poll: How Old Are The Oldest Pictures of Your Family?

Some of us have pictures from only the recent past, and some from a long time ago. Where does your family fit in the image timeline below?
Continue reading "Poll: How Old Are The Oldest Pictures of Your Family?" »

19    Aug 20101 comment

Tracing Your Irish Ancestry (Part 2)

The first part of Tracing your Irish Ancestry can be found here.
Although there are strong similarities between the record systems of Britain and Ireland, there are also some very significant differences that need to be taken into account:

  1. The 1901 and 1911 censuses have long been open for public research in Ireland (and as previously mentioned you can now access the census online at http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/).
  2. For the same reason, a range of different sources, known as “census substitutes” acquired an unlikely significance. The most prominent is Griffith’s Primary Valuation, an all-Ireland property survey published county by county between 1848 and 1864. This is one of the most important surviving 19th century genealogical sources.
  3. Although the Irish county system appears to conform to British practice, place names below the county level are very differently organised and, since most records relate to specific localities, it is necessary to have a clear grasp of these differences when researching.
  4. Most of the major record categories have starting dates significantly later than their British equivalents. Continue reading "Tracing Your Irish Ancestry (Part 2)" »
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