10    Jun 20110 comments

Interview Series: Kay Francis, Honorary Secretary, Casino & District Family HIstory Group

Casino is a town in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales, Australia, with a population of approximately 10,000

In this interview we meet with Kay Francis, Honorary Secretary of the Casion & District Family History Group (CDFHG)

Tell us a bit about yourself Kay - how you got into family history research, why you are so heavily involved with it now etc.

I started researching our family history 33 years ago, The records then were few & far between & found the only way to find information was through asking a lot of questions of close relatives, church records & historical societies.

I am still interested in finding new information a least once a week on past members of the family, it is adding character to their existence & not just a date on a piece of paper.


2.    What's the background on your surname.  Any famous/infamous people you're connected to?

My maiden name LITTLE is from the Scottish Lowlands my married name FRANCIS we are still working on that one. Most of our ancestors were: Wheelwrights, Blacksmiths, Saddlers, Builders, Farmers, Labourers, sailors and a couple of Convicts.


3.    What's your role at CDFHG?

I am the Honorary Secretary


4.  Tell us more about CDFHG e.g. When did it start, How many members do you have etc.

Casino & District Family History Group Inc. held its inaugural meeting on 13th May 1987 with the election of Office Bearers. In 2011 we have over 100 members. Next year we celebrate 25 years.


5.  What are some of CDFHG key activities

Our group holds a major Seminar annually, with guest speakers & workshops at General meetings, participate in NAIDOC Week with open access to indigenous members of the community, Street Stalls, Market Stall, Raffles and Sausage Sizzles.  We have also hosted the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies Inc. State Conference three times. We participate in History & Family History Week. Speak to other groups & schools if asked


6.  Do you have any events coming up?

On 27th August 2011 we have our “Stepping Back in Time” Fair

On 12th Nov 2011 we have a family history seminar

Anyone interested can check our website for further details or visit www.casino.com


7.    How do you see the Internet affecting genealogy / family history researchers?

The internet has been instrumental in bringing information of ancestors, so much easier to try & find, particularly for those who live in the country & do not have the opportunity to visit cities, where the majority of the records are held and opens up a lot more links in the search engines.

It helps Australians & New Zealanders a much broader scope of looking at where our ancestors worked & lived before immigration either freely, assisted or under government orders.

But it can have its drawbacks if people do not act responsibly in placing information on the many family tree sites without properly researching for the proof of relationship and are not prepared to correct information.


8.    What effect do you think DNA profiling will have on family history research?

I think DNA profiling is an excellent idea. It would certainly help sort out relationship to an ancestor. Particularly when a person would like to know if they belong to that family.


9.    Do you have any tips for someone starting out on the on the genealogical journey?

Starting your family tree can be an exciting journey if you take the time to go about it correctly.

a) Draw up a pedigree chart of what you know – Start asking questions of family members, maiden aunts, bachelor uncles, or aunts & uncles who married but did not have children are good sources of information, as they were the ones who usually visited relatives.

b) Be tactful, people are always to ready to divulge secrets about other members of the family, of which that person is unaware, No Family Tree is truly correct, there will always be secrets & skeletons in the cupboard that you may come across.

c) When you find a record of your ancestor – always write down where you found it, where it was held ie: book, microfiche, microfilm and record all the details on record so you can always refer back to it. And keep all letters received ie: I wrote to a lady once with a family name, same area they come from but couldn’t make the link to her family, 7 years later contact was made again her ancestor was the eldest son of the family & mine was the youngest.


10.    If someone wants to find out more about what you or the CDFHG do, how can they contact you?

You can contact me through the Casino & Dist. FHG Inc. casdfhg@australis.net

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