In this interview we meet with Rozalyn Kuss, from Caloundra Family History Research (CFHR).
Tell us a bit about yourself Rozalyn - how you got into family history research, why you are so heavily involved with it now etc.
My family had owned a holiday property at Caloundra since 1944 so we spent every weekend at the beach. The holiday home became the main residence for my parents from 1966. In 1977 my husband, daughter and I moved here permanently to live and work. Ken’s family came to live at Moffat Beach in early 1941, so he grew up on the Sunshine Coast, was educated here and became a member of the Metropolitan Caloundra SLSC, though he had to complete his apprenticeship and find work in Brisbane because Caloundra had a very small population in the 1950’s.
Like most people, I became interested in genealogy late in life. I retired in 2005 and a few years later I joined Caloundra Family History Research Inc. to learn how to find my family origins. I must say it has been a fulfilling and enjoyable experience, which progressed to serving on the committee. Not only have I found new and like-minded friends, I have received help in my endeavours and learnt many new skills on the journey.
2. What's the background on your surname. Any famous/infamous people you're connected to?
So far I haven’t found anyone of notoriety, or extraordinarily surprising in any of my family lines. All appear to have been hard working immigrants who have helped in the formation of this great country of ours. My father’s grandparents arrived at Moreton Bay in 1873 from Devon, giving me my maiden surname of Jeffery. My paternal grandmother also arrived in the 1870’s from Hamburg as a 2 year old child. Two of my maternal great grandparents met in the Hunter region and married while working at the same property after travelling from Scotland to Port Jackson in the early 1840’s, as did the other two who came from Suffolk.
My husband’s paternal line emigrated through Hamburg in 1865, exactly 100 years before the birth of our daughter. The surname Kuss is German for “kiss”. Once again, hard working immigrants who settled with many other Germans in the farming area of Gatton in Queensland. His maternal line, like mine, is English and Scottish.
3. What's your role at CFHR?
I have spent two years as Publicity Officer in our group and have been nominated for the same position for 2011/2012.
4. Tell us more about CFHR e.g. When did it start, How many members do you have etc.
The group celebrated its 18th Birthday in May this year and currently has over 130 members. Many are active researchers and use the facilities available. As a testament to the devotion of previous and current committee members, the library contains maps and fiche to search at the rooms, and over 1600 books and journals that our members can borrow for research at home. Our three computers are diligently maintained and loaded with CDs pertaining to both Australian and worldwide information, as well as internet access.
5. What are some of CFHR's key activities
Our objectives are to establish, encourage and assist members in their research of family history and genealogy. In this regard we encourage members and visitors to attend our monthly meetings where we usually have a guest speaker of note, as well as contributions from members. We organise trips each year to the Queensland State Archives, State Library and the Queensland Family History Society, all of whom have many records for searching.
We have hosted a number of seminars and held courses for beginners. Early this year, our course, conducted over four consecutive Saturdays, attracted 55 participants and a similar number have confirmed for another in September. The group produces a quarterly journal, the “Caloundra Clipper” for its members, as well as exchange with other genealogical organisations, both in Australia and overseas.
6. Do you have any events coming up?
The group recently completed its latest project, a culmination of 18 months work by a dedicated team, the Gregson & Weight Funeral Directors Index to Records CD-ROM. It was launched in May, comprises over 20,000 records of burials and cremations conducted on the Sunshine Coast at Caloundra, Maroochydore & Nambour, by this local firm. It is the Index to Records from 1972 to 2010, an invaluable tool for family history researchers.
7. How do you see the Internet affecting genealogy / family history researchers?
The internet continues to amaze me with its myriad of material for genealogists coming on line each and every day. Joining a family history society can provide guidance to “find your family” in these new and exciting areas of the World Wide Web.
8. What effect do you think DNA profiling will have on family history research?
Due to the costs involved, DNA profiling hasn’t been a feature within our group to date.
9. Do you have any tips for someone starting out on the on the genealogical journey?
I think the most important tip for anyone starting on this never ending journey is to seek out the oldest members of your family and just get them talking. Get their permission to take notes, or record their conversation, and be patient. Many interesting and wonderful clues are often divulged to assist in your search.
10. If someone wants to find out more about what CFHR do, how can they contact you?
Details on Caloundra Family History Research Inc. and the CD-ROMs produced by the group can be found on our website at http://www.cirruscomms.com.au/~cfhri/Index.htm. We can also be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at P.O. Box 968, Caloundra, Queensland, 4551