About 700 people over the two days, more than 70 exhibitors and some 36 talks, such was the successful Unlock the Past Expo held at the Geelong Arena on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 September 2011. People came from Geelong, Melbourne and many areas of regional Victoria.

I was at the Expo on Saturday and was able to attend six talks as well as speak to almost one hundred people on finding families at the State Library of Victoria.

genealogy centre 2007   Genealogy Centre, State Library of Victoria c2007

Jenny Higgins from the National Library of Australia gave an excellent overview of resources for family history at the Library. She concluded with a brief update on Trove referring us to the YouTube demonstration video if we need more help using it.

Suzie Zada Assistant Library Manager at the Genealogical Society of Victoria in her entertaining presentation Look local, it’s not all on the web: regional family and local history societies began by saying “Technology has made us [family and local historians] greedy and lazy“. She went on to explain that while she obviously valued what is available online, people need to realise that not everything is on the internet as is commonly believed nor are all records digitised. Researchers should remember the local records, such as those held in the collections of local and family history societies which can be overlooked. 

New South Wales professional genealogist Carole Riley outlined the value of social media for genealogists – what it is, why use it and finally warning us about “staying safe”  in the online environment pointing out privacy concerns and effective use of available privacy settings. 

Carole used five examples of social media – Facebook, blogs, twitter, flickr and wikis. If you want to look at the sites referred to in her presentation you can check them out at http://socialmediagen.com/presentations/social-media-for-family-historians-utp-expo-geelong/ .

I enjoyed the day, found it most informative, met many family historians for the first time and renewed acquaintances with others. All in all an excellent weekend for genealogists in Geelong!

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