Last Friday, I had a fascinating morning at Unlock the Past History and Genealogy Roadshow in Melbourne. I listened to an interesting talk from Elaine Collins of findmypast.co.uk about their expansion plans in 2011. Parish registers, newspapers, Scottish census returns, prison and court records are just some of the records that will become available next year. Elaine also referred to the 1911 census, explaining that it was the first census where the householders completed their own schedules (forms) so you can see your ancestors’ handwriting. Apparently, some people even listed their pets! Also, this census was collected during the campaign for female suffrage which prompted some women and families to boycott the census.

Louise St-Denis from National Institute of Genealogical Studies in Toronto, Canada talked about online tutorials and classes for family history research which are now offered by many websites.¬† Louise’s sound advice for genealogists looking to sharpen their research skills was to always look for information about who is writing the online help and what date it was published. Look for something current that is written by an expert with an extensive background in family history research. The National Institute of Genealogical Studies will offer a specialised Australian genealogy course through their website in 2011, taught by Kerry Farmer, if you are interested. Louise mentioned a couple of interesting genealogy websites that are certainly worth a look:

I also listened to Dan Lynch of Google your family tree fame, talk about using Google to track down ancestors online. Dan is an entertaining speaker and provided a handful of useful search strategies to help you get the most out of your google searches. There are some handy tips about harnessing the features of Google’s Advanced Search to find just what you want online. More information is available on the Genealogy PowerSearch section of his website and I highly recommend that you check it out. Do you have any tips on effective web searches? Please share them as a comment for our readers.

Thanks to Gould Genealogy and partners for presenting the Roadshow.

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