Monday, December 30, 2013

Accentuate the Positive 2013

Jill Ball from the GeniAus blog has challenged bloggers to end the year on a high note with her Accentuate the Positive geneameme. I’m in!

Jill provided a list of 20 prompts for response. As this has been a quiet year for me in terms of genealogy I am not able to respond to many of the prompts – but there certainly have been some positives along the way.

A precious family photo I found that arrived in my email inbox was an old group photo of staff in a control room at the Melbourne City Council power station, including my grandfather. My Dad found it in an envelope at his house and emailed a scan to me just three days ago. He thought I would like it. He was right.

A newly found family member who shared their documents and stories is always a wonderful thing! I have been approached by a few this year. I have also provided them with information, including newspaper reports of an inquest of one of their direct ancestors.

A long term contact who is is still sharing their new finds as they make them is also wonderful. I have a few of those as well.

My 2013 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments was my warning to Check your Google Alerts. I only put up five posts during the year and it was a positive that, despite keeping a low profile lately, it appears that people still read when I do post. Thank you for keeping me in your feed.

A genealogy book course that taught me something new was the National Institute for Genealogical Studies course on “Electronic Resources: Using The Internet”. Actually, I found this course very easy as I have had some exposure to the internet before... I even have a blog... The great positive about this was that it was good to start studying again and I think I made the right choice by doing an ‘easy’ course to get back into study mode again. In January I start on the “Australia: Convict Resources” course which I expect to find much more challenging.

Another positive I would like to share is lawn bowls. I don’t play, but I do now hold a set of lawn bowls that were originally owned by my great-great-grandfather and bear his initials. They have been at my Dad’s house and I finally asked to take them (the great-great-grandfather in question was on my mother’s side) a few weeks ago. I brought them home with me on Christmas day.

Yet another positive is knowing that while I have been quiet on the genealogy front, the availability of digitised documents and indexed collections online continues to grow. When I’m ready to get stuck into it again I know there will be plenty of new resources and surprises to look forward to.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Check your Google alerts!

What’s a Google alert? It’s an automatic notification that Google has found something new matching search terms of your choice. It’s very handy.

I have just discovered that for some time now many of my carefully crafted Google alerts have not been working. The reason is that I had used the + search operator. Until a year or two ago, + could be used to force Google to include a particular +word in the search result. No longer. Now you must do the same thing by putting quote marks around the “word”.

I read about it when the change happened, and have used it when searching, but it never occurred to me to check that my alert search terms still worked.

So, go and check your Google alerts!