Blog post

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

AncestryDNA for people outside the USA

I have been reading posts relating to’s DNA offering (eg this one by The Genetic Genealogist) with great interest. Currently going for $99 to existing Ancestry subscribers, AncestryDNA looks like a bargain. I’m curious to see how it will tie in with member trees – the possibilities are very exciting.

The DNA product is still in beta and is currently available by invitation only. I wondered if non-US residents were eligible. The DNA page doesn’t appear on the Australian site but it can be accessed from Australia here. I submitted a request for an invitation at the end of May, wondering if they would sent one to an Australian site subscriber.

They did. It arrived in my email this morning.

Non-US residents can purchase the test. International postage is not too bad at about $10 to Australia. The only special requirement is that you have to agree to the US Ancestry site Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. They point out among other things (you should read them for yourself if considering purchase) that:

  • your sample will be tested and stored in the United States,
  • privacy laws in the US may differ from those of your home country,
  • “you may not be able to use the results in a website targeted to your country of residence or hosted outside the United States”.

I had assumed that the first two points would be the case. I’m not concerned about the last one as I know from experience (I checked again just now!) that I can log on, search records and view records, view member trees including my own – in fact do anything I normally do via the .com site instead of the site.

The invitation is time and quantity limited. You can order one test only but if you don’t take up the offer within three days, it’s gone. Adding to the sense of urgency is a prominent countdown timer.

It must have been the countdown timer that got to me. I ordered the test.


No disclaimer needed. No-one gave me anything to write this and the links are not part of any affiliate scheme.

Friday, June 8, 2012

E is for… Emigrants

I have joined Gould’s ‘Family History Through the Alphabet’ challenge. I can’t promise to participate for every letter (my track record for sticking with challenges is not good!) but I didn’t want to miss out on the fun. Here is my contribution for the letter E.

E is for… Emigrants

It’s so hard to find suitable ones.

As I was browsing the Twelfth General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners I came across this passage describing the difficulty in finding suitable emigrants to the Australian colonies:

“… Besides this it is to be remembered that the class of emigrants to which our selections are almost confined, as the only one entirely satisfactory to the colonists, is more limited than at first sight would be imagined. Paupers, as they are called, are below the required class, mechanics arc generally above it; old people are useless; young children inconvenient. Idlers are mischievous in a colony; active people can generally get on at home. Single men are not desired in excess of single women, and respectable single women are not generally anxious to try the risks of a new country. People whose savings would enable them to become employers of labour instead of labourers, swell the evil which they are sent out to remedy. Lastly, the rate of contribution required by us from the emigrant himself was a further and very operative check on the number of applicants.”

Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons.  Colonial Land and Emigration Commission. Twelfth general report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, 1852.

I was going to make this a stand-alone post called “Old people are useless; young children are inconvenient”, but thought better of it…

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It only took me five years

Way back in 2007 I took out a monthly subscription to I searched and downloaded feverishly for a month, then cancelled.

The collection I hit the hardest was the Australian Electoral Rolls. Now almost five years later I have finally made my way through all those pages I downloaded and entered them in my database.

My Family Historian plugin provided the final push I needed to get the job done. It made setting up the source records that little bit easier, so I could get on with concentrating on the information.

Information I have gained by entering the records in my database includes:

  • Middle names I didn’t know before
  • Clues as to birth, death and marriage dates
  • Occupations, and occupation changes over time
  • Addresses
  • Names of people who are probably spouses or children of known relatives

It feels so good to have the backlog cleared! Of course, back in 2007 Ancestry only included electoral rolls up to 1936. Now, they have them up to 1980 – and I have an ongoing subscription. I might just have to search out some more electoral rolls entries…

Saturday, June 2, 2012

D is for… Details

I have joined Gould’s ‘Family History Through the Alphabet’ challenge. I can’t promise to participate for every letter (my track record for sticking with challenges is not good!) but I didn’t want to miss out on the fun. Here is my contribution for the letter D.

D is for… Details

  • The details that give us a picture of our ancestors – her black hair just beginning to turn grey, she wore a widow’s bonnet with a black veil.
  • The details that are so hard to track down – when did James Bennett (1831-?) die? He was last seen in Avoca, Victoria, Australia in 1883. If anyone knows where he got to, please let me know…
  • The details you can use to find more information – if you can’t find a name in online newspapers, try searching for a street address.
  • The details you overlooked the first time around – that lead to new information. It pays to revisit your (d is for.. ) documents.
  • The details you find – at last! And you do the genea-happy-(d is for.. ) dance!
  • The details you pick over (or don’t) – entering every scrap of information in your (d is for.. ) database, getting source citations just so.
  • The details you would forget – if you didn’t carry a copy of your database in your preferred electronic (d is for.. ) device!