Archives for April 2009

Australian and New Zealand Genealogy Online Classes

The next Australian and New Zealand Genealogy class offered by starts on the 1st May. Genclass is a USA-based company that offers online training on a wide range of genealogical topics and geographic areas. The instructors are all experienced educators in the field of family history research. Courses last for a month, two lessons per week. Students receive the materials for the class by email and take part in online discussions with the instructor, who is also available for questions via email.

The Australia and New Zealand class is taught by Kerry Farmer, a member of the Education Committee of the Society of Australian Genealogists who has given classes to community college groups for over 10 years.

I have seen the preparation and commitment that Kerry puts into all of her classes and seminars and I can highly recommend this course.

You can see more details of the class topics here.

American and Canadian gold diggers in Australia

I am a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society because I have an ancestor who came from Nantucket in Massachusetts. They have an enormous number of databases available online to members, most of which are irrelevant to Australian researchers.

They have just announced one, however, that may be relevant. Australian authors Denise McMahon and Christine Wild published a CD last year called American Fever Australian Gold, American and Canadian involvement in Australia’s Gold Rush which “was compiled from official records, archives, contemporary newspapers, and diaries.  It also includes material from letters written to or from the fortune seeker, from the gold fields within Australia, or from onboard ship”. 

The Society has extracted the names from the CD and published them as a searchable database giving, where possible, name, year of birth, parents, native place, and year of emigration. For example, Henry Charlton, born 1823 to Charles Augustus and Lenah (Golden) Charlton, was a native of Queenstown, New Brunswick and emigrated in 1852. Further information, such as the sources of this information, can be found, I assume, in the CD.

Even if you are not a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society the CD may be worthwhile searching out if you suspect your ancestor came from the USA or Canada during the goldrush.


Fortune Hunters in Australia.  (Online database.  New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009.)  Extracted from: American Fever Australian Gold : American and Canadian Involvement in Australia’s Gold Rush. CD-ROM. Australia: H. Denise McMahon & Christine G. Wild, 2008.

Recent Updates from ScotlandsPeople

If you haven’t visited ScotlandsPeople, the official government website for Scottish Genealogical data, recently you may have missed some of the more recent developments:

OPR Deaths and Burials

Old Parochial Registers (OPRs) of baptisms and marriages have been available on ScotlandsPeople for a long time. They allow searching of indexes by names and places and parents names and the downloading to you computer of an image of the relevant page in the register. Burials are now included in this collection for the first time.

Scottish churches were not especially enthusiastic about recording burials. Even where burials were recorded registers were subsequently lost or destroyed through neglect. Do not be surprised if your ancestor’s death does not appear.

Even if an entry does appear it may reflect the date of payment for hire of the mortcloth (draped over the coffin or the body for the funeral) rather than the date of the death or the date of the burial, with no indication of which date is recorded. 

More information about this collection can be found here.

1881 Census

Up until recently the 1881 Census of Scotland was represented by an index only – the index created by the LDS Church. The 1881 Census has been re-indexed and digitised in the same manner as the other censuses. There is now two versions of the 1881 Census of Scotland on ScotlandsPeople. 

More information can be found here.


ScotlandsPeople. Website.

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