Microfilm scans can now be downloaded at State Records NSW reading rooms

State Records NSW has microfilmed many of their most popular records, including those concerning immigration, convicts, Colonial Secretary’s correspondence, land, and much, much more. The whole of one wall at the Kingswood Reading Room is covered with shelving for microfilms. Many more records are available on microfiche and aperture cards.

Whereas this saves wear-and-tear on the records themselves, the catch has always been the cost of obtaining copies. Microfilm scanning machines allow you to find the record you want and then pay to have a photocopy. Copies are $1 for an A4 and $2 for an A3, which can run into quite a bit of money.

They are now experimenting with machines that you can download the scanned image to your flash drive instead of printing. I say experimenting because there are few machines available; perhaps that will change. The last time I was out at Kingswood early last week the existing machine in the corner used for taking digital photos of the screen now had a computer connected and had instructions for scanning and downloading images to your flash drive. The instructions were easy to follow and I got some great images.

There was a brand new ScanPro scanner on the desk behind that was still wrapped up. ScanPros are available at the State Library of NSW and are much easier to use, although there is a bit of a learning curve to them. Seeing the announcement from State Records NSW about ‘digital copiers in the reading rooms’ this morning leads me to think that the ScanPro is now ready for action. See http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/news/digital-copiers-in-the-reading-rooms.

If you’ve tried them out let me know what you think!

Cyndi’s List Launches a New Web Site

Cyndi’s List is such an important part of family history research around the world that when a major upgrade of the site is announced we should all take notice. Here is a preview of the new look, and the press release:

Cyndi's List

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A major upgrade to celebrate 15 years of service

EDGEWOOD, WASHINGTON (June 6, 2011) – Cyndi’s List is proud to announce a newly upgraded web site. With improved navigation, a custom database, and a custom administrative interface, the upgrade means that everything will be quicker and easier for both visitors and for the site’s owner and administrator, Cyndi Ingle Howells. The upgrade has been done by fusionSpan of Maryland. Their staff worked closely with Cyndi to make improvements and to implement new technology and new ideas designed specifically for Cyndi’s List and for the genealogical community.

Part of the upgrade was made possible by donations from generous users of Cyndi’s List. To date, 20% of what was accomplished in the project was thanks to them. Donors have been listed on the web site.

What’s New with the Upgrade:

  • The front page of the Cyndi’s List site has a rolling genealogy news feed and a link to The Cyndi’s List Daily, a daily dose of family history news as tagged in Twitter and Facebook. Start each day with the front page of Cyndi’s List and read the current genealogy news stories.
  • The links are now contained within a database and pages will be dynamically loaded on each visit.
  • The custom database and administration interface means that maintaining the link list will be much easier for Cyndi, which ultimately benefits the user with faster and more frequent updates.
  • The new interface means that the backlog of uncategorized links can be processed much faster. The goal is to get the entire backlog done by the end of this year.
  • New links will be reviewed, approved, and categorized within 24-72 hours after submission by visitors.
  • Updates made to Cyndi’s List will be immediately available to the public.
  • Previous to the upgrade, the “What’s New” page and mailing list post contained only new links submitted by visitors. The new “What’s New” page and e-mail will contain those, as well as links added to the site during the day by Cyndi, *and* existing links that have been updated throughout the site (new addresses, updated descriptions, etc.).
  • Across the site links have been labeled with graphics as “new” or “updated” when appropriate. With the upgrade these will now be text-based notations (easily spotted in green), which means that you can search on a page for “new” or “updated” with the Edit>Find function in your web browser.
  • Now sub-categories within a category heading each have their own page.
  • And each page displays 20 links, with pagination in place to go to the next page and so on. This means there will be a lot less scrolling through long pages as in the past. Shorter pages mean faster load time in the browser as well.
  • Intuitive navigation at the top of the category makes it easy to find your way to previous category headings.
  • The number of links within each category/sub-category is displayed at the top right on each page.
  • Each of the U.S. counties (more than 3,100) now has a designated page of its own.
  • URLs (addresses) for the pages have changed so bookmarks, favorites, and links to Cyndi’s List will need to be updated.
  • Opportunities to shop, support, or donate are highlighted on each page.

What Has Stayed the Same?

  • The category and sub-category names are all the same.
  • Related Categories are highlighted at the top right on each category.
  • The layout and format of the links are the same.
  • The policies, procedures, and disclaimers for maintaining the link list are the same.
  • The Cyndi’s List Mailing List will still distribute a daily What’s New e-mail and a daily Link Activity e-mail. However, the What’s New e-mail will contain information about all new and updated links.
  • You can still follow Cyndi’s List on Facebook and Twitter.
  • The purpose and intent of Cyndi’s List is to be a free jumping-off point for your daily genealogical research.
  • Cyndi’s List remains free for everyone to use just as it has for the past 15 years.
  • This is still just a one-woman show!

“I started doing genealogy research in earnest back in 1998 and Cyndi’s List has always been one of my very favorite websites. It is on my ‘Go To’ list because I always find so much good information there.” –Kay F.

“I’ve relied on your website as THE best resource on the ‘net to help with my research…” –Jan J.

“Where can you get at all things genealogical in one fell swoop?

Everyone knows it’s CyndisList.com. Every genealogist who uses the web MUST use Cyndi’s List.” –Polly K.

About CyndisList.com

CyndisList.com is the world’s largest one-woman family history resource, with more than 300,000 categorized links for genealogical research. For more than 15 years Cyndi’s List has helped hundreds of thousands of people with their online journey to trace their family history. The site averages 275,000 unique visitors and 5,000,000 page hits every month.

Cyndi’s List has won numerous awards and consistently remains one of the top genealogical portals for beginners, intermediate, and veteran researchers.

About fusionSpan

fusionSpan is a start-up consulting firm focused on serving the comprehensive needs of non-profit associations and commercial organizations in the full range of the business cycle. With a core staff of highly experienced professionals from non-profit associations and a team approach to most consulting projects, fusionSpan will be able to offer a more balanced quality service and sustainable solution than many of its competitors. Our expertise covers the entire range of the web site and application development process: Strategy, Design, Development, Hosting, and Maintenance. For more information, visit www.fusionSpan.com

 

My grandfather served in World War II after all

I have written previously about how I hadn’t realised my grandfather had a defence forces service file until I saw his name in an index. The file hadn’t been digitised when I searched for it, so I ordered it and waited.

I recently got an email from the National Archives of Australia to say that my file was ready to download.

It turned out to be 16 pages. Richard Norman Eason of Hill Street, Blayney, farmer and grazier, was taken on strength of the 26th Battalion of the Volunteer Defence Corps in March 1943.

Mobilization Attestation Form

NAA: Base Records Office Australian Imperial Force; B844, Citizen's Military Forces Personnel Dossiers, 1939-1947; N348332, Richard Norman Eason. Mobilization Attestation Form.

He joined the VDC, or Volunteer Defence Corps. According to Wikipedia:

The Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC) was an Australian part time volunteer military force of World War II modelled on the British Home Guard. The VDC was established in July 1940 by the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) and was initially composed of ex-servicemen who had served in World War I.[1] Thegovernment took over control of the VDC in May 1941, and gave the organisation the role of training for guerrilla warfare, collecting local intelligence and providing static defence of each unit’s home area.[1] General Harry Chauvel, who had retired in 1930, was recalled to duty in 1940 and appointed Inspector-General of the VDC. Chauvel held this position until his death in March 1945.[2]

Following the outbreak of the Pacific War, the Government expanded the VDC in February 1942. Membership was open to men aged between 18 and 60, including those working in reserved occupations. As a result, the VDC reached a peak strength of almost 100,000 in units across Australia.[1]

As the perceived threat to Australia declined the VDC’s role changed from static defence to operating anti-aircraft artillerycoastal artillery and searchlights. Members of inland VDC units were freed from having to attend regular training in May 1944 and the VDC was officially disbanded on 24 August 1945.[1]

Service and Casualty Form

NAA: Base Records Office Australian Imperial Force; B844, Citizen's Military Forces Personnel Dossiers, 1939-1947; N348332, Richard Norman Eason. Service and Casualty Form.

According to his Service and Casualty Form he was trained at the Millthorpe School of Instruction for a few days. I would love to know what sort of training he received.

There are no further entries on the form until the disbanding of the unit in September 1945.

This does explain why my grandfather was sent off to look for escaped Japanese prisoners of war during the Cowra Breakout. I guess those sorts of orders don’t appear here.

You can see more about the Australian defence forces here.

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