I don’t use website bookmarks any more

ChromeI use Chrome as my internet browser. Chrome was built by Google to be faster and more efficient, and I think it is. Also it doesn’t close all Chrome windows just because one has a problem, which I really appreciate.

One of the things I like best about Chrome is the address bar at the top. As well as typing an address into it, you can type a word or phrase into it as though it was a Google search and it will find what you’re looking for. It will guess, based on what you use most often. Only if it can’t guess or you reject what it comes up with will it give you a normal list of search results like a normal Google search. I really appreciate the time this saves.

I used to have a long list of favourites/bookmarks, organised into folders. I’ve carried and added to this list over the years, copying it from one computer to another and one browser to another. I started a new list in iGoogle, the Google homepage that you can customise yourself.

Now that Chrome and I have got to know each other better I don’t need bookmarks. I type the first letter or two of the website I want in the address bar and Chrome figures it out for me. Instead of clicking on my bookmarks, opening a succession of folders, and then finding the website I want (yes, it had got to that level of complexity), I only need one or two keystrokes.

When I type in a p, for example, it looks like this:

Chrome search P

The symbol next to each choice reflects where Chrome got the result from, I assume. A star is one of my favourites. If it was Google+ that I wanted (and it usually is) I just need to hit Enter and it loads automatically. Easy!

Here’s a list of my most commonly-used websites and what I type into Chrome to get them:

A = ANZ anz.com.au or Ancestry depending on whichever I have used most recently (ANZ is a bank)

ANC = Ancestry www.ancestry.com/, I use a world subscription so it goes to the American site

B = Birth and death index search for the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages bdm.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/Index/IndexingOrder.cgi/search?event=births

C = Carole’s Canvas caroleriley.id.au which is my own personal website. My family tree is here, so I can check people in it without having to open my family tree software. I can also select http://www.cityrail.info/ a bit further down the list to check train timetables.

D = Dropbox https://www.dropbox.com/. I rely on Dropbox for sharing files instantly between computers and to other people.

E = Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia, the English version.  W takes me to wikipedia.org, which makes me select a language.

F = Facebook https://facebook.com/ or FamilySearch www.familysearch.org or FindMyPast http://www.findmypast.co.uk/.

FI = Fiji Genealogy http://fijigenealogy.com/.

FIN = FindMyPast http://www.findmypast.co.uk/.

G = Google, Gould Genealogy  or Yahoo Groups groups.yahoo.com/mygroups, where I approve new members to the TMG Sydney User Group. Google usually opens at the Australian site for me, but may not for you.

H = Heritage Genealogyheritagegenealogy.com.au, my business website, to which this blog belongs.

I = Internet Movie Database imdb.com or PIXEL http://images.maps.nsw.gov.au (NSW Lands Department maps) or http://investigator.records.nsw.gov.au/Search.aspx State Records NSW Archives Investigator, the catalogue search, depending on what I’ve used most recently.

J =Jetstar jetstar.com.au, but only because I’ve been flying a lot lately. There are not many sites with J in them.

KKu-Ring-Gai Orchid Society http://kuringaiorchidsociety.org.au/ which I help look after on behalf of the society.

L = LibraryThing http://www.librarything.com/home/caroleriley or LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/ or LPMA http://www.lpma.nsw.gov.au/ which doesn’t work any more because the NSW Lands Department has changed their name again.

M = Google Maps http://maps.google.com.au/ or Mashable http://mashable.com/, depending on which one I’ve used most recently.

N = National Archives of Australia http://www.naa.gov.au/ or NSW Genealogy http://nswgenealogy.com.au/, which is the alternate address for my business website.

O = Optus http://optusnet.com.au/ my internet service provider.

P = Google+ https://plus.google.com/ or it may give me PayPal https://www.paypal.com or the Public Record Office of Victoria at http://prov.vic.gov.au/ .

Q = Qantas http://www.qantas.com.au/, again because I’ve been doing a lot of flying lately. Not many sites with Q in them.

RState Records NSW online indexes http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/state-archives/indexes-online/indexes-online.

S = Society of Australian Genealogists http://sag.org.au/.

SL = State Library of NSW http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/.

TTwitter https://twitter.com/.

TR = Trove http://trove.nla.gov.au/ is the National Library of Australia’s catalogue of just about everything, including digitised newspapers.

UUnlock The Past http://www.unlockthepast.com.au/.

V = Vodafone http://vodafone.com.au my mobile phone company.

WE = Westpac http://www.westpac.com.au/ my bank.

WI = Wikipedia http://www.wikipedia.org/ Wikipedia. I then have to pick a language.

X = I never use, but when I type it it guesses http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/state-archives/indexes-online/indexes-online State Records NSW online indexes.

Y = YouTube http://www.youtube.com/.

Z = it guesses ANZ (my bank) unless I’m not quick enough to accept, in which case it guesses Zara, which I’ve never heard of.

You can perhaps see from this list that the letter I type is not necessarily the first initial of the name of the website. It’s more likely to be the first letter of the address after the http:// as in R gives me  http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/state-archives/indexes-online/indexes-online. If I want to be more specific I have to type more, as in FAM to distinguish between Facebook and FamilySearch.

If I’ve already made that site a ‘favourite’ it will be higher on the list, and if I’ve used it a lot recently it will select it automatically. The only confusion is where there are multiple sites for the same letter, as in F for Facebook or FindMyPast.

If you use Chrome already, give this a try for yourself. If you don’t, download it for yourself and see if you think it is faster.

Atlas of New South Wales

NSW Lands Atlas ExplorerI remember the old Reader’s Digest Atlas of Australia that my mother had when I was young. Half of it had detailed maps of the country, but the first half showed New South Wales with different overlays to show the distribution of different things – people, minerals, spoken languages, and so on.

Now there is a similar atlas online, and it’s absolutely marvellous!

NSW Land and Property Information, or the NSW Lands Department as we know them, have set of maps online for historians and other researchers to play with. It’s called the Atlas of New South Wales.

There is quite a bit of contextual information on the site. The most important part, though, and the most fun, is the Atlas Explorer. This  allows you to view, in map or satellite image form, the State of New South Wales or Australia as a whole. For example, you can look at the Changing State Borders map and move the slider along the timeline to see when the different colonies were established and the borders of New South Wales changed as a result.

NSW Lands Atlas borders 1851

You can zoom in and out, choose different types of information within each map, and for some maps you can slide along a timeline to see how things have changed over time. Here is a list of the broad categories of maps available:

  • People
    • Populations
    • Health
    • Housing
    • Religion
    • Indigenous Population
    • Social Inclusion
    • Crime
  • Economy
    • Labour Force
    • Labour Underutilisation
    • Economic Sectors
    • taxation and Revenue
    • Agriculture
    • Forestry
    • Fruit and Vegetables
    • Oils and Grains
    • Livestock
  • History
    • Heritage Properties
    • European Settlement
    • Changing State Borders
    • Goldrush
    • Elections
  • Environment
    • Geology
    • Soils
    • Vegetation
    • National Parks
  • Census 2006
    • Populations Distribution
    • Indigenous Population
    • Housing Costs
    • Income
    • Dwellings
    • Religion
    • Languages

In the examples below I have looked at the maps for European settlement and moved along the timeline from 1820 to 1830. This maps shows how far Europeans settlement had spread in 1820:

NSW Lands Atlas European settlement 1820

This map shows the spread in 1830:

NSW Lands Atlas European settlement 1830

You can see how far Europeans had spread in ten short years. It had already overrun the Nineteen Counties and the Limits of Location. Port Macquarie had been established, and the spaces in between were being filled in. Compare this map with the Map of the Nineteen Counties on the State Records NSW website.

There is much, much more in the Atlas than I can describe here. Have a look around and let us know what you find.

Other resources:

Archives in Brief No. 22 Occupation of Crown Land Prior to 1856

Map of the Nineteen Counties

Say yes to Question 60 in the Australian census

It’s census time again, and again we are being asked if we want to save our answers for 99 years and then make them public.

I am saying YES.

We rely so much on the information from censuses in the United Kingdom and other countries to discover the basic structure of our ancestors’ families and we are disappointed to find that the same information is not available here.

Our descendants and other researchers will thanks us, and we won’t be around to be embarrassed.

Question 60

Everyone included in the Census form has the option for their name–identified information to be retained and kept confidential for 99 years, and then released in 2110 for research purposes. For more information on this question see http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/censushome.nsf/home/2011%20Census%20-%20Census%20Help%20-%20Time%20Capsule