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  • Mel Hulbert

Accentuate the Positive

GeniAus aka Jill Ball invited everyone to participate in her ‘Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2020’.

Below are my responses.

1. An elusive ancestor I found was... I finally found some information on Catherine Dutton/Sullivan and her parents. Until early in 2020 her surname was a bit of a enigma as I had one document with Dutton and one with Sullivan as her surname. I now know that her parents were Henry Dutton and Catherine Sullivan, both convicts who were sent to Norfolk Island and then moved to Tasmania. Thanks to the Biographical Database of Australia (BDA) I also found out that Catherine was adopted by Samuel Day and Mary Bolton on Norfolk Island however why remains a mystery.

2. A great newspaper article I found was ... I spent a bit of time looking on Trove for articles on a number of my ancestors. There are too many good finds to single out one however each article shed more light on my ancestors and their lives.

3. A geneajourney I planned but didn't take was ... Tasmania. I was a speaker on the final Unlock The Past Cruise in March 2020 but we had to return to Adelaide before we reached Tasmania. I was hoping to spend some time discovering a bit more about Henry Dutton and Catherine Sullivan and their family (see #1 above) in Hobart but it was not to be. It’s something to look forward to in the near future.

4. I located an important record ... I located a baptism record for a child born to William Dunn and Eliza Batman in the Births Deaths and Marriages, Victoria indexes. The date of this child’s birth has helped resolve a mystery on this line as well as what happened to Eliza and the child. 5. A newly found family member shared ... a website they have on our Guernsey Family. 6. A geneasurprise I received was ... I was asked by Cousin Glen if I would proof read the chapters and help with information on my O’Connor line for a second edition of his book ‘An Unbeaten Spirit’. Collaborating with Glen was wonderful as we found we each had pieces to some of our ancestor puzzles and joining those pieces have meant we have been able to find out what happened to the parents of our first O’Connor in Australia as well as potentially resolving why there is no baptism record for my great grandfather. As I am writing this, I picked up the printed book yesterday – it looks fantastic and I’m enjoying reading it again now it’s typeset and includes images.

7. My 2020 social media post that I was particularly proud of was ... actually there are three. I am slowly making my way through the ’52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks’ challenge and I really started to enjoy the style and referencing I started in ‘Long Line’ which is how I connected with cousins who shared the Guernsey Family History website with me (see #5). I also really enjoyed the researching and writing for ‘Close to Home’ and ‘So Far away’. Hopefully I can keep this momentum going.

8. I made a new genimate who... through the previously mentioned Unlock the Past Cruise in March. I met many new genealogy enthusiasts on the cruise and see many of them regularly in the Friday Hang Outs hosted by SAG on Zoom. 9. A new piece of technology or skill I mastered was... Like many last year ‘Zoom’ was the ‘go to’ software for staying connected with family and friends. Many societies (genealogy, astronomy etc.) adopted this platform and many plan to keep some meetings on this platform even once they are back to face-to-face meetings. Why? It provides a way for members who can’t make monthly meetings to stay in touch and it allows greater flexibility for guest speakers who may find it difficult travelling to present face-to-face (especially overseas speakers).

10. I joined... I didn’t join anything new this year but did follow a few more blogs.

11. A genealogy education session or event from which I learnt something new was... Marianne Spencer Young presented a talk on ‘What’s in an Irish name’ for the In Search of…My Irish Ancestors Day through SAG. I also really enjoyed a free session Thomas MacEntee presented for Genealogy Societies in December. It was a ‘Town Hall’ discussion forum on problems and challenges facing societies, particularly those that don’t have an online presence. I watch the recording due to the time zone differences but found it interesting hearing from the predominantly American societies and in particular that the challenges they face are not dissimilar to those we face in Australia. A community initiative also came out of the meeting GenSoc Soup.

12. A blog post that taught me something new was ... It’s hard to pick one post as I usually learn something new from most posts I read. Randy Seaver’s ‘Genea-Musings’ blog always has something of interest especially his ‘Best of the Genea-Blogs’ and ‘Genealogy News and Education Bytes’ posts each week. I often find new blogs to follow on varied topics, each interesting as well as learning what’s new in the genealogy world. 13. A DNA discovery I made was... I found several new matches and have been able to work out where in my family they fit. I have also heard from a new match and none of our surnames match. I have started trying to find out more about one branch which has been difficult to trace in the hope that may be where the match is. I had already found ten different spellings of the surname and I’ve just added a few more. The @ in front of a surname when searching the NSW Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages online indexes has been very useful though other methods have also had to be employed to start to locate records for this family. 14. I taught a genimate how to... I delivered a number of presentations and courses last year and hope that someone did learn something from one of these. If everyone goes away learning one new thing from my presentations then I’m happy. 15. A brick wall I demolished was ... Who did my 2x great grandfather George White really marry? It certainly wasn’t Mary Ann Eliza Batman as the marriage certificate states. I have finally found enough evidence to say with 97% confidence that it was Mary’s sister Elizabeth Eliza Batman. If I could find a direct descendant (along the female line) of Mary Ann Eliza Batman and George Bell who would agree to a DNA test then I could be 100% certain. 16. A great site I visited was... I went out to a few cemeteries in the Hawkesbury/Windsor area in July and spent a day happily photographing headstones and visiting Hulbert Road which I had known about for many years but never actually visited. Next on the list are Tuckwell Road, Roughley Road and Roughley House. 17. A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was... I re-read Braidwood Gold Fields 1850-1860s compiled by Roslyn Helen Maddrall in 1978. This book had already provided clues to my White ancestors in Braidwood and I was checking I hadn’t missed anything on the first read. It turned out I hadn’t missed anything and Susan White’s death still eludes me.

18. Zoom gave me an opportunity to... stay connected with friends, meet new genimates and spend time learning and listening to more webinars. 19. I am excited for 2021 because... I am hoping to attend the AFFHO Congress on Norfolk Island in August 2021 in person! Having found an ancestor connection to Norfolk Island early in 2020 I am hoping to find out a bit more about their time there.

20. Other positives I would like to share are.. I thought the way many societies adapted to lockdown was inspirational. Many quickly moved their meetings and educational programs online and their members also quickly adapted to new technologies for online programs. I think the results have been very positive for many societies with greater engagement with their members being one of the main benefits.


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