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Monday, 27 December 2021

Accentuate the Positive - 2021 in review


This was instigated by Jill Ball of GeniAus Blog


Here’s a wrap up of my 2021 from the family history perspective.

I got the most joy from culling my collection of records to only those bits that “spark joy” as Marie Kondo would say. Most of it is now digitized and I only kept a few keepsakes of originals and quirky memorabilia which I hope my kids will appreciate. You could say recycling bin went out more than me. See Sept 2021


2. The Covid situation gave me an opportunity to re-write my husband’s family story after new information came to light. It takes up 12 blogs and it’s there for posterity now.

I also had time to write up some of the illusive Irish side, my grandmother’s story for my aged aunt separated from us by covid isolation. See Oct 2021 blogs


3. I managed to attend a face to face event at……What?  Zoom is as face to face as it gets.


4. My main focus this year was on supporting my homeschooling grandkids and work from home adult children.  A bonus was Zoom wine tastings, cocktail party big number birthdays on Zoom, online  school work with kids. The highlight was the Kahoots quizzes.  One granddaughter read my blogs and quizzed the family on who did what and who married who?  Keyala you are in the will! Top marks to the teachers who encouraged the children to talk to older relatives and write to those in Nursing homes etc.


5. A new piece of technology or skill I mastered was… I’m a fan of the scan. Genius Scan App got a real work out  during my “sparking joy” cull and much media was added to my tree via the Snip tool.


6. A geneasurprise I received was… a USB full of Harris family memorability including the scan of Lucy Harris’ WA pioneer diary circa 1840s. Thankyou Kevin- always a joy to work with.


7.  A Facebook Group that helped me was… Genealogy My Ancestors Came To Australia. ALWAYS a friendly bunch and so helpful. A group of that laughs at itself and the goings on of our relatives and  always welcoming. Thankyou admins.  


8. My 2021 social media post that I was particularly proud of was the research I did on Sophia Allan – a woman’s perspective of life in the colony in 1810s. Proud to recognise the women in my background.


9.  A new genealogy/history book I enjoyed was…  My daughter gave me Elizabeth and Elizabeth and Room of Leaves for Mother’s Day. It inspired my writing about Sophia Allan who was Elizabeth MacArthur and Elizabeth Macquarie’s contemporaries.  


10. I was impressed by the Ireland Reaching Out XO website and its newsletter updates.  It’s exactly what we need … explanations of what to look for and a way to connect the diaspora in Australia, England, USA etc with those at who have never left Ireland.


.  A great journal or newspaper article I found was…….The Great War … I was there. Undying memories of 1914-1918 a 51 part series of War memoirs.  Some great contemporary photos and memories recording personal stories.


12. I got the most value from this subscription….. I’ll never give up my Ancestry subscription which I use nearly every day. It’s my hobby – hang the cost.


13. I progressed my DNA research with the Ramsbottoms (my husband’s Irish mob )and the Bakers(of Warwickshire) Build up the trees and the  DNA matches kept on coming to confirm you are on the track. See July 2021


14. I taught a geni-mate how to interpret her DNA results, sort them and use them in conjunction with Truelines.  Luckily her Chemo- brain is clearing and she’s getting back into research. I missed my research buddy.


15.  A blog post that taught me something new was…. I need to use social media to promote my research work more. Now where did I put my Insta and Twitter passwords?

A DNA discovery I made was……  I few tentative names added to the tree (with a caution) revealed DNA matches with me to that side of the family. Vindicating my research, hunches and perseverance.   

A newly found Allan family member shared a look at a 1800s desk/sea chest which belonged to David Allan which has travelled widely and has being handed down through several generations so far.


I finally found ......... six feet under.  Well we didn’t. For our Schweidnitz POW project I was charged with finding a least one name of a POW who died and was buried in the prison with a view to tracing the War Grave site they were eventually transferred to from the POW camp or getting someone to fund a plaque.  One unfortunate man, John Chapman had “late” after his name in a camp magazine “The Barb”. Turns out he left the camp well and truly alive before the magazine was printed. Back to the drawing board.

I splashed out and purchased scans of 5 divorce cases from the NSW State Archives. My Christmas present to myself because its tricky getting there at present.  Wonderful reading and could truly be a story line from Number 96, Neighbours or Days of Our Lives. I’m busy researching the neighbours now because there were definitely some things going on if you read between the lines.

20. Another positive I would like to share is…. Even when you think you are almost finished writing up stories there’s always something else around the corner. 

 Scottish New Year celebrations are world famous, and if you have yet to  experience a traditional Hogmanay you are going to want to by the end of  this article!New Year's Day 2021 in Australia

All the best for the New Year and Happy Researching in 2022

Robyn xx

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28 blogs in 2021