Friday, February 7, 2014

Panda family trees


Today at Adelaide Zoo, I found it difficult to tear myself away from where the giant pandas were living. It was a special experience to see at least one of the pandas (Wang Wang) while the other panda (Funi) was hiding in her little cave, only poking her head out now and again.

At first it was difficult to find the two famous Pandas, Wang Wang and Funi, amongst their bamboo forest and little caves ... but then we spotted a huge panda head in the far side of the enclosure.



Wang Wang was out. He was playing it cool and nonchalant at first but then he put on a good show for the visitors. Funi was having a behind-the-scenes kind of day while Wang Wang entertained us all. Apparently Funi was experiencing symptoms of a pregnancy but it was a phantom pregnancy.



I'm not sure if Wang Wang was aware of Funi's plight but it wasn't affecting his appetite, especially when the fresh bamboo arrived.












Because this is a family history blog, here are Wang Wang and Funi's family trees. It seems that some of their not-too-distant ancestors were "wild". I bet many of us could say the same.







Monday, February 3, 2014

I'll have one genealogy cruise with no seasickness thanks

To all cruisers who are preparing to board the Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruise from 4-11 February 2014 ... here's a question for you:

How many seasickness stories have you heard in the last 24 hours?

After telling people that I'm sailing off on a cruise tomorrow, I can't believe the amount of horror-seasickness stories I've heard. Although I haven't been seasick before, the stories I heard sent me racing off to the nearest chemist at lunch time today to stock up on these ....



Usually I get annoyed with myself if I don't use something that I take in my suitcase on a holiday ... but I'm not looking at these seasickness tablets with that type of attitude. Let's hope that these packs of tablets are not needed.

Bon voyage to all the genies joining the cruise from Australia and elsewhere.

To all the genies who aren't able to join us on this cruise, don't worry, I'll be collecting loads of interviews and fun stuff to share with you on the March and April episodes of Genies Down Under.


Friday, January 31, 2014

All the little things ... more packin' for cruisin' ideas

After being involved in a Google Hangout this week with Jill Ball and others, reading a number of blogs and receiving emails from fellow cruising buddies about what to pack, here is my 10c worth ... or should I say 5c worth because the items below are mainly about all the little things to pack and how to reduce the amount of big things I'll be taking along on the cruise with me next week. Thanks to everyone for the advice ... you may well find some of it in the blogpost below.

I know the ship we are going to be cruising on is BIG but I bet my cabin isn't.
Source of image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Voyageroftheseas.JPG


So here are some ideas I have used to prevent loads of little things turning into a big pile of things that I can't carry and don't need.


  • Toothpaste - I'm leaving my megatube of Colgate at home in preference for a medium sized tube. Every few grams helps.

  • Stick on hooks - This will save me rummaging around in my bags while I'm getting organised in my cabin. A few stick on hooks will mean I'll save time getting organised ... meaning I'll have more time for genie stuff.


  • Soap. There is one teeny-weeny thing that I don't like using when I'm away and that's soap. I have to admit that I usually take a good bar of regular sized soap with me when I'm on trips.

  • Shoes. This is a problem area for me with my packing - always has been. I'm trying to severely cull the pile of shoes I want to take to look like a pile of shoes that I need. Walking shoes are taking a priority and I'll wear them on board. A couple of other sandals with be thrown in as well. 

  • Tech. Being a genealogy cruise, there is a lot of tech that I'd like to take along. I'm working on reducing my baggage weight by reducing the amount of chargers I take. There are some devices that can be charged through my laptop so I'll be leaving a few bulky chargers at home since my laptop is coming with me.

  • Stationery. There's not one family history researcher I know who doesn't love stationery almost as much as they love technology. I'm one of these people. In my first attempt at packing for this cruise, I had a small pencil-case full of the lovely stuff. Since then, I've whittled down my travelling stationery collection to a highlighter, two pens, a pencil, a notebook and a small pad of post-it notes.

  • Cossies/Bathers/Swimmers/Togs. So many "cruise packing" tips online tell me to take two pairs of cossies. However, I think I'll be spending more time in genealogy presentations than in the pool. If I have to wear wet cossies once in a while, I'll live with it. By the way, my cossies are a lot less glamorous than the ones below.

  • Hats or a hat. Whether to bring multiple sun hats or just one is a decision driven by my realisation that I'll be indoors more than outdoors on this trip. I reckon one sunhat will get me through the cruise. No, it won't be one of those big, lovely straw hats, like the one below, it will be cloth hat that can be squashed into a much smaller space in my suitcase.


  • Jewellery. I love the stuff whether it's expensive or not. Apart from one set of compulsory blogger beads, I'm limiting myself to taking a minimum supply of earrings, necklaces and rings. 


  • Pruning - I'm pruning the big pile of clothes I had intended to take and making some hard decisions spurred on by my question to self ... "Do I really need that?"  I have three categories of clothes in my piles of clothes that are partially on the floor of the spare room and partially in the suitcase:
    1) code green: I must take it = it's in the bag already. No negotiations here.
    2) code blue: I really want to take it = it's in the "maybe pile".
    3) code red - I would love to take it if someone else could carry it for me = I really shouldn't! It's going back into the wardrobe for another time.


  • Suitcase sizes. It's tempting to take the biggest suitcase I can find on board, especially since there are no weight restrictions for luggage on this cruise. Instead, I have settled on a medium sized suitcase  - that way, I won't be able to take more than I can carry.

  • Genies Down Under badges. I've recently ordered some smallish badges for Genies Down Under podcast listeners through Make Badges - a great Aussie company in Victoria with true personal service, a quick turnaround and reasonable pricing systems. I'll take a small bunch along with me on the cruise.


Hope these tips help you with the difficult decisions that come with the final stages of packing!


Except where mentioned otherwise, the copyright-free pics above were sourced from: http://morguefile.com/

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cruise documents arrived today!

Yippee! Today the cruise documents and ticket info arrived in the mail today. Very exciting - makes the cruise seem even closer now.

The cruise documents include:

  • black folder
  • program
  • guest ticket booklet, including luggage tags
  • business card from Natalya at Clean Cruising





Some great tips inside the pack, especially about what to pack and what not to pack.


Countdown ... 18 days to go.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Genies packin' for cruisin'

This post is for genies who are planning to go on the genealogical cruise in Feb 2014: Fourth Unlock the Past Cruise: Southern Australia.

Source of image: http://www.unlockthepastcruises.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Voyager-Adelaide-2.jpg

Recently, I asked a few people for some tips on what to pack for the genealogical cruise I'm embarking on in February 2014. Thanks to all who have helped me with this preparation.

Here are a few ideas I have gathered up so far:
  • windproof jacket as well as a lightweight jacket and a scarf for neck and shoulders - handy for being on the deck and in cooler air-conditioned rooms
  • a notebook or two, and/or an iPad, for taking notes in the presentations, recording new contacts
  • BYO coffee if you like good coffee
  • Bathers or cossies, depending what state you're from, and a cover-up from getting to your room to the pool area
  • a smallish over-the-shoulder pouch or purse that allows you to store a few minor essentials when making short trips around the ship when you don't want to cart your entire handbag
  • travel detergent to do a bit of laundry in your room
  • over-the-door bags with small compartments for keeping jewellery and other smaller items that get lost in your luggage
  • make sure your luggage is labelled inside and out with your name, cabin number and mobile phone number 
  • some type of rainwear
  • a couple of "sparkly outfits", as Jill Ball calls them, but don't go overboard with formal wear
  • thumb drives - handy for swapping files between genies when/if the internet isn't working too well

For more tips on what to take on this cruise, see
Here's a reminder about our itinerary:

  • Tue 4 Feb Sydney – depart 9pm
  • Wed 5 Feb Cruising – conference day 
  • Thu 6 Feb Melbourne – in port 8am – 8pm 
  • Fri 7 Feb Cruising – conference day 
  • Sat 8 Feb Adelaide – in port 8am – 6pm
  • Sun 9 Feb Cruising – conference day 
  • Mon 10 Feb Hobart – in port 2pm – overnight
  • Tue 11 Feb Hobart – all day – 5pm
  • Wed 12 Feb Cruising – conference day 
  • Thu 13 Feb Sydney – arrive 6am

Monday, December 30, 2013

An alternative to the unavailable Rookwood Cemetery Deceased Online

If you have Catholic ancestors who were buried at Rookwood cemetery in NSW, this blogpost may be worthwhile for you.
File:Rookwood Necropolis.JPG


We have all lamented the unavailability of the deceased online search facility on the Rookwood Cemetery (NSW) website: currently unavailable. So, here is an alternative ...

The Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria site does allow you to search for your ancestors' graves if they are buried in the Catholic section of the cemeteries listed below. It's quite a good search engine (see http://search.catholiccemeteries.org.au/), allowing you to search the following cemeteries:
  • Catholic Cemetery Field Of Mars- Ryde 1890
  • Catholic Cemetery Greendale
  • Catholic Cemetery Kemps Creek
  • Liverpool Cemetery & Crematorium
  • Catholic Cemetery North Rocks
  • The Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) - Rookwood
  • Catholic Cemetery Necropolis Rookwood

Something special about this search engine ...

The special thing about this search engine is that it provides you with the details of graves either side of the grave you are searching for.


Although the graves either side of James' grave (grave no. 141 and 143) didn't have gravestones, I kept searching until I found graves with headstones.

This is great if, like me, many of your ancestors have been buried in gravestone-less graves. In 1945 when my great-grandfather was buried at Rookwood cemetery, I guess that not many people had a lot of spare money, at the end of World War II, to spend on gravestones. So, there aren't many graves around his grave that had headstones. The closest graves with headstones to his grave (no. 142) were graves numbers 138 and 150. Based on the information about these two graves with gravestones, I was able to work out where he was buried.

Using this search engine, I found out that Robert Wallschutzky was buried in Grave 138:


... and James Tanner was buried in Grave 150


There were no gravestones in between these two graves with gravestones (no. 138 and no. 150). However, by counting the spaces, I could work out where grave no. 142 was - where my great-grandfather, James Walter KINGSBURY, was buried.



James Walter KINGSBURY's gravesite (30 Dec 2013)


James Walter KINGSBURY


He died on 19 June 1945, aged 77 years, and was buried on 21 June 1945 in the Roman Catholic Section graves, Mortuary 2 , Area 17, grave no. 142 at Rookwood Cemetery.

Although I didn't find out any additional information about his life by finding his gravestone-less grave, it was satisfying to stand at the place where he was laid to rest.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Genealogy cruise count-down: 38 days to go

Ever thought of going on a genealogy-filled cruise for over a week of genealogy-related activities? Well, I thought about this early this year and, after being encouraged by a few other Genies Down Under listeners, I took the plunge and booked my first ever genealogy cruise. Actually, it's my first cruise ever. The last time I spent more than a few days on a boat was back in the 1980s, travelling down the Nile in a felucca sailing boat. However, I expect the Voyager of the Seas to be a equipped a little better than the felucca - that is, I reckon it will have a few things that the felucca didn't - internet, a bed, toilets! I can't wait ... for the cruise, that is:)

Here is our boat - which I probably should call a "cruise ship". It's more like a building than a boat ..

Voyager of the Seas

... a bit different from the felucca in Egypt all those years ago.



Some highlights I'm looking forward to on the genealogy cruise ...
  • Living and breathing genealogy for over a week.
  • Meeting up with some other Genies Down Under listeners.
  • Listening to some well-known genealogy presenters from Down Under and overseas - Jill Ball, Jan Gow, Thomas MacEntee, Julie Goucher, Chris Paton, Shauna Hicks, Noelene Kyle and other fantastic presenters.
  • Seeing some of my favourite Australian cities during port stops.
  • Finding out more about DNA and genealogy
  • Being part of a panel about ethics and genealogy
  • Giving a presentation on Friday 7 Feb  at 8.30am called "Using free podcasts"
  • Being a cruise blogger. See the list of other cruise bloggers (scroll down).
So, where are we going? Starting in Sydney, we then head to Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart and then back to Sydney. Here is our route:





Finally, thanks so much to Alan Philips and his team at Unlock the Past for their fantastic organisation of this cruise.

For more information on future Unlock the Past genealogical cruises, please go to their Unlock the Past site.