Monday, February 28, 2011

Wayne Cheeseman - The Co-Ordinator

The Australian Genealogists Group on Genealogy Wise has over 300 members. One of the most active members is "The Co-Ordinator" who carries out many acts of genealogical kindness for other members of the group.  Wayne goes to enormous lengths to help others discover their roots. I was very pleased when The Co-Ordinator responded to my request for a profile for Genimates.

I have no expertise, I use plain commonsense and have learnt to blanket search when the need arises that gives me great pleasure in helping others.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Genimates on Facebook

Genimates now has a Facebook page. So far only nine people have "liked" the page.

If you are on Facebook how about finding Genimates in the search window, paying us a visit and clicking on the 'Like" button.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Judy Webster

Judy Webster

I am thrilled to present another Genimate from Australia.  Judy is one of the virtual pals that I follow on Twitter and in her many blogs. I have learnt many things from Judy's contributions in the online world.

I cheered when I read Judy's answer to "If you have anything else to share please add it below", this comment echoes my feelings on this subject.

  I first 'met' Judy when she started placing regular comments on my Geniaus blog. Hopefully our paths will cross some time soon and I will be able to meet Judy in the flesh.

Date 24 Feb 2011

Name Judy Webster

Hometown Cunnamulla, Queensland, but I now live in Brisbane.

Hobbyist or Professional Genealogist?Professional genealogist for Queensland State Archives records only, and Hobbyist for everything else.

What, if any, formal or informal studies have you undertaken that are relevant to genealogical research?Graduate Diploma in Local and Applied History (University of New England, NSW) plus many seminars and conferences, including all but one of the Australasian Congresses since 1986.

How long have you been chasing ancestors?Since about 1970. I started young!

How did you get hooked on genealogy?I think it was when I heard my father and uncle talking about their eccentric aunt.

What is your day job?I have my own part-time business as a genealogical researcher and indexer, but until recently (when I resigned after 34 years) I was also a medical scientist in a hospital.

What are your areas of Expertise in Genealogy?Records at Queensland State Archives, especially neglected sources that can break down 'brick walls' in research.

Please outline your involvement in Genealogy Societies and GroupsI am a member of the Queensland Family History Society (where I was previously a volunteer indexer and library assistant) and the Southern Suburbs branch of the Genealogical Society of Queensland. In the past I was also a member of the Society of Australian Genealogists and several groups in Yorkshire, Middlesex and Surrey.

What are the lands of your ancestors?England (mainly Yorkshire, Middlesex, Surrey, Durham and Somerset), Scotland (mainly Argyllshire), Germany, and I have one Irish ancestor.

What Family Names are you Researching?Agar, Ashton, Barber, Birks, Butler, Campbell, Giblett, Harley, Hudson, Hugill, Matthew, Nicholson, Peacock, Porter, Rienecker, Sheppard, Steinke, Webster.

Who is your favourite ancestor?My grandmother, Florence Webster nee Hudson, who died at the age of 99. She told me many stories about her family and her life, and she gave me lots of old documents and photos.

What ancestral city or town would you like to visit?I have been fortunate enough to visit most of the areas where my British ancestors lived, including the Isle of Tiree in Scotland, but my strongest attachments are to Barton-le-Willows and Farndale in North Yorkshire.

What is your favourite resource for genealogy?Any Archives office with original records!  My favourite record series include Police Gazettes and probate, inquest, hospital and prison records.

Do you keep your genealogy files on paper? Yes.

Do you keep your genealogy files on a computer? Yes.

What genealogy software do you use to record your family tree?The Master Genealogist.

Do you have your tree posted on the internet?Yes, in several places and formats.

If Yes What is the URL?, and

What Social Networking Sites do you use for genealogy?Facebook, GenealogyWise, Genes Reunited, LinkedIn, Twitter

Do you have a blog? Several

What are your blogs' URLs? are your Other Hobbies, Activities, Interests?Reading, travel, gardening, postcards, paper-making.

What is your favourite leisure time activity apart from genealogy?Reading.

What is your favourite (non genealogy) book?The Hills is Lonely (Lillian Beckwith).

What is your personal philosophy in a few wordsIf you are going to do it, try to do it well.

If you have anything else to share please add it belowIt is OK to record your sources in a relatively informal way, as long as you provide enough details so that you (or someone else) can find those records again, study them more closely or assess their reliability.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Darrin Lythgoe

I just love TNG (The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding), the application I use to publish my family tree on the web. This poor old Granny did, however, have a few issues when she tried to update from version 7 to version 8.
Darrin Lythgoe - TNG stand at Rootstech

The developer, Darrin Lythgoe, tried to help with me the upgrade remotely but I gave up when I knew that Darrin was to have a stall at the Rootstech Conference that I would be attending. I caught up with Darrin at Rootstech where he logged into my web server and upgraded the software for me. What wonderful service when the upgrade only cost me around $14 Aussie dollars!

While at the conference I took the opportunity to have an informal interview with Darrin, a lovely, unassuming young man.

Darrin told me that, although his software has over 11,000 users (and he gives the most amazing and responsive support to them) the development of TNG is his second job - he actually has a day job working for another software company.. I wonder if this young man ever sleeps.

Darrin ,who grew up in Massachusetts, now resides with his family in Utah. He studied Computer Science and Journalism in College. It was by accident that Darrin got involved in the development of TNG. He won a prize at the Comdex Show which led him to realise that there was a need for a program to post genealogy on the internet. He borrowed some books on PHP from the public library and  developed his application. In his first year he sold just one copy online.

Now with 11,000 users, this software with a user friendly, clean interface, has an active online forum and mailing list that Darrin constantly monitors. He monitors, and when the tech experts among the user group cannot help other users, Darrin jumps in with advice. Darrin is continuing to develop his product that he also uses to publish his and his wife's genealogy research. In the pipeline is a project with another company's desktop application that will enable users of that product to post their trees to the web using TNG.

When he is not working Darrin enjoys hiking around the mountains near his home in Utah.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Audrey Collins

Audrey Collins at The Planetarium
Another foreign visitor to the Rootstech Conference with whom I shared a glass of wine was Audrey Collins, Family History specialist at The National Archives (TNA) at Kew. I first had a chat with Audrey at the evening function at the Planetarium where she told me of some of the changes that had been introduced at TNA to make it more user-friendly since my visit in the early 2000s. As I am planning another visit in July this year I was keen to hear about these innovations. I had a number of chats with Audrey over the next few days and must say that I enjoyed the open, friendly, down-to-earth nature of this VIP in the genealogy world. We didn't just talk about genealogy but about families, kids and travel, Audrey is a gifted and amusing storyteller. 
Although she has no English ancestry Audrey is an expert in English genealogy. I discovered, when we were playing Jeopardy at Dinner with Dick after the conference, from one of her interjections that Audrey is actually a Scot.

Before she joined The National Archives (TNA) Audrey was a professional genealogist. She regularly records podcasts for TNA She has written a number of books on aspects of English genealogy, and contributed to several magazines.

Audrey's blog, The Family Recorder, where she writes about "that interest or amuse me, and that I think are worth sharing. They might be topical, or 'cold case', educational or trivial; the only rule is that they will have something to do with genealogy, is one of the favourites on my reading list.

While she was in Salt Lake City Audrey recorded a tutorial for the FamilySearch website and gave a talk at The Family Hisotry Library to library staff and the public. "Having heavily used FamilySearch resources free of charge for over 20 years, whenever I am in Salt Lake City I like to give something back."

POSTSCRIPT. Chris Paton of Scottish Genes has just posted to Youtube a video interview he made with Audrey at the WDYTYA Live event in the UK last week. I am posting the video here so you can see and hear Audrey.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pauleen Cass

Since 1986

I wanted to know where my maiden name of Kunkel originated from and once I started I was completely hooked.

I have an interest in East Clare Irish migration to Australia 1848-1870 and migration to Australia from Dorfprozelten in Bavaria, Germany.

I was a member of GSQ for about 20 years and now GSNT as well as T&DDFHS, and have contributed to different genie activities over the years. 

Bavaria (Germany), Scotland (lots), Ireland (lots), England.

Melvin, Kunkel, O’Brien, Partridge, Furlong, Gavin/Gavan, McSherry/Sherry/McSharry, McCorkindale/McCorquodale, Gilhespy and Sim (and a number of Dorfprozelten Germans: Zöller, Diflo, Krebs, Kuhn, Nebauer, Kaüflein, Kirchgessner, Hock, Hennig, Wörner, Bils, Neubeck, Dümig.)


George Kunkel. Because he made me work so hard to find out more about him and his life, which is why I wrote the story of his and Mary O’Brien’s family, Grassroots Queenslanders: the Kunkel family.

I’ve been very lucky – I’ve visited every ancestral place that I’ve been able to identify but I feel most at home on Loch Fyne in Argyll or in County Clare.


Clare County Library (Irish) or Toowoomba Cemetery search (local)

 I actually don’t like genealogy software –it feels too confining. I have mostly used Relatively Yours for its flexibility regarding family relationships however I now also have The Master Genealogist (TMG). Mostly I prefer to write it up in narrative form.

If Yes What is the URL?
Genes Reunited (tree)


Family, Travel, Photography and Reading.


The Voyage of their life: Diane Armstrong.

To be “true” to the story, to include all family members not just the famous, and to respect each story.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thomas MacEntee

Shortly before my great-grandmother Therese McGinnes Austin passed away, I was handed a privately printed genealogy from 1916 of my Putman ancestral line. My sixth cousin five times removed, George W. Putman, had researched the line back to Johannes Putman (b. 1661) who died in 1680 during the Schenectady Massacre.

Research expertise in New York, especially Northern New York. Expertise in technology, social media, marketing and genealogical society management and development.
Member, Association of Graveyard Rabbits (

Member, Association of Professional Genealogists (

Member, Austin Family Association of America (

Member, California Genealogical Society and Library (

Chair, Marketing & Public Relations Committee
National Publicity Chair – FGS 2011 Conference
Member, Long Range Planning Committee
Member, Membership Committee
Member, Technology Initiative
Federation of Genealogical Societies (

Member, Freer-Low Family Association (

The Netherlands


My great-grandmother, Therese McGinnes Austin. Not only because I lived to know her until I was age 26, but because she had personality and was a woman to be reckoned with. Standing 6'1" with auburn hair, Grandma knew her way around a cocktail and was very opinionated. She loved life and lived it with gusto. She raised 12 grandchildren each summer at her farm in Grahamsville, New York and lived to tell about it!
I would love to visit Liepzig, Germany where my Henneberg ancestors lived prior to arriving in New York in the 1860s. I want to know more about their life and why they left Germany.
Old Fulton NY Postcards (a collection of over 13 million New York newspaper pages - all for free!) at
Family Tree Maker 2011
RootsMagic 4
Excel 2010


Ancestry, Facebook, GenealogyWise, Geni, LinkedIn, MyHeritage , Twitter, WeRelate

I enjoy cooking and entertaining for friends and family which I learned from my mother. Otherwise my interests are very genealogy-centric!

Listening to music
Universe Bends Toward Justice: A Reader on Christian Nonviolence in the U.S.
Be the person your parents, your family and your ancestors hoped you would be, struggled and fought for you to be. But be yourself and know that you are unique. Live life each day making the most of that hyphen between birth date and death date. Don't look back and live a life of regret; only look back to view the example your ancestors set for you.

Joan Miller

My grandmother, Isabel Woodland Irvine is my favourite ancestor. She was an amazing woman who became a nurse, a 'mail order bride', and a midwife. She came west from Ontario (Canada) to join her new husband, William Irvine, my grandfather, on his homestead in Saskatchewan. Isabel became a midwife by necessity as there were no doctors available and delivered delivered over 30 babies. She kept her nurse's license active until she was 65 years old. She wrote extensively about the homesteading life and recorded the family history. She even wrote on the backs of old photos :)

Peterhead, Scotland and the area where my maternal grandmother, Lizzie Wilson grew up. I'd also like to visit northern Ireland where there are more ancestral roots.
Tough question - there are so many great resources. I subscribe to most of the large online genealogy databases. Social media is a valuable resource. Ask a question and a genealogy friend will know the answer.

FTM mostly, but also have Rootsmagic and Legacy on the computer. I like them all for different reasons. (see FAMILY TREE)

Ancestry, Facebook, GenealogyWise, Geni, LinkedIn, Twitter

Travel, soccer (yes Joan still plays!), books, Toastmasters (public speaking and leadership), science, theatre.


Too many to list

Live life to the fullest. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Give back. Family is number one.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gentle Giant of Genealogy

One of the highlights of Rootstech was meeting up with my virtual GeniMates. Prior to arriving in Salt Lake City I was given some wonderful advice from one of my pals Geneabloggers founder, Thomas MacEntee.

"Hmmm I'm not sure if you'll need the thermal underwear . . . perhaps that's just a man's perspective. Are you going to be sightseeing in SLC? Otherwise if you will be going from the hotel to the Salt Palace and to the FHL, you might not need it. The forecast for that week will be 40F during the day" was just one of the helpful comments he posted on my blog.

Hearts aplenty for MacEntee
My first real meeting with Thomas was in the bar of the Radisson Hotel where we enjoyed a cool ale. At that meeting Thomas decorated me with some genealogy bling ie red necklaces with heart-shaped beads. I earned two necklaces - one for each of my genealogy blogs. Thomas' neck was weighed down with many red strands.

During my time in Salt Lake City Thomas was most senstiive to the fact that I was a stranger in the midst of many GeniMates from the US and  went out of his way to make me feel welcome. I loved being with Thomas with his sense of fun and his jokes and understand why he is so popular in the genealogy community.

Thomas MacEntee - Moderator/Facilitator
Not only is Thomas a SNAG and a lot of fun, he is also a consumate professional as was evidenced in the two conference events I attended where Thomas was the moderator/facilitator in roundtable sessions. Thomas directed his troupes of professional genealogists ably as they discussed blogging and virtual presentations. The content of these sessions will be the subject of future posts on the Geniaus blog.

During the conference Thomas made the Media Hub his home away from home. He spent a busy few days there networking with colleagues and conference delegates, at each encounter he showed genuine interest in people giving them his full attention. Perhaps Thomas should give up on dead people as he has such a facility for communicating with the living!

Genimates Profile Form

Since early this month I have been working on the Genimates profile form that I intend to invite some of my GeniMates to complete . Attendance at the Rootstech Conference in Salt Lake City took my attention away from Genimates but I have just spent some time creating a form in Google Docs that I will ask genealogists to complete so that I can include their profile on this blog.

I would be grateful if you could take a look at the form and let me know of any questions I should add or delete. The form can be found here.

Dan Lynch

Dan Lynch at Rootstech - Feb 2011
Seeing Dan's smiling face in the Exhibition area of Rootstech reminded me of  the song "When Irish eyes are smiling." I first met Dan in 2010 at the  Unlock the Past Roadshow in Sydney where he gave a series of talks on using Google for Genealogy. As a result of his talks I think Dan was able to sell quite a few copies of his book "Google your Family Tree".

I had been in contact with Dan via Linkedin and Facebook and we arranged  to catch up at the conference in Salt Lake City. Dan kindly agreed to tell me a little about himself. As I had heard Dan speak in Sydney I did not attend his sessions in Salt Lake City but I hear that they were well received by participants.

Dan is the first person to have completed a Genimates Profile .

GeniMates Profile - Dan Lynch

Date 11 February 2011 Hobbyist or Professional Genealogist  Professional 

Hometown Connecticut

What is your day job? Internet marketing  plus involvement in family history space. Travelled a lot in 2010 doing lectures including a tour to Australia. Dan was away working on 22 weekends in 2010.

How long have you been chasing ancestors? Since 1977

How did you get hooked on genealogy?   When he was 14 Dan watched Alex Haley’s Roots on TV. It really struck Dan as he watched the story of three generations. In the following springtime he went to the cemetery and started writing stuff down from headstones. He also went to a vital records office and wasn’t allowed in because he was in too young. He had to return in the company of an adult.  That is what hooked him!

Areas of Expertise in Genealogy  Technology, Good generalist

Genealogy Society  and Group Memberships APG - Life Member,  Connecticut Society of Genealogists - Life Member

Lands of your Ancestors Southern Italy, Ireland

What Family Names are you Researching? Orsadi, Lynch, Ditota

Who is your favourite ancestor? Why? His maternal grandmother because Dan knew and lived with her.

What genealogy software do you use to record your family tree?  Dan has tried them all and cycles through them.

What are your other Hobbies, Activities  and Interests? Daughters, golf and photography

What is your favourite lesiure time activity?  Golf

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Claire Brisson-Banks

Claire Brisson-Banks was wearing a wide grin when I caught up with her at Rootstech. She happily posed for me with the first copy of her book,The Social Media Guide for Ancestral Research/Applying Web 2.0 Strategies, that had arrived by post during the conference. Claire, a genealogist who works in The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, lived in Australia for seven years.  She and her Aussie husband now live in Utah.

Claire maintains several genealogy blogs one of which is "Who will tell their stories?". Claire has followed the lead of other genealogists and has published her book through online publisher, Lulu, one of the publishers discussed in the Round-Table session on publishing at the conference. Instructions for ordering a copy of Claire's book can be found here at Lulu.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Profiles are on their way

I set this blog up with the intention of adding profiles for some of the people I met at the Rootstech conference in Salt Lake City this week. What I didn't realise was that I was going to be super busy at the conference and wouldn't have much time to blog. I have, however, interviewed a couple of genealogists that I met here in Salt Lake City and will try to post their profiles during the week.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The First Post

My excitement is mounting as, in two days, I will take off for the Rootstech Conference in Salt Lake City where, as Geniaus, I am an official blogger.

I heard this morning that 1800 people have registered for the conference...that's a lot of genealogists and I want to meet many and find out about them. As I was sipping my coffee in bed this morning I recalled some books that were popular when I worked with kids. Called Authors and Illustrators Scrapbooks they had a page devoted to each sperson that provided a short bio and some personal information.

Following the model in these books I thought that I would prepare a pro forma with a list of questions that I could ask some of the people I meet to complete and that I could post these profiles on the web. I then thought about all the wonderful genealogists I have met in Australia and who do not have a presence on Facebook, Twitter or a Blog, I'd really like to profile some of these GeniMates who do fabulous work in local societies, as volunteer indexers or in their day to day jobs. There are a number of directories of genealogists around but these tend to be serious in nature and concentrate on professional genealogists.

I could post these profiles on the Geniaus blog but I'd like to give them their own home. I thought about putting up a website but blogging is so much easier so I decided to set up a new blog using a newly created Google account. I pondered about names for the blog: genipals, geniprofiles, genibods but decided using Mates in the title would add a bit of Australian flavour.

Once I have thought of the questions and headings for my proforma I will have it ready for Rootstech. Down the track I might make a soft copy available via this blog.

I don't want to make this too onerous so only promise one or two profiles per week, that is, if I can get anyone to take part. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

If you have any suggestions for this project please post a comment on this blog or email me at