Ancestry.com.au Blog » Uncategorized http://blogs.ancestry.com/au A hundred years of naming conventions flushed down the toilet Thu, 03 Jul 2014 15:10:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Family Tree Maker expert Duff Wilson touring Australia in Julyhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/06/19/family-tree-maker-expert-duff-wilson-touring-australia-in-july/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/06/19/family-tree-maker-expert-duff-wilson-touring-australia-in-july/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 05:27:19 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2228 Duff Wilson, Senior Product Manager for Family Tree Maker in Provo, Utah, is touring Australia in July to share his expertise on Family Tree Maker and Ancestry. Duff will be speaking in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, so make sure you book early to secure your spot using the details below. Duff has worked for Ancestry… Read more

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Duff Wilson, Senior Product Manager for Family Tree Maker in Provo, Utah, is touring Australia in July to share his expertise on Family Tree Maker and Ancestry. Duff will be speaking in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, so make sure you book early to secure your spot using the details below.

Duff has worked for Ancestry for over a decade, with more than twenty years of software design and development experience and a number of notable awards for his work. He holds a Master’s degree from Utah State University in Instructional Technology with an emphasis on computer-based instruction. Duff has been passionate about genealogy from a young age, and as part of his work with Ancestry, he has travelled to numerous countries and connected with countless genealogists, ranging from novice to expert.

Duff’s work has given him an increasingly high profile, as the ‘voice’ in the Family Tree Maker webinars, and also getting rave reviews from the recent ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ Congress in London.

This is Duff’s first visit to Australia, so don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear from one of the world’s foremost experts on Family Tree Maker and Ancestry.

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Session details:

Brisbane
Queensland Family History Society (QFHS)
20th July: Time 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Registration from 9:30 am
Venue: Aspley Hornets Football Club, 50 Graham Road, CARSELDINE
Cost: $55.00 ($45.00 QFHS and VicGUM Members (both prices GST inclusive))
(Morning and afternoon tea, and a light sandwich lunch provided. Please advise special dietary needs.)
Bookings: for Ancestry and Family Tree Maker Seminar online at www.qfhs.org.au/events
or by post to QFHS, PO Box 171, Indooroopilly, QLD. 4068 or by phoning (07) 3355 3369 during library opening hours.

Sydney:
Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG)
22nd July: Time 10.00 am – 4.00 pm. Registration from 9.45 am
Venue: Wesley Conference Centre, 220 Pitt Street, SYDNEY
Cost: $60.00 ($50.00 for SAG & VicGUM Members; (both prices GST inclusive))
Includes morning & afternoon teas & light sandwich lunch
Bookings: Through SAG website at www.sag.org.au Enquiries (02) 9247 3953

Melbourne:
Victorian GUM Inc. (VicGUM)
26th July: Time10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Registration from 9:30 am
Venue: State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, MELBOURNE
Cost: $60.00 ($50.00 for VicGUM Members (both prices GST inclusive))
Includes morning & afternoon teas & light lunch
Bookings: through VicGUM www.vicgum.asn.au/30thMelbourneSeminar.html or ring the office (03) 9639 2005 Tuesdays or Thursdays.

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Ancestry.au Discovers Princess Kate and Jane Austen Are Relatedhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/04/29/ancestry-au-discovers-princess-kate-and-jane-austen-are-related/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/04/29/ancestry-au-discovers-princess-kate-and-jane-austen-are-related/#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 22:51:13 +0000 Paul Rawlins http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2209 Kate Middleton shares traits in common with Austen heroines—and a distant relative with Austen herself. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So said Jane Austen in her famous novel Pride and Prejudice. And now, as the royal couple… Read more

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Kate Middleton shares traits in common with Austen heroines—and a distant relative with Austen herself.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

So said Jane Austen in her famous novel Pride and Prejudice. And now, as the royal couple settle down into comfortable domesticity, Ancestry.ca has announced that the former Catherine Middleton and Jane Austen, one of the best known and most popular novelists in the English-speaking world, are related.

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Catherine, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, and Austen, best known for her novels focusing on lower gentry or middle-class women and their romantic interactions with men of higher rank and wealth, are related through their common ancestor Henry Percy, the 2nd Earl of Northumberland. Percy, who lived in the first half of the 15th century, is Kate’s 16th great-grandfather and Jane Austen’s 10th great-grandfather, making them 11th cousins, six times removed.

Though her work touched on many topics, from economics to equality, Jane Austen is largely considered to be the pioneer of the romantic fiction genre. Her novels are known for their biting social commentary and romance between classes and her heroines for their spirit, intelligence and wit; they are readers and walkers; they are loyal friends and sisters.

It has been just over 200 years since Jane Austen published her first novel, Sense and Sensibility (1811). Written with both comedy and emotional depth, Sense and Sensibility is considered to be one of the greatest romantic dramas ever written, demonstrating why Jane Austen remains one of our most popular authors almost 200 years after her death. The 1995 film version of the novel earned Emma Thompson, who authored the screenplay and starred in the film, an Academy Award.

 

Sisters and Friends

Throughout her life, Jane Austen’s best friend and strongest supporter was her elder sister Cassandra. In fact, when Cassandra was sent off to boarding school at age 10 in 1783, eight-year-old Jane refused to be separated from her sister, demanding to go also.

The close relationship between the Austen sisters is easily comparable to the bond Catherine shares with her younger sister Pippa, who served as Catherine’s maid of honor at her wedding, attended the same boarding school as her older sister and then followed her to Scotland to college.

While all her novels conclude with a happy marriage between the heroine and her hero, neither Jane nor Cassandra ever married. There is however every expectation that Pippa will follow her sister’s example and marry her own prince charming.

 

Fame and Fortune

Born in 1775, Jane Austen is perhaps best known for her works Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, two of six novels she wrote in addition to lesser-known short stories and unfinished works. While her writing brought Austen little fame or fortune during her lifetime, today a cult of “Jane-ites” has emerged around the world. Numerous sequels to her works have been penned, various film adaptations of her novels produced, and a new generation of female readers, often speculating on their romantic endeavors, asks themselves, “What would Jane do?”

 

Royal Connections

Henry Percy, the ancestor who connects Catherine and Jane, was born in 1392 at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England. Percy was a 2nd great-grandson of King Edward III—meaning that King Edward is also a distant great-grandfather of Catherine Middleton.

Spending his youth in Scotland, because his father and grandfather were killed fighting against King Henry IV of England, in his early twenties, Percy reconciled with King Henry V (after Henry IV’s death) and was tasked with protecting the Scottish border. He was killed in 1455 during the first battle of the Wars of the Roses, at St. Albans, England.
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Discover your story. Enjoy free access to our Australian immigration records all weekend!http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/04/17/discover-your-story-enjoy-free-access-to-our-australian-immigration-records-all-weekend/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/04/17/discover-your-story-enjoy-free-access-to-our-australian-immigration-records-all-weekend/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 07:18:09 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2187 Before the age of digitised records, piecing together a family tree across generations and continents was an almost impossible task. Now thanks to Ancestry.com.au it’s all at your fingertips – bringing to life our ancestors’ adventures and stories that were once buried in archives across the globe. Ancestry.com.au offers the world’s largest online collection of… Read more

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Before the age of digitised records, piecing together a family tree across generations and continents was an almost impossible task. Now thanks to Ancestry.com.au it’s all at your fingertips – bringing to life our ancestors’ adventures and stories that were once buried in archives across the globe.

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Ancestry.com.au offers the world’s largest online collection of historical records, and this Easter long weekend, over 43 million immigration records will be free to search.

They include the newly launched Fremantle Passenger Lists, providing a crucial link that will help millions of Australian sleuths trace the pivotal turning point in their family history.

JOURNEYS TO A NEW LAND
It’s estimated that one in four of Australia’s 22 million people was born outside Australia. Before airlines offered a viable alternative, migrants arrived by ship. Fremantle Port opened in 1897 and became a major gateway for new arrivals, either those in transit to other Australian ports, New Zealand or settling in Western Australia.

The Fremantle Passenger Lists cover migration from 1897 to 1963, providing vital clues for those tracing their ancestors’ passage to Australia. The Fremantle Passenger Lists add a wealth of new information to ancestry.com.au’s existing immigration records from Australia, the UK, the US and other countries. This extensive database, created in collaboration with the National Archives of Australia, allows people to track the routes their ancestors took, providing valuable insights into how and when they arrived, as well as intriguing snippets about their past. Other immigration records included in the free access campaign including passenger arrival records, outbound passenger lists, citizenship and naturalisation records, convict transportation records, border crossings and passport applications. Twentieth century immigration records can be highly detailed, including names and addresses of other family members, in both the old country and new.

TEN POUND POMS
One of the biggest migrant waves was in the fifties and sixties, the era of the so-called ‘Ten Pound Poms’, when one million British people paid just 10 pounds to call Australia home. Some of the celebrated music talent who arrived in this wave include the Manchester-born Bee Gees brothers, Barry, Maurice and Robin, in 1958.

AC/DC’s Bon Scott, and brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, were also expats from this era. In fact, since October 1945 alone, more than 7.2 million people have migrated to Australia, and their details can be found in the unprecedented collection of immigration records available on ancestry.com.au.

UNLOCKING THE PAST

WHEN LYNNE MANNOLINI came across a collection of old photographs and documents belonging to her grandmother, it sparked a quest to discover the stories behind the photos, culminating in a family tree that now stretches back 10 generations. Using the vast resources of ancestry.com.au, Lynne discovered the background to her grandmother’s arrival in Australia in the early 1900s, aged just six. Drawing on census records, birth, death and marriage indexes, and various passenger lists, she has added convicts, policemen and gaolers to her family story. She’s uncovered immigrants from Germany, together with records of their arrival and documentation of their holidays back and forth within Australia.“Each new piece of information opens up a whole new path to follow, so the story continues,” says Lynne.

JAMES William Henry in diving gear

Enjoy free access to all immigration records this Easter long weekend at Ancestry.com.au. Access starts 12:01am Thursday 17 April and finishes 11.59pm Monday 21 April. You can access the records at www.ancestry.com.au/immigration2014

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Titanic Mystery Solved with DNA Testinghttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/03/21/titanic-mystery-solved-with-dna-testing/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/03/21/titanic-mystery-solved-with-dna-testing/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 04:23:54 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2170 DNA solved a 70-year-old question of whether Loraine Allison survived the Titanic crash. Many have wondered what happened to the two-year-old little girl who disappeared from the crash more than 100 years ago. The story begins with Hudson and Bess taking their two kids, Trevor, seven months, and Loraine, two years of age, across the… Read more

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DNA solved a 70-year-old question of whether Loraine Allison survived the Titanic crash. Many have wondered what happened to the two-year-old little girl who disappeared from the crash more than 100 years ago.

The story begins with Hudson and Bess taking their two kids, Trevor, seven months, and Loraine, two years of age, across the Atlantic on the Titanic. At the time of the sinking, it is said that Trevor was rushed to a lifeboat by their maid and that the other three died on the boat. However, only Hudson’s body was found, leaving the mystery of what happened to Loraine and her mother.

The New York City Herald covered the sinking tragedy on April 16, 1912. (Credit: Library of Congress)

The New York City Herald covered the sinking tragedy on April 16, 1912. (Credit: Library of Congress)

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The unknown remained until 28 years later when Helen Kramer came forward on a radio show called “We the People”, and said that she was the two-year-old missing girl. Only a few of the distant relatives believed her story, but immediate family members denied the claims and kept her out of the inheritance.

When Helen died in 1992 the claims seemed to have died with her. However, in 2012 the granddaughter of Helen, Debrina Woods, resurfaced the claims by saying she had inherited more evidence from her grandmother and that the truth should be told.

With all of this evidence, and with a desire to solve this case, a group of Titanic researchers put together a project to help unlock the mystery.

They did just that, by convincing descendants from each family to have a DNA test done.

The results from the tests show that there is not a relationship between the two families, suggesting that this was a hoax or a complete misunderstanding.

We don’t want to downplay the tragedy of this story to those involved but rather highlight that we have a tool that will help us unlock the mysteries of our past with DNA testing.

This isn’t the first time DNA has helped provide evidence to disprove a connection to a historical claim. DNA testing disproved Anna Anderson’s claims that she was Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the Russian Tsar, Nicholas II. Similar to the Kramer story, researchers found multiple people from both sides of the family in question and had them take a DNA test. No DNA was shared, disproving a relationship.

What questions have you always wondered about in your family?

Discover your family story. Start free trial.

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Guest Blog: What’s in a name? Surnames have meanings and originshttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/02/17/guest-blog-whats-in-a-name-surnames-have-meanings-and-origins/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/02/17/guest-blog-whats-in-a-name-surnames-have-meanings-and-origins/#comments Mon, 17 Feb 2014 05:29:22 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2149 Authored by Bob Cumberbatch. Bob is the Education Liaison Officer of The Guild of One-Name Studies and can be reached at education@one-name.org. Surnames began being used in the 11th century and they have meanings and origins which can be grouped into four broad categories, which are: People, Places, Occupations and Nicknames. Surnames based on people… Read more

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Authored by Bob Cumberbatch. Bob is the Education Liaison Officer of The Guild of One-Name Studies and can be reached at education@one-name.org.

Surnames began being used in the 11th century and they have meanings and origins which can be grouped into four broad categories, which are: People, Places, Occupations and Nicknames.

Surnames based on people often mean “son of” a person. Robertson is a name derived from someone called Robert. This surname is especially common in Scotland, where Robert was a popular personal name and the name of three kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce (1274–1329). Other examples include: Williamson meaning ‘son of William’, Ferguson meaning ‘son of Fergus’ and Johnson. Gaelic names from Scotland and Ireland include Mac or Mc as in MacAlister. Irish examples include: O’Brien, FitzPatrick or Brennan. ‘Ap’ in Welsh means ‘son of’ and ‘ap Richard’ evolved into Pritchard and ‘ap Ellis’ became Bellis; Williams, meaning ‘son of William,’ is very common in Wales.

Surnames based on places are named after a particular place or a description of a place. Millington which is a name derived from places called Millington in Cheshire and East Yorkshire, so named from Old English mylen ‘mill’ + tun ‘enclosure’, ‘settlement’. Wood which is mainly a name for someone who lived in or by a wood or a metonymic occupational name for a woodcutter or forester, from Middle English wode ‘wood’ and Old English wudu. Hill is an extremely common and widely distributed name for someone who lived on or by a hill; from the Old English hyll.

Occupational surnames originated from someone’s work, their title or a position of status. Smith is an occupational name for a worker in metal; from Middle English smith and Old English smið, which is possibly a derivative of smitan meaning ‘to strike, hammer’. Metal-working was one of the earliest occupations for which specialist skills were required, and its importance ensured that this surname and its equivalents were perhaps the most widespread of all occupational surnames in Europe. This is the most frequent of all British and American surnames. Other examples of occupational surnames include Chandler a maker or seller of candles, Taylor, Faulkner from falconer, Burgess and Bishop.

Strong is a name from Middle English strong or strang meaning ‘strong’, probably a nickname for a strong man but perhaps sometimes applied ironically to a weakling. Other examples include Reid, and its English equivalent Read, which is a nickname for a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion, from Older Scots reid ‘red’. Small is a nickname for a person of slender build or diminutive stature, from Middle English smal ‘thin’, ‘narrow’. There are examples of nickname based surnames from other European languages, such as German Klein and Schmal and French Petit.

Discover the meaning of your surname online at Ancestry.com.au.

Bob is the Education Liaison Officer of The Guild of One-Name Studies and can be reached at education@one-name.org

Studying a surname and identifying its roots and distribution can be particularly helpful in tracking down people who have migrated overseas and finding the right person from multiple candidates

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Top 20 Search Tipshttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/02/17/top-20-search-tips/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/02/17/top-20-search-tips/#comments Mon, 17 Feb 2014 05:18:30 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2143 Use our suggestions to track down missing ancestors and get more from your Ancestry.com.au searches. 1. Focused searching Searching all our records at once is extremely powerful, but it can give you too many search results. Consider searching categories, such as census or military records. Or if you know where and when you’re looking for… Read more

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Use our suggestions to track down missing ancestors and get more from your Ancestry.com.au searches.

1. Focused searching

Searching all our records at once is extremely powerful, but it can give you too many search results. Consider searching categories, such as census or military records. Or if you know where and when you’re looking for your ancestors, you can often search within particular record collections.

2. Recent collections

On our main search page, look for ‘Recently viewed collections’ in the top-right corner. These links will take you straight back to the record collections you last looked at.

3. Recent searches

Slightly further down the page, on the left, you’ll find ‘Recent Searches’. This provides a list of the ancestors you last searched for – click on them to go straight back to your search results.

4. Local records

At the bottom of the main search page are maps of Australia & NZ, the UK, USA, Canada and more. Click within the map to see lists of record collections for any country. You can then use the options on the right to see just the collections for a particular county.

5. Find more records

We’ve created pages for each of our main categories to help you find more useful records. For example, our Census and Voter page includes links to all our census and electoral collections – as well as help for using those records.

6. Card Catalogue

For a wider view, use the Card Catalogue – you’ll find this at the bottom of the Search menu at the top of the screen. This lets you see all the record collections across our whole site, and filter them by category, location and date.

7. New releases

We’re constantly adding record collections, so there are always new opportunities to find your family. Stay up-to-date with our latest releases here. You can also join us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest content releases.

8. Exact matches

The ‘Match all terms exactly’ option can be useful in narrowing down your results. However, be careful as this will exclude any records that don’t include all the information in your search – for example, many records don’t have a death date.

9. Alternative names

Names were often spelt differently in the past, so use the options under the ‘First Name’ and ‘Last Name’ boxes to include alternatives. However, also take the time to search for other possibilities yourself (for example Owen and Owens), as this can be more effective.

10. Wildcard searches

You can also look for different spellings using wildcard characters. Use an * if there are several letters you’re not sure of (‘Rob*son will look for Robinson and Robertson) or a ? for a single letter (Sm?th for Smith and Smyth).

11. Nearby counties

You’ll often find that your ancestors moved across county borders. You can use the advanced options under any Location box to focus your search on the county that you entered, plus any bordering counties.

12. Family members

There are many James Olivers in our records, but far fewer who were married to ladies named Charlotte, and fewer still with sons named Frank. Use the ‘Family Member’ options to include other relatives in your search.

13. Lateral thinking

Another option is to simply search for a different person in the same household. Perhaps you can’t find James Oliver? Try searching for wife Charlotte or other family members with more unusual names, and see if you can spot James elsewhere on the record.

14. Collection Priority

The ‘Collection Priority’ option lets you focus on different parts of the world. Perhaps your greatuncle ran away to America? Switch the collection priority to United States to view mainly American records, and tick ‘Show only records from these collections’ if you don’t want to see anything else.

15. Browsing records

When you’re searching within individual record collections, you’ll often see options to ‘Browse this collection’ on the right. These let you choose a particular place and time period, and read through the records as though you were reading a book – they’re particularly useful with parish records.

16. Result views

There are two ways of viewing your results. – switch between them using the ‘View’ option in the top-right. ‘Sorted by relevance’ presents each individual record with the closest matches at the top; ‘Summarized by category’ groups your results together, so you can see what categories and collections they come from.

17. Edit Search

If you’ve made a mistake, or you want to try a slightly different search, you don’t need to go back to the search page. Just click ‘Edit Search’ in the top-left, change anything you want, and then click ‘Search’.

18. Narrow by Category

Perhaps you’re only interested in census records or travel records? You can easily filter your results by selecting one of the options under ‘Narrow by category’. You’ll then see more filter options, such as date ranges or sub-categories.

19. Record preview

If you keep clicking on all your results, it can take a long time to check which ones relate to your family. Instead, just hover over a result to see a quick preview of the most important information.

20. Hot Keys

You can use keyboard shortcuts to move through your results more quickly. For example, pressing ‘r’ will let you edit your search, while ‘p’ brings up a preview of the record you’ve selected.

Share your top search tip below.

 

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How Did You Arrive in Australia? Unlock Your Family Secretshttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/01/25/how-did-you-arrive-in-australia-unlock-your-family-secrets/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/01/25/how-did-you-arrive-in-australia-unlock-your-family-secrets/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 22:05:46 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2085 Australia is famous for its convict beginnings, but it has never really stopped being a nation of immigrants. Since October 1945, more than 7.2 million people have migrated to the country. Australians can search 275 databases and more than 200 million records dating from 1606 to 1974 to unlock clues about how their ancestors came to… Read more

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Immigration RecordsAustralia is famous for its convict beginnings, but it has never really stopped being a nation of immigrants. Since October 1945, more than 7.2 million people have migrated to the country.

Australians can search 275 databases and more than 200 million records dating from 1606 to 1974 to unlock clues about how their ancestors came to live in Australia.

With almost one-third (29 per cent)[iii] of Australians not knowing the details of their ancestors’ arrival in this country, these databases could assist millions of Aussies in uncovering information about how and when their family came to land on these shores.

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One in four of Australia’s 22 million people was born outside Australia. It’s no surprise to find that people born in the United Kingdom account for the largest group of overseas-born residents, totalling 1.2 million people. The second largest influx were born in New Zealand, numbering 544,000 people, followed by China (380,000), India (341,000), and Italy (216,000).

Immigration records contain information on migrant ancestors who came from around the globe to build a new life in a new land. These records include citizenship and naturalisation records, convict transportation records, border crossings and passports, and passenger and crew lists from countries such as Australia, United Kingdom, Europe, United States, Canada and several others. This extensive database allows people to track the routes their ancestors took in order to understand how and when they arrived where they did.

Australia has become a melting pot of nationalities, with most residents originally coming from somewhere else.

An example of Ancestry members who demonstrate this include:

Margaret Hardwick from Lismore, NSW, has a family that personifies modern-day Australia. Margaret is a mixture of English, Welsh, and Irish and married a man who had English, Irish, Scottish, French, and Viking blood and is a descendant of a First Fleeter. Their children have broadened the mixture of cultures, and she has five great-grandchildren with a mix of Chinese, Malay, Spanish, Chilean, and Mapuche ancestry.

Ryan D’Lima from Sydney is a first-generation Australian who was born in Mumbai and grew up in Australia. While his ethnicity is part Indian and part Portuguese, his accent and attitude are completely Australian. He loves the Aussie ‘never say die’ culture and feels that this nation is home to a vibrant, multicultural approach that embraces every culture and creates greater understanding among people.

Australians arrived from all over the world for a multitude of different reasons. This collection offers a wealth of knowledge about our ancestors and perhaps into why we are the way we are today.”

To access the collections, please visit http://www.ancestry.com.au/immigration.

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George Clooney’s Surprising Honest Family Connectionhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/01/25/george-clooneys-surprising-honest-family-connection/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2014/01/25/george-clooneys-surprising-honest-family-connection/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 21:44:48 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2078 After researching more than three centuries of Abraham Lincoln’s family tree, Ancestry.com.au family historians have revealed a Lincoln family secret: famous actor George Clooney is related to the former president. The family bloodline for both notable figures links to Lincoln’s maternal grandmother Lucy Hanks. This common ancestor makes Clooney Lincoln’s half-first cousin five times removed. Those… Read more

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Profile of Abraham LincolnAfter researching more than three centuries of Abraham Lincoln’s family tree, Ancestry.com.au family historians have revealed a Lincoln family secret: famous actor George Clooney is related to the former president. The family bloodline for both notable figures links to Lincoln’s maternal grandmother Lucy Hanks. This common ancestor makes Clooney Lincoln’s half-first cousin five times removed.
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Profile of Abraham Lincoln

Those interested in the Lincoln-Clooney connection can find a family connection chart at Ancestry.com.au. For those more interested in Abraham Lincoln himself, Ancestry.com.au is offering free access to more than 20,000 documents showcasing Lincoln’s life, his family tree and the most pivotal moments of his presidential career.

Lincoln enthusiasts and movie fans can discover a whole new side of the former president and his family, with information spanning the 1700s through the early 1900s. Records featured on the site include:

    • Handwritten Civil War documents and records:  One standout document is a personal letter from Lincoln to General Ulysses S. Grant asking for his son to be stationed in a safe location during the Civil War.

 

    • Emancipation Proclamation: Handwritten drafts and an illustration depicting the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation before the cabinet. The proclamation declared that all slaves residing in Confederate territory were to be free.

 

    • Lincoln’s family in 1860: See how the U.S. census has evolved while learning more about Lincoln’s family – this 1860 census record includes Lincoln’s Springfield address, listing his wife Mary, sons Robert, Willie and Thomas, and two servants living in the household.

 

    • Famous speeches: Find rare drafts of historic speeches throughout the legendary presidency.

 

    • Rare photos are worth a thousand words: Images from centuries ago showcasing historical events during Lincoln’s life are included in the image gallery.

 

    • Lincoln’s Taxes: The original IRS tax assessment listing Lincoln’s presidential salary as $25,000 a year in 1861.

 

“Abraham Lincoln is a monumental figure in America’s history. The film ‘Lincoln’ depicts his historic last few months in the Oval Office and this is a perfect time to make centuries of records pertaining to the popular president available to all those interested in learning more,” said Dan Jones, vp of content at Ancestry.com.  “We want these records to give people a new perspective on key public and private moments in Lincoln’s life. Hopefully this will encourage people to begin researching their own family history.”

Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” doesn’t hit theaters until November 9, but people don’t have to wait to learn more about “Honest Abe.” Lincoln records are available from now through February on Ancestry.com.au for everyone to dig a little deeper into Lincoln’s story and impress friends and family with their knowledge.

For those inspired by the records to do more digging into their own history, Ancestry.com.au offers a 14-day free trial for all new members.

Discover your family story. Start free trial.

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Understanding old handwritinghttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2013/09/20/understanding-old-handwriting/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2013/09/20/understanding-old-handwriting/#comments Fri, 20 Sep 2013 07:08:28 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=2012 Family history is all about finding and reading documents, whether you look at scanned images on our site, or hunt for the originals in record offices. As you work your way back from recent certificates to older records, the writing on these documents can be tricky, as the words and their meanings – and even… Read more

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Family history is all about finding and reading documents, whether you look at scanned images on our site, or hunt for the originals in record offices. As you work your way back from recent certificates to older records, the writing on these documents can be tricky, as the words and their meanings – and even the shapes of the letters themselves – have changed over time. Understanding these ancient scrawls can often be the key to comprehending your ancestors’ lives.

Common problems

Generally, older records are harder to read. Documents from the 19th and 20th centuries mainly use the words and writing styles we’re used to today, so they don’t present too many problems. Where you do run into difficulties, it’s often because of bad handwriting or poor equipment – blobs of ink obscuring letters and writing that’s so faded it’s almost illegible are common issues.

As you move into the 17th and 18th centuries, you’ll find far more variation. Spelling can be particularly difficult, as it wasn’t standardised until compulsory education began around 1870. Surnames and place names in particular can have a wide variety of spellings, even on the same page.

Documents from around this time will also start to introduce you to different styles of handwriting. Although these are all in English, they can look quite different from modern script.

Different styles

The first style you’ll come across will probably be Round Hand. This free-flowing, expressive way of writing is especially common in personal papers and letters from the 18th century. It’s not too far away from how we write today, although early examples may use different shapes for capital letters, almost interchangeable i’s and j’s, and a long s.

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These variations are a hangover from the precursor to Round Hand – Secretary Hand. This style emerged in the 16th century, and dominated in England for almost 200 years – so you’ll often come across it on parish registers. Secretary Hand can look like nothing but scribbles at first, but take the time to look at individual letters in turn and you’ll often find you can decipher it.

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A 17th-century alternative was Italic Hand. This style developed in Italy though the Renaissance. It’s far easier to read than Secretary Hand, but unfortunately it’s less common.

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Before this time, most of the population couldn’t write at all, so there was little need for a universal style. Several Royal and Government departments developed their own scripts. The most successful of these was Chancery Hand, used at the Royal Chancery in Westminster. You may come across it in legal documents, especially wills. It’s usually very neat, but the formal letter shapes can be confusing.

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Reading tips

There are some simple tricks you can use to help you understand old documents:

1) Look closely

Place the document on a clean surface in a well-lit room. Then either put on gloves or make sure your hands are clean. Take a magnifying glass, and examine each part of the document, to make sure you spot every letter and small mark.

2) Read slowly

Read through the document slowly and carefully. Today, many of used are ‘skim reading’, so you’ll need to resist the temptation to skip ahead, and take the time to look carefully at each individual letter. If you’re unsure about any words, leave them out and go back to them later.

3) Make a chart

It’s useful to make an alphabet chart as you go. This is very easy – just write out the alphabet on a separate piece of paper, then copy examples from the document for each letter – preferably lower and upper case. It’s easiest if you can identify letters in more obvious words like names and places, then refer to your chart to help with more difficult words.

4) Write it down

When you’ve read the whole thing, go back to the beginning and attempt to transcribe the document in your own handwriting. You can either leave out words you don’t know, or put suggestions with question marks. Make sure you transcribe what’s actually there – don’t correct spellings or add missing characters, as you may make mistakes that will confuse you later.

5) Spot the differences

You’ll find it much easier on your second read through. Look out for unusual spellings. For example, i’s and j’s are often interchanged, and if a writer does this once, they may well do so again later on. Also be careful of downward strokes, which can cause confusion with i’s, u’s, n’s and m’s.

6) Shortened forms

Abbreviations can be particularly tricky. It helps to keep a list of them as you come across them, perhaps with your best guess of what they mean. You can then look them up in a dictionary or online after you’ve finished.

These tips will help you decipher many of the older records in our collections, and track down mentions of your family.

Search our historical records now

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Facebook Live Q&A – British Ancestryhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2013/06/06/facebook-live-qa-british-ancestry/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/2013/06/06/facebook-live-qa-british-ancestry/#comments Thu, 06 Jun 2013 06:57:02 +0000 Ancestry.com.au http://blogs.ancestry.com/au/?p=1902 Discover your UK heritage this Queen’s Birthday long weekend with FREE* access to over 257 million British records on Ancestry.com.au. To help you make the most of this free access period, Ancestry’s Brad Argent will be online on Monday 10 June 2013, 12-1 pm AEST to answer your questions on British ancestry via Facebook. So… Read more

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Discover your UK heritage this Queen’s Birthday long weekend with FREE* access to over 257 million British records on Ancestry.com.au.

To help you make the most of this free access period, Ancestry’s Brad Argent will be online on Monday 10 June 2013, 12-1 pm AEST to answer your questions on British ancestry via Facebook.

So how does it work? You’ll need to “Like” us on Facebook then on Monday 10 June at 12pm, visit the Ancestry Facebook page and post your question for Brad. He’ll answer as many as he can within the hour.

In the meantime, you can access UK Outward Passenger Lists, England & Wales Probate Calendar, 1911 Census, Birth, Marriage & Death Indexes – all FREE* until Monday. Search now.

Can’t make the live Q&A? Have a look at our latest video with tips and hints on researching British ancestors.

*Terms and Conditions Apply: Access to the records in the featured British collections will be free until 11:59 PM Monday, 10 June 2013 AWST.

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