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Since the NGS conference is only a week away I have started getting everything organized for the trip. It is sometimes hard to know what to bring and you want to travel fairly light. Getting organized for a trip can be a little stressful.

An advanced look at the weather suggests temperatures in the mid-70s range. Now this is advanced weather forecasting and things can change. So the Girl Guide motto “Be Prepared” comes into play here. An umbrella is always a must just in case it decides to rain. Since we will be inside a lot of the time the main thing we need to remember is convention center air conditioning. Bring a sweater, wrap or something in case the lecture rooms are chilly or you get the seat by the draft.

It is now time to focus on the technology you are going to bring. Is your technology suitcase going to be bigger than your regular suitcase or smaller? Don’t forget power cords, chargers and any other cables you may require for your devices. Also, don’t forget passwords you will need for the websites/apps you use.

If you are using Wi-Fi then make sure your virus protection software is up to date. At the same time make sure your operating software is up to date.

Do you have apps on your devices for note taking or do you still like to do it with pencil and paper? Be prepared for either choice.

A water bottle to fill up at the water stations is a great thing to have with you. This way you don’t have to keep buying water in bottles and it is always with you. At the same time what about snacks? A little something to help with the energy drain around 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon. A bag of pretzels in the room and a small baggie to put a few in every day.

The main item you need to bring with you is a comfortable pair of shoes. In fact bringing a couple of pairs might be better so you don’t wear the same pair every day.

Start writing your lists now so that you don’t forget anything.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for things to bring with you to conference?

©2014 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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The National Genealogical Society have made it very easy for us to be organized during this conference. They have the NGS Mobile App. Have you downloaded it yet? If not, why not?

The app is a brilliant tool to help with everything. First download the app to your device. I have it on my iPad and my iPod. Sometimes it is easier to check my smaller iPod than dig out the iPad. You can sync the app over several devices.

One of the most important things to do is to create your own schedule for the lectures you want to attend. I will admit I have more than one in a few slots. I just couldn’t make up my mind but I will do that closer to the lecture. Add everything into your schedule including your lunches, society events and if you have arranged to meet up with friends.

As of April 22nd you can even link the syllabus material for each lecture. How wonderful is that! No more digging to find copies or scrolling through the PDF to find the right lecture.

Do you have friends going to the conference? Did you know the app has a section that lists all the attendees and then you can do a friend request and add them to your friends list? Did you know you could also share your schedule with them? If you are looking for someone this will be an easier way to find them.

There is a section that lists the exhibitors. You can mark each one you want to go and see. You may decide to add that to your schedule. Do you want to purchase the latest BCG manual? Add that to your schedule.

Do you follow Twitter? You can easily do that with the built-in Twitter feed in the app. You can see what everyone is saying about the conference in real time.

I love the NGS app and every few days have been going in to add new things and see what else I can find. It makes it much easier to navigate the conference. If you have a mobile device you need to get the app.

You can find out more about here and there is a short video tutorial.

©2014 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day – Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig – everyone

The Library and Archives Canada blog had a post called “Newly digitized microfilms on the Héritage portal.” There is a long list of fonds and records that have been added to the Héritage website.

Heritage

They have already got 255 records on the website. Some of these records may seem unrelated to family history but go in and play with the website and see what you can find. I did a search for a town and found a lot of references to diamond wedding anniversaries and requests from the King for acknowledgement letters.

You can do a search for a term or word and when the results come up you don’t have to go into each collection. You can click on the image number and be taken directly to the image.

They have five featured collections which include: Genealogy; Aboriginal History; Government Documents; Military History and Landmark Papers.

There are 65 results in the Genealogy Collection; 30 in the Military History; 11 in Aboriginal History; 108 in Government Documents and 123 in Landmark Papers.

They have a Catalogue page and it provides you with some information. The most important note is that the number of films in the complete collection is more than 35,000 but the number of films described in the catalogue is 19,941.

It has each of the collections in the featured collections listed. Under Genealogy Collection it provides you with a description of the record, the number of films, the number of pages by the 1000s (if 15 is listed then it is 15,000 pages), whether or not it has significant genealogical content and Mikan number. It would be nice if they had the titles hyperlinked so that they would be easier to find.

There are 41 different parish registers listed including a few Catholic ones from the United States. One of the new parish registers listed in the LAC blog post is “Parish registers: Newfoundland, Labrador and Nova Scotia.” A search was done for “Parish Register” and there were five results with only one that was for an actual register. A search for “Parish Registers” provided nine results, two of which had Parish registers in the title.

One of the results was for “Ste-Anne de Restigouche P.Q. Parish register” but it is under the title “Parish Registers Nova Scotia: C-1449.” Now Ste-Anne is in Quebec and not Nova Scotia and the About Section does not clear this up. I went into the digital images and the cover page says Registre de la pariosse Ste-Anne de Restigouche, 1759-95” and it has “N.S. Church Records – Acadia – Divers Registres 1755-1799” so this is where Nova Scotia came from.

In the About Section it says that there are 177 pages for Ste-Anne and on the cover page of the microfilm it says that Ste-Anne has 158 pages and N.S. Church Records has 174 pages. The very first page of the registers is for Ste-Anne and the last page (page 177) is for N.S. Church Records, so they must all be included. The images are double pages. Why is N.S. Church Records in the title and not in the About Section of the record description? Don’t just rely on the record descriptions go into the microfilm and see for yourself what may be on it.

One of the parish records collections was “General Index to the Public Archives of Canada: H-1317” and here you get an index card to a parish register of Lochwinnoch Presbyterian Church in Ontario. This can be very useful in determining what is available for your area of research.

In a way this is a mix of old research and online research. You have to search the microfilm to find out what is on it but you can do it on your computer at home.

©2014 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

National Genealogical Society Announces Release of Mobile Conference App 2014 Family History Conference
Richmond, Virginia 7 May 2014

ARLINGTON, VA, 20 February 2014: The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the release of the Mobile Conference App for the NGS 2014 Family History Conference, which will be held 7-10 May 2014, in Richmond, Virginia. Download the free NGS Conference App.

The NGS Conference App is available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and web-enabled devices. Search your app store for NGS 2014.

New this year is a five-minute video that reviews highlights of the app and explains how to use the key features. The video can be found on the NGS conference website, then click on the App Video Tutorial.

Some of the convenient features on the app:
• The Dashboard keeps you organized with up-to-the-minute information.
• About This Show keeps all conference information in one place.
• Alerts allow attendees to receive important real-time communications from NGS.
• The built-in Twitter feed allows you to follow and join in on the conference chatter. The Twitter hashtag is #NGS2014GEN.
• Sync your schedule across multiple devices.
• Attendees can locate exhibitors they plan to visit.
• Connect, message, and share schedules with your colleagues through the Friends feature.
• Link to syllabus material for each lecture, which will be available about 22 April 2014.

We encourage you to begin using the app now so you can improve your conference experience in Richmond.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists.

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Today is the launch of the new Blair Archival Research website design and you may notice a few things have changed.

You will find pages with links for genealogy websites to help you with your research in Canada, Ireland and Scotland.

If you want to know where I will be speaking you can check out the News tab for my Events page.

Blair Archival Research can help you with your family history research. Send an email with details of the family you are interested in or give us a call to discuss your project.

©2014 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

"Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net"

“Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

Today is the Passionate Genealogist’s 4th birthday! Thank you to all my readers for their support over the last four years.

I am not the only one celebrating today.

The Still More Genealogy blog is celebrating five years today. The Gendocs: Family Research and Legacy blog is celebrating three years and the All Roads Led to London blog is celebrating two years. Congratulations to all my fellow bloggers on their milestones.

©2014 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Merry Christmas

Joyeux Noël

Nollaig Shona

Nollaig Chridheil

Last night was the premiere episode of the US version of the “Genealogy Roadshow.” This is a program that originated in Ireland on RTÉ. The format follows that of the “Antiques Roadshow” a long time BBC production. You can certainly see that format with the presenter and the enquirer at the same table and the crowd surrounding them listening to the evaluation. The crowd around the table provides an extra component to the proceedings as they react to what they are hearing and seeing. The new element is the screen and digital images.

I am a huge fan of the “Antiques Roadshow” and the “Genealogy Roadshow” didn’t disappoint. It would have been nice if we could have found out a little more about some of the documents. I would like to have learned more about who wrote the Austin Peay letter, why it was written and where it came from. The presentation of some of the documents on screen was so fast you could hardly read them.

This show was all about the family stories of everyday people. This is something that a lot of viewers have been looking for according to comments I have heard about the program “Who Do You Think You Are?” and its use of celebrities. What we need to remember is they are only celebrities because they are in the public eye and we are aware of what they do for a living. If they were teachers or firefighters their story would be the same and it would be considered the story of an everyday person.

The main difference for me between the two programs is that you get more of a history lesson on “Who Do You Think You Are?” than you do on “Genealogy Roadshow.” “Who Do You Think You Are?” is all about the story. On “Genealogy Roadshow” they are proving or disproving a family story or they may prove that it is actually a little different than the family thought.

“Genealogy Roadshow” is a fast paced production which fits in with the instant need to know, get the story and move on of most of today’s viewers. As researchers we know this isn’t the way researching your family history works. If it gets more people interested in their family history, in particular young people, then I’m all for it.

How many of us actually knew what we were in for when we first started researching our family history? As researchers we follow good research practices but that is not going to be shown on genealogy based programs. The research is the behind the scenes hard work that makes the program come to life. What I love most about family history based programing is the story. These programs present the stories found in the history of a family.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Mark Anthony Toomey was born in Dublin in 1844 to Mark Toomey and Jane Kelly. He married Julia Adelaide Bourne in 1868 at St. Peter’s church in Dublin. She was from a respected legal family. When his daughter was born in 1875 he was a wine merchant.

Mark Anthony was very active in Freemasonry and was initiated in Commercial Lodge No. 245 in 1871 in Dublin. In 1878 he was installed as Worshipful Master of this Lodge. He was also a Life Governor of both the male and female Masonic Orphan Schools in Ireland.

There were six children in the family: Mark born 1869 and died in 1871; Louisa Alice born 1871; Mark born 1873; Jane born 1875; Walter Bourne born 1878 and Richard Fenton born 1880. The children were all born in Dublin.

Mark Anthony Toomey got into what was described as “financial trouble” over a debt he had guaranteed and could not pay. This was an offence you could go to prison for and two of his Bourne brother in laws suggested he went to Australia. According to family lore he left for Sydney in 1883. There is a letter dated 2 March 1880 that suggests it may have been closer to 1880. If this is the case then the reason Julia and family did not go with him at the time could have been because she was carrying their son Richard.

When Mark Anthony arrived in Sydney he hired a Chinese girl to look after the house and then Julia and family joined him.

Julia and the children joined Mark Anthony in 1890. They left London on 5 February 1890 and arrived in Sydney on 27 March 1890. They were on the Coromandel which originated in Greenock Scotland. Julia could not settle in Australia and did not like the Chinese help so she went back to Dublin. She left her son Mark behind. Julia wanted to leave Jane in Australia because Jane wanted to stay but Mark Anthony said no girls.

Walter Bourne Toomey returned to Australia via Canada. He arrived in Montreal in 1907 and arrived in Sydney in 1909. It is believed that Richard returned to Australia in 1911. The female lines were the only ones to remain in Ireland.

On arrival in New South Wales Mark Anthony joined the Freemasons. In 1885 he helped to form Lodge Hiram No. 41 and was elected Secretary. In 1887 he was made Grand Secretary and also held the position of Deputy Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales. He was a member of the Leinster Marine Royal Arch Chapter No. 266.

Mark Anthony Toomey died in Sydney on 29 March 1916. He died at the home of his son Mark Toomey at Rubyville, Church Street, Chatswood. The funeral was at the Church of England Cemetery Gore Hill.

Julia lived in the home of her daughter Jane and her family. She retired to her bed to die when she was 60 and did not die until she was 91. She died in 1932 in Rathmines Co. Dublin.

Julia Adelaide Bourne Toomey is buried in St. Nahi’s Cemetery in Dundrum Co. Dublin. The headstone reads: In Loving Memory of our parents Mark Toomey who died 21st March 1916 aged 72 and his wife Julia Adalaide (daughter of the late Walter Bourne of Taney House in this Parish) who died 9th April 1932 aged 91 “Peace Perfect Peace”with loved ones far away. This must have been put up by their daughter’s as the sons were all in Australia at this time. Mark Anthony Toomey is actually buried in Sydney Australia.

Mark Anthony and Julia Adelaide only lived together for about 14 years. They spent more than double that living apart from each other. If Julia had not returned to Ireland then I might not be here writing their story.

© 2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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