Today is my blog’s 1st birthday!
Time for a review…
Since going online on 28 October 2015, there’s been 24 blog posts, 5,249 views, 1799 visitors, and 183 comments.
The blog post with the most views?
Back to the Main Drain-Cora Lynn, Vervale and Iona. A car trip around the Koo Wee Rup Swamp with my Aunty Muriel and my cousin Howard, revisiting the places inhabited by the WINTER and COGHLAN families.
Greatest number of views in one day?
91 views on 8 November 2015.
This was most probably a consequence of being added to the blog roll of GeneaBloggers an online family history blogging community started by Thomas MacEntee in the USA.
The country with the most views?
The blog has been visited by people from nearly every corner of the globe, but most of the views have come from:
Brazil…185 views (This happened in the early days and caused me a little angst. I thought someone was trying to hack me but nothing eventuated.)
United Kingdom and Ireland were next on the list followed by about 15 other countries.
Sharing the blog on social media certainly bumps up the views.
The blog post with the most comments?
What’s in a Name? This was my first foray into locating places that no longer exist today. I learnt that early Victorian place names were often the names of landmarks, such as, the names of properties rather than towns as we know them today.
What have I learnt about the blogging process?
Technically, it’s a steep learning curve but persistence pays off…and watching a few video tutorials also helps.
I‘ve learnt how to embed Google maps into the WordPress platform. This has enabled me to show a visual display of the local geography, roads, rivers, etc, surrounding the place in question as it looks today.
I‘ve learnt how to overlay historic parish maps onto the same area as it looks today using Google Earth. This is fabulous. It enables you to see how the layout of areas has changed and it gives you an idea of the size of former properties.
The constant challenge is to make the stories informative, accurate, concise and at the same time entertaining.
Reminding myself to always think laterally, not to assume b follows a. To remember it’s sometimes necessary to find 2 or 3 items of corroborating evidence before jumping to conclusions.
A member of the Greta Heritage Group in Victoria contacted me via the blog. She had found a document tucked away in a second-hand book she’d bought in a clearance sale. The document pertained to a William WINTER of Diggers Rest. Was I interested in it, she asked?
I sure was. She generously posted the document to me. It was a thrill to handle a document my great great grandfather had handled even if it was about money he owed….more of that later.
Another surprise contact was from the author of a book I had based a post on regarding the drinking habits of one of my forebears: Some ‘hard’ drinking in the WINTER line. The author’s name is Patrick J. O’Connor and his book is called, ‘All Worlds Possible: The Domain of the Millers of Coolybrown’. On May 27 2016, he commented,
Another contact was from Ray Gibb, a ‘guru’ on the history of Tullamarine. He gave me some historic details and some helpful ideas to enable further research on Edward WINTER and the property known as ‘Springs’.
There’s also been contact from distant cousins here in Australia and in Ireland and England. It’s funny how a smattering of common genes can promote an instant connection. It’s been very gratifying to share information with them.
The regular contact with the LEE relatives in the USA has been very special too. Our swapping of information and photos has led to some wonderful insights and some conundrums, yet to be figured out…
What are the advantages of blogging the family history?
Without a doubt, the flexibility and scope of the medium. I can correct and/or add to stories as new information arises. I can reach out to a wider audience, both locally and internationally than I can with a book. I can share photos and embed movies.
Pressing the Publish button…this always makes me nervous. Am I sure the details are correct? Are there any living relatives that might be exposed who don’t want to be exposed? (I’m ever mindful of protecting the living and their identity).
The possibility of being hacked. Hopefully, I have enough security to prevent this from happening. The satisfaction I get from blogging tends to dispel this fear.
The joy of writing. I love it especially when you reach that magical moment, when the words just seem to leap off your fingertips and onto the screen and you look up and it’s 3 in the morning. Fabulous!
It’s also a joy and a relief to finally get the family history ‘out there’, out of my head and into yours.
Another joy has been becoming part of a Facebook group called Australian Local & Family History Bloggers. This is a very supportive group of like-minded bloggers who share ideas and knowledge and discuss problems. The group has provided a venue for the family history bloggers to post blog entries on Facebook. The page is called Australian History Bloggers Fan Page.
The highlight of my research?
There are many highlights, but the one that springs to mind is finding the headstone of my great grandfather’s brother, George Williams LEE, in Sale cemetery.
I’d spent a lot of time researching this previously unknown young man who emigrated from London to Australia as a gold seeker and ended up running for parliament. Unfortunately, his young life was cut short by a fatal kick from a colicky horse. He died in 1864 at the age of 32. After reading all the reports of his speeches in the newspapers I felt as if I knew him so it was a thrill to see the headstone and to pay my respects.
My favourite online sites…
TROVE Love it. This is an invaluable site. Not only can I check the Australian newspapers for my forebears movements, but I can look up the availability and location of books, documents, photos etc.
Victorian Places A simple and beautifully crafted website detailing the history of towns, cities, suburbs, villages and settlements in Victoria with a population of more than 200 people.
Births, Deaths & Marriages, Victoria An obvious inclusion. The instant gratification of downloading a certificate after paying online is very appealing and very addictive.
State Library of Victoria SLV Great resource for anything Victorian. The online catalogue is especially useful for downloading old photos and parish maps which add colour and interest to the blog.
Public Record Office Victoria Great online resource for wills and probate records in Victoria.
Deceased Online Central Database of UK burials and cremations. I used this site to find the LEEs’ burial place in Nunhead Cemetery, London.
Australian Cemeteries Another wonderful resource for finding headstone inscriptions and photos.
Australian Dictionary of Biography A great resource for finding out about ‘significant people in Australian history’.
National Film and Sound Archive You never know what you’ll find here. This is where I found the film of my dad at the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956. He only appears for 4 seconds but it was a thrill to see him on film.
National Archives of Australia I use this site to download personal war service records.
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Medals, Biographical database, War History.
Of course subscriptions to Ancestry and Find My Past are very useful. Not forgetting Family Search which is free.
More of the same. I haven’t even touched on some of the forebears. I think this blog may go on for years yet.
Relaying some stories from 2014 of walking in my forebears’ footsteps in Ireland.
Making plans to walk in more footsteps both here in Australia and in Ireland and England. I need to walk in Dundalk, Belfast, London, Bradford and possibly the Carribean!
Thanks to anyone and everyone who’s graced these pages over the last 12 months. I hope instead of boring you to tears I’ve left you with a slight smile, a little more knowledge or just some satisfaction that you’ve helped out a soon to be ‘old girl’ with indulging her in her passion.
And a big thanks goes to Mum who would have been 99 today. If it wasn’t for the time I had caring for her, which in turn allowed me the space to explore other interests, I may never have ventured into the wonderful world of writing.