The 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry was hosted by The Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra at the National Convention Centre, Canberra. The triennial Congress is conducted under the auspices of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO). The Conference was also supported by an online research interests’ register, a Librarians day and opportunities for after- hours research at three major local repositories. A welcome function was held at the Australian War Memorial and a dinner was held at Parliament House. The Congress was “about learning, sharing and making connections”.
This is the first of a series of posts about the conference.
Over 40 librarians arrived in Canberra a day ahead of the AFFHO Congress 2015 gathering at the National Library of Australia.
Speakers included: Jenny Higgins. Jenny previously working at the National Library of Australia – Jenny now works with the National Dictionary of Biography. Her topic was “The Best tool for the job : choosing the right family history resources”
She reminded us that we need to review what our favourite sources actually include, their scope and content. Some databases do not state this. Look for a statement of scope even in the commercial databases. Sometimes you need to know what the collection does not include.
The second speaker was Seonaid Lewis – Family History Librarian at Auckland Libraries based at the Central Auckland Heritage Centre. One of their major programs is their “genealogy lock in” which is an event for family history researchers when researchers access the library after the library would normally close to the public. 8 pm – 8 am. About 50 Researchers are provided with pizza, and staff and volunteers are available for assistance.
Josh Taylor Find My Past – Director of Family History is always good value. Find My Past has recently completed integration of data from purchase of Origins.net including UK resources.
FMP also own Mocavo. This site is like a genealogy search engine. It has a rich text content base. Books are being digitised as a rapid base.
The Keynote address was from Anne Marie Schwirtich Director National Library of Australia. Ms Schwirtilich spoke at length. The National Library ensures that documentary resources of national significance relating to Australia and Australians. Significant numbers of family historians use the National Library both onsite and online including via the Trove portal.
A panel of librarians concluded the day. The Panel was chaired by Anne Burrows, State Library of Victoria and included Seonaid Lewis, Auckland Libraries, Margaret Curry, Northern Territory Library, Janette Pelosi, Society of Australian Genealogists and myself from, YPRL.
With limited time we addressed some topics including Publishing trends – acquisition and selection and staff and public training iniatives including Branching Out: an online course in family history offered by SLV in 2014 and piloted by Victorian public libraries including YPRL.
The Librarians Day set a great tone for the rest of the conference with lots of networking and continued learning and sharing of information.