As convenor I often take episodes of 'Who do you think you are?' to class, but haven’t shown one yet as members come to class already 'in the zone', keen to use the time to find out more about their own origins and family stories. It has been a great privilege to support Tech Savvy Projects - Family History group members to develop skills in using internet based family history programs and resources this year and to watch as they make discoveries and deepen their understanding of family ties over time.
Bill Willett from the Benalla Family Research Group attended our September session. Bill described the wide range of resources they have at their research room at 9 Church Street (open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 to 4) and made lots of suggestions drawing on strategies they use in supporting people who come to them for help with their research. Bill shared stories drawing on his own family history journey, providing examples of techniques he used along the way. He also showed a folder compiled using documentation available via the Family Tree program and a beautifully framed family tree prepared by one of the group's volunteer researchers.
Jane reported on a workshop she had attended on writing family stories which recommended finding our own voice and looking for themes which seem to recur during our research as a way of organizing our writing. We looked at the thematic approach used by Penny Bristol Jones on her website www.digbystories.com and Bev's family history blog website https://leedevittfh.weebly.com.
Time was also spent reporting back on progress during the month and working quietly on tasks which having a dedicated time in the month makes possible for busy members. Scotland's People once again proved useful in solving family mysteries during the session. If you have Scottish ancestry, their records are a wonderful resource.
Coping with plateaus and lulls, a lack of enthusiasm by family members? A supportive group for family historians learning to use genealogical computer apps such as ancestry.com!
Family History projects appear to go through different phases. An early 'trial' phase is often followed by an intensive working phase with a high level of motivation and lots of reinforcing and addictive 'Ah Ha' moments. This can be followed by plateaus and lulls, then renewed waves of enthusiasm. 'Tech Savvy Projects--Family History' provides a supportive space in which to work on family history projects whatever phase you are in, with complete freedom to come and go when you have a 'lull' or other priorities intervene. Another plus of attending this group? Family historians often comment that family members and friends don't always show the levels of interest, enthusiasm and support for their successes they expected! 'Tech Savvy Projects--Family History' group provides a supportive space for class members to talk about and share what they are working on with others, as well as gaining support from each other!
The Tech Savvy Projects ‘Family History’ group met on Thursday afternoon 27 June. Four people spent the afternoon working on their individual projects on Ancestry.com. As is the usual case with this type of research, it is time consuming with many brick walls to overcome. Working in a group allows for idea/experience sharing and celebrations when a ‘find’, no matter how small or large, is made. Bev Lee was taking a well-earned break but will return next month to continue to lead the group.
'Tech Savvy Projects--Family History' sessions continue to result in people making discoveries which give them much pleasure, even though there are frustrations which can occur along the way. This is a small class, with members appreciating taking time out from other demands to learn more about, or spend focused time working on, their family history.
Tech Savvy Projects - Family History'’ aims to support participants to use internet based programs, particularly ancestry.com, to research their family history.
We have been approached by a number U3A members who have already done a lot of work on their family history who would like to deepen their understanding and skills in geneology.
If you have skills in geneology and would be happy to either develop a 'Geneology' course or facilitate a guided self support group, please contact Bev Lee on 5762 8171.
Five people gathered on Anzac Day afternoon to work on their Family History projects using ancestry.com - with members taking it in turn to connect their laptop through its HDMI port to the overhead projector, making sharing of progress to date and problem solving easy and enjoyable. The speed and internet connectivity we now have in the U3A meeting room is excellent. This is in stark contrast to the first Tech Savvy Projects class held in 2018 when class members could barely access the internet if at all and the connection through the laptop to the overhead projector froze. Thank you so much to the U3A Executive for being proactive in arranging for the installation of the NBN!
Family history project directions for the year were identified at our first session in late February, with a month between sessions providing time for members to work towards goals ready to report back to the next session. The project goals are diverse and interesting. It’s always a buzz when someone has a breakthrough, always frustrating when a ‘black hole’ (often a family secret) remains unresolved.
We meet on the fourth Thursday from 1 to 2.45pm as a full group, with access to the room & support available until 4pm for those not proceeding to the Tech Savvy Talks catch-up at the Northo. We will meet on Anzac Day in April.
DNA detectives and the end of family secrets https://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/dna-detectives-and-the-end-of-family-secrets-20190306-p5124t.html
'Every One Loves Trove' Podcast Late Night Live Live://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/everyone-loves-trove/10921848
Our first meeting falls after the newsletter deadline this month. I'm looking forward to encouraging group members to develop a title and focus for their project. Maggie already has a wonderful title in mind ‘In Search of Betsy Trim’!
Ancestry.com buff Wendy Sturgess will be helping to support the group this year. Thank you Wendy!
We meet from 1 to 2.45pm as a full group, with access to the room and support available until 4pm for those not proceeding on to the Tech Savvy Talks catchup at the Northo.
About Tech Savvy Family Research
Tech Savvy Family Research provides the opportunity for members to develop skills in using internet based family history resources including Ancestry.com; My Heritage; Trove; Scotland’s People; online Births/Deaths/Marriages to research their family history.
Convenor/s Contact Details
4th Thursday 1 to 4 pm
Apps and Resources
Photobooks express help guide
Developed and maintained by members, this website showcases U3A Benalla & District.
Photographs - acknowledgment to U3A members;
Weebly 'Free' images;Travel Victoria and
State Library of Victoria