Port Macquarie Family History Society hosts two events during family history month

Join the dots: Port Macquarie Hastings Family History Society president Diane Gillespie says more people should get involved in discovering their family history.
Join the dots: Port Macquarie Hastings Family History Society president Diane Gillespie says more people should get involved in discovering their family history.

The flush of interest in connecting the family history dots can be traced to people willingly providing their spit to an international pool of DNA.

Ancestry DNA has helped many genealogy researchers finally close some the gaps in their family history, according to Port Macquarie Hastings Family History Society president Diane Gillespie.

And, she says, this is helping people around the world make some wonderful connections with long-lost family members.

"Interest in genealogy and family history is always growing," she said. "But it has particularly increased following the introduction of Ancestry DNA testing.

"The Ancestry DNA base now contains the biggest pool of resource - around 15 swimming pools full of spit - which has helped match many people in their search for family links.

"The DNA testing confirmed for me several cousins that I had traced. It also confirmed that I have a Chinese descendent who arrived here during the gold rush," she said.

"So, there can be surprises when you start looking at your family tree."

Mrs Gillespie said uncovering these kinds of links continues to evoke interest in family history.

She said society members had been able to finally confirm family connections through the DNA testing.

"There are lots of wins like that within our own Port Macquarie society," she said. "That's why it is really worth doing."

There are lots of wins like that within our own Port Macquarie society. That's why it is really worth doing.

Diane Gillespie

Uncovering links to convicts - or Australian royalty, as Mrs Gillespie refers to them - is also easier to trace than free settlers' arrival times.

Convict records are reasonably well documented and can include transportation information, boat name, arrival times and punishments meted out.

With August designated as family history month, the Port Macquarie Family History Society will host two events for anyone interested in discovering their family lineage.

Kerry Farmer will be in Port Macquarie at the Mac Adams Centre on Saturday August 17 for a day-long seminar.

Ms Farmer is a researcher, presenter and teacher in genealogical studies and has been teaching family history classes since 1997.

She is on the board of the society of Australian Genealogists and convenor of their education committee and a director of Australian Studies for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, developing their Australian Records courses.

Kerry authored DNA for Genealogists (4th edn, 2017), Arrivals in Australia from 1788 (2015) as well as several Handy Guides, all published by Unlock the Past.

The seminar includes, convicts - from trial to freedom, Scottish resources and how to use them and a case study in DNA and traditional genealogy.

Beginners' course

The second event is the 2019 beginners' course and is held over four consecutive Saturdays starting on August 24.

This course will cover, what you need before your can start researching, how to begin and record-keeping, Australian records, and, free websites and group resources.

There is a cost for both events.

For more information and bookings email secretary@pmdfhs.org.au or phone 0475 132 804 or search for the family history society website.

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