NSW & ACT Family History Association Annual Conference

Cowpastures and Beyond…

I’m sitting in my hotel room about to head off for the final day Annual NSW Conference which is being jointly hosted by the Picton and Camden Family History Societies this year.

I’ve really enjoyed the past couple of days.  The first day was Fair Day and opened to the public with talks being scheduled mainly aimed at beginners so I spent most of the day visiting the exhibition stands (and spending far too much money) on secondhand books!

One of the books I bought was titled Marrickville, People and Places by Chris Meader, Richard Cashman & Anne Carolan and it was a book about the social history of Marrickville and the surround suburbs of Newtown, Camperdown, Petersham, Stanmore, St Peters, Tempe & Dulwich Hill.  It is a particular area of interest as at one stage both my Kenyon and Lachmund families resided in Marrickville and Newtown.  My Rogers family also resided in Newtown from the 1930s to 1950s.  The book was printed in 1994 and had a lot of fantastic photos of the areas as well as memories and interviews of residents past and present.

I was quite excited a few pages in to read an account from Mrs Violet Williams who lived in Edinburgh Street.  Not only did she live in the same street as my paternal Grandmother, June Kenyon but her son William Williams was my Grandmother’s first husband!  It gave me a great insight into my Grandmother’s street at the time she lived there by someone that would have known her quite well.

Yesterday the talks were on a variety of topics.  Heather Garnsey started the day off with a fantastic talk on the hidden gems of the Society of Australian Genealogist’s collection.  She is a fantastic speaker and had the whole audience enthralled as she used a diary found in the collection to weave a tale of local figure.

I also got a lot out of the talks from Gail Davis from NSW State Records who talked about finding missing children in the records which was particularly of interest to me.  I am on a mission to find what happened to my Great Grandmother, Florence Elms (1884-1972) and her two sisters Emily (1887-) and Emily (1889-) when their parents Robert Elms (1859-1908) and Frances Elms (nee Stevens) (1863-1916) were institutionalised.  I’m actually off to State Records tomorrow and I have a couple of records to look at for people I believe are Lily and Emily but one’s a divorce record and one’s a deceased estate so even they’re my records, they may not provide evidence on what became of the girls in their childhood.

Dr Lisa Murray presented an interesting talk on The Dictionary of Sydney (www.dictionaryofsydney.org).  I found it will probably be particularly useful from a Social history perspective.  It has a lot of information on the suburbs in the Sydney basin right out to the Blue Mountains and also has great archival images attached plus audio and video files.  I will need to review their site and I downloaded their app so when I have some time this week, I’ll spend some time having a bit of a play.

The next conference will be held in Orange, NSW so something to put on my calendar for this time next year.



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