Monday, April 30, 2012

Motivation Monday - Goals for May 2012

Tomorrow is the first day of May so I thought I would make today, the last day of April, my Motivation Monday (even though it is not technically the first Monday of the month!).

My goals for April 2012 were:
  1. Continue organising my bookshelves on Google Books. At the time of posting, I have 150 books saved in the 'Favorites' bookshelf. During April I will aim to reduce that number to 0. (Achieved. I have now sorted through all the books I had saved to my Google Books bookshelves.) 
  2. Organise all the items I have previously saved to my 'Shoebox' on Ancestry. At the time of posting I have 763 items saved. I aim to reduce that number to at least 700 during April. (Achieved. I now have 460 items saved to my 'Shoebox' on Ancestry) 
  3. Continue reading Photoshop Elements 10 All-in-One For Dummies. At the moment I am up to page 286, I will aim to read up to page 340 by the end of April. (Achieved, I have now read up to page 352). 
  4. Actually make a start on my new Legacy file, beginning with myself and working backwards methodically, recording all sources, attaching relevant source documents and attaching photographs. During April, I aim to do this for just my immediate family. (Not yet achieved, hopefully in May!) 
  5. Move a few more genealogy files from my 'To Sort' folder into relevant surname folders on my computer hard drive. (Achieved. My 'To Sort' genealogy folder contained 27,005 Files, 2,711 Folders, 48.6 GB of data. Most of this space was taken up with duplicate files I already had saved in my Genealogy folder. I used Duplicate Cleaner 2.1 to find and delete duplicates. My 'To Sort' genealogy folder currently contains 216 Files, 32 Folders, 283 MB of data.) 
  6. Move a few more photographs from my 'To Sort' folder into folders for the relevant year and month. (Achieved, though I still have a lot to do. Currently my 'To Sort' photographs folder contains 4,232 Files, 231 Folders, 10.8 GB of data. My 'Scans To Sort' folder currently contains 16,412 Files, 435 Folders, 53.3 GB of data.) 
  7. Participate in blogging prompts when able (52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, 21st Century Organized Family Historian and Beyond the Internet) (I did not manage to participate in these blogging prompts during April.)
My goals for May 2012 are:
  1. Organise all the items I have previously saved to my 'Shoebox' on Ancestry. At the time of posting I have 460 items saved. I aim to reduce that number to at least 300 during May. 
  2. Continue reading Photoshop Elements 10 All-in-One For Dummies. At the moment I am up to page 352, I will aim to read up to at least page 388 by the end of May. 
  3. Begin re-reading Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree by Megan Smolenyak and Ann Turner.
  4. Actually make a start on my new Legacy file, beginning with myself and working backwards methodically, recording all sources, attaching relevant source documents and attaching photographs. During April, I aim to do this for just my immediate family. 
  5. Move a few more genealogy files from my 'To Sort' folder into relevant surname folders on my computer hard drive. At the time of posting my 'To Sort' genealogy folder currently contains 216 Files, 32 Folders, 283 MB of data. I aim to reduce this number to 0 during May.
  6. Move a few more photographs from my 'To Sort' folder into folders for the relevant year and month. At the time of posting my 'To Sort' photographs folder contains 4,232 Files, 231 Folders, 10.8 GB of data. My 'Scans To Sort' folder currently contains 16,412 Files, 435 Folders, 53.3 GB of data. During May I aim to reduce the number of files in my 'To Sort' photographs folder to at least 4,000.
  7. Post a Tech Tuesday post each week as part of my Galaxy Nexus Series
  8. Participate in blogging prompts when able (52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, 21st Century Organized Family Historian and Beyond the Internet)
Creative Commons License Australian Genealogy Journeys by Aillin O'Brien is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.comClip Art found through Icon Finder

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

ANZAC Day - Hubert Randall Chambers


Last year on ANZAC day I wrote a blog about three World War I soldiers from my family tree who gave their lives: George Brown Fullerton, Harold H. H. Chambers and Stanley Chambers.

This year I have decided to honour a soldier from my family tree who served in World War I and returned.
Hubert Randall (Bert) Chambers was the younger brother of my great grandmother Millicent Mary McCarthy (nee Chambers). Bert was the uncle of Harold and Stanley Chambers whom I mentioned in my ANZAC Day post last year.

Hubert was born 5 September 1888 at Avoca, Victoria, the second son and third child of George Chambers and his second wife Margaret (nee Randall).

Hubert (Bert) was a 27 year old draper living at Ballan, Victoria, when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 9 March 1916 in the 10th Field Company Engineers. His unit embarked from Melbourne on the Runic on 20 June 1916.

He studied an engineering course in England before he was sent to France.
Bert was wounded in action in France on 9 January 1917. He suffered a gun shot wound to his left wrist. Over the next six months, Bert spent time in hospital in England where operations were performed on his injured wrist. He also spent time with relatives in England while he was recuperating. On 23 June 1917 Bert was deemed unfit to return to general service in France due to his injury. In July 1917 he left England to return to Australia. He was discharged from service on 5 November 1917. 


It is sad to note that, on 28 March 1917, while Bert was recuperating from his injury in England, his mother, Margaret Chambers (nee Randall) died at Hawthorn, Victoria.

After his war service, Bert continued to live in Ballan where he was a storekeeper. He married Jessie Elizabeth Myers at Ballan in 1918. They had five children. 

Bert sent postcards to his family back in Australia while he was on service. I have yet to scan these postcards but when I do I will add them here to this tribute post.

Thank you Bert for your bravery and the bravery of all who gave their service for Australia. Lest we forget.

Hubert Randall Chambers on the AIF database
Hubert Randall Chambers' file at the National Archives of Australia.
Hubert Randall Chambers - First World War Embarkation Roll.



(Sources available on request)
Creative Commons License Australian Genealogy Journeys by Aillin O'Brien is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Expect the unexpected - Genetic genealogy journey - FamilyTreeDNA Y-DNA Test - Part 1

I have had a interest in the use the DNA for genealogy research for several years now, but had not pursued it due to the high cost and other uncertainties and reservations I had. I remember my interest was first sparked after reading an article about one man's successful use of DNA in his genealogy research in The Genealogist, the journal of the Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies. I think this was probably as long ago as 2003 or 2004. Since then I purchased and read Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree by Megan Smolenyak and Ann Turner.

I have always liked having my Irish surname - O'Brien - despite how common it is. And when you are an O'Brien you can speculate that your direct paternal line descends from Irish Kings like Brian Boru, because that sounds impressive...sort of. At the very least you can speculate that your paternal line in Ireland stretches back into the mists of time.

It was with some surprise that, several years ago, I discovered that my O'Brien's went by the name Breen back in Ireland (see my post Those Places Thursday - Aghadavoyle, County Armagh, Ireland - O'Brien/Breen). Other relatives also found this same information (the name Breen) when they visited Ireland. In Australia, all the siblings went by the name O'Brien. In Ireland their brother and sister and parents called themselves Breen. Why? Were we actually O'Briens? Were we descended from Brian Boru? Or were we part of another old Irish family - the Byrne clan perhaps?

I thought for a while that a Y-DNA test for my Dad could solve these mysteries for me. It wasn't until FamilyTreeDNA had a sale at the beginning of this year that I decided to take the first step and order a Y-DNA37 test for my Dad while it was $50 less than the usual price.

The test kit arrived in the mail in January, but we had to put it aside for a while. In March, Dad did the cheek swab and we sent the kit back to FamilyTreeDNA.

Three days ago I received an email from FamilyTreeDNA telling me that the results for the first 12 markers had been posted. Great! The predicted haplotype was one very common in Western Europe. At 12 markers Dad had 2800 exact matches!

Yesterday I received another email from FamilyTreeDNA which told me that the results for 25 markers had been posted. "Oh good", I thought, "that will narrow down the number of matches".

Yes, it certainly narrowed it down. At 25 markers Dad had 0 exact matches. He did, however, have 107 matches at 25 markers when I included results with the genetic distance of 1. One of the resulting matches appears to make sense - Irish, similar name, similar region of origin in Ireland. The other matches? Not quite what I was expecting. I await the results of the 37 marker test with interest.

So far my first journey into genetic genealogy has been interesting, but it has raised more questions than it has given answers. More on this later. 


If your paternal Y-DNA line has a surname like Breen or O'Brien or similar variations, and your earliest ancestor on that line originated in Ireland in counties Armagh, Louth and/or surrounding counties, please consider a Y-DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA (and please also comment on this blog post, I'd love to hear from you). The more descendants of these families take tests the more accurate and useful the results will be for all genealogists. Thanks. 

Some useful articles and blogs I have read this week:


Creative Commons License Australian Genealogy Journeys by Aillin O'Brien is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com. I am in no way affiliated with any companies. Clipart from Open Clip Art Library.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Second Blogiversary - Observations and Reflections

On Wedneday 21 April 2010, I created by first post on this blog. Last year on my first blogiversary, I wrote a post with my observations and reflections from my first year of blogging. This year I have decided to do something similar. 

What have I achieved on this blog in the past year? 
  • My Looking Back at 2011 post in December gave a summary of my blogging during 2011. I have had a few breaks from blogging over the past year due to other commitments outside of genealogy and blogging. I would like to have posted more on this blog, but I am happy with what I was able to achieve. So far during the first months of 2012 my blog has been a little quiet but I have posted a few Motivation Monday and Tech Tuesday posts.
What have I liked about my second year of blogging?
What have I disliked about my second year of blogging?
  • I have read a few articles recently about blogging including Michael Hyatt's blog post Do You Make These Ten Mistakes When You Blog? I think I am guilty of a few of those mistakes, particularly #1 You Don't Post Enough and #5 You Don't Participate in the Conversation. 
  • Regarding mistake #1, over the past year I have had some good reasons for being away from blogging so I won't be too hard on myself. I am, however, going to repeat what I said on my first blogiversary as I believe it still applies:
    I dislike the fact that I have not posted on my blog as much as I would like, particularly the fact that I haven't posted much about the stories of my ancestors. I would like to post a lot more and share a lot more of the interesting stories from my family history. I think my main hurdle has been the fact I have felt so disorganised.

    I am slowly trying to overcome this disorganisation and I am finding my monthly Motivation Monday posts a great incentive to keep going and to keep clipping away at the more mundane tasks. 
  • With regards to mistake #5, I have sometimes not replied to comments on my blog in a timely manner and I apologise for this. I hope to do better in my third year of blogging.
What do I hope to do differently during my third year of blogging?
  • I hope to reply to comments on my blog in a much more timely manner and also to comment more often on other blogs.
  • I hope to continue with my monthly Motivation Monday posts so I can slowly but surely progress through my Goals for 2012
  • I hope to blog a few times about my new journey into the world of genetic genealogy.
  • I hope to continue with my Tech Tuesday posts as these motivate me to learn about the many uses for the tech gadgets I have. I hope my posts they might be useful to others as well. 
  • When I eventually feel a little less overwhelmed by all the computer files I have to sort and the various documents I need to scan and photograph, I will finally start to put some of my collected data together into interesting stories to share with other relatives and genealogists via this blog (and also via the family history book I am supposed to write - I'm sure many Fullerton relatives are wondering what happened to that promised book! It's still on its way, I promise)
I'm looking forward to another year of blogging. Thank you very much to everyone who regularly follows my blog and to the people who stumble across it via a keyword searches.
Creative Commons License Australian Genealogy Journeys by Aillin O'Brien is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tech Tuesday - Apps and Permissions - Galaxy Nexus Series - Part 3

Back in March I posted the first two installments in a series of Tech Tuesday posts about the use of a Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone in my genealogy research. In Part 1, I gave a summary of my initial impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. In Part 2, I gave a list of some of the apps I was trying out and said a series of app reviews would follow. 


I have taken a little longer than anticipated to create these review posts. Initially this was because I was facing a small issue with downloading app updates from the Google Play store. The Help team at Google Play were very prompt in replying to my queries and their assistance was greatly appreciated. 
I did a factory reset and re-installed all the apps I had previously installed. However, the update issue continued. I decided to try another factory reset, but I did not re-install all the apps I had previously installed. The update issues ceased. I can't say to certain whether or not one of the apps I had previously installed was to blame for the trouble, but I suspect the trouble may have been caused by a live wallpaper app. My brother, who also has an Android smartphone, says he has also had troubles with live wallpapers. So from now on my Galaxy Nexus will be a little plainer and simpler, no more fancy moving wallpapers of gardens!


The second reason I have taken a little longer to create my app review posts is that I have decided to give myself a little longer to explore the apps. 


Apps and Permissions
One issue I would like discuss in this Tech Tuesday post is app permissions.  
Example: Screenshot showing
the permissions for the
BillionGraves Camera app
on the Galaxy Nexus.
Firstly, when searching for apps I would recommend you make sure you have your content filtering set appropriately to ensure you don't receive unwanted and rubbish results. I have mine set to 'Everyone' and 'Low Maturity', which includes all the apps I am interested in using. Using content filtering at this level would result in finding apps which 'may collect user location data for the purpose of providing location specific information or otherwise improving the user experience, but should not share the data with other users' (Source: Application Content Ratings on Google Play for Developers). 


I was recently reviewing the permissions for all the apps I had installed and was interested to see that a dictionary app required my exact GPS location (note: the permissions for the app appear to only ask for a coarse (network-based) location now, so there must have been an update). The app was using my exact GPS location in a 'nearby' feature which reported my exact location to other app users. It did not give my name or other identifying information, but it pinpointed my exact location. I wasn't really interested in whether someone in the house at lot number 10, on Some Street in Sometown was looking up the word 'Something'. The feature doesn't really seem to have any purpose. There appeared to be no way to opt out of the 'nearby' feature either. It appears that the permissions for this app have changed slightly though. I use it here as an example though. Another example is the Adobe Photoshop Express app, why does it require access to my contact data?


Before you download an app, even one with a well known name, you should look at the permissions it requires and ask why the app would require those permissions and what it would use the permissions for. I have found most apps have useful and explainable reasons for requiring the permissions they require. But if something just doesn't seem to fit (such as a dictionary app requiring exact GPS coordinates) you should be cautious and search for further information. 

Creative Commons License Australian Genealogy Journeys by Aillin O'Brien is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Motivation Monday - Goals for April 2012

My goals for March 2012 were as follows: 

  1. Save snapshots (using the Evernote Web Clipper for Google Chrome) of the remaining messages in the 'Sent' folder on Ancestry.com.au. (Achieved) 
  2. Participate in blogging prompts when able (52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, 21st Century Organized Family Historian and Beyond the Internet). (Did not manage to participate in these blogging prompts during March) 
  3. Actually make a start on my new Legacy file, beginning with myself and working backwards methodically, recording all sources, attaching relevant source documents and attaching photographs. During March, I aim to do this for just my immediate family. (One for April goals I think) 
  4. Continue organising my bookshelves on Google Books. At the time of posting, I have 300 books saved in the 'Favorites' bookshelf. During March I will aim to reduce that number to at least 280. (Achieved. I actually managed to reduce the number of books on my 'Favorites' bookshelf to 150) 
  5. Continue reading Photoshop Elements 10 All-in-One For Dummies. At the moment I am up to page 186, I will aim to read up to page 215 by the end of March. (Achieved. I actually managed to read up to page 286)
My goals for April 2012 are:
  1. Continue organising my bookshelves on Google Books. At the time of posting, I have 150 books saved in the 'Favorites' bookshelf. During April I will aim to reduce that number to 0.
  2. Organise all the items I have previously saved to my 'Shoebox' on Ancestry. At the time of posting I have 763 items saved. I aim to reduce that number to at least 700 during April. 
  3. Continue reading Photoshop Elements 10 All-in-One For Dummies. At the moment I am up to page 286, I will aim to read up to page 340 by the end of April. 
  4. Actually make a start on my new Legacy file, beginning with myself and working backwards methodically, recording all sources, attaching relevant source documents and attaching photographs. During April, I aim to do this for just my immediate family. 
  5. Move a few more genealogy files from my 'To Sort' folder into relevant surname folders on my hard drive. 
  6. Move a few more photographs from my 'To Sort' folder into folders for the relevant year and month.
  7. Participate in blogging prompts when able (52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, 21st Century Organized Family Historian and Beyond the Internet

Creative Commons License Australian Genealogy Journeys by Aillin O'Brien is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com. Clip Art found through Icon Finder
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