Saturday, 4 April 2015

What a week I've had!

What a week!! My first ever Congress is over, and I loved every minute of it. HAGSOC did the most amazing job in organising such a gathering. I met lots of people who I only knew online, as well as many more that I met at random places like the lunch tables. Everyone was polite, chatty, and happy to be there. It was great to be in a place where we all share the same level of addiction to the same pastime. The speakers were all fantastic, & I was lucky enough to get a place in a couple of the additional lunchtime sessions. I figured that if I was there anyway I may as well cram it all in!

On the Thursday was the Librarian's Seminar, where we listened to 6 speakers at the National Library of Australia. At lunchtime we had a tour around the place, although we were a couple of months too early to see their new addition of a modern Newspaper & Family History Room. The ceiling on the way into the current Reading Room was build to look like the cards in an old-school card catalogue. The photo doesn't do it justice. Another photo is of the tube thingys (a very technical term) where the librarian used to take a request slip & send it via the right tube to the corresponding area in the stack where the book was located. Books are now collected by Charlie, ready for delivery to the Reading Room. And the last photo from the day is of one of the gorgeous wicker baskets that the library used to use on the trains to send inter-library loans to remote areas. This basket has "Braille Books" written on it, which goes to show the diversity of their collections, and the different needs people have all over Australia.

An inverted card catalogue sculpture as ceiling art

Tubes for request slip delivery

Wicker baskets used on the railways

Over the 4 days of Congress I went to 27 presentations, then on Tuesday I had a day at the State Library of NSW for work, where I listened to another 7 presentations. By Tuesday afternoon my head was spinning!

On the Sunday night there was a dinner at Jamie's Italian Restaurant with some fellow University of Tasmania students from the Introduction to Family History subject, and our fearless leader, Dr Dianne Snowden. We all had a wonderful time chatting about the course and our passion for genealogy, and our meals were delicious.

On the last day I was very excited to win 4th prize in one of the raffles, a $100 voucher to Gen-ebooks through Gould Genealogy, which was exactly the prize I would've chosen for myself anyway! I wasted no time and had no problem choosing some ebooks, such as gazettes and directories. Thanks Gould!!

I got home to a message that a university historian has been writing a book about businesswomen in Sydney's early days, and my ancestor, Esther Salamon SPENCER, is to be featured. What a thrill! More on that when the book is published in a few months.

The next Congress will be in Sydney in 2018 and hosted by the Society of Australian Genealogists, sometimes known as the "Society of Geologists", or my favourite, the "Society of Gynaecologists", as Martyn Killion (in disguise) said in his acceptance speech on behalf of the SAG. His speech had me in tears laughing. It bodes well for 2018. Hope to see you there!!