Thursday, October 25, 2012

Expert Q&A :: What's new at

This week we talked about what's new at with Brad Argent. Thanks again to Brad for sharing his knowledge and for agreeing to visit us again for another Facebook Expert Q&A on Thursday, 20th December. Please find the transcript of the Q&A and links.

Don't forget our Expert Q&As happen every Thursday night on the Inside History Magazine facebook page.

When: NSW - ACT - VIC - TAS: 8:30-9:30pm AEDT | QLD: 7:30-8:30pm | WA: 5:30-6:30pm | NT: 7:00-8:00pm | SA: 8:00-9:00pm

Brad Argent is content director at Australia’s leading family history website, with more than 10 billion searchable records in its Australian, NZ, UK, Europe and US collections.

Top tips from Brad Argent:
  1. Make the most of wildcard searching; use an * and three letters either side or replace a single character with a ?
  2. Think outside the box you live in; if you keep getting a hint or search result that suggests your ancestor was in another country – check it out to rule it out.
  3. Use other people’s trees with caution – their research might not be as thorough as yours. Think of them as signposts on a journey – they point you in a direction but they shouldn’t stop you going there yourself to check it out.
  4. If you get stuck use the customer service line - 1800 251 838 – you pay for it so make the most of it!
Summary of links from:


Transcript of Expert Q&A - how to get the best from

Our Expert Q&A with Brad Argent, from starts at 8:30pm AEDT. Tonight we’ll be discussing what's new at and how to get the best from it.

Comment: IHM: Reminder: Keep refreshing your browser to see the answers & questions as they appear. Welcome everyone, thanks for joining us tonight. Brad is here to answer your questions on all things Welcome Brad!

Q. Hi Brad, we were wondering what's your favourite story from the new NSW Police Gazettes 1854-1930 collection?
A. Brad: Hi everyone! As for the Police Gazettes there are so many great stories – every page is full of stuff. When we were testing the collection I asked one of the guys in the office to give me the names of their ancestors to check. First cab off the rank and – jackpot. This colleague’s ancestor was arrested for doing something rather ‘unsavoury’. I won’t go into details but it was something of a surprise– they’re saving the story for the Christmas dinner table. Needless to say it’s riddled with my ancestors, but then I already knew who the dodgy ones were.
A. Leonie: Hi Brad, just dropped in to say "Hi"!
A. Brad: Hi Leonie :-)
Q (b). Chez: Hi Brad...<3 that the police gazettes came on line today...did a precursory search this morning and will be going back to really look later tonight - what advice can you give as to the best way to search this new resource
A. Brad: Hi Chez, This collection was indexed by the community and they recorded names dates ages (if given) locations and 'type' of mention. If you see your ancestor come up in a search with Theft next to their name it only records the age (estimated) of the perpetrator - everyone else listed is usually a victim. BTW Chez, these records make great browsing material.
A. Kerry: Just a quick hello from me too Brad - unfortunately i have to be somewhere else shortly. I was thrilled to find a couple of records where a direct ancestor was being sought, for the physical descriptions included. Also interesting was to find my g.grandfather's shop was robbed, for the list of items taken & values.
A. Christine: OMG I knew of one theft my GGGrandfather did but I have just had a look and he has a long history with the police haha
A. Brad: Hi Kerry. Thanks for the feedback.
A. Seonaid: Just a quick hi from me too Brad. Am off to bed, nearly 11pm here. Our favourite database is the Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, Pub Blacklist, 1903-1906 - a really quirky one with photos we like to look at.
A. Brad: I love that one Seonaid!
A. Seonaid: Anyway, Keep up the good work, love the new data coming through! Good night all.
A. Beverly: Hi Brad, love your work and Can't wait to go for a search in the Police Gazettes as I'm sure there's a few of mine in there.
A. Brad: Hi Beverly, with over 1.5 million people listed in the Gazettes I'm sure you'll find someone - even if they were just a victim. I always find it interesting to see what was stolen and what it was worth - who'd have thought that it was worth going to the police over a stolen bucket ?

Q. Hi Brad, after the success of the Police Gazettes project, what's your next crowdsourcing project for the World Archives Project
A. Brad: As for the next crowd-sourcing project well there’s always a heap of projects on offer. I’ve got two really big ones coming up for Australia – Fairfax Public Notices (18?? – 2009) and Col Sec Papers (1826 -1856). Lookout for these in the first half of 2013.
A. IHM: Here's the link to the World Archives Project for everyone ::

Comment - tip: Wendy: My tip of the day to Ancestry users is , before you save a 'document' to your tree , save it to your hard-drive !! My sub has run out so I have Trees full of census , bmd reg , shipping records , etc that I can't access .... very annoyed with myself.
A. Brad: Good tip Wendy. Online trees are for sharing - not storage!
A. Kerry: My tip to Ancestry users is to follow up when Ancestry advises you that someone else has saved or downloaded a record about your direct ancestor. I followed up one such recently & found a new 3rd cousin, with info solving one of my puzzles.

Q. Pam: Hi, I looked up the Londonderry Journal but cant read it, I know my ancestors appeared in another early Londonderry paper, can I print it out?
A. Brad: Hi Pam, You should be able to print out any records you find on the site but remember the resolution will only be as good as the source. As the Newspaper comes from microfilm the images can, at times, be hard to read. If you’re having trouble you can call Customer Services on 1800 251 838.
A. IHM: Here's the link to the How To YouTube videos as well ::
Q (b). Chez: Brad talking about printing , sometimes when printing the document is hard to adjust size wise....suggestions? Even if saved to the computer if enlarged, with some images pixelate when enlarged to read on the computer
A. Brad: Hi Chez, There's so many variable when it comes to printing. I usually download the image and then print it, rather than printing from the screen as it gives me more control. Give the Customer Service team a call next time you get stuck and they can talk you through your specific issue (1800 251 838).
A. Chez: Thanks the trouble actually occurs after downloading and trying to print!
A. Brad: Sounds odd, Chez. Give the Customer Service people a ring and see if they can fix it...

Q. Pam: I wrote to ancestry once and told you your Griffiths valuations are not complete for Tyrone, and I dont believe it was fixed
A. Brad: Hi Pam, with 10 Billion records maintenance takes a little time. I'll have to check back with the team in the US to see where we are at with that particular update. As always if you see an issue please let us know.

Q. Andrew: Hi Brad, is there any new WA content coming on soon that you can hint about!?
A. Brad: Hi Andrew - we're working on the Perth Rate Books. Might take a while but will be an fantastic asset once it's up and running.
A. Andrew: Thanks Brad! Myself and the Carnamah Historical Society & Museum will be looking forward to that addition.
Q (b). Hi Brad, that sounds exciting about WA. We get lots of questions about Tasmanian content, can you hint about any future projects from the apple isle?
A. Brad: I'd love to do some more stuff from Tassie - indexing their fantastic collection of colour convict records for a start. It's definitely on my list.
A. IHM: Here's a link to the Tasmanian Archives Convict Index
A. Wendy: Another really interesting site for Tas Convict info is this project , they have combined all their records so you can find info like family members ....

Q. Hi Brad, we've had a question from twitter. Q. Any advice for checking the accuracy of data on personal family trees?
A. Brad: Great question. With Trees multiplying at a terrifying pace one is best served by treating them with caution. Any online family tree (Ancestry or anywhere) one should always check to see that the data is sourced and then CHECK THE SOURCE. Online trees are a great way of finding stuff out but they are not substitute for doing your own research. Think of them like a map that guides you to a destination, but you still have to do the travelling.

Q. Andrew: Hi again Brad, another question! Are there plans to index digitised records that are presently un-indexed?
A. Brad: Hi Andrew, which records in particular?
A. Andrew: For example, only some years of the Australian Electoral Rolls are name indexed.
A. Brad:  Funny you should ask that Andrew... :-) That project is underway right now.
A. Andrew: That's exciting! It will be amazingly useful to more closely track the movements of people. Any additional years being added!?
A. Brad: Not yet Andrew. 

Q. Hi Brad, we know that the Irish love a good craic, what's your favourite story from the 30 new Irish newspapers [1763-1890] just added to Ancestry ::
A. Brad: I came across an interesting wedding notice. The bride was 16. The groom, 92 was carried into the service in a chair. Can’t be sure if it was a real notice or just…Irish…
A. IHM: lol, leave them laughing we say :) Thanks again Brad for joining us tonight and giving us your tips and hints about the future!
A. Brad: Always a pleasure.
A. Andrew: Thank you Brad, and Inside History Magazine! Will be keenly following new additions :)
A. IHM: We’ll publish the questions, answers and links from tonight’s session in a blog post this coming week. Visit for a free 14 day trial or share your stories and ask your questions on Brad will be back in December for another Q&A.

Next Week: Who's joining us for next Thursday's Expert Q&A? Lisa Murray from the City of Sydney & the Dictionary of Sydney. Find out how to research cemeteries in Sydney & NSW. Dr Lisa Murray is the City Historian for the City of Sydney & is currently the Chair of the Dictionary of Sydney.


Read the previous Expert Q&A transcripts:
[1]  Thursday, July 26 :: How to get the best from Trove Australia
[2]  Thursday, August 16 :: How to get the best from BDM Certificates
[3]  Thursday, August 23 :: Getting the most from NAA
[4]  Thursday, August 30 :: Interpreting photographs for family history
[5]  Thursday, September 6 :: How to get the best from
[6]  Thursday, September 13 :: Using Trove for research
[7]  Thursday, September 20 :: Today's toolkit for the digital historian
[8]  Thursday, September 27 :: Preserving your artefacts with NAA
[9]  Thursday, October 4 :: Studying and doing research at UNE
[10] Thursday, October 11 :: How to research war graves and Anzac ancestors
[11] Thursday, October 25 :: What's new at
[12] Thursday, November 1 :: How to research cemeteries in Sydney & NSW
[13] Thursday, Nov 8 :: Australian War Memorial - Lost Diggers
[14] Thursday, Nov 15 :: Getting even more from Trove
[15] Thursday, Nov 22 :: Getting the most from findmypast AU & NZ
[16] Thursday, Nov 29 :: Using NAA defence records
[19] Thursday, Dec 20 :: What's new at

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