New Discovery

While I have been continueing to merge my mixed upPaf files I often come across interesting connections between my wifes family and my own.  This time however I came across a connection in my own family.  It turns out that members of two branches of my family joined the australian navy and served on the same ship, in different capacities. One was a commissioned officer and the other was a non-commssioned officer. I present  Petty Officer William Reginald Devine Smith

William Reginald Devine Smith  Born on 9th Aug 1916. Joined the navy in 1934. He served on the HMAS Sydney and was promoted from Leading Seaman to Petty officer in July 1941.  He was among the 645 crew who were lost when the HMAS Sydney was sunk by the german cruiser Kormoran off the coast of Western Australia on 20th November 1941.

  (Photo credit :- National Archives of Australia)


Military forebears

Considering that it is Anzac Day here. I thought that I would post a few photo’s of military forebears. The earliest one I have is from the Crimean War I believe right up to WW2. Some were in the Army others in the Airforce, but mostly they served in the Navy.

Wingfield - Wheeler weddingArthur Mervin Belbin-03BertyStoneonCanberraWillBurnettCpt.JoeBurnettRANRex in Belgium- Sept-Oct 1945

Website Review –

If you have English ancestors, then this is an ideal site for you to use. I have been a member of this site for a number of years now and I have found it a great help for both mine & my wife’s genealogy/ family history.  And over the years I have watched it grow and develop in both size and features.


While this website has many of the features you would expect from a family history website. One of the features that I find very useful is the Hot Match feature. When you upload or input your family tree into the site it matches the information with other trees on the site and gives you a list of those that match the closest with your information so that you can contact the tree owner and check the information.

Another thing I like about it is the subscription costs. They have 3 levels of subscription, free, standard member and Platinum member.  In both standard and platinum subscriptions you can either get a 6 or 12 month membership, and in platinum you can also get a monthly payment plan. It goes with out saying that the longer the membership you take out the cheaper it costs. Below is a chart that gives an idea of what you get for standard & platinum membership.  With platinum you also get access to military records from WW1 & WW2

Membership    Features Platinum Standard
View trees of   over 13 million Genes Reunited members  •
Contact members   who share your ancestors to discover your family history  •  •
Join the Genes   Reunited community to ask for genealogy tips and advice  •  •
Victorian   Census Records from 1841-1901 (England, Wales and Scotland)  •
Birth Marriage   and Deaths from 1837-2004 (England and Wales)  •
The complete   1911 census for England and Wales – See your ancestor’s own handwriting!  •
Non indexed   Birth and Marriage records from 1837-1983 (England and Wales)  •
50 free   credits to access all of our records  •

(from Genesreunitied subscription page)

They also have a pay as you go feature which enables you to purchase credits to veiw their records (50-200 credits) but give you no access to member’s trees or forums.

In the last 12 months they have added 2 new features to the site.  These are Keepsafe:- a place to save photo’s and other documents.  I have not used this myself as yet but I can see the benefits of it.  I wish they had had it a few years ago. As I would still have copies of some photo’s that I had on my hard drive of my computer that were lost due to hard drive crashes & computer viruses.

One in particular is really missed.  A cousin of my wife had sent us a digital copy of a photo via email, of my wifes great grandfather who had served in the british airforce during WW1, standing in front of a Botha bomber which he and others had built on the base during the war.  We have since tried to get another copy of this photo but without success.

Relatives:-  In this section of the site you have a place where you can store   information on family and other relatives and also attach the information to your relative in your family tree on the site.

Recently they have also added Scottish cencus records.  The records are from 1841 – 1901. From Genesreunited news page we have this:-

“If you are a Platinum member then you get unlimited access to the Scottish records as part of your subscription. If you use pay-per-view credits they are just 5 credits each view. We have both individual and household transcriptions. We do not have copies of actual census images.”


The one big disadvantage I see with this website is that it is only for those who have English ancestors.  But having said that they do a great job and I think that while they may have considered broadening their database to include European records, their main focus is on English ancestry.  And the records that are available for family history/genealogy.


In conclusion I will state as I did at the beginning this is an excellent site for those of us who have English, Scottish & Irish ancestry.  It is in my opinion reasonably priced and offers a lot of benefits for the family historian, both in researching and the preservation of our family history. As you will see from the discoveries I made while researching  for this reveiw They are very committed to family history, and I plan on reviewng a few more of their sites in the near future.

Research Discoveries

In my research for this review I found that  is owned and operated by Brightsolid Online Publishing.  To visit their homepage click here ( ).   If you look on Brightsolid’s homepage they state that their gaol is essentially to preserve both family history information and general history.  Brightsolid is in turn owned by DC Thomson publishers.

Brightsolid also operate the following websites:- ; ;; ; ; ; Brightsolid also hosts the site

Almost here

the first Website review is almost ready. Sorry it has taken so long. Thing have been upsy daisy here and I have had a few personal issues that I am trying to resolve. But hopefully things will be back on track as the year progresses.

Thank you all for your patience.

Happy New Year

Wishing all my readers the best for the coming new year. I wish you success in finding yor ancestors and in resolving all those interesting puzzles we find when we search for our ancestors.
The Website review is coming, just slightly delayed because of other commitments.

Networks – An Essential Tool of Family Historians

Networks! What do networks have to do with family history you ask? Well everything! Without networks we would not be able to find out a lot about our ancestors, if we were able to find them in the first place.  So the process of networking is an essential tool in our search for our ancestors.

It goes without saying that you are not the only one researching your family lines. After all, your ancestor had more than one child, so there will be others who are researching the same lines as you are. These others will have more or less information than you may have on the ancestor that you are looking for. As you connect with these others, or network with them, and share information, both sides will benefit.

As we search for our ancestors we will form several different types of networks.  Over the years I have been able to identify at least 3 different types of networks that we will form or use in our search for our ancestors. I would like to discuss them here and share what I feel are the benefits of each one.

The Family Network

The first of the networks you will develop is that of the Family network.  Which is your family, consisting of, parents, siblings, cousins; aunts & uncles, there may also be more distant relatives that you will come in contact with over time.  The benefit of this network is mainly

the availability of information.  And it is a static network so to speak, rarely changing except in the case of death of a family member.

Here you have at your fingertips, so to speak, information sources that are easily accessed.  Also often you will find it easy to organise our family to search various branches of your family tree, so that more information is gathered in a relativity short period of time.  And because it is your family, you will find it a lot easier to share information and learn from each other different methods of finding information.

Family network

Another aspect of the family network that I like is the fact that with your relatives you can not only share information easily but in order to preserve information you can get one or more to keep a backup of your files in case you lose the information that you have on your own hard drive.

The Research Network

This network is an interesting one as it is not a static network, like the family network, but it is a dynamic network, constantly changing, according to your research needs.

Throughout your life as you research your family lines your sources of information will go through a lot of changes. Some sources you will keep and others you will either discard because you no longer need them or they may not have the information you either want or need. Hence it being a dynamic network as it is in a constant state of flux, according to both your needs and available sources of information.

Your research network will contain both physical and logical sources of information, such as libraries, state and federal archives, family history and historical societies and also on the internet.

Examples of a research network would be Family History libraries, local or national libraries, city or local council archives, (both physical repositories and internet sites), state and or federal archives, local historical societies, State & federal government departments, (birth, death & marriage registries, land councils, electoral commission etc).  Also there would be internet websites such as ; ; etc

The Other Network

Unlike the 2 previous networks this one is a combination of both the family network and the research networks.  In that it will contain both static and dynamic elements. By that I mean you will have both people and organisations and or internet sites you may use regularly but infrequently, (may be considered static in nature), and then you will have others that you may use very rarely, (may consider these sources as Dynamic in nature), because they contain information of a specialised nature. E.g. geographic information, information on  obscure or obsolete occupations etc.

In this network also you will have people you come in contact with in the course of your research.  These will be people who may have specific information on the individual or family that you may be researching at the time. You may meet them on the internet, they may have come across your tree or family information on a website you are both using, or you may have met them at a physical repository that you are both using to trace the same family or individual at the time.

So there you have it, 3 different types of networks that we use in our work as family historians.  While I have been working on this article it occurred to me that networks or networking occur in every aspect of our lives.  But it is what we do with those networks or networking opportunities that make all the difference in how well we do our work, or live our lives.

It must be pointed out also that in networks, the transfer of information is not just a one way street, but information moves in both directions.  Sometimes the greater transfer of information may be in one direction, but there is still information going back the other way. Either to confirm the correctness of the information gained and or showing gratitude for the information gained from a source.  In other instances there may be swap of information.  As in the case of one of your sources may have a location or information on where possible information on an ancestor may be found, and a request made as to inform as to whether the information given was of benefit and as to what was gained from that source.

I started this article by saying that Networks or networking are an essential tool for us as family historians, without it we cannot go far in our research.  It is the same with everything we do.  Without these networks we would be just genealogists looking at dates, where as family historians we get to know our ancestors and a bit about their lives, which in turn give us a better understanding of ourselves.  And the why we are the way we are, both as individuals and as a family.