Now I really need your help!

Really really sadRemember when I said the Geelong and District web site and database really needed your help?

In early January, 25 years of work was wiped off the web by ‘Company F’ – the web site and database at www.zades.com.au was removed.

You were just wonderful with your responses.

So now it’s time to move from really really sad to getting close to happy.

If the number of people who responded last time offering assistance come to the party again, we’ll be making real progress.  I can’t do it without financial help so I’ve set up a crowd-funding project where you can contribute.

With the input from a wonderful ‘knight in shining armour’, he has PROVEN that we can get the web site and database back up and running.  So this isn’t ‘Pie in the sky’ or fantasy time – this is REAL.

BUT, it really needs some funding to make it happen – obviously the sooner the better!

From 7.30 am Wednesday 8th February, the funding project will be open … visit and pledge your support.

luvyouHelp turn that really really sad face into a smiling one – please help?

I really want other local and family history researchers to again have free access to more than 1.7 million entries in my database!

It’s not just me that you will be helping – over the years many other volunteers have contributed to the database – they deserve your support as well.

Any funds raised in excess of the target will kickstart Stage 2 of the overall project.

Geelong and District web site – need your help!

Really really sadThis is how I feel at the moment with 25 years of work wiped off the Internet through no fault of my own.

It could be worse – I have the complete database – more than 1.7 million records – on my desktop and backed up off site.  And I have a reasonably recent backup of the Joomla web site – I say reasonably because that’s when the problem started – back in March 2016.  The company that had been hosting my web site was bought out in 2015 by another company.  The current one I call Company F for the time being.  Since I started my database back in 1992 there has been a progression of companies – the first went bust, the second (B) bought out by (C) and so on until the current – Company F.

My current urgent requirement:

  • Recommendation of web hosting company for a Joomla web site (older version).
  • Transfer my Domain Name to the new web host.
  • Set up my Joomla web site complete with SQL database on the new web host.

My secondary requirement

  • Convert the old Joomla web site to the latest version.

I’m not expecting this for nothing but I will need to set up some crowd funding to pay for it.  And I can’t do that until I can get a realistic quote to do it!

I’ve sent out emails to some contacts who might know someone who might know someone who can help.

I’m waiting for Company F to return the USB to me – with a complete copy of my web site and database etc.

Why am I not still using Company F?  NO CHOICE!

  • After agreeing to become a Company F Customer – for supposedly less than I was being charged by Company E which they have now owned for almost 2 years – I had a Company F Customer Number.
  • After pulling the plug on the server I was on, they promised to have it all up and running in the middle of January.  DIDN’T HAPPEN.
  • After promising to send me an email confirming they had done this – DIDN’T HAPPEN.
  • Then Company F had the nerve to tell me I needed to find another web hosting company because this wasn’t their core business and they weren’t going to get my site up and running.
  • Then they had the nerve to send me an invoice – to be taken directly out of my account – for a LARGE amount of money – for hosting my site!

multicrysadThis is how I feel now and I really do need your help – find me the right person who can help!

And never trust companies, who buy out others, to tell the truth and honour any existing agreements!

The connection between Peter Cowden and Matthew Flinders


Peter Cowden
Peter Cowden was an esteemed member, guest speaker, researcher and past committee member of the Bellarine Historical Society.  Peter, who grew up at Portarlington where his father was a local policeman, was a keen writer who regularly contributed articles to the Bellarine Times – the Newsletter of the Bellarine Historical Society – often through talking to many about the district’s history (from the October edition of the Bellarine Times).

The Historical Society was not the only Community group that Peter was involved in.  The Bellarine Rail Trail was another passion which Peter fulfilled as an active member of the Friends of the Bellarine Rail Trail.

From the Friends of the Bellarine Rail Trail web site:

Peter joined our group in April 2006 and immediately involved himself in all our activities, including a stint as treasurer, whilst also specialising in publicising our environmental improvements to this very valuable community asset.  This encompassed writing newspaper articles, taking photographs that became a digital archive, developing and then presenting ‘Power-Point’ presentations along with guest speaking roles at various community clubs.  He also energetically managed our webpage – all these extra efforts taking place after he had attended our weekly working bees that have seen, since our inception in 2002, over 86,000 trees, shrubs, grasses etc. (including 50 different species) planted on the train between South Geelong and Drysdale, along with 34 reg-gum seats and 13 picnic tables built and installed.  A team effort, where the efforts of each individual are greatly appreciated.

I remember the last time I saw Peter – we were rostered on together one Sunday earlier this year to open the Museum at the Bellarine Historical Society.  Peter was there at opening time to check if I could manage on my own – he wasn’t feeling well but didn’t want to let me or the Society down.  That was the sort of man that Peter was.

Sadly Peter died on 29 July 2016 and is sorely missed by both societies as well as other community groups in which he participated – as well of course by his family.

Matthew Flinders R.N.So what is Peter’s connection with Matthew Flinders?  Peter was a passionate historian and was determined to make people aware of the importance of Matthew Flinders – in particular his visit to Port Phillip Bay in 1802.  Anne, Peter’s widow, has given her blessing for the Bellarine Historical Society to continue with Peter’s Matthew Flinders project.

Peter could not believe that ‘locals’ knew so little about Matthew Flinders and his visit to our region.  Hopefully a series of blogs might help progress Peter’s project to make people ‘aware’.

So let’s start with a simple poll in which you can participate – do you know the answer for the fourth one?

History Week – did you know?

2000 - close finish.  Image source: downunder exposuresEven a lot of Ocean Grove people don’t know this part of our history!  It was unique in Australia and therefore unique in Victoria AND our region – the Ocean Grove Races featuring the Ocean Grove Cup.

As the photo shows – it was a close thing at the finish line with the horses – it was also a close call to see if they finished the race before the tide came in much further.

Read ALL about the famous Ocean Grove Races as well as seeing all the of race books – fully digitised and available for download.

RootsWeb alternative for Geelong and District

Red British post boxI know many of you will be frustrated with the technical problems that RootsWeb are having with their Mailing Lists although some of you may just think that Mailing Lists have lost their appeal and aren’t being used any more!  Just like the old fashioned letter box has lost its popularity and falling into decline.

Well, I can assure you that a number of people are missing the assistance they used to get from the Geelong and District Mailing List and the Bellarine Peninsula Mailing List.

I came to the conclusion that you could:

  • read all the complaints and contradictory suggestions on the RootsWeb Listowners Mailing List (for admins of RootsWeb Mailing Lists)
  • get cross
  • join the tirade – unfortunately many of us couldn’t as a HUGE number of email addresses / domains were not getting through to the list so that wasn’t an option for many
  • do nothing
  • do SOMETHING !

I opted for the latter as subscribers from my Mailing Lists were contacting me directly and asking what was happening and what could be done.

I know I could create a new Yahoo Mailing List but I didn’t want to “replace” the existing ones – just offer an alternative until the Mailing Lists were fixed.  The Alternative could continue with a life of its own if users wished (although I intend to post “new messages” to the old list once it recovers).

I know many people are not comfortable with Facebook and I wanted something relatively easy – so I’ve created a pseudo Blog Mailing List.

It’s called the Geelong and District Mailing List and although you can click on that link it’s really easy to remember because you just need to type in:

geelonganddistrictmailinglist.com

and you’ll find it!  Although its called the Geelong and District Mailing List it also caters for the Bellarine Peninsula.

Make sure you read the tabs: About, and Guidelines for some more information but basically:

  • Click on FOLLOW BLOG / FOLLOW THIS MAILING LIST VIA EMAIL
  • Follow the instructions to enter your email address etc.

That means you’ll get an email when a new Message / Post is added.  The email will include a COMMENT button – click on that and you’ll be taken to the Comments area for THAT Message.  Type in your comment.

That’s as hard as it gets!

Now, a brief word of warning – I’ve tested it as much as I can and I’m 99.999% certain that’s how it will work.  I may need to do a little more tweaking as people post messages but it should be good.

A couple of important things / benefits of this pseudo Mailing List:

  • Your email address does NOT appear anywhere on the Blog / Mailing List
  • I can add photos to Posts / Messages

How do you post a message?  Just click on the POST A MESSAGE tab near the top right and fill in the fields.

Initially ALL Messages Posted and Comments on Messages will be held for approval – just to make sure you are legitimate – once someone has been approved to Comment on a Message they will be able to Comment without waiting for another round of approvals.  BUT if anyone thinks this is a way to get in and cause problems, I can suspend / remove you so you don’t annoy our legitimate Mailing List users – the same sort of option the List Admin had on our RootsWeb Mailing Lists.

Posted Messages at this stage will require me to copy and paste to the Mailing List Blog – again making sure things are legitimate.  Once things have started moving, I will invite Posters to become Authors on the Mailing List Blog – ONLY if you’re comfortable to do that.  Becoming an Author will allow you to create your own Mailing List Blog on this site, edit it and add photos however it won’t allow you to edit or change anyone else’s Mailing List Blog.  It means you can post a Message without using the Post a Message form.

Confused?  Don’t worry – you can sit back and read other messages and comments just like you did on the RootsWeb Mailing List and do nothing more.  Then if you feel the urge to get involved you just need to click on the comment button in the email you received with each message.  Remember you do have to click on FOLLOW BLOG / FOLLOW THIS MAILING LIST VIA EMAIL to get the messages as emails from the list.

Let’s give it a try and see how it goes.

If you want to comment to me privately, just you the CONTACT US button in the menu at the top of this blog, or use the POST A MESSAGE button on the Mailing List Blog – both options ONLY come to me and I will get back to you personally to answer your questions.

I hope this all works – it depends on YOU – it’s frustrating not being able to use our normal Geelong and District Mailing List and the Bellarine Peninsula Mailing List, so in the meantime try the new GEELONG AND DISTRICT MAILING LIST.

Scottish Road Show in Geelong

Geelong Family History Group Scottish Road ShowIf you have Scottish ancestors or an interest in Scottish research, then this Road Show is NOT to be missed.

The Road Show has been organised by the Geelong Family History with support from the Scottish Ancestry Group and their speakers.  The Road Show is being held in the meeting room of the Waurn Ponds Libary.

Even if you’re not a member of the Geelong Family History Group, the Scottish Ancestry Group, or the Genealogical Society of Victoria, this full day of brilliant speakers and information will only cost you $25.00 for the whole day which includes morning and afternoon tea.  And if you are a member of one of the groups mentioned, then it will cost you just $20.00.

Download the brochure for all the details and the booking form.

See you there?

A lot happens in a short space of time …

Purple ChipsIt was scary looking at the date of the last blog I posted for Geelong and District – FAR TOO LONG AGO!  But I have some good reasons …

  • There have been TWO Geelong & District Historical Association quarterly meetings (the second was yesterday at Birregurra)
  • I have done SIX presentations to various groups / events (including the Don Grant Memorial Lecture for VAFHO as part of the Family History Feast at the State Library of Victoria).
  • I have moved house (after more than NINE years) AND managed to keep my nine largest bookcases full of books.  For a historian my new home is in the heart of historical Geelong – not the “new” Geelong on Corio Bay but the original old Geelong beside the Barwon River – the area now known as South Geelong – and it’s just beautiful.  I can’t wait for some warmer weather and longer daylight house to explore the area more on foot.
  • And MOST importantly I have a fantastic full-time job (after 22 months of being unemployed).  My position is Administration Coordinator with Bellarine Memories / Kings Funerals.

So what does the picture above have to do with all of this?  A lot actually!

I mentioned that yesterday we had our Geelong & District Historical Association quarterly meeting at Birregurra – a picturesque and historic town at the foot of the Otways.  Our meetings are for representatives of family history societies, local history societies, and museums in our region.  They are great meetings and attendees can take all sorts of useful information and ideas back to the members of their own groups.  The beauty of these meetings – although we sometimes have a set topic for the second hour – is that you just don’t know what comes up in the “around the room” session – some fascinating, useful and informative items.  After our two hour meeting, we continue chatting over lunch – the traditional country “bring a plate” lunch.  That’s when I sampled the PURPLE CHIPS in the picture above.

BirregurraShopsThe potatoes are specially grown by a local and after some enquiries I found out that the Provedore next door sold the chips – of course I had to purchase a packet (two in fact) before heading home – they were really yummy!  In this image, the Provedore and Cafe are on the left right beside the Birregurra Historical Centre on the right.

Although I will be adding HEAPS more information in my post-meeting newsletter, there was another important piece of news that I’ll share with you here.

Another one of our groups has a brand new web site – the Colac & District Historical Society Inc. – an attractive web site with plenty of information – hopefully you’ll all add it to your list of favourites / links.

Save

175 years ago!

Old Geelong Advertiser buildingAnyone researching in our Geelong & District region who doesn’t know that the Geelong Advertiser is THE paper to use must have been hiding under a rock!

You can read some of the history of this wonderful newspaper or visit the paper’s current web site.  This newspaper has been published continuously since 1840 and still going strong today.  In the earlier years the Geelong Advertiser was the newspaper for ALL areas of Western Victoria and south east South Australia.  It carried important news and VERY personal news – some that they wouldn’t be allowed to publish today for fear of being sued!

It’s full of wonderful articles and snippets for local and family history researchers so it’s a wonderful candidate for “On This Day”.  BUT it wasn’t published every day in the early years and I’m certainly not up to doing a daily blog.  Instead I’ve decided to do a semi-regular blog with entries from the newspaper 175 years ago.  Not on a specific date but sometime during the year 175 years ago – so this year that means 1841.

And of course you can do your own research as the Geelong Advertiser is searchable on TROVE – currently up to 1926.

So this is the beginning of a series of blogs for “175 years ago!”

Congratulations to Jan Parker

Jan ParkerJan isn’t a Geelong “local” although she definitely has ancestors in our region.  However many of you will know Jan from her involvement in the family history world – President, Victorian Association of Family History Organisations together with her ongoing involvement with the Yarrawonga, Cobram and Goulburn & Murray Family History associations.

Australia Day 2016 was a special day for Jan who was named the Yarrawonga Citizen of the Year and gained a special mention in the Moira Shire’s Citizen of the Year – both well-deserved for this hard working community contributor.

Congratulations from all your Family History cohorts.

DIFFERENT free Victorian records to search!

Australia DayBy now everyone knows that Findmypast and Ancestry have offered free access to some of their Australian records in celebration of Australia Day.

More than 40,000 entries from a myriad of different sources have just been added to the Geelong & District Database.

Big bonus:

  • You DON’T have to give any credit card details
  • It’s ALWAYS free to search
  • That offer doesn’t end after Australia Day!

The Geelong & District Database now contains more than 1,689,267 entries from more than 9,811 sources!

Have fun!