Why is August to important in family history circles? It’s National Family History Month (NFHM) – an initiative by the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO)!
AFFHO is organising and facilitating the initiative via the NFHM website. It is hoped that 2018 is the biggest year yet in terms of interest and number of events being held across Australia. There are great prizes for both societies and individuals, including memberships to subscriptions sites, Queensland BDM certificates, a digital camera, photo books, workshop, archival resources, voucher from Gould Genealogy and History and more.
The annual event has the backing of sponsors Ancestry, National Archives of Australia, Qld Registry of BDMs and AFFHO, to name just a few. “We are very pleased that these major sponsors as well as many prize sponsors continue to support NFHM in 2018. Family history is a collaborative activity and it is great to work with other related organisations” says the AFFHO.
From open days to seminars, grave digging to DNA testing, there are more than 200 events happening over the next few weeks. So whether you’re deciding which ones to attend in your area, or you’d like more of an armchair guide to what’s on, here’s our round-up of events for 2018.
For those on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Coffs Harbour Library is opening their research room for members and visitors to do free research on Tuesdays to Thursdays as well as Saturdays. South of Sydney, in Wollongong, the Library is hosting a seminar on 7 August on how to preserve family documents and photographs.
On 9 August Kingston Library in Queensland is spotlighting DNA basics to look at the different types of tests on offer and how they work. Then on 14 August, the State Library of Tasmania is delving into graves – and where to look for the burial places of your ancestors.
In WA there are 12 events being held, including one by the State Library on Indigenous Family History on 29 August. And on 13 August, the Shire of Mundaring Libraries is presenting a screening of Wundowie to Weir, a collection of vintage film footage of the local area.
Victoria is hosting 83 events, from pop ups in Prahan, to seminars in Echuca. Even fancied turning your family history research into a novel? Then ‘No room for regret: how my ancestral brick wall became a novel’ is for you. On at Melton Library on 11 August, author Janeen O’Connell will discuss how the culmination of many years researching the murky convict past in her family history became her first published novel.
Perhaps you’re one of the many Australians who have Chinese heritage in your family tree? You need to get along to Balwyn on 14 August, when members of the Chinese Heritage Interest Network (CHIN) will share their experience of researching their Chinese origins and the key resources that have helped them connect with their family history.
In New Zealand from Friday 10th August to Sunday 12th August there is a Family History Expo in Auckland where there are exhibitions, displays and lectures – there will be something of interest available for everyone, from those just beginning to discover their family history through to the very experienced genealogist.
As you can see, there’s a huge variety of topics being discussed this month, so support your local historians and get involved!
If you’d like to know more about what’s on in your area, or if you’re hosting an event in your town, it’s not too late to register – visit familyhistorymonth.org.au and be part of this Australasian initiative!
Cassie Mercer is an editor based in Sydney. She founded the award-winning magazine Inside History in 2010, creating a following of 60,000+ readers and working with Australia’s key cultural institutions to bring the nation’s history to life across Inside History’s multi-channel platforms. The history bug struck her when she discovered the story of her 5x great grandparents – in the late 1700s, one was a highwayman in Dublin and the other was the madam of a brothel, of the Lower Sort.