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Fun With Family Trees

How long have you been interested in genealogy?

I have been researching my family tree for about 10 years. I had always been told by my maternal grandmother that we were descended from Bonnie Prince Charlie – she even had what was supposedly his original Royal Seal Ring, which had been converted into a brooch many years ago. She gave this to me before she died and unfortunately it was lost when we shifted from Melbourne to Warrnambool.

What is your background?

I am, by training, a computer professional. I now only ‘dabble’ in that area. For lifestyle reasons that we wanted to stay in Warrnambool after Fletcher Jones closed down (I was Systems Development Manager with them), so I moved into retail and then into a ‘normal’ job as a Marketing Representative for a multi-national company.

Are you still working full-time?

I still work as a marketing representative (my “day job”) as well as develop computer systems, and of course, hang around in Cemeteries.

What research have you done into your family tree?

As mentioned above, I have been researching for about 10 years. Over this time I have built up a good picture of most of the branches involved. I have also included my son-in-law’s line, so that the tree is from the perspective of our grandchildren. Over this time, many people have helped and I am therefore very willing to help others as a repayment for this (this is the reason we started on the Cemetery project).

Do you belong to any genealogical societies/associations?

I belong to the Warrnambool branch of the Australian Institute of Genealogists – although I never seem to be able to get to their meetings. I maintain the web page for them, and also for the Hamilton History Centre.

You sell CD's of cemetery records in S-W Victoria?

Yes, we have duplicated our web pages, with the addition of many photographs and the inclusion of the larger Cemetery indexes onto a CD. This is available for sale, but it needs to be remembered that there is still a great deal of information available, free, on our web at http://home.vicnet.net.au/~marr/.

Why did you start this?

We have been maintaining the web pages for about five years. The CD has been available since July 2006. The move to CD was initially prompted by the fact that we had run out of server space, so couldn’t add any more indexes. We then thought that if we moved to CD and added photos and all of the larger Cemetery indexes, we might be able to get back some of the costs we have incurred over the years. This is why we have kept the price of the CD down to a very reasonable level.

How long did it take, initially, to do the first CD?

To produce a CD actually didn’t take very long because all the data was already there. As an aside, because I have written a number of programs to automate the process, once a Cemetery has been transcribed and keyed into a word document, it only takes a few minutes to create the web page and update the global indexes. To move to CD, the biggest job was to cross-reference all the photos into the indexes.

What are the good things about your hobby?

Keeps me out of mischief.

And the frustrations?

Keeps me out of mischief.

Where can people buy the CD?

Visit our home page as mentioned above and follow the links to the Cemetery indexes.

Anything else you would like to add?

For those that would like to embark upon transcribing Cemeteries, be aware that it is much more fun than it sounds; you learn a lot about an area and the people who live in it; it can be very tedious (especially the keying in bit) and there can be surprises in every Cemetery – I have been attacked by ants and by a snake, trodden on a rabbit, twisted my ankle several times, skirted around bee-hives, travelled on the back of a motor cycle and four-wheeled farm bike and of course been drenched by unexpected cloud bursts. But, it’s still an interesting and worthwhile hobby/pastime.