Thursday, 15 June 2017

How to find and manipulate Google news archive information

As a family historian I aim to find as many records as possible for individuals. It is not always possible to visit repositories where copies of required articles are held or indeed to find them online.

I had located a death date for a Thomas Joseph Horgan on 8 December 1975 through the Ryerson Index. I searched in the Sydney Morning Herald archives narrowing by date for the notice but without success.  However I am aware that there a quite a few editions of this paper in the Google News Archive as I have used it several times to obtain information about other relatives.

Here’s the process I follow to locate and then transform an image into something useful. The Google news archive search function is usually not specific enough to locate particular information needed.

1. Select Sydney Morning Herald from the list of newspapers.

2. Enter the the month and year, this seems to be the most efficient method of getting to the required edition. An exact date sometimes only takes one to a near month.
The search bars in Google News Archive

3. Select the edition required – in this case I was interested in December 9

Individual editions detail - Google news archive

I then scrolled through the pages until I came to the page with the Death Notices. Oh no! the scanning had been done as a mirror image! No quality control applied....

Several pages in this issue had been scanned in reverse

4. I clipped the two notices and saved the image. [N.B. in most cases one can click on the headline to get a link to the section where the notice is published but this was not possible with the reversed image]

5. Open photo editing software. I used Photoshop but this can be done in most robust photo editors such as the free IrfanView or free online Pixlr editor Use Flip Image then rotate to make the text legible. I added some pixels to the canvas size and included the citation on the bottom of the image obtained.

6. The final product – blurry but legible

Clipped notices with citation added

7. Before adding this to my family history database I opened the image in Google Keep and used Grab the image text. This minimises the amount of typing I need to do but gives me plenty of exposure to analysing the text as as I look for the errors that may need correction.

Image in Google Keep - Grab image text
Transcription of notices – with Google’s help.

HORGAN Thomas Joseph.
December 8, 1975 at hospital of Glebe, dearly loved brother of Agnes (Mrs Daly)
and Mary, dear friend of Rheta. Requiescat in pace.
See Wednesday's Herald for funeral announcement.
HORGAN. Thomas Joseph.
December 8. 1975 devoted friend of all at Mount St. Margaret's
Little Sisters of the Poor, Randwick.

1975 Deaths, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 December, p.30 online in Google news archive,
viewed 15 June 2017.

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Thursday, 8 June 2017

Picture this

Noosa river at sunset
A view of Noosa river at sunset

Each day in April I posted a picture along with my short recollection for the day over on Earlier Years. Many of those pictures I had sourced throughout the year from my own files and some from Pixabay. I created the daily graphics in Canva, Pixlr, Over, WordSwag or Haiku Deck. Some of these are available as apps on both iOS and Android, some have a web interface and all require minimal skill to output an acceptable graphic.

Now as the cooler weather of winter bids me spend more time indoors, I’ve sorted many digital snaps taken on my daily walks around the local area along with some photos from trips we’ve taken. I’ve  added some generic text that may focus my thoughts on a particular area of family history.

Dead palm frond
Dead palm frond
So far I’ve uploaded 35 of these pictures to Flickr in this album Images for family history blogposts. They are in a variety of sizes and shapes and will load quickly on any page. Some of these may prove useful for my readers, so I’ve made them public and set the date on all of these as June 2017, not the original date these photos were taken. If you have suggestions for further graphics along these lines, please add your ideas in a comment.

For those who will be attending Congress 2018 in Sydney next March be sure to get along to Jill’s session on Beaut Blogs: Ideas for Tarting up your Geneablogs. She will have lots more, ideas galore, for you to explore.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Introduction to Family History

Heritage month

During May the local library has been celebrating Heritage Month with a range of events. On Thursday I attended an informative talk by Judy Webster on Ancestors who Moved or Vanished.

This week it is my turn to present a session entitled An Introduction to Family History. Last year I collaborated with the local heritage librarian on this session. Here are my updated, revised slides.

Essential Australian resources

Archives - States WA, SA, Vic, NSW, Qld, Tas, NT, ACT National - NAA
Australian Births, Marriages and Deaths WA SA , Vic NSW Qld Tas NT ACT
National Library of Australia - Family History guide, Trove
Each State library has a guide to researching your family history. Sign up to obtain a card for both your State library and the National Library of Australia to gain free access to their eresources.

Additional places to find lists of resources
CoraWeb Helping you trace your family history
Cyndi'sList Australia

Family History forms and charts Free from Family Tree magazine
Free forms and charts from Ancestry

There are a wealth of resources digitised online and so many more offline. Join your local family history society for some expert help and guidance.

This post first appeared on

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Android phone 2

This second 2 hour workshop for Android beginners at Noosaville Library covers the functions within these basic apps.

  • Clock
  • Google app
  • Chrome
  • email and 
  • note taking with Google Keep
How to add and manage apps and widgets is also covered. Time is allocated to helping individuals with the wide range of different Android phones and to answering queries generated since the previous session.

Useful everyday apps

  • Books and reading - BorrowBox, Kindle, Google Play Books, Overdrive, Scribd, Feedly
  • Documents - Adobe reader, Docs, Sheets, Slides
  • Listening - ABC radio, TuneIn Radio, Google Play Music
  • Notetaking - Evernote, Google Keep
  • Online storage - Dropbox, Google Drive, Photos (Google), Flickr
  • Phone calls and messaging - Viber, Skype, Whats app
  • Photography - Aviary, Photos (Google), PhotoFunia, Photoshop Express, Pixlr, Prisma, Snapseed
  • Scanners - Camscanner, Photoscan, Scanbot
  • Social - Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, Google+, Twitter
  • Tools - Maps, Calendar, Calculator, Smart measure, WiFi transfer, Airdroid, Photosync
  • Video - YouTube
  • Voice recording - Evernote, Google Keep, Easy voice recorder
To use magnification in any app, including using the camera as a magnifying glass go to - Settings, Accessibility, Magnification gestures to turn it on. Triple tap in any app to activate. 

Drop in to Tech help - 2 pm on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month at Noosaville Library for more friendly assistance.

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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Android phone 1

This is the first in a series of two workshops for Android phones to be held at Noosaville Library on 9th and 23rd March, 2017. the slides are based on Android 6.0.1. on a Nexus 5.

Useful guides for Android phones

Both of these sites provide a wide range of manuals and guides for many modern phones. Choose the manufacturer or brand first then select phone.

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Monday, 27 February 2017

iPad basics

This session was presented at Noosaville Library in February 2017. A keen group of seniors gathered to learn some basic iPad functions and operations.

Use right arrow or tap on slide to advance

Useful links

iPad basics - brief tutorials from GFC Learn free 

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Three simple code tweaks for bloggers

Here’s some easy code for your blog. I like to add references to the end of my family history posts rather than have them intrude in the story. Blogger and the free Wordpress sites have limited tools so a little code is useful for improving the view on the blog.

Three easy ones to use are:
  • blockquote
  • superscript or subscript numbering
  • horizontal line
Here’s how they look along with the code to make it happen.


This is an example where the text is indented and continues to remain so on the following lines. It is ideal for highlighting such things as text from newspaper notices. I sometimes use it for extensive obituaries in preference to italics. Use the HTML page of your blog and insert the code shown in the picture below. In some blog themes blockquotes may appear with a different background colour or font compared to the rest of your post.
blockquote (1)


Rather than interrupt the flow of text insert numbered references, footnotes below the finished post. Decide on either superscript or subscript and use the code shown below to surround the number. I suggest you add the numbers as you type and add the appropriate references below your post. When the post is finished go to the HTML page and find each number within the text. Add the chosen code either side of the number as show below. Superscript1 subscript2

Horizontal Line

This one is super simple, but again finish the post first. On the HTML page place the cursor where you want the line to appear. Using the same bracket < to open the code, type hr then > to close. Here I’ve used a horizontal line code directly after the heading Horizontal Line, then I’ve added another one at the end of this paragraph. These simple tweaks can enhance your blog and break up long sections of text. See the use made of this code on my family history blogpost The family rally around.

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Monday, 13 February 2017

Tips for Windows 10

Whether you have tablet or computer, Windows 10 has some great features to make life easier for computer learners. There are a wide range of tutorials and guides to Windows 10 published on the web but a hands on session with one's own laptop or tablet gives people a chance to have their questions answered. Here’s a basic guide I used today at my local library with a keen group of senior learners.

To view full screen for clarity, use the four pointed arrowhead, press ESC to return to this page.

Useful articles and videos