GSQs Family History Fair to be precise.
August is Family History Month and GSQ decided to hold a Family History Fair. Saturday 5 August was the chosen day for the Fair. August in Brisbane is renowned for cold weather and westerly winds. The Exhibition, or Ekka, is held in August and is regarded as an incredible breeding ground for germs imparting colds and flu. Our previous Fair in February 2016, shortly after our move to Stackpole Street, Wishart, had been on a cold, windy and wet day.
We have no control over the weather, so we hoped against hope that the fine, warm, unseasonal weather in the first few days of August would hold until the Fair. Although 5 August dawned cold but fine, it turned out to be a perfect day; we had a fabulous day at the Fair.
The transformation of our carpark into a colourful space began at 6.30am and included marquees housing Special Interest Groups, stalls for collectibles, second-hand books, vendors offering advice and materials for publications, scrapbooking and calligraphy. The sausage sizzle was well-patronised, as was the stall selling home-made cakes, slices, tea, coffee and soup. Many of us bought stores of the cakes, slices and soup to take home with us.
Visitors crowded inside the building to talk with representatives of the State Library of Queensland, the National Archives, and Queensland State Archives about their collections and what they could hope to find at each repository. It was standing room only at the computers as several experienced GSQ members volunteered to assist visitors to explore GSQs computer and library resources to find information relating to their ancestors.
An area at the rear of the library had been cordoned off so that a series of short talks could be presented. The speakers covered topics such as publishing, writing a family history, scrapbooking, and computing software.
A highlight of the day was the official opening of the Fair by former Brisbane Lord Mayor, Sallyanne Atkinson, AO. Ms Atkinson had recently published a memoir No Job for a Woman, published by University of Queensland Press (UQP).
During the research for the book, she realised that she knew little about her maternal ancestors. GSQ researchers filled in those gaps for her and presented her with a copy of the research. As a prelude to officially opening the Fair, Sallyanne revealed details of her early life in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and the interesting characters who populated her family.
It was a successful day, with a steady stream of people coming through the gates with all credit going to the Organising Committee. As far as family history was concerned we hopefully opened many people’s eyes to the fact that there is so much more available than you can find on subscription sites on the Internet. Researching your family history is a fascinating process and there’s always more to discover.
If you missed the Family History Fair, do not despair. GSQ is open Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 3pm, and from 12noon to 4pm on Saturdays. We also open on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday evenings. We offer regular education sessions at GSQ and also at Brisbane City Council Libraries. Our Special Interest Groups include: Convict Connections; DNA; English/Irish; German; Military; Scandinavian; Scottish; and Writing. Our Library Assistants are there to help you find direction in your research. We publish a monthly eNews and a quarterly online journal, Generation. More details are available on the Society’s website – www.gsq.org.au.
We look forward to seeing you at Stackpole Street, Wishart in the near future.
Until next time