A Kiwi in search of her ancestral tribes

Accentuate the Positive ~ 2021

Given the madness of recent times, it’s lovely to take up the invitation Jill Ball aka GeniAUS has extended to everyone – to celebrate and share all the positives of the last year with her geneameme Accentuate the Positive.


  1. I got the most joy from my study buddies/partners in crime Pam and Zoë who helped me through the IHGS Diploma in Genealogy course this year.  It was a crazy year of work, study, assignments, and a hefty dollop of stress, and those two kept me (relatively) sane and made it such a fun experience.
  2. The Covid situation gave me an opportunity to view many talks and presentations I wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise, and also connect with other genealogists around the world.  Plus, I got to study with IHGS and sit the diploma exam via Zoom.
  3. I managed to attend a face to face event at the Palmerston North Genealogy Research Day in April, helping out on the Scottish Interest Group stand.  It was marvellous getting out and about and catching up with people in person, even if it was only two hours up the road!  And then in August I travelled to Auckland for their Family History Expo just before we all went into lockdown again.
  4. My main focus this year was on study, study, study.
  5. A new piece of technology or skill I mastered was finally getting to grips with Disk Utility on my Macbook.
  6. A geneasurprise received was being contacted by a second cousin once removed and having a wonderful afternoon chatting to her about our O’Rourke family.
  7. A Facebook Group that helped me was the private group three of us set up for our diploma studies this year.
  8. My 2021 social media post that I was particularly proud of was one about my 3x great grandfather Thomas Gaffney and the quest for his final resting place.
  9. A new genealogy/history book I am enjoying is Vincent O’Malley’s Voices from the New Zealand Wars He Reo nō ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa which I bought a couple of months ago and finally have the time to read.  A stunning book, recommended!
  10. I was impressed by my passing all three sections of assessment and being awarded a Diploma in Genealogy.  I did harbour some doubts during the year of it actually happening.
  11. A great journal or newspaper article I found was John Schuerman’s article on The Arches and Knolls families in Lancashire and Yorkshire in the 12th-14th centuries (available online on the fantastic Some notes on medieval English genealogy website), which helped me unravel a few mysteries on a pedigree I was working on.
  12. I got the most value from this subscription: Essex Archives Online, which enabled me to complete the research task requirement for the diploma.  Other subscriptions were also of huge benefit to my studies this year: Findmypast, Ancestry, The Genealogist and RootsIreland.
  13. I progressed my DNA research with a four day Masterclass with Angie Bush, Blaine Bettinger, and Jonny Perl, along with locals Cate Pearce (Perth) and Elena Falla Fowler (Auckland).  This event was originally scheduled for 2020, was postponed till 2021, and went ahead via Zoom as travel restrictions meant our speakers couldn’t attend in person.  Organised by Fiona Brooker, Michelle Patient and Paul Alpe, this was an intensive deep-dive into DNA – absolutely fabulous.  I think my brain was wrecked for several days afterwards.
  14. I taught a genimate how to get more out of researching newspapers, and the Irish Valuation Office records.  At least, I hope those attending the two talks I gave this year (as part of the IHGS Diamond Jubilee celebrations) may have picked up a tip or two.
  15. A blog post that taught me something new was all of them.  There were so many posts and articles I’ve read online this year, I couldn’t even begin to choose one of them.
  16. A DNA discovery I made was more cousins, lots more cousins, though I’ve yet to identify exactly how all of us connect.  A task for the year ahead.
  17. A newly found family member shared stories and identified individuals in some family photos.
  18. I finally found ……… six feet under: the elusive Thomas Gaffney.  At least, I think we have.
  19. I splashed out and purchased several reference books for my diploma studies.  Several are available in digital format, but I really needed hard copies for the exam, and they’re so much more satisfying to use.
  20. Another positive I would like to share is I’m a 1921 England & Wales Census ambassador for Findmypast and just a little bit excited for the release on January 6th (00:01 GMT / 13:01 NZDT)!

Findmypast - home of the 1921 England and Wales Census

Thanks to Jill for the opportunity once again to focus on the positive aspects of the last twelve months. Check out Geniaus Jill’s page to join in too.


1939 Register ~ Closing presentation for Family History Month


A Coronation Scrap Book


  1. Hi Maggie

    Congratulations on your studies. It’s always such a huge effort to study so do rest on your laurels – well deserved 🙂 I hope the coming year brings you lots of joy too family-history wise.

    • Maggie

      Hi Alex – thank you! Hope the same good wishes to you too, and it’s been a lovely year on #ANZAncestryTime with everyone.

  2. So lovely to have a contribution from acoss the ditch.

    Congratulations on a stunning geneayear and completion of your course. How smart to use a Facebook group for your study group. It must be a huge relief to have that under your belt.

    • Maggie

      Thanks, Jill! The year went very fast, can’t believe the course is all done and dusted, but loving the extra free time now (till I fill it up with something else 😉 )

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