A Princess in Enniscorthy Castle.

Tuesday 30 May, 2017

Every little girl dreams of being a Princess in a Castle. We grow up with stories of Snow White and Cinderella but no one really believes that they can live in a Castle – even for a short time.

Today I felt like a Princess. As I watched the tables being laid, the flowers being arranged, the food being plated up and people running to and fro to ensure that everything was ready for my High Tea to take place in Enniscorthy Castle, I felt like a Princess.

I had to keep pinching myself that this was really happening. I was so excited. Continue reading “A Princess in Enniscorthy Castle.”

Taking Tea at Enniscorthy Castle

Tuesday 30 May, 2017 Morning

The sun is shining, the birds are singing. What could be a better way to start the day for such an historical event? High Tea at Enniscorthy Castle.
Whilst serving me yet another delicious breakfast, Moira greeted me with a “Good morning bride”. And, yes I do feel as a bride does on her special day.

Just as a wedding day takes many hours of planning and there are many people involved, so has the High Tea celebration that will be held at Enniscorthy Castle this afternoon.
There are a number of people who have been involved that I would like to thank. Continue reading “Taking Tea at Enniscorthy Castle”

Enniscorthy here we come!

Click to go to the 28th. May  –  Click to go to the 29th. May

Saturday 27 May 2017

History is in the making! Preparations for the High Tea in Enniscorthy Castle are to be finalized. Today we will travel from Dublin to Enniscorthy by Wexford Bus.

Continue reading “Enniscorthy here we come!”

Marsh’s Library: a treasure trove of literature

Friday 26 May, 2017

Blessed with yet another glorious Summer’s day, I strolled through the streets of Dublin to keep my 10 am appointment with Dr. Jason McElligott, Keeper, Marsh’s Library.

I love the smell and the sight of historical and valuable books lined up neatly on shelves. People often ask me where I grew up. I reply “In a Library!” My inspiring mum was a Librarian for 40 years in Australia and I spent many happy days quietly wiling away the hours reading beautiful books in the libraries that she worked in.

Continue reading “Marsh’s Library: a treasure trove of literature”

The importance of taking care of your family history

Clans and Surnames Conference, Nenagh, Tipperary Ireland

rachelLast year with the help of the lovely Rachel Spano, Senior Archivist of the State Library of Queensland, Australia, I was able to pass on techniques for Preservation, Conservation and Restoration at a Workshop that I conducted where Rachel Spano participated in an outreach skype session.

When I held the Workshop at the Whitsundays Regional Council Library in Cannonvale little did I realize that just 4 months later, Cyclone Debbie would cause catastrophic damage to the Whitsundays and demolish the Cannonvale Library and the Whitsunday Family History Library in Proserpine. Continue reading “The importance of taking care of your family history”

National Archives Kew visit

Saturday 13th May, 2017

Fellow genealogists refer to the National Archives at Kew in England as one of THE most important repositories in the world.

I have long wanted to visit the National Archives as they hold a large collection with relevance to most Australians. My Prendergast family included. Continue reading “National Archives Kew visit”

Radio Interview in Ireland

The Quest to find Prendergast ancestors continues. Radio Interview in Ireland

Lorna Moloney has been presenting the genealogy radio show on Raidio Corca Baiscinn since 2014. Raidio Corca Baiscinnin is based in South West Clare, Ireland.  Lorna has invited all the leading genealogists from around the world as her guests on her show.

Lorna Maloney1

I was first interviewed on Radio Corca Bascinn in 2014 when I had just started out on my journey to find out more about my Irish Roots and at a time when my father Jim Prendergast was gravely ill and losing his battle with Parkinson’s disease. Continue reading “Radio Interview in Ireland”

Australian preparations for the High Tea to be held at Enniscorthy Castle with the team in Ireland.

Staging a High Tea at Enniscorthy Castle

Enniscorthy Castle


This is the way the Castle was set up during the time David Hasslacher and hid family lived here



Continue reading “Australian preparations for the High Tea to be held at Enniscorthy Castle with the team in Ireland.”

An Australian first



How many Australian Academics can proudly announce that they have been  invited to deliver a paper at the Conference “Clans and Surnames”, Nenagh, Tipperary in Ireland scheduled for May, 2017?  I am thrilled to announce that I can. I was over the moon when Lorna Moloney, the well respected Irish Genealogist invited me to deliver a paper on my Prendergast family.

What a wonderful Genealogy year this invitation has capped off for me!

Following my research visit to Ireland to study at the University College Cork Genealogy Summer School in June 2015, I have had the pleasure of conducting 7 workshops throughout our Whitsunday Community this year. During the research and development of the Workshops to be delivered,  I learned a lot about the process of Preserving, Conserving and Restoring precious heirlooms and Documents.

At the Whitsunday Regional Council Library in Cannonvale October 19, 2016, we were delighted to have Rachael Spano, Senior Conservator of the State Library of Queensland, via Skype, generously donate her time to impart her extensive knowledge in the art of Preservation, Conservation and Restoration. It was a most interesting segment. workshop-117102016

I enjoyed studying at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow for the 6 week on line genealogy course commencing in April . The course was entitled – Genealogy: Researching your family tree.I found this course to be most useful, well researched, well presented with easy to follow lectures on a competent Computer interface. I would highly recommend this course.

In November supported by a RADF grant awarded jointly by the Whitsunday Regional Council and the Queensland Government, I flew down to Sydney to attend the SAG Seminar : Lost in Immigration and Travel. During the four days I was in Sydney I took the opportunity  to conduct research at the State Records of New South Wales and the Mitchell Library – part of the State Library of NSW.

Mitchell Library
Mitchell Library


With all the Australian and Irish research that I have conducted this year and the information I have collated, I can’t wait to co-present “Conservation and Collection care of your valuable family heirloom and documents” jointly with Lorna Moloney on 18 May, 2017 Clans and Surnames Conference in Nenagh, Tipperary, Ireland.

The following day 19 May, 2017, I will be delighted to deliver the Prendergast paper explaining all the research that I have undertaken with the help of many Archivists, genealogists, professors and experts from the various repositories around the world at the Clans and Surnames Conference. 




Family History Workshops at Cannonvale Library

Jacqui, the Arts and Culture Officer – RADF Liaison Officer gave a very interesting presentation regarding what Art and Cultural projects a RADF Grant can be used for. I was very grateful that I was awarded a RADF Grant that assisted me to travel to Ireland in June/July/August 2015 to attend the UCC Genealogy Summer School, the Archives visit to Dublin and the 1798 Re-enactment in Enniscorthy, Wexford Ireland.

WORKSHOP 1 – An introduction to Family History

We enjoyed a very successful “Who do you think you are” presentation and Workshop at the Whitsunday Regional Council, Cannonvale Library on 17 August, 2016.

I was delighted that 3 members of the Whitsunday Family History Group came along to assist. Thank you Linda, Elizabeth and Neil.

5 members of the Bowen Family History group drove to Cannonvale for the Workshop. 20 other interested novice Genealogists participated and judging from the feed back we received, learned a lot from the Workshop.

During this Workshop the Enniscorthy DVD that Barry made featuring my photos and narration was shown. Each Participant was given a Pedigree sheet and a family group sheet amongst other hand outs.

An overview of what important Records to locate and keep was explained. Later a hands-on session of participants using the Library edition of “Ancestry.com” on the Computer was appreciated by many attendees who had never used this programme previously.

Workshop 117102016


WORKSHOP 2 – How to trace and commence recording your family tree.

The Beginners Workshop held on 21 September, 2016 introduced novice Genealogists to important Records and web sites to research their Ancestors. Participants were able to locate Forbears in the UK, Ireland and Europe. One participant was delighted to find the details of her Grandmother,an Indigenous lady who was fostered during the period in Australia known at the “Lost Generation”. Most of the beginners were able to report that they had found lost relatives. It was a very rewarding Workshop.

Workshop 19-10

WORKSHOP 3 – Preservation of treasured Heirlooms – a guide to protecting your personal collections.

We held our third Workshop at Whitsunday Regional Council Cannonvale Library on Wednesday 19 October, 2016.

rachelDuring this Workshop we featured a Skype with Rachel Spano, the Senior Conservator of the State Library of Queensland, imagewho advised one-on-one about Preservation, Conservation and Restoration with a Q & A following. We learned how to prevent Mould from damaging our personal Collections by constant monitoring of temperature, no hotter than 26 degrees and avoiding humidity.image Rachel also outlined the various storage boxes to us to help conquer the challenges of living in the Tropics. After the Skype, each participant constructed a “Four Flap Enclosure” to preserve their valuable documents. Thank you Whitsunday Regional Council for supplying some of the materials and equipment. Thank you Archival Survival for supplying precious collections samples for the Workshop. And, Thank you to Rachel for delivering a very well received Skype Presentation that was voted by the participants as having exceeded their expectations!


Proposed planning for Workshop 4 – Advanced Research for experienced Genealogists.

This Workshop will include my report about the SAG Seminar that I am due to attend in Sydney on the Weekend of the 5th & 6th November.The Seminar will cover the latest information and Research techniques. I will also advise the strategies that I used to get the best out of my Repositories visits in Sydney. We will discuss the brick walls that we have encountered and by using the latest technology, how we can overcome these.

At the end of the Workshop, the participants will be invited to make suggestion of what topics they would like to have included in the Workshops that will be held next year at the Whitsunday Regional Council Cannonvale Library.

SAG Seminar, Sydney

I am delighted to be attending the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) Seminar “Lost in Immigration & Travel” in Sydney 5&6 November to be held at the Mitchell Library. To find out more about the Seminar please click on the link http://www.sag.org.au.

I am looking forward to meeting up with my friend Christine at the SAG Seminar. We met when we were both attending the University College Cork Genealogy Summer school last year. It will be great to compare our Genealogy research notes over the past 12 months.

During my visit to Sydney, I will be driving with my cousin Mark who is also the 5x Grand child of John Prendergast to Kingswood to visit the New South Wales State Records. There we will be privileged  to view the original documents of John Prendergast.

Sarah from NSW State Records rang today to ask me which Records I would like to see. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am that I will be able to put my hands on (albeit wearing white gloves) documents that are over 200 years old and written or signed and sealed by my 5x Grandfather!

Following the SAG Seminar, Cousin Mark and I will be visiting the Mitchell Library in the New South Wales State Library, Sydney where I have been invited to view the original documents of John Prendergast. These are items of their special collections and will be taken out of their Safe just for our visit.

09-11WORKSHOP 4 – Advanced Research for experienced Genealogists.

We held out 4th Workshop of the series at the Whitsunday Regional Council’s Cannonvale Library on Wednesday 9th November, the day after my return from a very hectic but rewarding Repositories research trip and SAG Seminar in Sydney.

With my head spinning from all the new discoveries that I had made at the State Records of NSW and the Mitchell Library, along with all the new information imparted to us at the SAG Seminar, I couldn’t wait to deliver a memorable Workshop.

I decided that I would help break down the participants “Brick Walls”by shaking them out of their comfort zones. So many researchers who have been delving into their family histories over many years have set ideas about where their families came from, how they got here, what their lives were like and what sort of people they were.

Today I decided that if the participants were going to be able to break down their “Brick walls” that like the participants at the SAG Seminar, we would have to think laterally, not have preconceived ideas. And we would have to be prepared to take a new tack.

So, after the initial welcome and synopsis of the day’s Workshop content, instead of conducting a presentation, I started firing questions at them. What years did Queensland, South Australia,Tasmania and Victoria break away from NSW? Did they know that New Zealand was originally part of NSW? Did they know whether their Ancestors sailed as unassisted passengers to the colony or whether they arrived under an assisted immigrants scheme. What was the name of that scheme? Where did they first land in Australia. Did they settle there and then move on? Were they aware that our Ancestors were very mobile? What type of work did they do? What year was the first immigration Flight, not ship to Australia? What events occurred in their Ancestors lives. There were quite a few surprised looks.

Then we adjourned to the Computer room where “Ancestry.com” was already set up for us. This time I asked the participants to click out of Ancestry.com because today we were going to explore other avenues for researching additional records using Repositories that led to the exact same sites.

When I asked the attendees where their ancestors first lived in Australia and they all replied Queensland, they looked shocked when I asked each of them to go to various Computer sites that were NOT in Queensland. State Library of Victory, State Records of N.S.W, State Library of South Australia were just some that I chose for each participant to search for information.

When one attendee clicked on the State Library of Queensland, I asked her to click on a link which she did and she was totally surprised when up came the National Archives (which she protested “but that is in London!”) I then showed her how to get into Records of Convicts in N.S.W. on this site. Later I showed the attendees Baptism Records of Ireland in another area of this site.

What I was showing the participants was that World wide other Repositories hold records for Australia as do Australian Repositories for other countries.

I also wanted the attendees to take off their blinkers and think more widely. By searching International and Australian resource sites such as the State/County Records offices, State/county and National Libraries as well as State/County and National Archives along with the very useful sites, Ancestry.com and Find my Past (amongst others) new discoveries would be made.

In order to break down “Brick Walls” we have to embrace new technology and information and be prepared to keep an open mind when searching the on line, constantly changing resources of each Repository. If the opportunity arises, there is nothing quite like getting your hands on the original documents but it is important to follow the guide lines of each Repository for planning your visit to avoid being disappointed on your arrival.

Next year I look forward to conducting a new series of Workshops at the Whitsunday Regional Council Libraries, writing a book on my Prendergast Ancestors here in Australia, accompanying a group of enthusiastic Genealogists to Ireland and presenting a paper on the Quest to find Prendergast family history in Ireland.

In my travels I will delight in meeting more living Prendergast family members and revisiting the lovely Irish people who made my trip to Ireland so wonderful last year.