Meet Sharn White: This is the next post in this series introducing speakers at the Waves in Time Family & Local History Conference that will be held in May 2019 on the Sunshine Coast.
At the National Library in Canberra, I have caught Sharn White transcribing difficult to read historic documents and deep in thought tracking down records at the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City. Sharn White enthusiastically gets deep into any research she pursues.
Meet the Speaker: Sharn White
Here goes with the interview:
Could tell us a little about your background?
My background is in teaching, music and art, but since becoming fascinated with family history over twenty years ago, I have studied a number of history and family history courses through Australian and overseas Universities. I have undertaken this study to become a better family history researcher and to gain more knowledge about family history research methods.
Are you a genealogist, researcher, historian or representing your organisation?
I am a genealogist, a house historian and a blogger.
I have three family history blogs (FamilyHistory4u, Family Convictions – A Convict Ancestor and Sharn’s Genealogy Jottings). I write about how the ways in which I research my family history and my convict history in my often in-depth blog posts. I am what is known as a ‘slow blogger’. I do not blog frequently but I put a great deal of research and resources into each of my posts. I have a new blog which will be launched in 2019, called the Australian House Historian. Here, I plan to put resources and tips to help others research house histories.
How has genealogy/family history/history/heraldry improved or changed your life?
Researching, studying, attending conferences and speaking about family history has enabled me to meet and make friends with many people with similar interests. My passion for family history and more recently for genetic genealogy has given me a better understanding of where I come from and who I am. I have been privileged to help some adoptees find birth parents using DNA matches and I hope to continue helping others to connect to family.
What do you love most about genealogy/family history/history/heraldry?
I think what I enjoy the most about family history is finding the real stories about real people. I enjoy placing my ancestors within a true historical context and understanding how and where they lived. I love the thrill of the hunt for names, dates and places but the stories are what interest me most. The stories help me to understand what kind of people my ancestors were and what challenges they faced in their lives. This gives me a greater appreciation for the life I have today.
What is your key topic for the Waves in Time Conference?
My topic for the Waves in Time Conference is ‘Telling Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Stories’. I believe that it is important for us to understand the places we have come from and as family historians, we can play a significant role in keeping future generations feel connected to their heritage.
How do you think your topic will help the family & local historians at the Waves in Time Conference 2019?
Finding and preserving and sharing the stories of our immigrants is a significant part of this continuance of heritage. Understanding the challenges, perils and joys that accompanied our immigrant ancestors’ relocation to a new land and a new life gives us all a better understanding of who we are and where we have come from.
What do you think are the benefits of attending a large conference like this, for you personally and for others attending?
I am a great advocate of large family and local history conferences. I have attended the huge Rootstech Conference in Salt Lake City as an Australian Ambassador since 2015 and I have gained an enormous amount of knowledge about a wide range of topics. I always leave every conference, be it large or small, with exciting new resources to follow or new technologies or methodologies to experiment with. Usually, at conferences, I am a part of a group of bloggers who proudly wear coloured beads. We do so to draw attention to the importance of sharing stories and information through the platform of blogging. I also look forward to conferences because it provides me with an opportunity to meet up with genealogy friends whom I talk regularly to online, but see in person less frequently.
Do you have a favourite piece of advice or a tip or trick you can share with conference attendees?
My greatest piece of advice to conference attendees would be to talk to the person sitting next to you, or standing near you during a break. Meeting people who share your interests is one of the best parts of any family history conference. A chat over a tea and biscuit at a family history conference has on more than one occasion for me, resulting in an exciting exchange of information or better still a great friendship. The other piece of advice I might offer is to check out the conference exhibitors and use the conference as an opportunity to join family history groups and societies which are relevant to your research.
If you could pick one new project to do, what would it be? (Assuming no funding issues)
If I could start a new project it would be to have a State or National Library help me to publish the 74-page diary that my convict great grand uncle, Lawrence Frayne wrote during his time spent on Norfolk Island. I have transcribed the diary and I would love to see it made available, with perhaps some added context, to everyone.
I look forward to her talk, Telling Your Immigrant Ancestors’ Stories. I am sure I will learn ways to improve telling my family’s story.
The first in this series was Meet the Speaker: Dr Lynne Hume.
Disclaimer: As a Waves in Time Ambassador I receive a free registration in return for promoting the conference in various social media forums and on my blog.