Thursday, May 5, 2011

Shauna Hicks

Shauna is another of my virtual Aussie GeniMates whom I first met on Twitter a couple of years ago and then, in person, in Sydney last year. In her profile Shauna says she is semi-retired. It's a hectic semi-retirement - Shauna seems to have a very busy time flitting all over Australia and NZ giving presentations on many areas of interest to genealogists. I have attended a couple of her well-prepared and information-rich talks.

Thanks, Shauna for sharing your profile on GeniMates.

Date  May 1, 2011
Name Shauna Hicks
Hometown Currently Melbourne, from Brisbane originally

Are you a Hobbyist or Professional Genealogist? Bit of both

What, if any, formal or informal studies have you undertaken that are relevant to genealogical research? Diploma in Family Historical Studies from Society of Australian Genealogists but as a mature age student I also did a BA in Australian History & Anthropology, an MA on female philanthropy in colonial Queensland (inspired by my gg grandmother) and so that I could work in archives and libraries I also did a Grad Dip in Library Science. All studies were part time while I worked full time and did the family thing!

What is your day job? Semi retired but have a small business doing research and consultancy work, still in the genealogy area.

How long have you been chasing ancestors? Since 1977

How did you get hooked on genealogy? My first husband and I sat down to watch Roots on television and I was hooked from the first episode. At the same time, I saw an ad in the local paper from someone who was running a How to Trace Your Family History and by the end of the series I was finding my own ancestors. I've never stopped and it's great that it is one of those hobbies that you can do when time/resources permit.

As indicated by my studies above, I went on to actually work in areas where I could indulge my genealogy passion and have been fortunate to work in archives and libraries since 1981 until I retired from working in government for just over 35 years.

What are your areas of Expertise in Genealogy? Australia especially Queensland and Victoria but have researched my ancestors in all Australian States. I have a particular interest in archives, asylums, prisons, military, mining and religious records driven by my own ancestors' backgrounds.

Please outline your involvement in Genealogy Societies and Groups. I first became involved with the Genealogical Society of Queensland back in 1977, and particularly with the North Brisbane and Southern Suburbs branches. I was also a founding member of the Queensland Family History Society and served on the Council in various positions. In the ACT I was also on the Council of the Heraldry & Genealogical Society of Canberra and since moving to Melbourne I have also been on the Council of the Genealogical Society of Victoria and am also a member of the Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies and the Cornish Association of Victoria. At various times I have also been a member of the Society of Australian Genealogists and when in Sydney try to give talks to members.

What are the lands of your ancestors? I have families in all Australian States excluding the Northern Territory and the ACT.

Overseas I have New Zealand, Norway, Scotland (Angus), England (Staffordshire, Northamptonshire, Wiltshire and Cornish interests), South Africa, Canada and the USA.

What Family Names are you Researching? Just looking at the first 5 generations - Carnegie, Fegan, Finn, Gunderson, Halvorsdatter, Jeffers, Johnston, Judge, Price, Rosewarne, Silk, Titt, Trevaskis, White
On my son's side - Atkinson, Bullen, Carradus, Evans, Hansen, Potter, Thomsen, Walker
On my partner's side - Adkins, Barwick, Brooks, Burstow, Crow, Dean, Eldridge, Hill, Horne, Jarvis, Oakley, Pilbeam, Pyers, Spencer

Who is your favourite ancestor? Why? I have quite a few favourites mainly because they have left behind records that allows me to know them a bit more. One gg grandmother had an illegitimate son, married and lived out in far western Queensland, went on to have a bit of a drinking problem and spent quite a bit of time in and out of gaol for vagrancy and prostitution before she met and ran off with a bloke she then lived with for over 20 years before marrying him. In the end she died a respectable old lady in her 80s.
Another gg grandmother also had a hard life as her husband seems to have been also fond of a drink and beating up his wife and their adventures in various courts have given me wonderful insights into the family. Despite having 9 children and living in a tent, this gg grandmother still found time, and I hope happiness, in having an affair with another man and even in her old age, she still had a younger gentleman friend.

What ancestral city or town would you like to visit? Why? I really want to go to Cornwall and see the mining areas where my ancestors were from. This seems to be a quite different area from the rest of England. The West Bromwich area of Staffordshire is another area I would like to visit and also Wiltshire. We are talking of going over in 2012 so I really need to give this more thought.

I would also like to go to Minnesota in the US where my Norwegian ggg grandfather is buried and I have another ggg grandfather buried in Canada (still tracking him but possibly Nova Scotia).

What is your favourite resource for genealogy? These days the Internet and it is hard to think how we did any research back in the late 1970s and 1980s. I have managed to break down a number of my old brick walls with the ability to search census records online. However it is important to remember that not everything is online.

I don't think you can really go past BDM certificates as a favourite resource as they give so much information that allows you to really prove your research. Of course with my ancestors backgrounds I would also have to say court and prison records are also a big favourite.

Do you keep your genealogy files on paper? Yes
Do you keep your genealogy files on a computer? Yes

What genealogy software do you use to record your family tree? Legacy Family Tree - used to be Brothers Keeper before I made the change.

Do you have your tree posted on the internet? No

What Social Networking Sites do you use for genealogy? Ancestry, Facebook, GenealogyWise, Genes Reunited, LinkedIn, MyHeritage , Twitter.

Do you have a blog? Yes
What are your blogs' URLs?

What are your Other Hobbies, Activities, Interests? I like fishing, gardening, reading, cooking and travelling. We have family all over Australia and now that we are both (sort of) retired we are doing more of those activities. I have all our genealogy on the laptop so I can still do that away from home.

What is your favourite lesiure time activity apart from genealogy? Reading

What is your favourite (non genealogy) book? The Poldark novels

What is your personal philosophy in a few  words ? Life is too short and you need to make the most of every day - doing things that you really enjoy and are passionate about will keep you young and involved with life.

If you have anything else to share please add it below. I need to scan more of my paper based records and photographs so that I always have them with me but more importantly, I have backups of those paper based records and photographs. While I have draft family histories for most of my families, I need to finalise them so that the knowledge I have on the families is not lost to future generations.
Everyone who is researching their family should think about how they are going to leave their family history records and who to - before it is too late!


  1. To Shauna (reader's ticket no.1) - hello from Brisbane!

  2. Shauna I loved the Poldark novels too. My nanna lent me her copies to read when I was a teenager.