2021 – A new beginning?

We have been unable to meet since March 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed on Hornsby Library, our normal meeting place. As we approach Christmas restrictions are being re-imposed due to a fresh outbreak of the virus on the Northern Beaches. Plans to re-start our meeting schedule, starting in February, were agreed recently when, at the time, the regulations permitted such gatherings. Time will tell whether those plans are able to be fulfilled. See the meetings section of this website for further details.

Jan Cole and the education team are trying to re-schedule those speakers who were cancelled in 2020 as well as find other interesting speakers.

The Library itself has its own plans and will be reburbishing, probably starting in the early part of 2021. Our usual meeting rooms will be unavailable during this time. A local alternative venue for our meetings has been arranged and details are available in the meetings section of this website.

Geneagala Day

Our Geneagala Day on August 10 with guest speaker Emily Hanna from NSW State Records was an outstanding success. Thanks to our volunteers and members and Sue and Karen from Hornsby Library for all their efforts prior to and on the day.

Here are a few snaps from the Geneagala

Geneagala Day

Limited places available. If you intend joining us please book NOW.

FREE SEMINAR 10 AUG: “The Colonial Secretary – the family historian’s friend” @ Hornsby Shire Family History Group Geneagala Day. We are presenting 2 talks on how the Colonial Secretary’s papers can be used to trace your family history.

BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL (link: http://ow.ly/NRc650uT4pk)ow.ly/NRc650uT4pk

Scottish Research

One of Australia’s leading professional genealogists, Kerry Farmer, is returning to Hornsby Shire Family History Group next week to talk to us about Scottish Research.   Kerry has previously visited Hornsby to speak about DNA and Immigration.


Kerry Farmer (R) with Jill Ball at Hornsby Shire FHG in 2016

Kerry, who has been teaching family history classes since 1997, chairs the Education Committee of the Society of Australian Genealogists, and presents seminars and classes there as well as at other organisations in Australia and overseas.. She currently teaches online courses in “Australian and New Zealand Genealogy” through the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. Kerry will be representing Australia as a presenter at Rootstech London in 2019.

You are invited to join us at Hornsby Central Library next Wednesday, July 17 at 2:00pm to hear Kerry’s presentation. Entry is by Gold coin donation.

From the Gold Rush to Federation

At our meeting yesterday our member Jan Brady, Historian and Publisher, gave our attendees a history lesson with her presentation ” A brief history of Australia 1850-1901 – Gold rush to Federation – the third in a series of talks about the 18th and 19th century history of Australia for Family Historians.” It was a lively talk injected with humour as Jan, who was once a teacher, involved the audience in her presentation. Everyone was kept on their toes as Jan regularly stopped her presentation to seek opinions from audience members, Jan challenged us to think about the times in which our ancestors lived and how these impacted on their lives.

Jan generously shared her notes and Powerpoint presentation which are available as .pdf files from the links below. Please remember that Jan owns the copyright on these items, they are shared here for your reference and personal use.

Jan Brady – Powerpoint:a brief-history-of-australia-1850-to-federationDownload

A New Year for HSFHG

Our members gathered at our home, Hornsby Central Library, to celebrate a successful year of  learning, research and friendship at their end of year function in December 2018. After chatting and partaking of the Christmas fare several members (see picture below) lead the group in a “12 Days of Christmas Singalong”.


Now we are turning our minds to a New Year of geneadiscoveries. Since they surveyed our members on their preferences Jan Cole and her Education Committee have been planning our program for 2019 which is now available on our Events Page.

Our year kicks off with an informal meeting on January 23rd in the Main Meeting Room at Hornsby Library so there is plenty of space for you to come along and share your questions and stories.

Please take a look and mark your diaries with the dates of  presentations that may interest you. If you have any further suggestions of speakers or topics please contact Jan by email or in person.

Trove Tuesday – Married in 1918


1918 ‘WEDDING.’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 20 November, p. 8. , viewed 16 Oct 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15811716


1918 ‘WEDDING.’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 15 October, p. 4. , viewed 16 Oct 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15806564


“WEDDINGS” Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 – 1930) 10 November 1918: 13. Web. 16 Oct 2018 .



1918 ‘SOCIAL.’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 12 January, p. 7. , viewed 16 Oct 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15772836

Trove Tuesday – Frederick John Thornton

Found recently on Trove is the death notice of  Frederick John Thornton of Burdett Street Hornsby who passed away 70 years ago today.

It appears that there is a new property at 1 Burdett Street but perhaps there are still some members of the Thornton family living in our Shire.


1946 ‘Family Notices’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 12 September, p. 16. , viewed 11 Sep 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27910244

1946 ‘Family Notices’, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), 12 September, p. 16. , viewed 11 Sep 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27910244

Ancestry.com is coming to Hornsby

We 20180310_094814c2are thrilled that Jason Reeve, Australian and New Zealand Content Acquisition Manager for Ancestry.com, will be the guest speaker at Hornsby Shire Family History Group’s meeting next week at 2:00pm on Wednesday 19th September at Hornsby Central Library. Visitors are always welcome at our meetings.

Jason who is is a passionate advocate for all things history,  joined Ancestry in August 2016. He works closely with a range of archives, registries, historical & genealogical societies to uncover new record collections and share them with the Ancestry community.

Jason’s talk will cover the latest news from Ancestry.com and the and a discussion of  Ancestry’s DNA testing.


Changes to the Geneagala Day

Unfortunately guest speaker, Dr Noeline Kyle, is unable to join us for our event. We are pleased to announce a new program. Following are details for the day.

Interested in researching your family history? As part of National Family History Month, Hornsby Shire Family History Group and Hornsby Library invite you to our annual Geneagala Day.

 Drop in throughout the day for:

  • Help for beginners
  • Assistance with online resources and other Hornsby Library family history resources
  • Help with brickwalls and research problems

Guest speaker, Christine Yeats, RAHS President, archivist, historical researcher and PHA member, will be giving two, one hour informative talks (bookings essential).

Morning session 10.30am

Advanced Trove Searches

Learn how to search the Gazettes, Journals, Diaries, Letters and Maps on Trove with Christine Yeats.

Middle session 11.45am

Family History Writing Workshop

HSFHG member Coral Shand will present a writing workshop based on notes provided by Dr Noeline Kyle, Honorary Professor Sydney University.

Afternoon session 1.30pm

Chasing the ubiquitous “Mrs” in family history

Learn about researching wives, mothers, sisters and aunts in nineteenth and early twentieth century NSW with Christine Yeats.

When:        Saturday 4 August, 10am-3pm

Where:       Hornsby Library,  28-44 George Street, Hornsby

Bookings:   Bookings essential for Christine Yeats sessions only. Book online at Hornsby.nsw.gov.au/library or at and Hornsby Shire Library on 9847 6614.