Archive for July, 2022


Family history resources I use

July 24, 2022

I had lunch with some old school friends last week. In our far-ranging discussions, we spent a bit of time talking about our family histories and trees and I mentioned some resources that I use to manage (and find) all the information (I have some 12,000 people in my extended family tree software). I thought others who are interested in searching and documenting their family trees might also be interested, so I’ve listed below the various tools and websites I use. Note: I’m Australian, with the two threads of my family extending back to the UK and Prussia/Germany/Poland on one side and to South Africa (and the Huguenots) on the other. Part of the UK branch went to Canada and the US. Therefore, I use resources that have records from around the world, as well as a lot of local (Australian and Western Australian) records to track more recent twigs on my family tree.

Software I use to manage it all: Family Tree Maker (FTM), from About AU$115 (one-off payment, NOT subscription). I’ve been using FTM since the late 1990s and am very happy with it. There are other family tree software programs available, but I haven’t used any of them as I’ve had no need to move to something else. With FTM, you can also upload your family tree to, but I don’t use that function.

Global resources

  • Ancestry (paid subs): My main source for official records (birth, death and marriage [BDM] records, electoral rolls, census records, baptism records, grave records etc.) is Originally I just paid for access to Australian and UK records, but with relatives in the US and further back to South Africa, Prussia etc., I now pay for an annual worldwide subs (about AU$470/yr I think; it’s cheaper if you only want to access records just from a specific region). Ancestry has BILLIONS of official records you can search and link to your tree. You can also create your tree in Ancestry (or upload it from FTM), though I’ve never done so. Note: the sites that let you create your own tree on them give you the option of keeping your tree private (i.e. not searchable) or making it public. If you choose to make it public, be aware that living people, typically those under 75 but could be older, are typically NOT listed by any identifiable information.
  • Find My Past (paid subs): Another annual subscription I pay for is, which has millions of UK records (quite a bit of crossover with Ancestry, but enough different that I maintain my annual subs with them); also has some US and other records too. About GBP180 per year for full access to all records (thought not the recently released 1921 UK census). Again, you can create your tree directly with them and not use special software.
  • Family Search (free): (part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [aka Mormons]). In addition to official records, they have thousands of publicly available uploaded family histories from members, which can cover many other records (e.g. some of my South African links on this site go back to about the 900s in the Netherlands, France etc., but I haven’t verified these, so I take them with a very large grain of salt; actually I treat anything before about 1750 with a great deal of skepticism, unless I can view the actual record). You don’t need to be a Mormon to search on this site and I think you can create your own tree on it too.
  • Cemetery records (free for basic use): Gravestones also carry a lot of information, and the global cemetery site linked to is (free); you don’t have to be an Ancestry member to use it. Another worldwide gravestone site is

Australian and Western Australian (WA) resources

In addition to the global resources above, which have very extensive Australian records, I also use these resources:

  • Newspapers:
    • For Australian newspaper records before about 1980 (date depends on the archival rules for various newspapers and public domain use), you CANNOT go past Trove from the National Library of Australia (free): This link is for the start of the newspaper search and you can use the filters on the right to narrow your results (e.g. if you’re looking for your own birth notice, you could narrow down to Western Australia / Family Notices / [decade] / [year]). Back in the day most Australians would announce major life events in their state and/or local newspapers—BDM, of course, but also engagements, funeral notices, wedding anniversaries, etc. and these all give information. Trove includes lots of smaller country newspapers as well, and many of these have social columns that read like the Facebook of today (e.g. “Miss Susan Smith visited her sister Mrs Mabel Brown in Albany last Tuesday.” and from that you might find out that Mabel Smith’s married name is ‘Brown’ so now you’ve added another piece of information to the puzzle).
    • The West Australian newspaper has various BDM and funeral announcements online, though it’s a clunky interface. I’m not sure if you have to be a West subscriber or not (I am, so I don’t know if non-subscribers can see these announcements): You can search back ‘all time’ but I don’t think the online records go back more than about 10 or so years.
  • Cemeteries (free):
  • Marriages (free): For WA marriages (up to about 1965?), the reverse marriage search is brilliant as you can search by either party and it tells you who the spouse is (not as easy in the official Australian marriage records on Ancestry where you only get one party and a reference number to try to match to the other):
  • Teachers (free): If your ancestor was a teacher in WA, then the old Education Department ‘stud books’ from 1900 to 1980 are available online here: These are great for verifying names and where people lived and worked in particular years.
  • Official WA BDM records (free): Has birth records only to 1932, marriages to 1936, and deaths to 1971 (there are laws about sharing information about people who are living and/or under a certain age). Other Australian states have similar websites, but the amount of information freely available can vary and some require payment to access details of individuals.

See also:

[Links last checked July 2022]


Malwarebytes continually blocks a program

July 23, 2022

We’ve used Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) for years and have never had a problem with it conflicting with a particular piece of software on one computer. Until last week, when MBAM decided it didn’t like this software (after years of playing nice together) and decided to quarantine it as soon as we tried to open and run the software. We restored it from quarantine and made sure it was in the Allow List (it was), but it continued to get zapped by MBAM.

A quick internet search didn’t yield any answers that matched our circumstances, so I reached out to the MBAM support team. They were prompt in getting back to me, and with a solution that seems to have worked. This information is for me in case it happens again, and for anyone else who has a problem with a legitimate piece of software getting quarantined by MBAM. The critical steps that I hadn’t done were restarting the computer (twice) AND the second set of steps below. I’ve paraphrased the information I got from MBAM support:

If MBAM is removing something that it shouldn’t, then you can restore it from quarantine:

  1. Open Malwarebytes.
  2. In the Detection History panel on the left, click Total items in quarantine.
  3. Select the checkbox of each detection you wish to restore.
  4. Click Restore.
  5. Restart the computer to complete the restore process.

To prevent MBAM from removing the files again, you need to exclude them from detection:

  1. Open Malwarebytes.
  2. Click Scan to run a threat scan (this can take several minutes).
  3. When the scan is complete, you need to verify each of the items detected. If there are some you want to keep, clear their checkboxes. (In our case, 9 items were detected, all related to this software we wanted to use—the EXE file, the taskbar and desktop shortcuts, a registry item, and a couple of others)
  4. Click Next.
  5. MBAM will ask what you want to do with the unchecked items—select Ignore Always.
  6. Restart the computer for the changes to take effect.

Word: Table cells won’t align

July 13, 2022

A client had an issue with a Word table—the cells, columns, and rows wouldn’t align no matter what she did. I’ve encountered similar situations many times (possibly because track changes is on when people add/remove table rows or cells, or they try do things with merged table cells without realising that they are merged, or they try to join one table to another). Invariably my ‘go to’ method (after spending a few minutes and getting nowhere) is to start a new table from scratch and copy/paste the cell information into it. Tedious for sure, but sometimes it’s the only way to salvage your sanity—and the table!

However, a few weeks ago I read about another trick to get table cells to align (the first method listed here:, so I thought I’d try that on the client’s table as a first step, and it worked beautifully!

Here’s what her table looked like—I’ve blurred the content, and added arrows pointing to where things went wrong. In addition to the columns not aligning, the row ends didn’t align, and some parts of the table were missing borders.

Here’s how I aligned it in just a couple of seconds (Word 365 for Windows):

  1. Select the whole table.
  2. Go to the Layout tab (the one to the right of the Table Design tab—NOT the one for page layout).
  3. Go to the Cell Size group.
  4. In the Cell Size group, put a small value in the Width field (I used 0.2 cm). This gives you a narrow table.
  5. Click the drop-down arrow for AutoFit, then choose AutoFit Window. Your table columns and rows should now be aligned and you can now adjust them, as necessary.

NOTE: I’ve since had further issues, and this trick didn’t work for them all. The tables it didn’t work on all had some merged cells, so I split cells to get them back to the same number of columns as the main table, and then this trick worked. If you still need to keep those cells merged, then make sure no further changes will be done to the table and remerge as necessary (or use no borders for the cell dividers if you don’t want to remerge).

[Link last checked July 2022]


Changes to Australian federal government departments

July 11, 2022

With each change of state and federal government after an election (particularly when the other party wins the election), invariably departments are amalgamated, added, disbanded, or functions from one department now come under another, and/or department names are changed. For the government departments related to the areas I work in (environment, water, energy, agriculture, in particular), the list below details the changes to the Australian government departments as at 1 July 2022:

  • Former Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) ==> split into Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) and Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF)
  • Former Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) ==> becomes Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR); the Energy function goes to DCCEEW
  • (new) Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR; not to be confused with the old DEWR abbreviation used for the former Department of Environment and Water Resources)
  • Former Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication (DITRDC) ==> becomes Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communication and the Arts (DITRDCA)




Comprehensive list of courses related to editing

July 10, 2022

Katharine O’Moore-Klopf has compiled a very comprehensive list of courses related to editing (and sometimes publishing too) on her website. The courses include formal undergrad and postgrad courses from universities, as well as programs from professional associations and the like. If you’re interested in getting specific training in editing, her page is a great place to start:

She also has some excellent resources related to copyediting, starting here:

[Link last checked July 2022]