Lisa’s Picks: Aussie Adventures

By Lisa Louise Cooke Premium

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lisa and koala

Sites to See

I visited lush and balmy Queensland, Australia, after speaking at the Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry in Sydney. My husband, Bill, and I snorkeled along the Great Barrier Reef and soared via Skyrail above the world’s oldest continually surviving tropical rainforest. Our gondola drifted past early settlers’ tracks on forested hillsides and by the impressive Barron Falls, to dock in the mountain village of Kuranda. Visitors there can cuddle koala bears at the Kuranda Koala Gardens and learn about the pioneering Veivers family, whose descendants operate the gardens.

suffragette cover

Recent Reads

Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s short story The Suffragette’s Secret is a timely tale for this year’s 100th anniversary of Britain’s first law allowing women to vote in general elections. In the book, genealogist Morton Farrier unravels the truth about his wife’s mysterious great-grandmother Grace Emmerson, a militant suffragist. Readers learn the little-known real-life history of the female suffrage movement.

Were your English grandmothers or great-grandmothers part of the suffrage movement? Visit the British National Archives’ Suffrage 100 website.


Heirlooms for Sale

The online auction site eBay might offer pieces of your family history. Sign up for a free account and search for ancestral names, places, events and organizations. If nothing’s up for bid, click “Save this search” to be notified of future matches. I’ve unearthed photos, stock certificates, and even an ancestor’s unopened mail. My recent find is a 50-year-old tablecloth embroidered with handprints, names and birthdates of generations of the Madden family. They’re not my kin, but I hope to reunite the heirloom with descendants.

smart phone

Smartphone Smarts

Smartphones are becoming our primary computing devices, but the keyboards remain irritatingly small. At least your phone’s shortcuts let you more quickly type out text messages and genealogy searches. For example, I type wax and my phone expands it to Waxahachie, Texas. On an iPhone, go to Settings>General>Keyboard and turn on Shortcuts. Tap Text Replacement, then the plus sign. Enter the long text in the Phrase field and a shortcut of at least three characters in the Shortcut field (shown). Find instructions for Android devices by searching online for android custom text shortcuts.

ring light

Top Tools

My daughter Hannah gave me this Qiaya Ring Light, available on Amazon. It’s meant to enhance selfies, but I’ve found it quite handy for genealogy. I use it for photographing tombstones in the shade and “copying” records by snapping pics of them. The light clips to my phone around the camera lens and makes my pictures look better than using the phone’s flash.

family tree podcast


In our September episode, Lisa and guests chat about Scottish genealogy, historic events that changed how we do genealogy, and more. Subscribe with your favorite podcast app or tune in at