Sunday, 3 June 2018

How to declutter your screen

Clear reading

Are you using this simple solution to clear your screen of additional clutter?

You’ve arrived at the article you want to read but the website is full of clutter, advertisements, sidebars with links to other articles and menus for navigating the site. Perhaps you want just the single article and a clear view of it.

Look for Reader View. A good reader view will clear the page of extraneous material, enable text resizing,  and some will provide the facility to change the background screen colour. Not all websites provide the option for a reader view but it is well worth using it when available.

Safari for iPad 

In the address bar look for the 4 line symbol in on the far left. A single tap will enable the simplified view or by a long press you can select to use on all websites.

Chrome - Windows 

For years I have been using the web extension Clearly by Evernote on my Windows PC but it has been discontinued. If you have Clearly installed it is likely it will continue to work but no further development is being undertaken.
Try Mercury Reader available from the Chrome web store if you do not have Clearly still working. 

Chrome - Android
The latest version now offers as simplified view. To access it,
  • Open the Chrome browser (version 65) on your phone or tablet
  • Go to Settings > Accessibility
  • Tap on Simplified View
This will force Chrome to offer to show articles in a simplified view when that is supported. If your phone or tablet has not automatically downloaded the latest version of the browser, head to the Play store to update it.

Microsoft Edge

Edge has a reading mode built into the browser which can be activated by clicking on the book symbol in the address bar. The disadvantage with this method is that the pages are then reordered left to right rather than the normal method of scrolling down a page. Some may like that arrangement as it mimics a book layout.


Firefox displays a single page icon in the address bar when the website can provide a simplified view. 

What web browsers provide you with the best reading options on your devices?

Friday, 2 March 2018

Interactive charts for family history bloggers

Producing a visual interactive chart for your Blogger blog

While most genealogy programs will produce a csv or spreadsheet chart of some sort, they are usually not friendly for Blogger blogs. For those not using TNG site building software or Webtrees there are some other options. Two of the simplest options are outlined below.

An organisational chart using Google Slides

  1. On a blank slide choose Insert - Diagram
  2. Select from the range of organisational styles available
  3. Choose how many levels to display, the options are 3,4 or 5. On my slide I chose three. 
  4. Choose a colour then add the chart to the blank slide. 
  5. Modify the text and add the links to your blog posts. The text in the slide above is Roboto font, size 18, white, bold and each name is linked to an individual post on my Earlier Years blog.
  6. Select the whole chart and drag to enlarge to fit the widescreen slide
  7. Under the file menu choose publish to the web. Any changes you subsequently make, will be automatically updated.
  8. Choose embed - this one is the small size, copy and paste the embed code into the HTML editor of your blog.
*Alternate strategy when a diagram does not meet your needs
Start with a blank slide, insert a basic shape, fill with colour, double click in it to add generic text and format the font and size. Now duplicate as many of that shape as needed, arrange on slide then use elbow joiners to link the shapes. Add the names and links to the shapes. Proceed as detailed above.
Make a copy of your slide in Google Drive and rename to Template - blog family tree so that you can use the same slide for a different family without affecting your embedded publication.

Using a Google spreadsheet

A pedigree view can be simulated in a few different methods in spreadsheets. This is a simple one.  Here's a link to a diagrammatic spreadsheet of  Hannah's ancestors created in Google sheets.

  • I've used three columns and enough rows to allow for the descendancy to show. 
  • The cells have added colour and links added to individual posts.
  • Under the file menu choose publish to the web. Any changes you subsequently make, will be automatically updated.
  • Choose embed - copy and paste the embed code into the HTML editor of your blog.
  • The same spreadsheet is shown below published to the web and embedded here. 
  • The embed code does not have any details for height and width so only shows this small scrollable box.

This one has some added HTML in the code to improve the size of the display.

Warning: if you copy from here do paste into a plain text editor such as notepad, check and compare it before adding to your embed code.
Paste in the embed HTML then add in the code in red after the word  iframe and before src=

frameborder="0" headers="false" height="300" mozallowfullscreen="true" 

Then after widget=true copy and insert webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="640"

Once again, save a copy of your spreadsheet renaming it as a template so that it can be reused for the next family.

If you are more adventurous visit Tony Proctor's blog Parallax View to investigate how to embed an SVG family tree.

 This post was written by Carmel Galvin and first appeared on

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Talking of Tarlee - Sheaf tossing

This article appeared in 1947 with the reporter and John McInerney reminiscing about the Tarlee picnics of days gone by. Like so many Trove articles it opens up more lines of enquiry so Tarlee sheaf tossing led me to the history of a mill in Gawler and an Italian musician who composed “The Cat’s Polka” and “The Canary Waltz.”

But first the sheaf tossing.  In the picture above you see sheafs of wheat being tossed by pitchfork from cart up to the man responsible for building the haystack. (1)

Tarlee Sheaf Tossing

OUR esteemed old Riverton friend John Mclnerney confirms what Mr. Herb. Gray suggested about the origin of sheaf-tossing. 'Yes, it was my late brother Jim who first suggested a prize for sheaf-tossing at the Tarlee picnic more than 50 years ago. The method was to place a bar about as high as a load of hay, and competitors had to pitch the sheaf over this; the distance it went after was the deciding factor, As Mr. Gray stated, the sheaves were just as they came off the binder, and didn't stand very many throws. However, a plentiful supply was on hand and fresh ones were used. About 22 entries were received for the initial contest.
Reaper-binder-harvester with sheaf carrier
Museums Victoria -

'Bowling at a single stump was also on the bill for the first time; and this is a popular event at picnic sports today. Another novelty was a polo race. Competitors lined up on hacks armed with a polo mallet, and had to thump a ball about 15 chains or so to the winning post. Swimming contests, too, were decided in a large pool close by in the Gilbert. 'For two or three years Phil Roberts ran here as a boy, but the committee insisted that he should in future run in the men's class.  Mr. Joe Denton, of Farrells Plat, was another good sport, and Mr. Bevan. 'A splendid luncheon was provided by the ladies— turkey and ham in plenty—with a help-yourself supply of pickles. I believe that the luncheon for 1/ was an attraction in itself. Setaro's Canary String Band supplied the music for the day and night, Really, in those days, the Tarlee picnic was spoken of as the Onkaparinga of the North.
'The railway was opened to Tarlee on July 1, 1869. Before this wheat was carted with bullock teams to Duffield's mill at Gawler. Fancy strolling beside a team of bullocks for such a distance. (2)
This article led me on more explorations. What was Setaro’s Canary String band and what was Duffield’s mill in Gawler?

Setaro’s Canary String Band

setaropicFrom May of 1889 advertisements for Signor Francesco Setaro’s band started to appear in newspapers. Hundreds of events from then on, referred to this popular band which provided music of a great variety from opera to popular tunes.

Yearly socials of literary societies, church groups of various denominations, fetes, picnics, banquets and sports occasions were all enhanced with music provided by this band. Sometimes it was intermittent music between other recitals or dance music provided at the end of an evening function. 

The band name with canary added in came about as recognition of  one of several popular pieces he composed - The Canary Waltz.

The background story is revealed in his obituary published in 1926. He had arrived in Adelaide at age 20 to play in a jubilee concert. He was already an accomplished musician who had been performing since he was 12. Slightly different details are provided in the various obituaries published by the newspapers, but at age 59 his illustrious career had come to and end. He was recognised as a generous citizen willing to contribute his talent and teaching skills to the citizens of South Australia. (3)

Duffield’s Gawler Mill

duffield mill
This photo shows the mill in 1882.
I then explored references to  the Gawler Mill and found through Trove that as early as 1862 additions to the mill were being made to cater for the quantity of wheat being delivered there.
The addition to Mr. Duffield's mill is fast progressing, and already overlooks the old building. When completed I should think it will be one of the largest mills in the colony, if not the largest of any. An immense amount of new wheat is being brought into the town, most of which at present finds its way to Duffield's mill; the mill and premises are literally crowded with wheat. (4)
Fire was always a hazard for the mill. Disaster struck not just once, but at least three times. In June of 1867 the newspapers reported the complete destruction of the mill wherein the shafts and mill wheels were damaged beyond repair by the intensity of the heat.(5)

In September of 1867 the new foundation stone was laid and building of the new mill was expected to be completed by the end of 1868. (6) Work proceeded apace with the new mill officially opened in July of 1868. (7)

The new mill however was short-lived and in December of 1868 the residents of Gawler were awoken to cries of “Fire, fire” once more. Yet again Duffield’s mill was destroyed and out of action. An inquest was quickly established to determine whether there had been foul play. (8) By August of 1869 the rebuilding of the mill was almost complete. In 1876 another conflagration consumed the mill and all it contained. (9)

Once again the mill was rebuilt and reopened in February of 1877. It continued to trade under a variety of guises including producing compressed fodder during the Boer War. In April 1927 after years of standing idle the old mill was once again consumed by fire. (10)

IN 1928 the death knell was sounded for the Victoria Mill as it was known. It was demolished to make way for railway yards. Its chequered history was recalled in the 1928 article 1928 'THE LAST OF THE OLD VICTORIA MILL.'

Walter Duffield the owner of the Gawler and several other mills is profiled here in The Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Trove a true treasure of stories of the past.

1. ‘Building a stack of cereal hay’ photoID 306946

2. 1947 'Out Among The People', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 9 October, p. 43. , viewed 11 February  2018,

3. 1926 'OBITUARY.', The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), 18 January, p. 11. , viewed 20 Feb 2018,

4.1862 'GAWLER.', The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), 31 January, p. 3. , viewed 11 Feb 2018,

5. 1867 'GREAT FIRE AT GAWLER.—DESTRUCTION OF MR. DUFFIELD'S MILL.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 28 June, p. 7. , viewed 11 Feb 2018,

6. 1867 'THE NEW VICTORIA FLOUR MILLS, GAWLER.', The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922), 21 September, p. 3. (LATE EDITION.), viewed 11 Feb 2018,

7. 1868 'THE VICTORIA MILLS GAWLER.', Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), 18 July, p. 9. , viewed 11 Feb 2018,

8. 1868 'DESTRUCTIVE FIRE AT GAWLER.', Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), 19 December, p. 6. , viewed 11 Feb 2018,

9. 1876 'LOCAL TELEGRAMS.', The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), 28 January, p. 5. , viewed 11 Feb 2018,

10. 1927 'GENERAL NEWS.', The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), 26 April, p. 10. , viewed 11 Feb 2018,

11. 1928 'THE LAST OF THE OLD VICTORIA MILL.', Bunyip (Gawler, SA : 1863 - 1954), 6 April, p. 11. , viewed 11 Feb 2018,