Internationally-acclaimed author and speaker, New South Wales
Carol Baxter has turned her passion for researching and writing into eight different career pathways. She is a dynamic and inspirational genealogy presenter, an internationally-acclaimed author, with two of her popular histories being turned into TV series, and an enrichment speaker on international cruise ships.
Carol Baxter’s genealogy career began in the 1980s when she was appointed Project Officer for the Australian Biographical and Genealogical Record. In that role, she edited many volumes of early colonial records. She still works for the same project, now called the Biographical Database of Australia (BDA). She is also a Fellow of the Society of Australian Genealogists and an adjunct lecturer at the University of New England.
In 2005, Carol’s first attempt at writing popular history was picked up by Australia’s high-profile publisher, Allen & Unwin. She is now the author of six internationally-acclaimed popular histories including The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable, which was described by The Times (London) as being ‘as lively and readable as a crime novel’. Her latest book, The Fabulous Flying Mrs Miller, is being turned into an internationally-produced TV series (The Aviatrix) by the producers of the film Lion. She also tells her true tales of murder, mystery and mayhem to audiences on international cruise ships.
After An Irresistible Temptation was published in 2006, genealogy groups asked Carol to help them write interesting family histories. She decided to provide even more assistance by writing “how to”books, including Writing Interesting Family Histories and Writing and Publishing Gripping Family Histories. She has also published books and handy-guides under the Unlock the Past umbrella, including The Madness of Mac Surnames, a humorous beginner’s guide called To Trace or Not to Trace, and a series of handy guides on English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh given names. www.carolbaxter.com
‘The law is a ass, Sir!’ (Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist). This presentation begins by discussing the big picture question of the British criminal justice system, including the contemporary attitudes to criminals and the policy of transporting them abroad. It then covers the types of records that deal with the crimes and punishments of British criminals.
Have you noticed that the given names of our eighteenth and nineteenth century British ancestors were drawn from a surprisingly small pool? But how small a pool? How common were our ancestors’ given names? John for example was carried by one in every five English males. The four most popular male names were carried by one in every two males. And the top thirteen male names were carried by 87% of the male population indicating that all of the other male names in use at the time were together borne by only 13% of the population. That being the case, the usual popularity lists found on the internet – those that record the top 10, 20, 50 names – are unhelpful unless they provide frequency statistics. This seminar focuses on given name popularities, changes in popularity, and the reasons for such changes. It also covers spelling variants, abbreviations and diminutives. For example, if you don’t know that Polly was a diminutive of Mary or that Nellie was a diminutive of Ellen and Eleanor and Helen, you may struggle to find your ancestors’ entries. Our ancestors’ names provide the gateway into tracing our family history. Learning more about their names may prove useful in determining their ancestry or finding other family connections.
If you'd like to find out more about Carol, visit her website.
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