I’ve made this series to highlight women who are starting out. They have created something out of nothing, following those whispers and are moving forward with bringing their dreams to life. I believe in the power of sharing our stories, supporting and lifting each other up. There is enough for everyone to be successful, in what ever way feels right for them.
I N T R O D U C I N G
Liliana is a qualified genealogist and family historian who is passionate about connecting the past to the present through the lens of family history.
On her website/blog familyfolkandhistory.com she shares research tips, tutorials and resources to help you on your own family history journey.
Homeschooled from Prep-Year 12, space was always held for Liliana to follow her curiosity with no time limits or constraints during the school day. Learning this way has helped her develop strong research skills, and precise attention to the details, which really helps since often so many family history clues are hidden amongst the paper trail of records.
Liliana has had her work published by the Daylesford and District Historical Society and contributed research to their archives. She has also contributed research material to a new book nearing completion called Second Chance, the sequel to Double Gold, written by Janet McDonald and Gary Powell.
While Liliana plans to offer family history research services in the future, for now she is continuing her professional development by returning to the University of Tasmania in July to study a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in history.
T HE Q U E S T I O N S
1.Would you share a little about yourself and what lead you to starting Family, Folk and History?
I’ve always loved history and family history as part of my homeschooling subjects, but only properly became interested in it at the age of 15 while working on a creative writing project.
A Scottish ancestor on my mother’s side, Barbara, fought as a Jacobite in the 1745 rebellion. I thought she would make an interesting character for my creative writing project and began researching more about her. My interest in family history snowballed from there.
And as for that creative writing project…well, that snowballed too, and is now approximately 350,000 words long. I am slowly shaping it into a four-book series inspired by Ancient Irish and Scottish mythology.
After researching Barbara’s story, I quickly realised that I wanted to make family history my profession, and in 2020 began studying the Diploma of Family History with the University of Tasmania alongside my Year 11 & 12 studies.
Fast forward to now, I am a qualified genealogist and family historian who specialises in (but not limited to) Australian history (specifically immigration, convict history and the Australian WWI experience) and Scottish genealogy from the 14th to the 19th century, with an emphasis on Jacobitism and immigration.
Dedicated to making family history more accessible, I regularly post research tips and tutorials on my website and blog familyfolkandhistory.com along with articles about people, places and events from the past.
2.Favourite time of the day?
I do love early morning when the dawn chorus is starting, it is just so magical and the day feels full of possibilities.
3. Life is full of distractions, what keeps you focused?
I’m naturally a very curious person, so being a family historian and studying history in general particularly suits me because there is always something to research or learn – when I go down a research rabbit hole it is very hard to get distracted. A tip for beginner family historians: set a timer to take research breaks!
I also love listening to music while I work, especially classical, swing, or Scottish music. I always focus better when I have something playing in the background.
4.What has surprised you?
I think two things have really surprised me, the first one being how many records are online these days.
The majority of archives and records that I work with can be accessed from a computer with good internet connection. This has especially progressed since the pandemic – when libraries/archives/museums closed due to lockdowns, many turned to digitising their archives. Lots of records and other material can be now accessed via libraries and for free online. This has really democratised family history and made it much more accessible for everyone, no matter where you live or your budget.
The second thing that has surprised me the most is how researching family history teaches you to become more observant.
While studying my Diploma of Family History, I learnt how to read between the lines of records and follow paper trails that can sometimes skip generations. An additional result of this is that I’ve become more observant in my day to day life and pay closer attention to the little details in books, movies, and television shows.
Family history and genealogy is really just a type of detective work!
5. One piece of advice you would like to pass on to someone starting out?
I think my main piece of advice for a beginner family historian would be to go slowly, learn how to record your references properly and rely only on your own research.
When you’re new to family history/genealogy it can be so easy to trust other people’s research more than your own, which can lead to spending a lot of time descrambling incorrect information later down the track. I made this mistake when I started out and had to spend a lot of time fixing my family tree. I simply didn’t believe that I knew enough to “get it right” because I was a beginner.
Learn from other people’s research by all means, but always double check the facts and research the information yourself. Yes, as a beginner you will make mistakes – everyone does when they start something new – but the mistakes will be smaller and easier to deal with when you give yourself the credit you deserve and trust in your own research.
Interview Series: Family, Folk and History.
June 25, 2023