You have to be in it to win in Family History Month

August is National Family History Month.  To celebrate your family history endeavours there are opportunities for you to win prizes IF YOU ARE QUICK!

Simply enter your details in the draw for PRIZES provided by the good sponsors of National Family History Month – BUT YOU HAVE TO QUICK – closing 20 AUGUST! 

AND you can enter your writing in the GSV 2018 Writing Competition which is on now – CLOSING 31 AUGUST.



There are lots of events and some terrific prizes to be won including DNA kits, Ancestry and MyHeritage subscriptions, a Nikon camera and more. For details on how to enter the prize draw go to


Our 2018 writing competition is still open but entries close soon – 31 August.  It is open to all GSV Members. We are very pleased that Ancestry™ has very generously offered a 12 months subscription to their ‘UK Heritage plus’ option as the prize.

Last year’s prize was won by Helen Pearce with her article: Thomas Owen: the skeleton in my family’s closet. This is the story of her ancestor Thomas Owen who was transported to Australia for ‘uttering’ – the passing of forged notes. Helen began her story with her memory that her mother was adamant that there were no convicts in her family, even though she was from a long line of Tasmanians. The real story was uncovered by Helen too late to let her mother know the facts – perhaps just as well – but Helen was excited with her discovery. It is interesting how a better understanding of the times has changed the way we receive this knowledge. You can read her story in Ancestorjournal December 2017 (vol 33 issue 8)

It is not too late to make your final edits to that family story you have been researching – or even to write up that material you have been promising to put in better shape for the family. And the winning article will be published in the December 2018 issue of GSV’s award-winning journal. What better way to make your story available for the family down through the generations!

For full details of conditions of entry click HERE.




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The Catholic Heritage Archive

Today’s post contributed by Ted Bainbridge draws our attention to the Catholic Heritage Archive available at
Findmypast. Ted has been a researcher, teacher, speaker and writer on genealogy since 1969. He has taught many beginner and advanced genealogy classes. His genealogical and historical articles are published frequently by several US national, state, and county organizations. Ted is the past president of the Longmont Genealogical Society, in Colorado, US. and he is currently on the staff of the Longmont Family History Center.[Ed.]


The  Catholic  Heritage Archive

Ted  Bainbridge  PhD is enlarging its Catholic Heritage Archive [CHA] which intends to become ‘the most comprehensive online collection of Roman Catholic records for the USA, Britain and Ireland, containing one hundred million records.’ The site’s front page claims, ‘Most of these records have never before been accessible by the public – either offline or online.’

Go to and sign in or subscribe.  [Access to Findmypast is free to members of the Genealogical Society of Victoria (GSV) within the GSV Research Centre. Alternately free access is also available at LDS Church Family History Centres or your local library.]

The CHA contains or will contain millions of Irish records*, plus sacramental registers of England, Scotland, and the United States.  Records of the archdioceses of New York, Philadelphia (beginning in 1757), and Baltimore contain thirty million records. English records include those of Birmingham and Westminster, both beginning in 1657.  Records include baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials, censuses, and more.

You can search the entire collection by specifying various name, date, and place parameters. Alternatively, you can access English or Irish or Scottish baptism, marriage, or burial registers; as well as American baptism or marriage registers, or parish registers. Each data set can be searched for several parameters that you can specify or omit as you think best.

Invaluable guidance is available by selecting Learn More, Understanding the Records, Searching Irish Catholic Parish Registers, Common Latin Terminology, and Finding British and Irish Places of Birth.

There are many links to other helpful internet locations at the bottom of the CHA front page. 


*  The GSV also recommends going to the free for locating any Irish ancestors for birth, death and Marriage records. [Ed.]


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The Keyboard of the President #4 – August 2018

GSV Council has been working hard to support members in their family history endeavours.  In this post, David Down, GSV President gives us an update. There are more benefits than ever from joining GSV and many ways you can contribute to helping others. [Ed.]


The GSV was very pleased this week that its quarterly journal Ancestor was, once again,  selected as the winner of its category in the 2018 Nick Vine Hall Awards, which were presented at the AFFHO launch of Family History Month.

Strategic Plan: Council met this week to review the Strategic Plan that we developed one year ago. We have introduced a number of new programs such as our contact with new member’s scheme, our DNA for Family Historian program and our new Discussion Circles. These efforts have resulted in an increase in new members and the slowing of the decline in our membership. We intend to reinforce those programs and introduce other initiatives such as a website Forum for members to replace the old ‘GSV-L’ Rootsweb bulletin board and new Discussion Circles.

AGM: The Society’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 6 October at 2 pm in our meeting room. The GSV Council is responsible for ensuring that the human, physical, financial, and research resources are available to ensure that the Society is acting in your best interests both currently and in the future. We are seeking members prepared to serve as Councillors for the next two years. The challenges of guiding the Society’s future are exciting and fulfilling and if you are interested in learning more about how you could contribute please email me and I will contact you.

Our new computers are being installed.  I would like to thank everyone who has very kindly donated to our ongoing appeal for the renewal of our IT infrastructure – we have raised almost $9,000 of the $15,000 appeal target. The funds raised so far are sufficient to replace all the library PCs and those who have visited recently will have noticed that we have commenced installing the new PCs and monitors and a few new ergonomic chairs. After considerable hard work from our IT volunteers and librarians we are implementing a new universal menu system that enables the user to access all our resources from each PC. We are still very keen to raise the remaining balance of $6,000 as the back-room IT equipment, especially the servers, need to be replaced to ensure a stable and secure IT system.

Opportunity for people to help as Office Assistants. We have an ongoing requirement for Office Assistants to join a team who support Linda to handle the day to day running of the Office. They are the first point of contact with members, volunteers and visitors. Major responsibilities include reception duties, administrative tasks such as handling cash, processing cheques and credit card payments, and processing within our membership system. A program of training and mentoring will be provided. If you are interested in assisting in this way please contact Linda during office hours. She will explain what is involved and send you more information in the form of a position description document.

Membership System Emails: I must apologise as recently a number of regular membership emails failed to be sent out whilst follow-up emails advising that membership was overdue or had expired were distributed. The system is designed around three emails:

  • a membership renewal email sent one month in advance of the renewal date
  • a reminder email sent a few days after membership is due
  • an expired membership email sent one month after the due date

Understandably if the sequence is disrupted then it is not easy to determine if your membership is current. If you have any queries at any time please email us or phone the office during business hours. We are investigating the source of the problem with a commercial company experienced with the software and hope to resolve the matter promptly. Again, please accept my apologies for any concerns that the disruption may have caused.

All the best with your family history research.

David Down – President GSV


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GSV wins 2018 Nick Vine Hall Award for best family history journal

August is  National Family History Month and we celebrate the finding and telling of our family histories.

Barbara Beaumont (left) accepting Nick Vine Hall Award 2018.

The GSV is particularly pleased to be awarded this year’s Nick Vine Hall Award for Ancestor, our quarterly journal. This award and our previous wins in 2012 and 2015 show our continuing commitment to helping people tell their family stories. Our journal is produced wholly by a volunteer Editorial Team and special congratulations are due to our layout designer, Jay Wickham, and to our two articles sub-editors, Martin Playne and Barbara Beaumont, as well as all our contributing writers. Barbara accepted the Award on GSV’s behalf at the launch of National Family History Month this week and her report of this successful event is this week’s post. You can find out more about National Family History Month on AFFHO’s website HERE.


The Australian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) launched National Family History Month on Wednesday 1 August in Hobart. Vicki Montgomery, wearing her AFFHO hat, (she is Vice President of AFFHO as well as GSV Secretary), conducted the meeting. The building at 91 Murray St, Hobart is home to The National Archives of Australia and the State Library Archives Service. Short addresses by Celia Blake, Victorian and Tasmanian Director of the National Archives of Australia, and Caroline Homer, Manager of the State Library (Tasmania) Archives Service, emphasised the value of the co-location of these two organisations. Celia introduced us to some of the treasures available in the National Archives, then Caroline spoke about how Family History dovetails with the library’s aims and outlined some of the Archive Service’s current projects.

The winning issue of Ancestor, 33:7 September 2017

The Nick Vine Hall awards for the best family history journal/newsletter in Australia and New Zealand were then made. The GSV (yes us!) won the first prize in Category B, societies with a membership over five hundred. I was delighted to be able to go as a representative of our editorial team to accept the award. Look out for the beautiful plaque we were given when you next visit the Society.

The keynote address, ‘Why is Family History Important?’ was given by Dr. Dianne Snowden. Dianne’s entertaining talk drew on her own experiences of family history research and touched on several themes. Some that particularly appealed to me:

  • In her childhood her grandmother’s exercise book of recipes and names and the big family bible sparked her interest in family history, and this led on to formal study of history and a passion for conserving heritage.
  • Academic historians, once condescending about family history, were lately coming to see its value (when it is done correctly).
  • Researching one’s family enables us to make connections with family both past and present, and helps to develop one’s own sense of identity.

The afternoon concluded with a lavish afternoon tea.

Barbara Beaumont

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‘Finding and Preserving Memories’ seminar at Wodonga 1 September


Most of us research family members who lived in various parts of regional Victoria. Many descended from pioneers or from those who took up land after the gold rushes. But there was also a significant exodus of families to the country from ‘Marvellous Melbourne’ in the severe financial depression following the collapse of the banks in 1893. Others took up land under various Soldier Settlement schemes. So visiting regional Family History Societies and their collections often provides a valuable local insight into the lives of our country ancestors. The GSV has 48 associated Member Societies based in regional Victoria. You can find their contact details on the GSV website. Next time you plan a trip, call in and visit these local collections. You will receive plenty of help and add local colour to your research.

In this post we feature the Wodonga Family History Society. Visit their website HERE.  They are holding their annual seminar and this is a great opportunity to visit this Society and the area.


Saturday 1 September 2018, from 8.30 am to 4.00 pm.

Felltimber Community Centre, Ritter Rd, Wodonga.

The topics for the seminar will include:

  • Dating photographs –Barb Toohey and Sue Pillans. Barb and Sue are members of the Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra. 
  • The Life of Emigration – the processes and experiences of 19thcentury migration – Liz Rushen is the Chair of the History Council of Victoria, a social historian; Liz has published widely in the field of migration history.
  • Finding shipping records –Meg Bate is the Assistant Library Manager at The Genealogical Society of Victoria.
  • Restoring and preserving photos and documents –April Padbury. April holds an associate degree in Local and Applied History.

Exhibitors include Tony Stewart Photography, The Little Purple Dragon Scrapbooking, Archival Access, Eric Barton Books, Genealogical Society of Victoria, Officeworks Wodonga.

 Cost $40, $35 earlybird, if booked and paid for by 3 August, WFHS members $35. Morning, afternoon tea and lunch provided.

Contact:          Wendy:  0447 035 725 or 0260 563 220. Norma:  0448 356 125


Mail:                Wodonga Family History Soc. Inc., PO Box 289, Wodonga, 3689.

A discount of $10 per room is offered for seminar attendees at the Murray Valley Motel, 196 Melbourne Road, Wodonga 3690; ph: 0260 241422; email:

People wishing to take advantage of this offer should speak to either Christine or Dean and mention that they will be in Wodonga to attend the Wodonga Family History’s seminar.


The Wodonga Family History Society was formed thirty years ago.

On 8 May 1987 members of the Albury Historical Society and others met at St. Patrick’s Parish Church, Wodonga to establish a family history group. It began its life as the ‘Wodonga and Districts Group of the GSV’ on the 15 June 1988, with an inaugural meeting at the Wodonga High School attended by thirty-seven genealogically-minded people, seventeen of whom were already members of the GSV. In 1992 the group was incorporated as the ‘Wodonga Family History Society Inc.’ 

The Society’s logo was created in July 1989, the result of the combined efforts of April Padbury, Wayne Bedella, Gavan Brown, and Susanne Pendlebury. It was designed to represent the areas of the district and the four points of the compass. Membership reached 100 in May 1996 and now fluctuates around this number as people complete their research and new members join up. A total of at least 508 members have passed through the Society since its inception.  
The Society established a research collection and is actively involved in preserving and transcribing local records for access by present and future generations. Details of their holdings are on their website.

WFHS members with new research publications 2015

The website was launched on the 9 September 2004 and has been a resounding success with over 54,600 visitors to date. Meeting places have varied but in March 2000 they began holding their meetings at the Felltimber Community Centre. Almost every year the Society has held a major seminar or event and in 2001 they hosted the Fourth Victorian State Family History Conference, which ran for three days and was attended by 150 people. The Society also sponsors two story writing competitions, the Townsend Trophy which commenced in 1996 in memory of Gwen Townsend, and which is run every two years, and the Wayne Bedella Trophy in memory of our former President, which is run yearly.  
The WFHS research and reference collection is held in the Upper Murray Regional Library, Hovell Street, Wodonga. The collection is open to the public at set times three days per week and there is always a willing member there to help. 

WFHS Meetings: 7.30 pm on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at Felltimber Community Centre, Ritter Rd, Wodonga. Gold coin donation. Visitors are always welcome.

Springtime is a great time to explore any family links in this region and join the Wodonga Family History Society at this year’s Seminar.


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A treasure trove of military genealogy

Military Genealogy at the Royal United Services Institute of Victoria

On Thursday August 2 at 12.00 pm – 1.00 pm at the GSV, Major General (Ret’d) Michael  O’Brien will give an insight into the extensive collection of military genealogy that is held at the library at Victoria Barracks- a real treasure trove of information to be explored.

The RUSI library at Victoria Barracks

Mike is a committed community activist and a believer in a fair go. He is an experienced manager and company director, has run an iconic Melbourne antiquarian bookstore for 17 years and is an advocate for small business as the main engine that drives our economy. He had an extensive military career but balanced it with directorships of a listed company and a non-bank financial institution. He has tertiary qualifications in Science and Management. He has lectured around the world on cruise ships for 10 years gaining an enviable number of days at sea, an excellent remedy for a former Infantryman. He writes local history and believes our built heritage should be highly valued.

This is a great opportunity to find out about this lesser-known archive of material, that could hold just the link you need for your own research.

Bookings are essential – you can book HERE

Cost $5 GSV members, $20 non-members, $15 CAV, RHSV, FHC members.

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As part of Melbourne Tartan Festival come to GENEALOGY DAY at the GSV.


An introduction to family research with guidance from experienced volunteer researchers from The Genealogical Society of Victoria Inc. (GSV)

The GSV is your best destination if you have an interest in researching your family history. Tracing your ancestry is fascinating and rewarding but can be tricky at times, so let us help. Our centrally located Research & Education Centre is in Melbourne where you can work with our experienced volunteer research assistants. With their guidance, you can efficiently organise and record the family information you already hold. Then you can investigate our many resources and background information to find new information and fill in the gaps.

On this Genealogy Day there are two morning sessions which will be repeated in the afternoon.


Session 1 -“An introductory talk” is free. Book here
Session 2 with guidance from an experienced researcher. Ticket price $10.00 pp. Book here

Session 3 “An introductory talk” is free. Book here
Session 4 with guidance from an experienced researcher. Ticket price $10 pp. Book here

This festival is jointly sponsored by the Victorian Scottish Heritage Cultural Foundation and the Scots of Victoria co-ordinating Group.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity.



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It’s not too late to enter the Victorian Community History Awards 2018

This year marks the 20th Victorian Community History Awards.

Your research of a family story may add considerably to our understanding of some part of Victoria’s history. You are invited to enter a work or project by 20 July.  

The Victorian Community History Awards recognise excellence in historical method. Subject matter is limited to history primarily relating to the State of Victoria or projects that encourage greater access to Victorian collections. The Victorian Community History Awards have been held since 1999, and are proudly presented by Public Record Office Victoria and the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV). This year the $5000 award has been renamed the Victorian Premier’s History Award.

The diverse award categories acknowledge that history can be told in a variety of formats with the aim of reaching and enriching all Victorians. The awards cover apps, projects, multimedia and articles,
as well as the more regular books. One year a bridge with interpretative panels won.

Entries close 2pm Friday 20 July 2018.

Entries should have been created between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018. The conditions of entry and entry forms can be found on the RHSV website:

Find out more HERE.


Postscript:   GSV historians win RHSV Trivia Night

Seven enthusiastic GSV representatives braved the wintry Friday night to attend the RHSV Trivia Night on 22 June.  Having been made very welcome by our RHSV hosts we took up our seats at Table No. 4 to enjoy the evening and a tasty array of snacks, and a glass or two of wine.  We got off to a good start, running second after the first round.  We fielded a wide range of topics and tricky questions and fell into fourth place.  However all stops were pulled out in the fourth and fifth round and some fine sporting knowledge had us regain a competitive position.  In the final quiz element of the night and with the combined efforts of all, but especially of Vicki and Simon, we correctly answered all questions to come up with the winning answer and the big prize.  Yes, we took FIRST PRIZE! Congratulations Vicki, David, Simon, Meg, Leonie, Stephen, and Tony. 

Our thanks to RHSV for a fun event and if RHSV decide to run the event next year, we will have a title to defend.  



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Are you from up north?

The Northern English Counties Discussion Circle will meet on Tuesday 10 July at 12.30 pm. There will be two brief presentations outlining the resources available to assist those researching ancestors who were agricultural labourers or employed in shipbuilding and allied industries. General discussion will follow. All members of GSV are welcome as part of your membership.

‘Angel of the North’. Artist: Antony Gormley, at Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, 1998

We are an enthusiastic group who meet on the 2nd Tuesday of the month (except January), to discuss research and share interests in the North of England, covering the counties of Northumberland, Westmorland, Durham, Yorkshire and Cumberland. For anyone who has ancestors in this region, whether you are just starting out or have been researching for a number of years, we can help.



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Maryborough’s gold-rush newspapers to go online

It’s pretty cold in Melbourne so it’s good to be reminded of colder places in Victoria, but it’s also great to hear of genealogical activities in those places. In this post Robyn Ansell, a member of GSV, the Maryborough Midlands and Creswick historical societies and the Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria (CAFHOV) lets us know of new online records being created to help researchers.

Robyn ‘s great grandfather William Henry Ah Whay came to Maryborough as a teenager from China around 1860. He lived there for 60 years, marrying a young girl from the Creswick Black Lead Chinese camp and fathering eleven children.

Whay family fruiterer and refreshment rooms, High St, Maryborough, c.1918-1922 (Courtesy R. Ansell)

Teachers, students and residents of Maryborough, Victoria, past and present will later this year be able to read the Maryborough newspaper online for eleven years of the gold-rush period 1857 to 1867. It will be made available through the National Library of Australia on the Trove website. The State Library of Victoria, which holds the microfilms from 1857 onwards, will send the microfilms to Canberra for digitisation.

Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine and Beechworth, other significant Victorian goldfields towns, have newspapers for the goldrush period on Trove. To provide comparable Trove coverage for Maryborough will make a rich goldfields history resource available worldwide online to researchers and family historians. The World War I period 1914 to 1918 is already available on Trove. Users can easily browse the newspaper and download selected pages or individual articles.

The Maryborough-Midlands Historical Society holds many decades of the Maryborough and Dunolly Advertiser in hard copy, however the paper is fragile. It is expected that digitisation will reduce the need for people to handle the hard copies for 1857 to 1867.

The Local History Grants program which will pay for the digitisation is funded annually by the Public Records Office of Victoria. The successful application was made by the Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria, CAFHOV, which was established in 2001. Many Australians are descended from Chinese who came to Australia in the last 150 years but may not know about this element of their heritage. They have been discovering it through genealogical research and DNA testing. The Facebook page and website for CAFHOV may be of assistance to them.  and

Other links : 

The Maryborough Midlands Historical Society

You can find them on Facebook  ‘Worsley Cottage’ and read about them at Culture Victoria website

Maryborough Family History Group Inc.

Worsley Cottage, Maryborough Midlands Historical Society


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