Are you chasing DNA?

Those who are chasing DNA and exploring genetic inheritances might be interested in the latest blog entry by renowned Irish genealogist, John Grenham. John’s unique style, great curiosity and fascinating insights always make for interesting reading, whether or not your heritage is Irish. This blog is no exception.

REMEMBER to check out the GSV’s DNA Discussion Circle – for Members. See the website here

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What’s on …

Our new Centre opened last week and it looks good! Congratulations to all who made it happen! Pop in and visit us soon. This coming week our program continues with the following events:

DNA Discussion Circle

Wed 12 April 2017 – 10.30am to 12 noon.

At: GSV Research & Education Centre. Members only. See website for information about this group:


South West England Research & Discussion Circle (SWERD)

Wed 12 April 2017. 12.30 pm – 2.00 pm.

At: GSV Research & Education Centre. Members only. See website for information about this group


GSV Library catalogue and databases

Thurs 13 April 2017 – 1.30 pm to 2.30 pm.

These small-group classes are designed to enable you to get the most out of the computer-based resources available in the GSV Research & Education Centre and at home. Duration 1 hour.

At: GSV Research & Education Centre. Free for GSV members. $20 non-members, $15 AIGS,RHSV. Bookings are required and can be made online, in person, by email or by telephone.

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GSV re-opens!

GSV opens the doors at our new Research and Education Centre on Tuesday NEXT WEEK – 4 APRIL – L6, 85 Queen Street, Melbourne.

Two Events next week:

Wed 5 April at 12.30 pm – The GSV Writers Circle meets to review two pieces of writing submitted by members – one ‘The Odyssey of Two Families: the Dedes and the Wares’ and the other a saga of Simeon Kneebone and family: two generations of a mining family from Gwennap, Cornwall. The writers of these interesting developed drafts will have the opportunity to discuss their writing with the members of this Group, and receive useful feedback: everything from meaning and structure to style and punctuation. GSV Members only (but you can join on the day and see if this Group could be useful for you).

Thurs 6 April – Special Class:  10.00am – 1.00pm – English Research 1700-1837
Speaker: Alan Fincher
How to trace your English ancestors pre-civil registration, through church records, maps, wills, educational, occupational and military records, newspapers, and land related records – with relevant sources and websites.
Members $45  –  Non-members $90 – Bookings essential. 

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A family history takes shape


23 March 2017

At the next GSV Writers Circle meeting (for members) on 5 April at our new Research and Education Centre, the group will discuss and offer suggestions on draft pieces of family history writing submitted by two of the Group. One of this month’s writers can rarely attend the Group as she lives interstate, but she still joins in and benefits from the GSV Writers Circle by way of email. She writes: I circulated this story at the end of last year. I received one small correction and a detailed and very helpful review… I am re-circulating it again for discussion at the April meeting. Much [extra research] has happened in the almost six month since I wrote it… Whilst I had intended to make only small changes now and to wait until after the April meeting to revise the story, I have done a little more than I originally intended and also worked on the majority of [the previous] suggestions… While I was writing the background to [this] life I realised that the two-generation story was more interesting.’ Where else can you receive knowledgeable help with your writing – the GSV Writers Circle includes many published writers – at no additional cost to your GSV membership? The aim of this GSV group is to help its members turn their research into accurate and readable stories. Your research deserves to be told and kept for the future.

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GSV Writers discuss Writing Reviews

Louise Wilson and GSV Writers (Photo. G. Nicholas)

Friday 10 March

Writing Reviews: basics and a touch of the unexpected

Gayle Nicholas.

It was hot in Melbourne on 1 March as members of the GSV Writers Circle gathered for their monthly discussion at Emirates House for the last time. The conversation was initially dominated by the imminent change in location of the Society and some members were recalling previous GSV locations, such as Block Arcade.

The focus of this meeting was on Book Reviews, and under Louise Wilson’s adept leadership books had been selected, reviews planned or pondered on, or already written.

Louise was well prepared and there was much for members of the group to think about. Members’ reasons for choosing books for the session included prior knowledge of the author and personal or research connections to people and places featuring in the selected book. The discussion soon moved to whether our choices were helping us as writers. Discussion emerged on the need to found writing in research and to use citations as members had come across family histories without sources. The cusp between history and creative writing, an area of ongoing interest to writers, was also raised.

The group was challenged by a question regarding the impact on target readers of titles and covers. The newly released Victoria the Queen has a cover appealing to current day readers and is receiving favourable reviews.   Louise placed book reviews in time and place. Mary Durack’s Kings in Grass Castles has received less impressive reviews in recent times while continuing to maintain sales.

‘Should authors review books?’ asked Louise after sharing her own experiences as a reviewer. Louise argued that authors bring something extra to reviewing because of their experience and that reviews should incorporate the intellectual and emotional responses of the reviewer. Discussion extended to whether and how authors should respond directly to reviewers. Examples of responses generally considered appropriate, and others not so appropriate, were weighed up.

Most reviews written for this session were based on Ancestor publishing requirements.   Discussion of Ancestor’s practice of publishing reviews of (recently released?) genealogical resources rather than family histories may well have sown seeds of change.

A newly animated group of writers dispersed into the Library and the hot city with new thoughts and questions to ponder. The next meeting will be in the new GSV premises.



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Lease signed for GSV’s new home

28 February 2017

We have now signed the formal lease documentation for our new Centre at Level 6, 85 Queen Street, and will gradually move in over the last three weeks of March, opening our doors on TUESDAY 4 APRIL. Orientation meetings have been arranged for our Volunteers to assist them with the delivery of our Member services in our new home. We have commenced the cleanup of our current premises in anticipation of packing our books and other items during the week commencing Monday 13 March. Thank you to those who are currently helping us with our move. Quite a few additional volunteers will be needed to help in various ways. If you are available to assist during the period from Monday 6 March through to Monday 3 April, please email your availability to Allan Aberdeen, who is in charge of the overall management of this process or Claire Johnson via

Post expires at 7:48pm on Thursday 20 April 2017

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New premises for the GSV announced

10 February 2017
David Down, GSV President, announced on 10 February, that the GSV has located new premises for its offices at Level 6, 85 Queen Street, Melbourne. This will be known as the ‘GSV Research and Education Centre’.
The current Collins Street location will be closed from, and including, Monday 13 March. The new Centre in Queen Street is planned to open for weekday operations from TUESDAY 4 APRIL and Saturday access will begin on 22 April. GSV looks forward to welcoming you at its new Centre.

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Construction Update 3

Here is Construction update 3 for the GSV building at Emirates House 257 Collins Street, Melbourne. Also includes is a Construction zone plan.
Please note we shall be open as usual during this construction. In particular the Scottish Ancestry Group meeting will be held 1.00 – 3.00 pm this Saturday 26 November. Also there will be a class covering ScotlandsPeople – The New Website to be held 1.30 – 2.30 pm on Monday 29 November. For more details go to our Current and Upcoming Events

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Message from the President

Changes to the GSV – Update 1 – 15 November 2016

I am writing to inform you of two changes that are currently occurring which will impact on the Society and the conduct of our activities and events in the immediate future.

There are a number of family history societies in existence in Melbourne each of which are experiencing a reduction in their membership due to multiple causes. As a consequence discussions have commenced between the GSV, the Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies and the Cornish Association of Victoria to explore the viability of establishing a new family history entity. The Societies would combine their resources and establish the new entity. These discussions have only recently commenced and it is anticipated that they will continue for some time. Any changes to the structure of each of the Societies will require the approval of their members and I will keep you informed as discussions proceed.

We have very recently been approached by the owner of Emirates House enquiring whether we might like to exit our lease arrangement prior to the scheduled termination date of the end of November 2018. Council has agreed and the current situation is that we will surrender our lease with effect from 31 March 2017. This is quite soon and a considerable effort will now be required to clean-up and ensure that the premises are left in good order.

Surrendering our current lease will potentially save quite a deal of money in the long-term. We have commenced a search for new premises in the Melbourne City Council area close to public transport. We envisage that the premises will be approximately 150 to 200 sqm in size which is a dramatic reduction from our current floor space of 780 sqm. It is our intention to pay as little as possible and enter a short-term lease. We will place a greater emphasis on conducting events and activities in hired spaces throughout Melbourne and the suburbs. It is important that we find a suitable repository for our library collection and we are in discussions with other libraries and societies to find the best arrangement for the GSV and those parties as well as any new family history society that may be created.

Our program of activities and events during the first few months of 2017 will be severely disrupted. We have cancelled a number of classes and will postpone others. Our website will provide up-to-date information about all events and I recommend that you consult it frequently. Regular updates on the move will be also posted to our web site and these may be found via the ‘GSV News’ link which now appears on our home page. The regular updates we receive from the owner of the building regarding the renovations being undertaken to the ground and mezzanine levels will also be posted.

Council is committed to ensuring that the GSV, or any successor entity, is viable and continues to provide the resources suitable for members to pursue their family history research. Our move to smaller, more affordable, premises will place us in a more stable and flexible financial position and assist with this process. Best regards

David Down


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