Branching out (and what to do if you get stuck out on a branch)

Perhaps you live in the country, and can’t physically access the GSV.  If so, a new FREE online course to be run by the State Library Victoria from October 16 for four weeks might be of interest to you.

“Branching out is a new online course that introduces the basic principles of family history research, and looks at the key resources available for researching Victorian family history.

During this four-week course, the State Library’s Family history team will equip you with the tools you need to discover more about your own family tree. Recommended for beginners.” You can register for this at this link:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/branching-out-registration-37797922604?aff=octnews

Then, once you get into your ‘tree’, you can get ONGOING help from the knowledgable volunteers and staff at GSV. Join up for less than a coffee a week and get support in all kinds of ways as you branch out. 

 

Post expires at 9:54am on Friday 20 October 2017

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September issue of ‘Ancestor’ journal now out

 

The latest issue of Ancestor – the GSV’s award-winning quarterly journal (vol 33 issue 7, September 2017) is now available. 

In this issue we have six substantial articles contributed by members. Jean Dart’s story is steeped in Irish history. Her feisty great grandmother managed to free herself from an abusive relationship and support herself as the matron of a protestant children’s home. Thelma Ragas investigates her great uncle who was a detective in New Zealand, fell foul of the police hierarchy and ended up opening his own private detective agency. Can you imagine sending a sixteen-year-old to a faraway country, all alone, to live in a strict environment on an Experiment Farm? That’s what happened to Prue Mercer’s ancestor, Harold Berrow.

The First World War casts a long shadow. We are still remembering those who paid the ultimate price. The difficulty for the family in establishing exactly what happened to their loved ones was compounded when inaccurate record keeping cast doubt on their fate, as happened in Margaret Cooper’s family.

Digging that little bit deeper often pays – you find information in unexpected places. For Sue Blackwood it was a Queensland ‘Old Insanity File’ that unearthed information, not about subject of the file, but about her husband, Sue’s great great grandfather. Darryl Grant reminds us that our ancestors did not always record the whole truth; a little extra digging may uncover some surprising facts about our ancestors that they may have deliberately covered up, or may even not have known themselves. Michael Woods found that references in Australian newspapers to his great uncle as a wrestler helped to trace him backward in time as well as forward.

‘Digging deeper’ reminds us of the great importance on not only relying on the international databases, such as Ancestry™and Find My Past™ for ancestral information. Nothing can beat a widespread search for information using the help of the GSV and diverse sources as illustrated above. There is no way the full story can be unravelled if you just stick to a computer at home or in a library. Make your family story interesting and complete!

As always Research Corner has some interesting tips – did you know that you might be able to find your ancestor’s name on a UK census prior to 1841?

Martin Playne – Editorial Team

GSV Members will already have received their copy as part of their membership. Others can get this issue, and much more, by joining now, or copies can be purchased via the GSV website http://www.gsv.org.au

 

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GSV now offers DNA-specific research consultations

As a further service, the GSV is now taking bookings for DNA-specific consultations.

The focus will be on Autosomal  DNA (Ancestry DNA & Family Tree DNA,
Family Finder). 

Bookings can be made via http://gsv.org.au/consultations.html
Bring your access to your results (if you have them) and an ancestor or
pedigree chart (if you have one).

Cost GSV Members $30 Non-members $50
Friday bookings only

You might also be interested in the DNA Discussion Circle. The DNA Discussion Circle is for GSV members who would like to find out how DNA may assist them in furthering their family history. Your DNA can be used to confirm or establish links in your family tree as well as identifying your particular genetic origins. For more details, see
http://gsv.org.au/activities/groups/dna-discussion-circle.html

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Some new family history stories are taking shape at the GSV Writers

 

Penny Scott – member GSV Writers Circle

14 June 2017

At the June 7 meeting of the Writers Circle we discussed the drafts of two new family history stories submitted by Circle members.

Bernece Schultz has done a lot of research on her South of England and Jersey ancestors who settled in Victoria and later in Tumbarumba, NSW. She said her submitted piece, Mary Ann Simmons, was written as a chapter in the middle of a book that she is writing for her family members about her maternal ancestors.

Her submission concerned the affecting story of Mary Ann Simmons (1848-1880) who in her short life experienced the death of siblings, mother, husband and children before she herself died aged thirty-two. Bernece described the living conditions and influences on Mary Ann, such as problems caused by tuberculosis, which contributed to her sad and difficult life. Bernece appreciated members’ constructive comments on the writing and the subject of the narrative.

The second piece of writing was titled The winds of change – a woman, a watch and a Whig, and the first paragraph provided the force and focus of the writing – a reference to an image of a satirical print by James Gillray. The identity, background and salacious life of the male figure in the print is revealed in the writing, and there is an amusing twist in the final sentence when the writer unwillingly admits the figure is her ancestor. 

Before the meeting the writer had outlined the feedback she would like from the group – comments on structure, tone, the flow of the narrative, its logical sequence, characterisation and references in the text. These areas and more provided the basis of a lively discussion.

The August meeting of the Writers Circle will provide an opportunity for two further members to receive feedback on their writing from the other members of the group.

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‘Margaret Flockton’ book wins!

On 25 May, Louise Wilson’s book, Margaret Flockton: A Fragrant Memory (Wakefield Press, 2016), won the 2016 AIGS Don Grant Award for the best submitted biography with an Australian history focus. And another GSV Writer, Margaret Vines, came second in this year’s AIGS Alexander Henderson Award with her book The Baggotts from Herbertstown (2016). That Award was won by The Complete History of Arthur and Rose: the Martin, Jacka, Crougey and Commbe families in Cornwall and South Australia by Tony and Wendy Edwards.

In 2013 Louise also won the AIGS Alexander Henderson Award 2012 for the best submitted Australian Family History, with her book Southwark Luck. Two of Louise’s other books were Highly Commended in other years. You can follow her writing exploits at http://www.louisewilson.com.au.

Louise is also an active member of the GSV Writers Circle (which you can find out about here http://gsv.org.au/activities/groups/gsv-writers-circle.html) and in fact she submitted early parts of her winning Flockton book for review at a GSV Writer’s meeting in 2011.

At GSV Writers monthly sessions, she has led discussions on topics such as reviewing family history, marketing your family history, aspects of structure, and writing a finished piece. If you missed these, you can find her articles on these subjects published in GSV’s Ancestor journal in the regular ‘Getting it Write’ series. Ancestor is available at the GSV Research & Education Centre or members can read PDF versions on the GSV’s website.

Margaret Vines is also a regular contributor at GSV Writers Circle and co-presented a session on ‘the tasks involved in producing a book’. She will be conducting her regular Writing Course at GSV on August 15,22 and 29. (You can book on the website, but be quick.)

If you are facing the challenge of finally turning your never-ending research into readable and informative family history you might like to join the GSV Writers Circle, membership of which is available to all GSV Members as part of their GSV membership. As you can see above, this active self-help discussion group is fortunate to benefit from the award-winning expertise of Louise, Margaret and other published (and awarded) family-history writers.

GSV congratulates Louise Wilson and Margaret Vines!

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Happy 14th birthday, GSV Writers Circle!

3 May 2017 – Our current convenor, Penny Mercer reminded the GSV Writers Circle after its recent meeting that it has reached its 14th birthday!

In 2003 Penny sent out the following message to members of the GSV:

A friend of mine is a member of a writers’ group for fiction writers. They meet regularly to exchange advice and constructively assess each others work. I think this is an interesting idea. It would be great to have someone other than my husband to read my stories and point out where I’ve not explained the ticket-of-leave system or that Belfast is now known as Port Fairy. It would be nice to exchange ideas with other writers. I’m not sure exactly what format I’d prefer but wondered whether anyone else would be interested in the idea in general.

Penny writes: ‘Our first meeting was in the GSV’s first Queen Street location on the first Wednesday in May 2003. By December of that year we had seven on our email list. Those without email were given printed versions of work submitted.’

Happy birthday to us!

 

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What the GSV family history writers did in April

13 April 2017 –

‘All writers need support and advice about their work. Last week as always, members of this GSV group generously offered thoughtful analysis and encouragement for two of its writers.’

Tina Hocking reports: Last Wednesday (5 April) the GSV Writers Circle met for the first time at GSV’s new Centre at 85 Queen Street. It was also possibly the first time we reviewed a submission from an interstate member unable to attend the meeting.

The ‘row of chairs’ arrangement in the meeting room should suit our structured ‘topic’ meetings, but we hope to recreate our informal ‘circle friendly’ atmosphere in future meetings.

There was spirited discussion of the submissions by two of our members, which focused on immigrant families from quite different backgrounds. Some members had already emailed their responses to our two presenters, with others to follow.

The feedback provided at this session for our Adelaide member should encourage any writers on our email list of over 80 who cannot attend meetings due to distance, to join in either as submitters or email reviewers. And there is also the GSV Writers Closed Facebook site for continuing the discussion. (This is part of a GSV membership).

One of the participants – who is writing the odyssey of the Dedes and Wares families – wrote:

‘Thank you for your most helpful analysis of my work – I appreciate the comments. Along with other observations from the group, I have lots to follow up! 

 

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Immigration Museum welcomes GSV Members with free admission on 18 & 19 August

Now that the GSV has moved closer to the Victoria’s Immigration Museum we are looking forward to being closer!

GSV Members are invited to two days of complimentary admission to the Immigration Museum – 18 and 19 August.

Set in the beautifully restored 19th century Customs House, the Immigration Museum is the perfect place for learning about our ancestor’s journey to Australia, exploring Australia’s migration history, sharing personal stories, researching contemporary issues, and understanding our culturally diverse community.

GSV Members can celebrate Family History Month with free entry into the Museum on Friday 18 August, Saturday 19 August. Simply show your GSV membership card upon entry to the Museum.

Visit the Immigration Museum website for information about current exhibitions and activities. idc@museum.vic.gov.au

Open 10 am – 5 pm, 7 Days. Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.      400 Flinders Street Melbourne

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Immigration Museum welcomes GSV Members with free admission on 18 & 19 August

Now that the GSV has moved closer to the Victoria’s Immigration Museum we are looking forward to being closer!

GSV Members are invited to two days of complimentary admission to the Immigration Museum – 18 and 19 August.

Set in the beautifully restored 19th century Customs House, the Immigration Museum is the perfect place for learning about our ancestor’s journey to Australia, exploring Australia’s migration history, sharing personal stories, researching contemporary issues, and understanding our culturally diverse community.

GSV Members can celebrate Family History Month with free entry into the Museum on Friday 18 August, Saturday 19 August. Simply show your GSV membership card upon entry to the Museum.

Visit the Immigration Museum website for information about current exhibitions and activities. idc@museum.vic.gov.au

Open 10 am – 5 pm, 7 Days. Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.      400 Flinders Street Melbourne

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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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