With another act of aggression lashing out against civility in our city yesterday, I thought of the city’s motto – we gather strength as we go– and I believe we do, as we become a large, truly cosmopolitan city. I would not have known our city’s motto except that the day before I looked in on the current exhibition at the City Gallery in the Melbourne Town Hall – ‘Emblazon’: Melbourne’s coat of arms’ (7 September – 30 January 2019).
Coats of arms and heraldry are a somewhat old-fashioned part of our genealogical wanderings. But this small exhibition telling the story of Melbourne’s coat of arms is worth a visit. The City Gallery is easy to find and too easy to walk past – located on the main Town hall frontage sharing its entrance with HALF-TIX … see CITY GALLERY WEBSITE.
The exhibition includes many examples of the ‘arms’ from street signs, street bollards, documents, a cast iron roundel from the old Eastern Markets, a Sèvres vase (1880) and three quirky takes on that vase commissioned by MCC in 2018. Our official ‘arms’ includes a fleece, a cow, a whale and a ship as 1840s symbols of the city. One of the 2018 vases, Yhonnie Scarce’s memorial urn, contains ‘symbols of lives lost since the British arrived’.
Our family histories are embedded in the social history of our cities and places. City of Melbourne can be congratulated for its City Gallery, and these quarterly exhibitions, which have been showcasing our shared heritage.
You should visit.
‘Emblazon: Melbourne’s Coat of Arms’, exhibition catalogue, 2018.
Exhibition Curator: Alisa Bunbury / MCC Art and Heritage Collection team.
Sevres vase, Sevres Porcelain Factory, 1880
‘Urn with Nature Pot’, vase, Angela Brennan, 2018
‘She gathers Strength As She Goes’, vase, Gerry Wedd, 2018
The GSV is regularly adding to its Cemeteries Index with its ongoing project of transcribing records. So you need to check this to see if recent additions can help you.
This index contains nearly a million references from cemetery records mostly relating to Victoria. It includes memorial inscriptions or burial registers from our collection.
GSV has been transcribing cemetery records since the 1950s and although there are now online websites for cemeteries (with many including photographs), some of those early headstone have disappeared or become illegible or even destroyed by vandals.
GSV is privileged to have Elizabeth Rushen presenting ‘Bounty and government emigrants 1836-1840 including Mr Marshall’s migrants‘.
Liz Rushen has written a number of books in this area and you can see more about them at her website HERE.
Her talk is on this coming Thursday 18 October 12.00pm – 1.00 pm. Bookings are essential but you can still get a place if you are quick. Bookings can be made in person at GSV, via the website HERE. Or you can book by email to email@example.com or by phone 9662 4455.
GSV Members $5.00, RHSV/CAV/FHC $15.00 and Non-members $20.00.
There were many emigration schemes and agents operating in the early to mid-nineteenth century and this talk by historian and author Elizabeth Rushen will give a broad overview of emigration in the 1820s and 1830s. Various emigration schemes were available until the formation of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission in 1840 and John Marshall was the most active entrepreneur under the bounty scheme of assisted migration to Australia.
This is an area of our history with which many of us have links and this is a great opportunity to get a knowledgeable overview.
Post expires at 9:57am on Saturday 15 December 2018
Watching Jimmy Barnes’ personal story of his dire early days as a child migrant in Elizabeth, South Australia, (Working Class Boy) reminded me that many family histories in Australia commence with relatively recent arrivals – in the middle of last century after WW2 – rather than with early pioneers of the 18th and 19th centuries. The Bonegilla Migrant Camp in NE Victoria was where over 300,000 migrants started their Australian lives.
Next month the annual Back toBonegilla Migrant Camp Gathering is on again :
Friday 2 November and Saturday 3 November 2018 from 10.00 AM to 4.00 PM each day. Entry is free. Daily activities include:
Author and genealogy talks;
Displays and exhibitions; and,
Food and music.
You can find out more about this and make bookings to events BOOKINGS HERE
The Bonegilla Migrant Camp story
‘At the end of WW2 the Australian Government introduced a program of migration to assist millions of displaced people in Europe and, at the same time, combat a shortage of labour in Australian industry. As housing was not immediately available for the growing population, the Australian Government provided migrants with temporary accommodation like that at Bonegilla [in Victoria] until they found jobs and their own places to live.’
The Bonegilla Migrant Camp was established at a former army camp near Wodonga, Victoria. It was the first home in Australia for more than 300,000 migrants from more than 50 countries from 1947 to 1971. They had diverse arrival and settlement experiences.
‘Many migrants recall arriving lonely and confused, unsure of where they were going and what they would be doing. Others saw Bonegilla as a place of hope, symbolic of a new start. In December 2007, Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre – Block 19 was recognised as a place with powerful connections for many people in Australia and a symbol of post-war migration which transformed Australia’s economy, society and culture under the National Heritage List.Today, Block 19 is a public memory place. The site and its associated oral, written and pictorial records in the Bonegilla Collection at the Albury Library/Museum bring to light post-war immigration policies and procedures that changed the composition and size of the Australian population.’ [Bonegilla Migrant Experience website, access. 6 Oct 2018.]
How do I say it?
“Depending on your cultural connection with Bonegilla, there are a number of ways to pronounce it. To many locals, it’s strictly ‘Bone – Gilla’ but to immigrants arriving from Europe after World War II, the word was often read as ‘Bonny-Gilla’ or ‘Bon-Eg-Illa’.” Passport for Bonegilla, Bonegilla Migrant Experience website.
The GSV hosts a group which helps its members with an interest in non-British research: International Settlers Group. On 17 November their presentation is ‘Andiamo – a Celebration of my Italian Family History‘ presented by Angelo Indovina. You can find out more about this group on the GSV website http://www.gsv.org.au/activities/groups/isg
Post expires at 2:54pm on Thursday 6 December 2018
Now that we are emerging from our winter retreats, it is a great time to pick up those challenges we set ourselves this year for our family histories. Even for those who have started, it is always good to have a refresher about what we can find and how to proceed. The GSV has scheduled a short course of three sessions in October which will give you all you need to really get going.
‘Australian Family History’ – Wednesday 17, 24 and 31 October, 10.00am – 12.00pm.
This will be presented by John Bugg.
The topics to be covered include:
Where do I start? How to gather and store information.
Getting here – immigration, convicts, naturalisation and wills.
State records – Private lives and public records.
National Records – Finding families.
For BOOKING and details about this course go to the GSV website HERE. You can also book in person at GSV, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (03) 9662 4455.
The presenter: John Bugg has a background in Education and is a Fellow of the Australian College of Education. He has been chasing eight family lines who arrived before 1870 and has published a small family Bugg history, before attending the family reunion in the UK. John enjoys the chase and detective work of family history and finding links to its wider historical context.
John tells us more about these planned sessions:
‘Most of us have explored the commercial data sources and probably checked the odd family tree and been subjected to the afternoon tea-party about the family. What this course aims to do is to go beyond that and build up an originaldatabase of our family and to set it in the social context of the time. How do we find Will Smith; especially if this name is Wilfred Smyth, to say nothing of the transcription error of the clerks in a foreign port who may have little knowledge of German or Spanish?
Emphasis will be placed on original documents and where to find them from little used databases that will lead often to further searching and the unlocking of additional and sometimes surprising information. What is the value of the GSV database and how we may best use it. In the last course we discovered, among other matters, why a great-grandmother had a sister six months later from her same father and mother. Often our search is limited by the commercial databases. I am following eight Australian families and only one is on the official documents of immigration in the nineteenth century and that was further complicated by their arrival in Melbourne but their registration in Freemantle. We will aim to find some other sources of data through the sharing of ideas.
Finally the sessions are designed to be fun. By allowing a broad canvas of inputs, and by adding additional information from the group, you will develop a much better understanding of your family and an accurate family tree for all to share.’
In recent weeks the number of members coming into the Centre seems to have increased. Many come just to attend events but many are also taking advantage of our new computers and staying to research their ancestors. We are now an affiliate library of FamilySearch and as such have access to an ever growing number of digitised resources. If you haven’t taken advantage of the facility we strongly recommend that you search the resources available on the FamilySearch catalogue and view the images at our centre.
We are still seeking volunteers to learn our administration and membership systems so as to become a backup for Linda Farrow our Officer Administrator. We are developing a team of people who will be able to relieve Linda during the day so she can do other tasks. The job does entail handling credit cards, cheques and cash but the systems are not too complex and you would not be left as the sole administrator on duty. On-the-job training will be provided. If you would like to know more please contact Margaret McLaren on 9662 4455 during office hours.
Our blog is being well-received as a way of keeping members up to date, but also as a means to publicise ‘family history’ in the wider community. After the recent post about the survey of family historians – ‘What makes them tick’ (3 September), one of the researchers, Susan Moore advised that ‘it has been very productive so far with about 100 people already doing the survey and they keep on coming.’
We are very happy to post information about the activities of our regional societies and other groups who share our interests.
This will be my last posting to this blog as President as I will be standing down at the AGM on 6 October. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me over the last three years and I wish the incoming President and Council all the best.
David Down – President GSV
Post expires at 10:26am on Saturday 22 December 2018
As mentioned in our last post we have received the sad news of the death of Dr Joan Hunt, our intended speaker for this talk. The Ballarat resources to be outlined in this talk are a tribute to Dr Hunt’s lifelong work in this area.
We are grateful to Carmel Reynen who has agreed to present this talk. Carmel is a member of the Ballarat and District Genealogical Society Inc, produces “Link”, their newsletter, and administers their Facebook page. She has been active in photographing the headstones of many cemeteries which appear in the Australian Cemeteries website as well as a CD produced by the Smythesdale Cemetery for their 150th anniversary. Carmel has given talks in Warrnambool, Maryborough and Ballarat on Using Trove, Facebook and Genealogy, DNA, and Military Records.
Note: This event is currently full. However you can register now and be added to a waiting list. Go to the GSV website. You will be notified if spaces become available.
Post expires at 4:07pm on Wednesday 14 November 2018
GSV had a very successful Family History Month in August and events were well attended.
The winner of the AncestryDNA kit was won by Rod Van Cooten, and GSV thanks all those who participated.
There are plenty of special interest groups and discussion circles for GSV members to join and get help with their particular lines of research. And they are all part of your membership. Each quarter, notices from the groups are published in Ancestor journal in a regular feature ‘Around the Groups’ and now a new page for ‘Around the Circles’ has been added (September issue). More frequent news from the groups will be posted on this blog and on the website to keep you up to date. Check the GSV website for all Events in the months ahead and plan your Springtime!
British India Discussion Circle – changes to meetings
Beginning in 2019 the British India Discussion Circle will meet each quarter rather than on a monthly basis. We will have set topics for discussion, also members will be welcome to make short presentations (no more than 10 minutes) on their research. These help to stimulate the discussion as many of us are following one area of research – military, as an example.
In August this group discussed BMD’s and where to access information if official records are unavailable including newspapers.
Our 18 September meeting will feature military research: how to use the FIBIS guides and where to access records.
There will NOT be a meeting in October, as the convenor will be attending the FIBIS 20thAnniversary conference in Oxford, England.
This group is also considering setting up an email group which would allow members who are unable to attend meetings to post questions and receive advice. [Mary-Anne Gourley, Convenor].
Classes and Talks
October 5 –‘Starting Irish Family History’. Speakers : Maureen Doyle and Beryl O’Gorman.This class will cover basic information, where to start your research, church, civil and land records, Internet sites and question time. Register via https://www.gsv.org.au/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=995
October 17,24,31 – Australian family history [course]
Presenter: John Bugg. Topics to be covered over three two-hour sessions on 17th, 24th and 31st October:
– Where do I start? How to gather and store information
– Getting here – immigration, convicts, naturalisation and wills
– State records – private lives and public records
– National records – finding families.
NOTICE – ‘Resources in Ballarat’ – 27 September. This talk is fully booked, but GSV has received the sad news of the death of the intended speaker, Dr Joan Hunt. Her full life of contribution to academia, to historical research and especially to communities was described in an earlier post about this talk and she will be well-remembered. We are at present contacting a potential new speaker.
In a project entitled ‘Motives and profiles of family historians’, social researchers Doreen Rosenthal (University of Melbourne) and Susan Moore (Swinburne University) are examining what drives amateur family historians. Their study will also explore the psychological processes of amateur genealogists as they chart their family trees. Is interest in this field associated with particular life experiences or family profiles?
A recent email from a GSV Member captures something of the collaborative satisfaction that comes from the family history quest.
Some months ago I read a member’s query [in the GSV’s journal Ancestor] and realised I could help. A member wanted information on a family from Central Victoria, an area where I have a small property. So we began to search the local Historical Society records, with much help from their President and volunteers. Soon information and photographs were found and with the GSV’s assistance, we contacted the enquirer. Further searching took us to the local cemetery. On a sunny afternoon we photographed all the graves of interest and learned heaps more about this lovely country place and the forebears of the family whose property I now own. So this adventure had its own rich personal rewards too! All the information we gathered was passed on to the enquirer who was overjoyed and very grateful when we finally met face to face.
I want to thank the GSV staff and express our pleasure in helping someone find a “lost” family. This was just our way of returning help such as I had received when searching for my family in Ireland. I found a friend who came from the same town as my grandparents and who readily over several years found all my late father’s family. It was a pleasure to think, “What goes around comes around”.
What insights and experiences have you had as a family historian?
Australian adults (18 years and over) interested in genealogy, or who have researched their family history are invited to participate in this study. You can take part by completing an anonymous online surveythat will take about 30 minutes. Find out more (and start the survey if you wish) by clicking on this link: https://tinyurl.com/familyhistorystudy
The researchers explain the background and aims of their project:
‘Family history has always been a popular pastime, whether it involves drawing up complicated family trees or recording stories from the past. In recent years, the availability of so many records online, and the possibility of finding DNA matches, has escalated this ‘hobby’ into a worldwide craze. One motivator for exploring family history, popularised by the ‘Who do you think you are?’ television programs, is the search for self-understanding – finding your identity through knowing more about where you come from. Genealogical studies can also assist in understanding your own family dynamics, and in a broader sense, the histories of ‘ordinary people’ (and thus nations) from times past. Some family historians see themselves as ‘kin keepers’- inspired by wanting to acknowledge their ancestors through passing on their stories to a new generation. Others are searching for a lost relative, or for clues about their medical history and biological risk factors. For some, the detective work of the research process becomes an end in itself, with genealogists often reporting elation and other strong emotions as they discover a new link or break down a ‘brick wall’.
In this research study we are interested in examining the motives that drive amateur family historians and in exploring whether strong commitment to this field (expressed, for example, in hours per week spent researching and number of years interest) is associated with particular personality, demographic and family profiles. We are also interested in the psychological processes of amateur genealogists as they chart their family trees. The survey concerns level of involvement, motivations for and outcomes of their genealogical research.What kinds of insights and experiences have they had?’
The survey is being conducted by social researchers Emeritus Professor Susan Moore email@example.com from Swinburne University and Emeritus Professor Doreen Rosenthal firstname.lastname@example.org from the University of Melbourne. You can contact them by email if you would like further information.