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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Rare Book Week at GSV

We are hosting two free talks at the GSV Research & Education Centre as part of Rare Book Week. This is a good opportunity to visit the GSV Centre and hear two interesting presentations – but you do need to book.

The first on Tuesday 3 July, 12.00 pm – 1.00 pm is: 

Preservation of books, photographs and paper-based items.

Conservator, Debra Parry will provide information on how materials deteriorate and how to handle, store and display such items to preserve them for the future.

Then on Thursday 5 July at 12.00 pm – 1.00 pm, Douglas Heywood will present: 

‘Guests of the Unspeakable’ : The letters and diary of Warrant Officer 1, William Scott Heywood, POW Thai Burma Railway and Japan 
WO1 William Scott Heywood, 1941. (Photo courtesy of Doug Heywood)
Doug’s talk will cover :-
The Prelude: his letters to his girlfriend/wife before his departure to Singapore.
The Journey: his letters while stationed at Malacca prior to the fall of Singapore.
A Prisoner: his diary as a POW in Burma from July 1942 – March 1944
At home: correspondence to his wife from the Defence Force and friends.
These previously unpublished, rare materials mention over 150 personnel names.  
Both these events are FREE as part of Rare Book Week and are open to all. Bookings essential, in person at GSV, email to, by phone (03) 9662 4455 or register via the website  HERE.

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We need your help to get better computers for your research

Announcing GSV’s fundraising appeal for new faster computers and widescreen monitors to help your research.

GSV is launching an appeal to raise $15,000 to purchase new faster computers for our Research & Education Centre and for an important IT upgrade.  The main aim is to purchase new widescreen monitors, wireless keyboards and mice and faster computers to replace our 10 year old stalwarts.  This will improve the experience of members undertaking research at Queen St and the IT upgrade will help those using on-line access from home.

GSV very much appreciates the ongoing commitment of our members and supporters.  We would be delighted to receive your support for our fundraising appeal and remember that all donations of $2 or more are tax deductible. 

Donations can be made through our website (refer to the DONATE NOW tab at the bottom of the web homepage) or click here DONATE NOW, by cheque, telephone or in person at our office.  

GSV needs you! Help us help you. 


Again, thank you for your membership and support.

GSV Council

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Calling GSV History Buffs – RHSV Trivia Night  – TRIVIA-AU-GO-GO– Friday 22 June 2018.

Fancy yourself a bit of a history buff? Of course you do! Time to get competitive and test yourself against all those other history buffs at the RHSV Trivia-au-go-go.  Battle it out for some great prizes and you are fundraising for the RHSV at the same time. Win-win.

The GSV is pitting its knowledge of history in this year’s RHSV’s TRIVIA-AU-GO-GO night (is that a hint about the swinging ’60s??) and is calling for members to make up a table.  If you would like to be part of a team, please register your interest with Leonie Loveday 

Date:                Friday 22 June

Time:               6:30 pm
Cost:                $20 pp.

Be QUICK and become part of history for a night!


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Did you miss the talk on Victorian Land Titles?

When looking for Land Titles and researching land ownership, should you start at the beginning, the end, or somewhere in between?

Land Titles span Old Law Titles – between 1837 and 2 October 1862 – and New Law / Torrens Title after that. But not all Old Law Titles have been converted to Torrens Titles. This can be complex and if you need to research in this area a knowledgeable guide is of great value.

At GSV in May, Susie Zada gave a very useful presentation on the process of accessing Victorian land records. Susie’s presentation – Victorian Land Titles and Documents – was greatly appreciated by the over thirty attendees and covered such aspects as:
– where to start
– how to move from old to new and new to old Land Titles
– where to find the primary records, and
– where to find the secondary records.  

If you need to research in these records you will benefit from Susie’s expertise. Even if you missed this talk you can still access the presentation as it is available to GSV Members via the website. You can find it on the catalogue. Searching subject: ‘Land’ and author: ‘Zada’ is the easiest way

If you are not a member of course that is easy to fix. Go to our website here.


Susie Zada blogs at I just love history

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Note to GSV Members

Automatic Membership Renewal Email
Unfortunately our digital membership system failed to generate the renewal email for those members whose subscription falls due during April. We apologise sincerely and are taking steps to ensure that it does not happen in the future. Those members who have been affected will still be be able to renew online or can contact Linda Farrow in the GSV Office on 9662 4455.
David Down – President

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Report from Congress: Bridging the Past and Future, March 9-12

Recently the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) hosted Bridging The Past and Future – the 15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry, March 9 – 12 in Sydney. This major international event was held under the auspices of AFFHO, the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations. Gayle Nicholas, one of a number of GSV Members who attended, brings us her observations from the Congress. Gayle is a member of the GSV Writers Circle, as well as her local Waverley Historical Society. She blogs at GV Genealogy – a space that reflects her love of history, genealogy and writing. This article is republished with her permission from her blog. You can read more of Gayle’s family history exploration here


I have just returned from Sydney where hard work by the Society for Australian Genealogists (SAG) and 600 participants contributed to making Bridging the Past & Future a congress to remember. As a new participant I was soon under Jill Ball‘s wing along with 300 other ‘first timers’. Bloggers couldn’t hide in the corner as Jill’s ‘blogging beads’ were a beacon to bloggers seeking a conversation. There was lots of chatting and new friendships as people mixed and mingled with ease.

All these participants at #Congress2018 have blogs for you to read!  Photograph by Murray Nicholas.



There were many high quality presentations with Judy G. Russell‘s Plenary Session Just Three Generations standing out as one of the very best for me. If ever a genealogist needed justification for their work this presentation provided it! Judy stated the need to deliberately and accurately pass down our family stories.  She urged participants to look for the truth in family stories, to verify them and pass them on.  I have memories of my grandfather telling stories to a lounge room full of people in Brunswick East.  I now have the Amiens Cathedral made of cards that hung above the fireplace and I can remember Grandad standing there.  I can remember the laughter but I do not remember the stories. I was so very young. No-one has been able to answer my question, ‘What were Grandad’s stories?’  All I know is they were about what the soldiers got up to in France when they were not at the front or about his time as a Scout Master.  Three generations and the stories are lost.

Angela Phippen’s Oops – I wish I’d checked the original! brought home loud and clear the importance of checking references thoroughly.  Using The Letters of Rachel Henning Angela demonstrated the difference that can occur through a published work and an original work.   The results were stunning and we will all be seeking original copies of documents from now on!

Jan Worthington told us to avoid the ‘black holes’ in her Your Story session. I was thinking, “How does she know I am obsessed with ‘just one more bit of research’ i.e. in a black hole?”  The key is to start writing. It’s time to stop Hunting Henrietta; it is time to ‘walk in her footsteps’ and write her story!

Our heads spun as we soaked up research know how and How-to tips, trying hard not to miss even a little piece of wisdom.  English and Irish research sessions were popular and, while people seemed to shake their heads at the complexity of DNA research, you could see no-one was going to give up. We travelled from seventeenth century to the modern day and still had the enthusiasm to learn new techniques and take on new ideas.

The Cockle Bay room was almost full for the last session Create a free Google Earth Map Collection for Your Genealogy Research with Lisa Louise Cooke. While many wondered where the time was coming from it was evident others were ready for this new mapping challenge. People dispersed quickly after the closing ceremony: some for a drink, many for a rest and others, like us, headed straight to the airport. Many times I heard the same farewell, ‘See you at the next Congress!’

Cousins! ‘Not too distant for me’

And yes, I did have a cousin at the conference!

Gayle Nicholas


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Have I got my new Ancestor?

The GSV’s Journal ‘Ancestor’ is now out for this quarter (March 2018, Vol.34:1). If you are a Member you have already got this Issue and you will be well into the interesting articles. Here is a brief look at what is in this new Ancestor. I would love to receive your comments to this blog, about this journal and its features  (see ‘Comments’ button at end).  You may even want to send me a follow-up article for possible future publication on this Blog.*** Bill Barlow, GSV Blog Editor. e:

‘Use of Autosomal DNA to find Relatives of Charles William Sharman’. DNA testing helped Robyn Sharman Hawking to solve the long-standing problem of who were the parents of her great grandfather Charles William Sharman. It set her on a course that she would never have been able to follow without the test results.

If you would like to know more about DNA and its usefulness in genealogy, the GSV has introduced a new series of ‘modules’ – you might like to attend one or more of the modules that are being planned for this year. These will help you personally interpret the data that DNA testing companies send you after a swab test.

‘Dr John Fishbourne: A Victorian Medical Pioneer’. Kaye Cole has researched her nineteenth century relative Dr John Fishbourne, a medical pioneer in improving the treatment and education of people with a range of conditions including intellectual disability and epilepsy.

‘How I found my Namesake’. While searching for her namesake of three generations back, Elizabeth Kelly traced the McCallion family to Sydney and uncovered their mostly sad story.

‘Who’s Been Living in My House’. Louise Wilson takes us on a rather different journey, that of the history of her house in South Melbourne. This article provides an insight into the large amount of material available on residences.

Martin Playne’s ‘A Guide to Researching Northern Territory Records’ will give you some good ideas on where to look if you have Northern Territory ancestors. Few people realise that the Northern Territory came under so many jurisdictions at different periods.

In ‘Research Corner’, Michael Sturmfels has generously shared the results of his research into pastoral workers in the Western District Victoria between 1860 and 1880, for which he checked through a great variety of records. He shares some of the interesting stories, and has made his results available online at the GSV.

But there is more! Family history researchers are assisted each month with the writing of their story in ‘Getting it Write’; about oral history in this issue. There are sections about blogging (with Meg Bate), book reviews, notes on additions to the GSV Library, as well as regular pages from the Public Record Office, and the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

Remember that this is your magazine, the place where you can share your family history. As well as our usual longer articles, we would like to invite you to submit a short article (around 250 words) and an image or two, focussing on a particular place of significance in your family history for our new back page space. In this issue in ‘Tower Bridge’ Barbara Beaumont recalls a family link to this famous London landmark.


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