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 HERE, 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

Post expires at 9:31am on Thursday 20 September 2018

Like this article? Please share:


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 tunari@bigpond.com 

Date:                Friday 22 June

Time:               6:30 pm
Cost:                $20 pp.
Booking:         https://www.trybooking.com/VWCW

Be QUICK and become part of history for a night!


Post expires at 9:09am on Sunday 24 June 2018

Like this article? Please share:

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 https://justlovehistory.com

Post expires at 10:24am on Thursday 6 September 2018

Like this article? Please share:

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

Post expires at 9:19am on Thursday 12 July 2018

Like this article? Please share:

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 https://gvgenealogy.wordpress.com/about/


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


Post expires at 8:23am on Thursday 21 June 2018

Like this article? Please share:

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: blog@gsv.org.au

‘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.


Post expires at 5:35pm on Thursday 31 May 2018

Like this article? Please share:

Were your ancestors from London, the North of England or British India? New Discussion Circles added this year.

There is a growing interest in joining others who share and discuss common areas of genealogical research. It’s informative and more fun!

This year the GSV is launching new Discussion Circles to cater for those researching ancestors who lived in and around London and another for those who lived in British India. A third new Discussion Circle formed recently is focussed on the North of England (Durham, Northumberland, Yorkshire & Cumberland).

These common-interest groups are open to GSV Members for no additional cost (as part of GSV membership). They meet regularly and provide great value for your research by the free exchange of their participants’ knowledge and experience. They also may invite specialist experts to their meetings. 

For example the South West England discussion circle (SWERD) this coming Wednesday, 14 March at 12:30 to 2:00 pm is looking pretty special with a very interesting guest speaker who will generate plenty of discussion.  Dr Joe Flood is the Administrator of the DNA projects for Cornish ancestry on the myFamilyTreeDNA website and he administers these global DNA projects from Melbourne.  Dr Flood will discuss the projects and the findings to date. The projects have a Cornish focus, but there should be something in the presentation for everyone who is interested in the use of DNA in family history research.   SWERD has been expanded – GSV members with research interests in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and now Dorset are very welcome at the meetings.

The newest GSV Discussion Circles will meet as follows:

The North of England : Tuesday 13 March – 12.30 – 1.30 pm.

London Research – Thursday 22 March – 12.00- 1.00 pm. With a view to starting a Discussion Circle. Bookings essential – ring 9662 4455 or the website http://www.gsv.org.au

British India – Tuesday 17 April – 12.00 – 1.00 pm.

Join the GSV quick (or on the day) to benefit from these groups if this is your area of special interest. You can also read more about these groups in the latest issue of Ancestor journal 34:1 (March 2018)





Post expires at 2:55pm on Thursday 10 May 2018

Like this article? Please share:

Happy Christmas from the GSV – the story of our Christmas decoration

The Genealogical Society of Victoria helps people to trace their forebears. In doing so, people can find out who their ancestors were, details of their lives and why they decided to come to Australia. By learning more about our ancestors, we learn more about ourselves.



– The decoration is typical of an English Christmas door wreath. Through a metaphorical door one can glimpse into the past.

– The tartan ribbon represents Scotland.

– The shamrock represents Ireland.

Immigrants (especially convicts) from these three countries made up most of Australia’s earliest arrivals.

– The Family Bible and lace represent the small treasures immigrants brought with them to Australia.

– The scroll is of an old British Census Record and instantly recognisable to genealogists.

– The gum leaves and nuts represent the new country, Australia.

– The gold nuggets represent the Victorian Gold Rush of the 1850s.


Created by R Thompson, GSV Member, 2017

Post expires at 1:34pm on Saturday 30 December 2017

Like this article? Please share:

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:


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

Like this article? Please share:

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


Post expires at 6:45am on Wednesday 15 November 2017

Like this article? Please share: