Archival Access Victoria

Bringing the Victorian Archives to you


Here you will find reviews of records I've viewed at the Archives and other things I've been up to.

view:  full / summary

Record Road Trip - Old Waranga Shire

Posted by mgrealy on April 4, 2014 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I traveled to Bendigo a few weeks ago for the Bendigo Family History Expo – a journey that I usually make from Melbourne, not the North East, so I was happy to drive through an area of Victoria I hadn’t been before. Turning off the Hume Highway at Violet Town, I soon found myself in the old Shire of Waranga – and as I always do when I travel around the state, I wondered what records existed at PROV for the area.


The first town I came to was Murchison, with a number of heritage listed buildings (the old hotel down by the river was a favourite of mine). The court house isn’t around anymore, but the records created there certainly are – ranging from 1888 right up until the early 1970’s. A very useful record being the Index to Convictions (1908-1957) - making short work of tracking down entries in the more descriptive court registers.


A little bit further down the road and I find myself in Rushworth – again, greeted by some lovely old buildings (including the court house, built in 1877). Records from that very building are available at PROV from 1888, including a register containing applications for military exemption (First World War conscription c.1916). Rushworth also has some rich mining history, and some of this will be recorded in the Register of Gold Dispatched from the Rushworth Mining Division (1853-1864).


The rate books from the Waranga Shire are available from 1863-1987 which cover both Murchison and Rushworth as well as Colbinabbin, Corop, Mathiesons, Toolleen and Whroo. A record simply titled ‘Note Book’ makes a small mention of Colbinabbin, and even PROV said it requires more research, but they believe it contains rough notes of the proceedings at meetings and of evaluations of the progress of soldier settlers in the Colbinabbin Estate.


Pupil Registers are also available for Tooleen and Corop (both I have digitised in the past and can be purchased from the record store) – not to say that information relating to other schools in the area isn’t available through school building files, school correspondence and a bit of old fashion detective work! And of course, records relating to the selection and purchase of land are available for the entire shire, with a number of old title applications existing as well.

Old Tallangatta research

Posted by mgrealy on April 4, 2014 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I mentioned in my last newsletter that I had identified some records at PROV that will help to discover the past owners of the land lying beneath the waters of lake hume - with a focus on Old Tallnagatta. I'm happy to report that I've made some interesting discoveries already.


I have found the very first titles for what I could describe as the Northern half of Old Tallangatta (lying in the parish of Bulioh). These titles, the first for what was originally large farming acreage, contain details that will allow me to dig down to through the years all the way to the separate town allotments that existed in the 1950's before the town was moved.


Exciting to think the title for one farm in the 1870's can unlock the history of so many town allotments - and I'm just itching to get back down to PROV on the 12th of April to retrieve all the titles I can find!

Something new to offer

Posted by mgrealy on April 4, 2014 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)

One great thing about being back in Wodonga - apart from the family, friends and fresh air - is the extra room. For a while now I have wanted to set up my own digitisation area in my office - and with spare space as rare as hen's teeth in Ascot Vale, I knew I'd have to wait until the move back home. Now I don't have to wait any longer.


What I have set up at home is a carbon copy of the facilities available to the public at PROV. I have a copy stand, my Canon EOS and two photographic lights on stands and I have it all hooked up to my computer so I can see what the camera sees and take photos at the push of a button (or click of the mouse). The photographic lights ensure even lighting on the records I digitise, eliminating as much shadow as possible.


I put this new set up to the test a few weeks ago when I was asked to digitise a collection of church records from Benalla. This fantastic collection included marriage registers, church minute books and preachers books. These records will prove to be a valuable resource for the Benalla Family Research Group I'm sure, allowing easier access to the hundreds of names, dates and details contained within the pages.


In the past I have had people ask me if I could digitise their sporting club, social club or archived business records - and I had to turn them down, but I'm happy to say that I'm open for business now!


It still amazes me that two boxes of old registers and volumes can be stored on a single USB - gotta love this technology...

Using probate files to research land

Posted by mgrealy on January 16, 2014 at 5:50 AM Comments comments (0)

The new index of will and probate files is opening a whole new avenue of research at PROV - now we can determine if a file exists for an individual all the way up to 2007 and discover the information these records contain.


I've written previously about how will and probate files can help track down living descendants of the deceased - and lately I've had a lot of success with combining probate files with another valuable resource, title records.


Contained with the probate file is an inventory of the deceased assets - and a whole page is dedicated to real estate. If the deceased did hold title for the property when they died, the volume and the folio number would be listed along with a description of the property. This is all that is required to retrieve the digitised title records at PROV, and unlock a little bit more of your family story.


For all those who I have digitised a probate file for in the past (and there are a lot of you!), I'm offering a special deal until the end of the month - I'll retrieve whatever titles are listed in your ancestors probate file for $20.


Just send the volume and folio number(s) - and I'll take care of the rest!

The town that moved

Posted by mgrealy on December 16, 2013 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)

My ancestors spent a good portion of their lives in and around Tallangatta, in the North East of Victoria. I've conducted a lot of research and copied a lot of records at PROV that relate to the area - from the school registers in the district to the local court and municipal records, I've scoured them all for mention of the Boyce family.


Every now and again I have to stop and remind myself that a lot of the events I've found mention of didn't take place in present day Tallangatta, but 8kms East...submerged under Lake Hume at the moment. This was the town that moved.


In 1956 Tallangatta was relocated to make way for the expanded Hume Weir - this meant the town's hotels, butcher shop, hairdresser, petrol station and many residential houses were transported from what is now 'Old Tallangatta' to higher ground up the road.


My wife's great Aunt and Uncle's house was moved from the old town to the new town and is still occupied today - along with some of the trees that now line the main street.


This is a fascinating piece of Victorian history and made even more so through the photographs that the State Rivers & Water Supply Commission took before the town was moved - providing a snapshot in time of a town that would soon disappear beneath 6ft of water (although what does remain of the town's foundations appear in times of drought).


Take a look at the photo gallery and read a little more about the town that moved on the Culture Victoria website. And if you're interested in records from the area - get in contact and I can let you know what is available...who knows, I may have mention of your family in my records at home!

Trip to Mansfield...

Posted by mgrealy on November 19, 2013 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Two weekends ago I traveled through some beautiful countryside (and some lovely weather!) up to Mansfield for a presentation with the Mansfield Historical Society. I discussed the variety records available at PROV, and thanks to a speedy internet connection was able to get on to the PROV website and show a few tips and tricks to track down records too.


My favourite part? Showing images from the local conviction index (going up the 1960's) which provided some laughs when the audience began recognizing a few of the names...


I enjoyed the journey there, my talk and the great hospitality and look forward to my next presentation - wherever that might be!

Making short work of court records

Posted by mgrealy on November 19, 2013 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Earlier this year I started a large digitisation project for the Echuca Moama Family History Group focusing on the 126 volumes of Echuca court records held at PROV. I'm nearly at the 60% complete stage with 72 volumes of records digitised so far - that's almost 15,000 pages of digital history! The Echuca Moama Famly History Group have made a start on transcribing the Licensing Registers (applicants name, hotel, decision etc.) so if you are interested in a publican in the Echuca area then now is a good time to make contact!


This large undertaking has been made a lot easier through the introduction of a new camera at PROV, suspended on a maneuverable arm, that makes digitising large records a breeze.


Previously, I had to photograph each side of an open volume - requiring quite a bit of editing and sorting once I was back in my office. Now, I can get a whole double page in one photo.


The new camera set up is great for court registers and rate books - records that are usually of a larger size and difficult to manage with PROV's other cameras.


If you're a member of a local or family history group and you'd like a quote on a similar digitisation project for records from your area, get in contact with me and I can let you know what is available.

A change is coming...

Posted by mgrealy on November 19, 2013 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Some of you may have heard the following news – I have made mention of it at my lastfew presentations.


I’m making the move back to my home town of Wodongaat the end of the year. My family tree is about to get a little bigger with thearrival of a little baby Grealy in December, and it was this little event thatwas always going to take me back to the North East.


First off, Archival Access will still exist - but with a few changes!


I hope to still get to PROV at least twice a month – my 9 to 5 job will see medown in Melbourne sometimes too so I hope to make the most of those visits. Ialso hope to find an ‘apprentice’ of sorts who I can call upon to action research and digitisation requests in between my visits. If you know of someonewho is in close proximity to PROV and would be interested in doing some workfor me, get them to give me a buzz!


There may be a slightly longer than usual turn around time in some cases and a stillundetermined increase in price to cover the extra travel – but everything elseremains the same. Newsletters will continue, presentations too.


I’m looking forward to the move back home, getting out and about in the North Eastand doing some ‘on the ground’ research – visiting locations significant to myfamily’s history and discovering records in the smaller collections dotted around Country Victoria.

Records Store - free look up!

Posted by mgrealy on November 19, 2013 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I've added the Register of Applicants for Employment as Warders (1926-1948) to the record store this week. This record was created by the Penal and Gaols Branch and lists the applicants name, address, marital status, age, trade/profession and date of commencement of temporary duty.


I'm not expecting many people to want the whole record - but you may be interested to know if someone is listed.


The record is indexed and if you'd like me to check for a name, just shoot me an email. I'll send you the individuals index page and entry from the register free of charge.

Tracking down titles

Posted by mgrealy on November 19, 2013 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I've had a great response to the title records held at PROV – with folks finding out all the owners of their house/property going right back to original selection in the mid to late 19th century.


I've been told that there will be some form of index arriving at PROV in the future to allow searching by address – but details are a bit sketchy. In the meantime, I've been brainstorming ways to track down volume and folio numbers for other property, without having to pay a fee to Land Victoria!


One trick is to utilise VPRS 460 – Applications for Certificate of Title. I've mentioned this series before, here is a brief recap:


The current Torrens system of land ownership came in to affect in 1862

Owners of land alienated from the Crown before 1862 needed to lodged an application to get a title under the Torrens system

These applications provide the volume and folio number of the first title issued under the Torrens system

If you have visited my downloads page,you may have seen a tip sheet for finding the application numbers (AP) to access VPRS 460 – if not, it is well worth a look if you’re trying to identify a volume and folio number.


If you do find an AP number on an allotment you are interested in – let me know and I can view and digitise the original application, and track down all related titles from the very first one up until the end of the 1980’s.