Archival Access Victoria

Bringing the Victorian Archives to you


Blog

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


view:  full / summary

Lost in the catalogue...no more!

Posted by mgrealy on June 23, 2014 at 3:45 AM Comments comments (0)

In my last newsletter I talked about how not ever record was linked up the way it should be in the PROV catalogue, with some records not showing up in searches due to their creating 'agency' not existing (or having incorrect spelling!).

 

 

 

 

I was glad to receive some useful information via email from Susie Zada on how to get around this little problem. The solution - hit the books, or rather book...the PROV's List of Holdings! This book contains a variety of information regarding agencies and the records created by them that now live at PROV.

 

I had heard of this publication before, but believed that the PROV's online catalogue was the '21st Century' version...but I was wrong. Susie pointed out that although the Chillingolah Court wasn't listed as an agency on the PROV Catalogue, it was found easily between Chewton and Chiltern in the courts section of the List of Holdings.

I ordered a copy of the List of Holdings, and was happy to see it arrive on Friday...just in time for some weekend reading.

 

Armed with the knowledge that the online catalogue wasn't the be all and end all of record listings, I went searching for other things that may have gone astray.

 

I had previously scoured the PROV catalogue for local records (North East Victoria) so I was familiar with what was around - so I was delighted to find mention of court records from Wahgunyah, Woolshed and Indigo. My ancestors spent time at Woolshed and Indigo so I am very eager to get back to PROV and search through these records...now that I know they exist!

Open House Melbourne 2014

Posted by mgrealy on June 23, 2014 at 3:40 AM Comments comments (0)

With the list of buildings being announced last week, the hype is growing for Open House Melbourne 2014, being held on 26th and 27th of July. Last year I volunteered as a tour guide at the Esplanade Hotel down in St Kilda, and although I'd like to volunteer again this year and learn a bit about another one of Melbourne's landmarks...I've decided to make the most of a trip to Melbourne as a regular Joe Public and see as many buildings as I can.

 

Great timing by Open House Melbourne too - being held on a weekend where the PROV is open - so I can hit two birds with one stone.

 

For more info on Open House Melbourne see their website, and read up this years buildings...always good to plan ahead!

Not just a list of records...

Posted by mgrealy on June 23, 2014 at 3:40 AM Comments comments (0)

The PROV catalogue isn't just good for finding out what records are at the archives, but also for finding out a lot about the records themselves. With a few exceptions, every record listed on the PROV catalogue comes with a description of the record, providing information about how the records are arranged, their contents and why they were created. I often jump on the PROV catalogue to look up something only to find an hour has passed and the majority of that time has been spent reading about the organisation of land records created under some obscure section of the Land Act.

 

You can learn a lot about Victoria's history from the catalogue entries, and you may even spark an idea in your mind about how a seemingly unrelated record might shed some light on your own research - I did when I discovered 'G W Brown's Notebooks' among records held by the Education Department. Gilbert Wilson Brown was a school inspector and his notebooks were his own personal record of his inspections of various schools (including denominational) during the 1860's. I hoped that out of the hundreds of schools that this one inspector may have visited, my ancestors schools in the North East of Victoria would get a mention, and that he may have written down their names. And it was definitely worth checking out this record!

 

G W Brown visited the North East and Alpine areas seven times during the 1860's - visiting the local schools where my ancestors attended. And I even confirmed a 'Kelly' story (as I know we all have them!) with Brown's notebooks showing that my G-G-Grandfather, John Boyce, attended the Woolshed school with Joe Byrne in the early 1860's.

 

So if you find yourself with a few moments spare, jump on the PROV catalogue (here is a tip sheet to get you started) and have a browse, who knows what you might discover.

Archives in the Alpine

Posted by mgrealy on June 10, 2014 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

On the 27th of May I made the trip up to Bright, in Victoria's beautiful Alpine country for a presentation with the Alpine Shire Heritage Network (ASHN). This group is made up of the various historical and family history groups in the area - Myrtleford & District Historical Society, Bright & District Historical Society, Harrietville Historical Society, Kiewa Valley Historical Society and the Bright RSL.

The wet weather was something I could have done without but I soon dried out and warmed up in the Council Chambers at Bright, a perfect setting for viewing digitised local records and learning a bit about what can be found down at PROV.

I had a number of records I had digitised in advance for the ASHN, which will be made available through my Records Store for everyone else soon:

  • Buckland Gold Office - Deposit Register
  • Licensing registers from the Bright Courts
  • A number of local fire inquest files

Archives in the Alpine

Posted by mgrealy on June 10, 2014 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

On the 27th of May I made the trip up to Bright, in Victoria's beautiful Alpine country for a presentation with the Alpine Shire Heritage Network (ASHN). This group is made up of the various historical and family history groups in the area - Myrtleford & District Historical Society, Bright & District Historical Society, Harrietville Historical Society, Kiewa Valley Historical Society and the Bright RSL.

 

The wet weather was something I could have done without but I soon dried out and warmed up in the Council Chambers at Bright, a perfect setting for viewing digitised local records and learning a bit about what can be found down at PROV.

 

I had a number of records I had digitised in advance for the ASHN, which will be made available through my Records Store for everyone else soon:

Buckland Gold Office - Deposit Register

Licensing registers from the Bright Courts

A number of local fire inquest files

Wikipedia for Municipal Records

Posted by mgrealy on June 10, 2014 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

 

There are lots of websites out there that can help with tracking down PROV records – be it the LASSI map used for finding old title application numbers or the Royal Historical Society of Victoria's Index to Inward Correspondence (Superintendent of the Port Phillip District) between 1839 and 1851. Another website I frequent quite often for a little help with municipal records is not only free but is one of the most popular websites in the world – Wikipedia.

 

Wikipedia has a treasure trove of information relating to Victorian municipal areas – and so far it hasn’t let me down when I’ve been trying to find out the name, location and life span of a 19th century municipality. Below is a simple example of how Wikipedia can be used to help with your research.

 

Imagine you were researching the pioneers of Tongala, looking for the names of land owners in1877. Tongala sits in the shire of Campaspe, a local government area formed in1994, so to get started you look up the Shire of Campaspe on Wikipedia. You discover it was formed through the amalgamation of the City of Echuca, Shire of Deakin, Shire of Rochester, Shire of Waranga, Town of Kyabram and part of the Shire of Rodney. If you know your local geography you may know already which of the above shires contained Tongala, but if you didn’t you would check each of the above links to find out. Eventually you’d discover that Tongala was located within the Shire of Deakin from 1893 to 1994 (whose rate books are at PROV from 1893) – but this doesn’t help us find out about the residents in 1877. Reading through the Shire of Deakin page we learn that it was once a part of the Echuca Road District(1864-1871) and the Shire of Echuca (1871-1893). Armed with this information, we look on the PROV catalogue for the records of the Echuca Shire and we’ll find that rate books are available from 1877. It will be in these volumes that we’ll find the names of Tongala’s pioneers.

 

Some pages on Wikipedia are more detailed than others, but most should provide you with enough information to determine which municipality you need to focus your research on. And of course, if you are ever unsure – I’m only an email away.


Lost in the catalogue

Posted by mgrealy on June 10, 2014 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

There are many different ways of searching on the PROV catalogue – by group (courts, education , railways), by agency (Wodonga Courts, Sale Primary School, Ararat Asylum) by series (license register, pupil register) or by item (File No. 2394, Inquest 1962/254). This is all linked together, searching by group for 'Courts' would return a list of all the courts in the PROV catalogue, clicking on the Wodonga Court link will provide me with a list of all the records for the Wodonga Court, where I would find the license registers.

 

Sometimes these links are broken, or were never there in the first place and every now and again I find a record that isn’t linked to the agency that created. The most recent set of records I’ve found to be ‘lost in the catalogue’ are from the Chillingollah Court House, registers dating from 1916 to 1942. I had never even heard of Chillingollah (on the PROV catalogue as Chillingolah) – and If someone had asked me to find records relating to Chillingollah I would have most likely missed these, as my agency search for Chillingollah would have returned no results, and the series search for the court records would have failed due to the spelling variation.

 

In addition to records not linked to their agency – there are a number of ‘unknown’ records too. The most recent of these that I have looked at is a staff register for an unknown agency. This register is filled with a variety of details relating to staff employed in an as yet unidentified department of the Victorian government. I may just have a go at identifying it – as I believe if the register states that a staff member died while in the employment of the agency, their will and probate file may shed light on their occupation and employer.

 

I’ll let you know how I go with that!

An interesting record

Posted by mgrealy on May 14, 2014 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (0)

My grandfather worked for the CRB and during the Winter, he spent a lot of time up on Mt Buffalo ensuring the roads in this beautiful part of Victoria were safe to travel on. Naturally, whenever I see a record in the PROV catalogue that might shed some light on the area and what went on up on the mountain - I have a look at it.

 

The most recent record I found was a register of Camping Permit Fees which lists the names (and sometimes address) of everyone who paid to camp up on Mt Buffalo between 1932 and 1964. Lots of locals camped at Buffalo as well as folks from all over Victoria, Australia and even visitors from NZ the UK and the US. In later years, the register shows how many people stayed for how many nights and even lists license plate numbers.

 

If you'd like a copy of this record, it will be in the Records Store soon - OR - if you would like to get your hands on this record for FREE, and you'd be willing to index (in full or in part) this 100 page register by year, name and residence, get in touch with me.

Non-government Schools

Posted by mgrealy on May 14, 2014 at 6:15 AM Comments comments (0)

A wide range of records are available for government schools including correspondence, teacher records and pupil lists - but as I'm sure some of you have discovered, not everyone attended a state school! Privately run denominational and non-denominational school have operated in Victoria from the days before it was even a colony, and some of these records are available at PROV.

 

Below are the series of non-government school record I have found, date from 1906 onwards:

 

VPRS 10300 School Files

 

These files have been index on the PROV catalogue and you can search by school name with ease through the PROV websites search function. The files may contain the following information:

  • an application for registration
  • correspondence to and from the Registered Schools Board
  • inspectors reports
  • notifications of extensions or alterations to schools
  • maps, plans and building survey reports
  • applications to open schools

VPRS 11354 Teachers Cards

 

This series contain the registration details of teachers who taught at non-government school, but unlike the state school teacher records, these have not been indexed yet. Although, the cards are arranged in alphabetical order so a look up by name won't be too much of a hassle.

 

The teachers cards may contain the following information:

  • name of the teacher
  • registration number
  • residential address
  • qualifications
  • school level at which teaching
  • whether a special subject teacher (eg. Art, Phys.Ed., Music)

There are various 19th century records in existence that relate to non-government schools - I've listed a few below that were created by the Denominational School Board:

  • Rolls of Teachers 1855-1864
  • Register of Building Grants 1853-1862
  • Inspectors Reports 1851-1859 (some pupil lists are in here)

The above records are arranged in a way that makes searching (and then digitising!) a fairly simple task - so if you have a teacher in your family tree and you can't find them in the state school teacher records index - perhaps I can track them down in the non-government school records for you?

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.


Rss_feed