Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zummary

When it comes to genealogy research, there is no "Z".  Family History research never ends.  There is always someone else or something else to research.

In my final post in the A-Z challenge, I have 'cheated' with my final post, which is a zummary of my posts over the past month;

A - Ancestry.com (the highest number of views)
E - eBay - purchasing a memory (my second favourite post)
F - Family Search (my most used website for family history research)
J - Jargon
L - Letters
V - Victims of War (my personal favourite post)
Z - Zummary

Click for more posts

Monday, April 29, 2013

You Tube

So what has You Tube got to do with genealogy research?

Do a search on Genealogy or Family History Research on You Tube and you will find that there are pages and pages of videos with hints and tips for your to view.

Even more specific searches will reap results eg. Genealogy Brickwalls, Pennsylvania Birth Records, Recording Family History etc etc etc.

If you want to know something, you will find it on You Tube.  Just be wary of the date.  A lot of the information doesn't go out of date and remains relevant but then again some things change so take this into consideration when viewing older videos.

Click to see more Y posts

Saturday, April 27, 2013

eXchange rates and values

When researching Family History, it can be interesting to convert the currency of the past to current value.

In addition to understanding the history of the currency, it is also necessary to take into consideration inflation and exchange rates, if applicable.

Initial currency in Australia was varied with barter being being common.  Gold and rum were very popular forms of early currency.

After Federation in 1901, the federal government became responsible for currency.  When Australian currency was introduced in 1909 the Australian pound was specified as equivalent to 123.27447 grains of gold 11/12ths fine or 113.002 grains of fine gold.  The Australian Notes Act was passed in 1910 and the first set of Australian Notes was issued in 1913 and was based on the old British System.  Until 13 February 1966 Australian currency continued to be based on the British system, being one pound (£) divided into 20 shillings (s.) each of 12 pence (d.).

Until the depression in 1930, The value of an Australian pound was identical to the pound sterling. There was a gradual depreciation of the Australian pound in terms of sterling from the beginning of 1930 until December 1931 when it was stabilised at the rate of £125 Australian = £100 sterling.

Upon implementation of the conversion to Decimal currently on 14 February 1966, £1 Australian was set at $2.

In 1988, Australia began its conversion to plastic (polymer) notes.  By 1996, Australia became the first country in the world to have a full set of polymer bank notes.

Purchasing Power of 80 pounds in 1850
Source: National Archives Currency Converter
In 1847, my Great Great Grandfather, James Pilgrim, purchased a cottage in Upper Holt Street, Earls Colne for £80.  According to the National Archives Currency Converter this is equivalent to £4682.40 now.

However, when Inflation is taken into consideration, using the Bank of England Inflation Calculator, this increases to an approximate value in 2012 of £411,364.  According to Zoopla, the average house price for Upper Holt Street, Earls Colne is currently £390,359.

Receipt for 9 bags of almonds in 1964

In 1964, my Grand Uncle, Lloyd Pilgrim, received £68 4s 6d upon the sale of 9 bags of almonds.  According to the Reserve Bank of Australia Inflation Calculator, this is equivalent to $136.45 but when inflation is considered this increases to the equivalent of $1,707.10 today.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wills & Probate Records

Wills & Probate records can be a great source of information for family history researchers.

We are very fortunate that Victorian Wills and Probate Records are available online at the Public Record Office Victoria.

My Great Grandmother told her family that her father's name was Richard Foy.  However, when we finally tracked down her birth record, there was no father listed.

Agnes Scott, Agnes Foy
Source: www.bdm.qld.gov.au

Therefore it was a source of relief to many family members to see Agnes listed as Richard Foy's daughter in his Probate Records.

Source: www.prov.vic.gov.au
The Probate Record also shows that Agnes and her sister May were using the Foy name (there is a mystery story here for another day) and they were living with their Grandfather, Samuel Drayton (and his address) at the time of Richard's death.

Now if only I could translate the Will for my 4 X Great Grandfather, Donald Scott, I may be able to obtain some more insights into the family.  This reminds me that you can search Wills on Scotlands People at no cost then pay a small fee to view the original record.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Victims of War

Today is Anzac Day in Australia.

Although I have grown up knowing the significance of Anzac Day, I hate to admit that I really didn't appreciate the sacrifices of our young men until I started family history research.

Every Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, I research a family member who made the ultimate sacrifice.  They did not get the opportunity to have children or grandchildren to remember them, so I now feel a duty to do so.

Today I pay tribute to Albert George "Bertie" Warner, who was born 23rd January 1892 in the small farming community of Winiam, Victoria.

Bertie's mother, Sophia, died shortly before his second birthday from "Acute Mania & Exhaustion".  Her death was soon followed by the death of Bertie's four year old sister, Jane, and his baby brother, Robert.

My first cousins (3 times removed)
Caroline (Carrie), Albert (Bertie)
and Maria (Ria) Warner
It is hard to imagine the grief that would have been felt by their father, George Warner, who had lost his young wife and two children within a month of each other.  He was unable to care for his three remaining children (Ria, Carrie and Bertie) and they went to live with their Aunty and Uncle, James and Mary Ann Pilgrim (my Great Great Grandparents), who had 10 other children living at home.

George stayed living in the area but died  in 1902 when Bertie was 10 years old.

Bertie attended the Winiam State School and was a "prominent member" of the Winiam community.  Similar to many other family members he was a member of the Cricket and Rifle Clubs and played football with the Imperial Football Club.

After leaving school, Bertie became a farmer, like his father and many other family members.

On the 4th March 1916, at age 24, he joined the 38th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Forces.  On the 26th June 1916 he was aboard the HMAT Runic, on his way to fight in many notable conflicts, including at Messines, Ypres, Polygon Wood and the Somme.

HMAT Runic
Source: http://alh-research.tripod.com/ships_lh.htm
Albert George "Bertie" Warner was 26 years old when he died on 29th September 1918.  He was "killed while taking the Hindenburg Line in France".   He is buried at Unicorn Cemetery, Vendhuile, France.

Albert George (Bertie)Warner
Circa 1916

Albert George (Bertie Warner)
Circa 1917

Winiam State School Honor Roll
Includes the name of three family members
who lost their lives in World War 1
Unicorn Cemetery, Vendhuile, France
Source: www.cwgc.org

Lest we Forget

You can listen to the Last Post here (advert is only 10 secs before you hear it)

You can also read about other family members who fought in World War 1
Valiant Victims

Click for more "V" posts

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

UKBDM and Unlock the past

UKBMD provides links to websites that provide information on UK parish registers, births, deaths, marriages, censuses and other records. The links are easily located by county.

"All the Local BMD web sites are run by local volunteers from the various local family history societies.  Show you support for these groups by joining the local family history society for your area"

Unlock the past  promotes Australian & New Zealand history, genealogy and heritage.  I recently attended the 3rd Unlock the Past History & Genealogy Cruise, which was terrific and resulted in many tips for additional research.
Amongst other things, the Unlock the past website lists upcoming Genealogy and Family History events in Australia and publish a range of easy to read genealogy guide books, which I have found very useful.

Click for more posts

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Trove is Terrific

Trove is a terrific resource for more than just those researching Australian family history.  It really is a Treasure Trove for anyone who is interested in history or historical research.

So what is Trove?  Trove is a search engine managed by the National Library of Australia , which brings together collections of Historical Newspapers, Books, Pictures, Diaries, Letters, Maps and more.

The Newspapers are my favourite. I have been able to locate so much information about my ancestors by searching in Trove.

A search on my Great Great Grandfather "James Pilgrim Winiam" brings up 249 mentions of James in newspapers,including Awards, Weddings, Deaths, Community Service, Obituary, Farm Accidents, Meetings etc. Further results are revealed when the town (Winiam) is excluded or just the Surname, Pilgrim, is searched.

A search of "A-Z" revealed the following:

The Horsham Times
Friday 31 July 1931
Source: http://trove.nla.gov.au

"What's your name?" asked a messenger
in the Criminal Court at Bridgeport (USA),
as a tall negro asked for his fee for giving
evidence in a criminal case.  "A Z" was the reply.  
"A Z what?" "A Z nothing, just A Z"
"Were you christened A Z?"
"Yes, I was the only child, and I guess they
gave me that name 'cause I was the
first and last"

The Brisbane Courier
Monday 17 July 1933
Source: http://trove.nla.gov.au

The Mercury (Tasmania)
Wednesday 20 May 1908
Source: http://trove.nla.gov.au

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Scotlands People

If you have Scottish ancestry, you must visit the Scotlands People website.

There is a charge for searching and obtaining most records on the website but personally I believe it is well worth it.

The website includes indexes and copies of documents showing, births, deaths, marriages, census records, valuation rolls, Wills and testaments. Unfortunately I cannot show you examples due to copyright laws.

My tips to obtain better results when you search:
  • Use "Wildcards allowed" when searching (use down arrow) or asterix
  • Start wide and then narrow your search
  • Many Scottish names were interchangeable (eg. Grizel & Grace, Donald & Daniel, Agnes & Nancy). Therefore searching by surname initially then narrowing your search result can be very beneficial.
  • You can search without inserting a surname
  • Don't include the sex in initial searches to broaden your results (it is not always recorded correctly)
  • You can search up to 5 parishes (or all) at one time.  If you know the general area where your family originated then also search the surrounding parishes as people did not typically travel very far in the past.  There are maps on the website to assist identify the neighbouring parishes.
  • Read the Help and Resources to obtain the most from the website.
  • The site records your prior searches but it is also possible to export your search results into an excel document.
  • Death records of females can be recorded under maiden name rather than married name

Unconfirmed Scott ancestors. You can read more about my research here.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ryerson Index and RootsWeb

Source: www.ryersonindex.org
The Ryerson Index lists death notices and obituaries in Australian Newspapers dating back to the 1800s. Searching the index is very easy.  The indexes are primarily from NSW newspapers but representation from other states is growing as more volunteers participate.  If your local paper is not included, think about volunteering to increase the records available for researchers.

Source: www.rootsweb.ancestry.com
RootsWeb is a free website that enables you to share your family tree, peruse submitted trees and connect to other people, who have similar research interests.

Users can submit information to the "User Contributed Database" to assist other researchers, such as the Dictionary of Genealogy & Archaic terms featured in a prior post.  

I have submitted the surname and details of my "brickwalls" to the relevant mailing lists and message boards hoping that I can connect to others who are researching the same people.  If your surname is not listed, you can create a mailing list.

Also check the Surname lists to connect with others who are researching the same families.

You can also build your own genealogy website with free webspace provided by RootsWeb.

Additionally, there are many volunteering opportunities available.

Click for more "R" posts

Friday, April 19, 2013

Quintessential Genealogy Tips

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During the A-Z April blogging challenge, I have been listing tips and websites for researching your family history, primarily in Australia.

Today, I would like to list my five quintessential tips for anyone beginning with family history research:

1.  Good record keeping
I believe that it is very important to have an organised system of storing all the important information, documents, stories and photos that you obtain while researching.

The system will vary depending upon personal preference but I feel that if it takes you longer than a minute to retrieve or locate an item then you need a better system!

My cousin has a separate folder for each surname (based on maiden name for females), with dividers and plastic pockets so that information is sorted and easily visible.  This works for her but I prefer to use the computer.   I also have folders sorted by family for original certificates and photos but I prefer to scan everything and have it on the computer with all photos and information linked to the relevant person on family history software.

2.  Verify information and record sources
If you are serious about researching your family history then you want to make sure that the information that you have is correct.  Therefore verifying information (through certificates or other records) is very important. Sometimes our relatives did not tell the truth!

When I started researching I didn't realise the importance of recording sources.  I would look at information previously obtained and think "Is that correct or where did I get that from?".  Therefore there was a lot of time wasted going back and researching family members again to verify the information.  Now I create and record sources for all information that I obtain, which prevents duplicate research and I know immediately that recorded information is correct.

Additionally, should a relative want to continue your research at a later stage, they shall immediately know the information that has been verified.

3.  Talk to family now, before it is too late
Records can tell us a lot about our ancestors but the memories of family members add a whole new personal dimension to your research.  Additionally, the names and place names remembered by our older relatives can be a good starting point if your are beginning your research.

Commence a visitation schedule, starting with the oldest family members.  My "Memories" post has further tips.

4.  Try variations in spelling
In times gone past, many of our ancestors could not write or spell and often their name was written how it sounded.  Sometimes the writing was not very legible either. Additionally, indexers can make mistakes with typing or reading records.

If you are unable to locate records about your ancestors, try all different variations.  For example some of the variations that I have come across:
Joy instead of Foy
Fox instead of Foy
Sully instead of Gully
Mottrim instead of Mottram
Raiton instead of Drayton
Pilgram instead of Pilgrim

5.  Don't believe assumptions
Assumptions can be useful to provide an alternative direction for research but always verify the information before relying upon it and including it in your family history records.

It amazes me that so many trees on ancestry.com are incorrect.  An assumption has been made by one person and then it is copied by numerous other users without verifying information.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Public Record Office Victoria


The Public Record Office Victoria is the archives centre for the State Government of Victoria.  They "hold approximately 100 kms of records from the mid 1830s to today".

There are many records which have been digitised with more being added regularly (follow their blog for updates).

A visit to the archives centre is a must for anyone researching family history in Victoria.

The records that I use predominantly are

1.  Passenger Lists
  • Index to Unassisted Inward Passengers to Victoria 1852 - 1923
  • Index to Assisted British Immigrants to Victoria 1839 - 1871
2.  Wills and Probate Records for 1841-1925 are available online

Some of the other records held by the Public Records Office Victoria which may be of interest to family history researchers include:

  • Adoption and Wardship
  • Court Cases
  • Education & Teacher Records
  • Inquests
  • Mental Health Records
  • Parish & Township Plans
  • Prisoner and Convict Records

Click for more A-Z posts

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

James E Pilgrim

As soon as I saw the Sepia Saturday prompt this week, two photos of my great grandfather, James E Pilgrim, immediately came to mind.

" A 6ft 8" eagle hawk, which was shot with a pea-rifle.  The first shot winged him and it took 8 more shots to bring him to the ground. (Feb 1930)"

Feb 1930
Lorna and James E Pilgrim
Almondale -Winiam

James E Pilgrim with a 6 foot snake he killed
December 1931
Almondale - Winiam

Nhill Free Press
Thursday August 24 1950
Mr. J.E. Pilgrim

Sympathy was expressed in the Winiam district last Monday when it was learned of the sudden passing of a popular identity in the person of Mr James Pilgrim, orchardist, at the age of 70 years.  The late Mr Pilgrim was born near Gawler, South Australia, and came to Winiam with his parents at the age of two years, marrying Miss Mabel Geyer in August, 1907.

In his younger days he was a very keen cricketer and was a member of the famous Pilgrim cricket team, and also played for Nhill and district in a match against Geelong at Nhill.  Deceased was also a good footballer and pianist.
For about thirty years he had conducted an orchard at Winiam and took a keen interest in the Nhill A & P Society, as an exhibitor carrying off many prizes for his fruit and vegetables.

The late Mr Pilgrim was sitting on a log talking to some friends when he collapsed.  Sympathy is extended to his wife and children in their sudden bereavement, namely Eva (Mrs A Scott, Bendigo), Lloyd (Winiam), Hazel (Winiam), Edna (Mrs J. Muller, Winiam) and Lorna (Winiam).  He was a member of a large family, having six brothers and four sisters, viz. Mark (Bordertown), Bert (dec), Bob (Winiam), Ned (Winiam), Perc (Winiam), Bill (dec), Mrs E Muller (Kinimakatka), Mrs Westendorf (dec), Mrs Weir (S.A. dec) and Emma (dec).

The burial took place in the Winiam Cemetary last Tuesday, the service being conducted by the Rev. C.R. Addinsall, of the Nhill Methodist Church.  Mr J.T. Whitehead was the funeral director.

Pilgrim Seven
You can also read about his father, James Pilgrim senior (my great great grandfather) here.

Click on picture for more Sepia Saturday posts

Old Bailey Online

Old Baileys
Source: State Library of Victoria
Edward Oxford
At the Old Bailey
22nd June 1840

Did you have relatives who were criminals or may have testified against criminals?  
If so, you are likely to be able to find detailed records in the relevant archives.

Once such source is the Central Criminal Court of London and Wales, commonly known as the Old Bailey, after the street it stands on. 

The proceedings of over 197,000 trials between 1673 and 1913 are available online and make interesting reading.

Click to see more "O" Posts

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

National Library of Australia


The National Library of Australia offers some terrific resources for those researching their Australian family history.

One day (thinking I will need a week or more) I shall visit the library in Canberra but at present I use the eResources.  I'd suggest that you take the time to browse the Genealogy Category so that you are aware of the resources available.

Most Australian researchers would agree that the best resource within the National Library of Australia website is Trove.  It is an excellent source of information about our ancestors and times gone past (but you will need to wait until my "T" post to hear more).

An Australian resident can obtain a library card and then has access to a wider range of resources, such as 19th century UK newspapers.

Other "N" websites that I use for researching Australian Family History:
National Archives of Australia - this is covered more in my prior "Defense Records" post
news.google.com/newspapers - Historical newspapers from around the world.  It is more difficult to find things than in Trove but it is interesting to browse.

Click to see more N posts

Monday, April 15, 2013


I urge you to take the time to visit your elder family members and ask them about their memories of times gone by, before it is too late.

When you start, it may be difficult to get a family member talking, so it helps to have a list of questions to initiate conversation.

I find that old photo albums are a fantastic way to generate memories.   Ask "Open" questions to generate a more detailed response (Why, How, What) or ask them to Describe or Tell you about the photo or people in the photo.  

My Great Grandparents, Mary and Ambrose Walker with Buzz & Silver
Who is the child in this photo?
Where do you think it was taken?  Where did they grow up/live?
How often did you visit your grandparents/did they visit you?  
What did you do there?
What other animals were on the farm?
What do you remember the most about your grandmother/grandfather?
Tell me about your favourite memories about your grandmother/grandfather?
Describe their house.

You will be surprised that most will enjoy reminiscing about the past once prompted and the memories will begin to flow without your prompting.  Your pen will be unable to keep up, so you may want to use a video or recording device so you can review your conversation later (always get permission first).

After many years of prompting, my grandmother wrote her memories in a notebook for me.  Every day over a period of months, she would write for half an hour in the notebook.  It is one of the my most valuable possessions.

Now I need to get started on my own note book of memories, for my children and grandchildren!

Click to see more A-Z posts

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Transcribed below
Go!  Do it now!  Get your pen out and write a letter by hand, to either your daughter, son, mother, father, grandparent or cousin.

Write about your family, describe your house, garden, hobbies, work, community, the economy, your beliefs, feelings, views or anything else that comes to mind.   Make it clear to the recipient that the letter is to be retained with important papers and NEVER destroyed.

Or maybe you would prefer to imagine that you are writing to a descendant, who will read the letter in 100 years time.  Tell them about your family and life now.  What do you think they would like to know about in 100 years time?

You may not think the contents of your letter are interesting now, but in 100 years time your descendants will think it is GOLD.

Unfortunately there wont be many letters around in 100 years time, with email now being the preferred method of communication.  We are losing a valuable family history resource.  In addition to the contents of the letter, the handwriting also offers an insight into the writer.

Our family were prolific letter writers, who thankfully retained letters, so I have copies of letters from many different sources.  Additionally,  my grandmother and I wrote to each other regularly.  In most letters, I would ask my grandmother a question or two about family history and memories.  I kept all her replies, which have contained very valuable information, not available elsewhere.

I love all the letters that I have but there is one that is very special (the first page is pictured above and transcribed below).  I was visiting my cousin and looking through the family bible and came across several letters that had been stored in the bible for over 100 years. No one (alive) knew that they were there! You can imagine my emotion as I read the letter and realised that my Great Great Grandmother was writing to tell family about the death of my Great Great Grandfather in 1892.  It seems that the letter was addressed to family in Scotland but never mailed, instead being placed in the family bible.

"I take my pen in hand to write these few lines to you with a heart full of sadness for I have lost your Brother and my all.  Oh my Dear sisters you might think like I used to, that I could feel what others feel when they were separated but I could not tell you the blank that falls one’s life for we lived a very happy life together and the blow came very hard to bear. 
My Dear Sisters, my poor husband has been failing for the past eight months but he did not think he was bad enough to get a doctor’s advice but I took it upon myself to get the doctor up to him for he said “I can eat and drink well and at my time in life it is better to be thin than fat”, but I did not feel satisfied but the doctor could do nothing for it.  Was the miner’s chronic bronchitis and Pleurisy that was the matter with him.  The doctor gave me no hope of him ever being strong again but that he might live for years or go any time but that he would never work again but the pain was very severe from Wednesday till Friday and he told me that it was all over with him but I tried to do as the doctor told me, to keep his spirits up.  You will know how hard it was for me.  He took everything I gave him and I thought he was going to rally but the cough was gone and I heard him ask the doctor to give him something to ease the cough and he told him that it would be worse for him so I sent for the doctor again and he told him there was no hope for him.  He told him that he knew from the first but told my mother and them to keep it from me.  He said when my mother asked him if he knew who to look to for strength, he said yes mother but don’t let Polly know.  
If it was not for the happiness of knowing that he went home safely and that he went so quiet as a child.  I was with him to the last and he knew us all dear sister and the last drink my mother gave him, she asked him “Do you know me Dan?” and he nodded his head and that was a couple of seconds before his last.  He died on the 11 June just at twelve O’clock.  I send you this so that you will see that I am trying to be the same as when he was here, for he used to say write the same as when I am here.  He did not like writing.  When we got our likeness taken he said they will see that we are both failing.  I wanted him to write but he was waiting till he heard from you, but we will have to leave the all wise maker will be done.  We will never see each other, but we can help each to bare the trials and bye & bye meet each other on the other side.
Dear Sisters I have 7 children now.  The last two are boys, baby is 6 months.  I have to struggles to keep them as we have had no crops for some time.  I think I will draw to a close with love to you all from us all.  I remain your loving sister.    M A Scott " 

To finish, a big Thank You to Wendy at Jollett Etc whose comment on a prior Post inspired this topic.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Sepia Saturday 172 - Family and Friends

What are your initial impressions when you look at this photo?

Mill Trough Nhill
Lloyd Pilgrim, Em Pilgrim, Eva Pilgrim, Allan Scott, Myrtle Pilgrim
 September 1931 - At the Mill Trough Nhill
This photo was taken the year before my grandparents were married and is very special to me.  I suspect that there is a lot more happening here than you would realise on first glance.  

The first clue is the genuine smile on my grandmothers face (she is in the middle).  She rarely smiled, especially in photos, but she looks very happy and relaxed here.

The next indication is my grandfather holding my grandmother's handbag.  They also swapped coats.  

My feeling is that this photo shows a couple in love, who are shyly flirting.

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Knowledge (Improving Genealogy Knowledge)

Source: www. landsofwisdom.com

For those wanting to commence their family history journey,  I would suggest that they visit the following sites:
The Church of Latter Day Saints in conjunction with FamilySearch, which provide excellent resources for those who are new to researching their family history.  The majority of the video lessons for beginners are very short in duration and they are free.

At present, FamilySearch have 91 lessons for beginners, 294 for intermediate and 50 for advanced researchers.  The lessons cover over 30 different countries.  There is something for everyone.

A search on the internet will reveal many genealogy webinars.  Do you have any favourites that you would like to share?

Although, I have been researching for many years, I am wanting to further my knowledge and potentially obtain a qualification in my favourite hobby.  I have therefore been looking for a course that would suit me.

Presently at the top of my list is the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, as it offers a wide range of courses and packages, which interest me.  Additionally a certificate is available upon completion of the relevant courses.

Many local history groups and genealogical societies also offer short courses.  The Society of Australian Genealogists offers a Certificate in Genealogical Research and a Diploma in Family Historical Studies, which also interests me.

In looking for a course that would suit me, I also came across the following sites, which provide family history research courses:

Do you have any other courses or institutions that you would recommend to improve family history research?

Are you interested in starting a course or learning more?

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Thursday, April 11, 2013


Ahnentafel, Banns, Dropsy, Gedcom, Messuage and Tenement are all terms that most family history researchers are familiar with.  

How many of these Genealogical terms beginning with "J" do you know?
Jackson White
Joined Stool
Julian Calendar

You can find the meanings in the Rootsweb Dictionary of Genealogy & Archaic Terms

Additionally, FamilySearch provides a comprehensive list of Latin Genealogical terms and words to assist with research.

Click to see more posts

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Immigration Records

Did some of your ancestors seemingly just appear or swim to get to their destination?  Or have you been able to locate the boat they arrived on?

Most of my relatives arrived at Port Phillip (Melbourne, Victoria,Australia) and the records held by the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) are very good.

My Tips:
  • Visit the Public Records Office to obtain a copy of the original records, which have more information than the online indexes (refer below for an example).
  • Search under similar or alternate spelling as the records are not always indexed correctly (eg I have found Gully recorded under Sully and Mottram under Mottrim)
The search result below shows that my Great Great Great Grandparents John and Sarah Walker arrived on the James Brown in January 1853.  It also shows their ages.  You will note that John junior (aged 3) is listed on page 24, while his family are listed on page 19.  This is because he died on the journey.
Immigration Search Result
The original record shows the following additional information;
  • Occupation - Agricultural Labourer
  • Native of Cumberland
  • Religion - Church of England
  • Both John and Sarah can read and write
  • John has 6 years employment with Mr Goldsmith of Trawalla, being paid £50 per annum
  • Their meals were provided on-board (as their passage was paid by the government)

Source: Public Record Office Victoria
Prior to 1852 (before Victoria became a colony) all immigration records are held by the NSW State Archives. 

There are many Australian immigration websites.  The following are the links that I have bookmarked:
Convict Records
Family History SA - South Australian Shipping & Migration Directory
Perth Dead Person's Society - includes Western Australian (and other states) shipping records
Public Record Office Victoria - Assisted passenger index
Public Record Office Victoria - Unassisted passenger index
State Records of NSW Immigration Records
State Records of NSW Shipping List
State Library of Queensland lists the links for immigration records for every Australian State
State Library of South Australia Passenger Lists
State Library of South Australia Immigration Records

Please feel free to include additional immigration links in the comments.  I am very interested in any websites that list emigrants from UK to Australia.

Click to see more posts