What you discover when you read the fine print!


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Billing - larger houseThere I was re-sorting my collection of research CDs when I turned one over and actually read the BACK of the cover!

I KNEW what I would find in a Sands and McDougall’s Melbourne and Suburban Directory!  I had used so many over the years.  I also knew how important it was to use the STREET directory part and not just the SURNAME part.  I researched houses so often that it was crucial that I use the STREET directory part to ensure I didn’t miss anything important.  So how could I have ignored the “blurb” on the back of the 1884 CD – especially when it featured a sketch of a house complete with floor-plan.

What did the “fine print” tell me – if I’d bothered to read it in the first place?

A fascinating feature is a Universal Building Societies Supplement which includes 15 pages of architectural house plans of the day – layouts and elevations – with the house price for each.  These have estimated prices ranging from £150 for a basic wooden house to substantial brick dwellings for just over £1000 – with servants room included.

Billing - small wooden houseWow – what an amazing supplement – 31 pages in total.  And what was even more fascinating were the plans for the smaller wooden cottages – designed by an architect!

It was also a chance to learn about Building Societies and mortgages and how our ancestors may have purchased or built their home in 1884.

Billing had been an architect of interest for some time and even more so last year when I was researching a house associated with Swinburne University in Hawthorn.  I had located the sewerage plans which gave the footprint of a “mystery house” until photos were uncovered to show the house in all it’s glory.  Research showed that the house was possibly built or enlarged by the architect Nathaniel Billing.

The lesson?  READ THE FINE PRINT and never presume you know what a publication really contains.

I had even ignored the Bookmarks contained in this Sands and McDougall’s CD – I confess I hadn’t click on the bookmark titled “Universal Building Society” – the bookmark was totally correct for the title in the Directory – it just didn’t jump out at me and I had never clicked on it.

Will I learn my lesson – I really hope so.  In the meantime I’m sharing this with you to encourage you to read the fine print and click on “boring sounding” titles – you just never know what absolute gem is hidden there!

Girls Make History


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Girls Make History WorkshopsLast week I had the pleasure of participating in the “Girls Make History” Workshops at Deakin Waterfront.  It was presented by Deakin Contemporary Histories Research Group and the Master of Applied Learning and Teaching.

As part of my workshop I promised to provide a number of links for further research.

Starting with some of the case studies I used:

Some other links that will help with your research – PLENTY here to keep you occupied for some time:

Enjoy your research!

Louise King Funerals for WomenI greatly appreciate that my time participating in the “Girls Make History” program was sponsored by Louise King Funerals for Women.

Heritage environment, cemetery, and award – WINNERS!


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Moonah Walk, Queenscliff CemeteryBack on 25 September 2016 I posted a blog with the above title minus the last bit … [ – WINNERS! ] .

The new title with its addition says it all – the Geelong Cemeteries Trust won the 2016 Premier’s Sustainability Award for the category of Environmental Protection.

Congratulations to the Geelong Cemeteries Trust.  And for all of you family history researchers make sure you look at the GCT online searchable database for the large number of cemeteries that come under their care.

You’ll also find some very useful background information on their research page.

GCT recipientsThe award

It’s history week and this is OUR history


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2000 - Ocean Grove races

Image: downunder exposures

By “our” I mean Ocean Grove – a lovely corner of Paradise on the Bellarine Peninsula – right beside Bass Strait.

Because it’s unique in Australia, it really is wider than our “local” history so I’ve put it up on my Geelong and District Blog and decided it should also be here.

And there is no denying that the annual even drew the crowds – just look at the photo!

The FULL story and digitised Race Books can be found on my web site.

A VERY unique and important part of our history!

Victoria, Inquest Deposition Files 1840-1925 – online


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Sample of Victoria Inquest Deposition FileGot an itch to do some research this weekend?  There are limitations – you can’t print or download – BUT if you want to look at Inquest Deposition Files for Victoria 1840-1925 online just go to the under-utilised FamilySearch site.

At the moment you CAN view these on the Public Record Office web site but they are not easy to locate.  It won’t be long before these records are fully searchable and the files will be online on the PROV web site.  And of course don’t forget to look at the NEW BETA web site for PROV – give them some feedback on this exciting new change.  Try some of your inquest searches on the new web site – be prepared for a surprise – you’ll find some online that you can view.

Try the FamilySearch web site for the Victorian Inquest Deposition Files 1840-1925.

And don’t blame me if your weekend just disappears!

Heritage environment, cemetery, and award


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GCT Moonah Memorial WalkIt’s not often that these words are all part of one story but they are!  The Geelong Cemeteries Trust is a finalist  in the Environmental Protection category of the 2016 Premier’s Sustainability Awards.

Individuals can participate in the People’s Choice Award and vote for the magnificent Moonah Memorial Walk – part of the Queenscliff Cemetery managed by the Geelong Cemeteries Trust.

The Queenscliff Moonah Memorial Walk is a magical area in the Queenscliff Cemetery – read about this project of the Geelong Cemeteries Trust.

And while you’re looking at the Geelong Cemeteries Trust web site, have a look at the cemeteries managed by the Trust – then do a search for your ancestors as most of these cemeteries are indexed and mapped on the GCT Deceased Search site.  Also read about researching burials during the early years of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery.

Don’t forget to vote for the GCT Moonah Memorial Walk.

Don Grant Memorial Lecture 2016


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Grannie FERRISSince I presented the 2016 Don Grant Memorial Lecture for VAFHO (Victorian Association of Family History Organisations at the Family History Feast at the State Library of Victoria I’ve received a heap of emails.  Many saying how much they enjoyed my presentation and others asking when the presentation would be put online on the SLV web site.

  • I would like to thank everyone for their very kind emails and comments.
  • I would like to say how much of an honour it was to be invited to present the annual Don Grant Memorial Lecture
  • It was also a great honour to have Don’s widow, Lorraine, his daughter Ally, and his grand-daughter in the front row for my presentation.

My presentation titled ‘Grannie Ferris: midwife, nurse, doctor and undertaker‘ is now online on the State Library of Victoria web site.  Above is a photo of the formidable looking Grannie Ferris.

Some of my presentation related to the registers of Nurses and Midwives appearing in the Victoria Government Gazettes – this was the subject of an earlier blog I published on these registers.

During my presentation I also mentioned the two web sites from which you can download these detailed registers:

A special bonus for family history organisations who are members of VAFHO:

Send a USB to VAFHO with a stamped self-address envelope requesting a copy of the files mentioned in the presentation and the earlier blog site.  These files have been updated through Acrobat so that you can search ONCE in the folder containing all of these 70+ files – the search will search each individual file.

Enjoy!  And thank you to VAFHO and SLV for inviting me to present the 2016 Don Grant Memorial Lecture.