Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

A Merry Christmas and a happy, safe and ancestor-rich New Year to everyone out there in internet land.  2014 has been another big year in my genealogical life, and I hope it has been a productive year for you all as well.  May your 2015 be full of new records and brick wall breakthroughs.  Thank you to everyone who has been reading and commenting on this blog, your feedback online and in person helps keep me motivated and enthused.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Zepplin Raids, Gothas and "Giants"

The aim of the "Zepplin Raids, Gothas and Giants" website is to provide information on all of the air raids, on each of the 103 dates, when German airships or aeroplanes bombed Britain during World War One. Many of these raids bombed small villages rather than major cities as aerial navigation at this time was in its infancy. 

This website will continue to develop over the next couple of years until it eventually tells the complete story of Britain's First Blitz.  Were any of your ancestors near where bombs fell in World War One?  Check the website to find out.  A huge thanks to site creator Ian Castle for all his work.

Monday, December 22, 2014

New post-1858 wills service launches online

Family historians have a new route for accessing copies of their ancestors’ wills following the creation of a new web system.
The Probate Service has launched an online wills index for England and Wales, enabling people to search for any will dating from 1858-1996 and order a digital copy via their computer.  Searchable by name within specific years, the index links to a digitised version of the National Probate Calendar, showing all matching entries from the appropriate volume.  Once the correct person has been found – indicated by details such as address and court where the will was proved – researchers can then ‘click through’ and order a digital copy at a cost of £10 each. The document will then be made available as a download, generally within 10 working days.
Launched on Thursday 11 December, the new system is to act as a replacement for the Principal Probate Registry search room at the Royal Courts of Justice, which will permanently close on Friday 19 December.
While researchers can apply for wills by post or at district probate registries, the London facility has been the only place the complete National Probate Calendar can be accessed by the public. Although scans of Calendar volumes are available through – used by many when filling out a postal order form – this set only covers 1858-1966.
Thanks to Who Do You Think You Are Magazine for higlighting this new resource.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Irish Records coming online

The National Library of Ireland has announced that it will give free online access to its archive of Catholic Church records, the earliest of which dates back to the 1700s and spans the 1740s to the 1880s. The records are considered the single most important source of information on Irish family history prior to the 1901 Census. They cover 1,091 parishes throughout Ireland, and consist primarily of baptismal and marriage records.
Currently, the National Library provides free access to its microfiche records at its research rooms in Kildare Street, in Dublin. However access has been hampered in recent years by high demand and increased pressure on resources.
This is great news for those of us with Irish heritage, especially if you are like me and trying to trace ancestors from the other side of the world.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Forces War Records

Forces War Records has reached a new milestone in its latest transcription project. Launching with 30,000 records in November, the website has confirmed it has since uploaded a further 20,000 records to its Military Hospitals Admissions and Discharge Registers collection. The record set offers details of soldiers who received medical treatment on the front line during the First World War.
Each entry for a patient treated by the field ambulance includes:
  • Name
  • Rank
  • Regiment and sub unit
  • Age and completed years of service
  • Completed months with field force
  • Date of admission
  • Date of discharge
  • Injury / Illness
  • Any additional observations by medical practioners
  • Plus details of movement back to the front or to another hospital, or in some cases the soldier's death

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Genealogy Class Notes Online

For everyone who has attended my genealogy classes at Campaspe Regional Library, my class handouts are finally available to print from the library homepage.  Thanks to everyone who attended the sessions held during Family History Month in August - I hope you all enjoyed them as much as I did, and your feedback afterwards was wonderful.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Echuca Cemetery recorded

Congratulations to the Echuca Moama Family History Group for their extensive work to create the Echuca Cemetery 150 Year Pictorial History. Campaspe Regional Library was presented with a copy of their register, which will be made available to researchers in out Local History collection.  Also presented with copies were the Echuca Historical Society and the Echuca Cemetery Trust.  Pictured are David from the Cemetery Trust, Anita EMFHG, Dot and Jan from the Echuca Historical Society, Jenny and Victoria from the Library and Judy from EMFHG. Well done to the Group for all your hard work, what a great resource for family/local history researchers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Researching your Multicultural Ancestors at the SLV

The State Library of Victoria has released a new Family History research guide called Researching your multicultural ancestors.
This guide specifically focuses on researching ancestors that emigrated to Australia from countries other than the United Kingdom and lists the key resources and records available for researchers.
The SLV states that "the Researching your multicultural ancestor guide is not a definitive guide that lists specific resources for individual countries, rather it demonstrates how to start your research using resources available at the State Library of Victoria. It also provides advice on how to locate and access overseas collections and repositories."  The guide is divided into the following sections -

Thursday, November 20, 2014

War Records on FamilySearch

FamilySearch has created two important new UK image collections.  The United Kingdom World War I military service records span the years from 1914 to 1920 and consist of some 43.5 million images. The United Kingdom World War I Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps records that span the years from 1917 to 1920. This collection consists of about 265,000 records. These images come from the National Archives.
FamilySearch has also created a new collection called United States World War I Draft Registration Cards 1917-1918. It consists of 24 million draft records of adult males, which according to FamilySearch “representing almost half of the male population of the United States at the time”. Given that this collection represents such a large proportion of the male population, it can be used as a proxy for census records. A typical draft card listed the full name of the person, home address, date of birth, place of birth, occupation, employer, dependants, marital status, height, build, eye color and hair color.
Records in these collections are organized by last name.  Access is free.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


The genealogy website GenTeam has added some 400 new collections. Some highlights include citizen rolls from Bratislava, a marriage index for Vienna (starting in 1542), an index of Catholic baptisms in Vienna and Jewish indices of Prague for the years 1784 to 1804. The website currently has over 11 million records from Austria and surrounding countries. It covers most of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, as shown in the map below. The website is in English, although not all records are. Access is free upon registration. It is definitely worth checking out if you have ancestors from the region.  Thanks to Genealogy In Time for highlighting this new resource.

The website profile states that GenTeam is a non-commercial organization of genealogists and historians who produce databases on their own or as a part of a group, and who offer these databases to all researchers without any fee.  Only a simple registration is required.  The geographical centre of the databases is the present-day Austria and its neighboring lands.
Databases offered by GenTeam are not meant to replace research in original records - this must be done in the archives.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Deniliquin Genealogy Muster

Did anyone out there manage to get to the Deniliquin Genealogy Muster last week??  For those who didn't, you missed out on a great opportunity for those of us in a country area without easy access to all the city repositories and resources to meet, chat about genealogy and learn more about the resources available to us.  For only $10 entry each day (it ran on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th October) you had access to a number of exhibitor tables including several regional genealogy groups and representatives from places like PROV, State Records NSW, Charles Sturt University Regional Archives, the First Fleet Fellowship and many more.  Each table was staffed by people ready and willing to tell you about their services and resources, and I spent a great deal of both days learning about several resources I had either been completely ignorant of, or had not used to their full potential.
On each day there was also several speakers scheduled, so besides chatting to stallholders I also spent my time listening to speakers on regional repositories, Government records, military history and Irish research, to name a few.
This is the first Muster I have made it to, but I'm definitely planning on it not being the last.  Well done to the Deniliquin Genealogical Society for all their work in planning the Muster - I'll look forward to the next one.

Friday, October 31, 2014

New German records at Ancestry

 Ancestry has added some 1.7 million birth records, some 2 million marriage records and some 1.8 million death records from Berlin. These records cover the years from 1874 to 1920 (1874 to 1899 for the birth records). The collections can be searched by first name, last name and location. Since the records are in German, Ancestry suggests you make sure you use the correct German spellings.
In the city of Berlin, 13 registry offices began work when the Prussian law from March 9, 1874, the "Gesetz ├╝ber die Beurkundung des Personenstandes und die Form der Eheschlie├čung," concerning the registration of civil status and marriage went into effect on October 1, 1874.
The collection also contain the civil registers of births, marriages and deaths from cities and communities in the Teltow, Niederbarnim and Osthavelland rural districts in Brandenburg, which were later incorporated into greater Berlin starting October 1, 1920.
Ancestry can be searched free of charge in all branches of Campaspe Regional Library.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Canadian Expeditionary Force Records

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has begun the process of digitizing the personnel service files of some 640,000 Canadians who served in the army during the First World War. Known officially as the Canadian Expeditionary Force [CEF] since it was under the control of the British, a total of 424,589 Canadian soldiers served in Europe during the war.
The service files in this collection contain up to three dozen different kinds of forms. It includes such things as enlistment records (attestation papers are already online), training records, medical and dental history, hospitalizations, disciplines (if any), pay records, medal entitlements and discharge papers or notifications of death. It also lists what regiment the soldier was located in, but not necessarily where the regiment fought (for that, it is necessary to consult the unit war diaries). In total, there are some 32 million pages of records to be digitized from 640,000 personnel files. This means the average file per soldier is some 50 pages of records, making this a considerable resource. The first 76,000 files have already been digitized and put online. Regular uploads of about 5,000 new files are expected every two weeks. At the current run rate, this means it will take about 4.3 years for all the files to go online (or unfortunately about as long as it actually took to fight the First World War). The digitized records are searchable by name, regiment and rank. Access is free.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogy - Week 24 - Post Office Directories

Shauna has chosen Post Office Directories for her topic in Week 24.  Shauna tells us that "
Post office directories are similar to Almanacs which we looked at in Week 18. There are a number of different types of directories depending on the publisher but Sands and Wise’s are probably the two most well known. Directories are another great way to trace people but you do need to remember that not everyone is included, usually only the head of the house so women are only included if they are single or widowed. Sometimes people can be listed even after their death or they have moved elsewhere."
Like the Almanacs, I have found several useful Directories which tell me more about my family, both in Australia and overseas.  The following is the listing for Fordham, in Essex, from a 1874 Post Office Directory listing my ancestor Joseph Green of Fordham Hall.  The directory also gives me information about the village and the land around.

Read Shauna's full blog entry on Post Office Directories here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

New Australian records on has added some new Australian records to their databases.

The State Records Authority of New South Wales includes 273,000 records of seamen and spans the years from 1859 to 1936. The information in each record varies. Typical information includes such things as name, age, date of birth, place of birth, vessel, vessel owner, engagement and discharge date. The collection can be searched by name, year of birth, place of birth and keyword.

The Land Grants from New South Wales collection consists of some 190,000 records spanning the years from 1788 to 1963 from various land record offices in the state. The format of each record varies by time and place but usually include the date, location of the grant, description of the land, name of the person the land was granted to, the amount paid for the grant and names of witnesses to the document. The granting of free land in New South Wales ceased in 1831. After that time, land grants were sold by public auction. This collection can be searched by name, location and keyword. can be accessed free at many public libraries, including Campaspe.  Ask at your local library for more information.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Inside Hsitory Magazine

Inside History Magazine’s issue 24 is out now, and features the following articles :
  • DNA testing, covering the ABC basics of how to get tested and what you’ll learn from the results, as well as reporting on readers’ experiences.
  • Find out which 50 best genealogy and history blogs made their 3rd Annual Blog Awards.
  • Michelle Patient takes you through what you should consider when it comes to choosing a genealogy software program for yourself.
  • Expert photographic analyser, Jayne Shrimpton tells us how hats, bonnets and berets can all give telling clues about your ancestors.
  • When does genealogy meet archaeology? Go behind the scenes in Sydney’s latest archaeology digs on two colonial-era buildings.
  • And how would you like to see your ancestor on the front cover of Inside History.  If you’re interested simply enter IHM competition now.
Inside History magazine is available through most newsagents, or can be downloaded FREE by members of Campaspe Regional Library through Zinio, our e-Magazines platform.  Ask our staff for more information.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Church of Ireland Gazette

The Church of Ireland has put online the 1914 editions of the Church of Ireland Gazette, adding to the 1913 editions already available. This weekly publication published details on funerals, obituaries, school activities and community activities in addition to church activities.
Overall the contents of the 1914 Church of Ireland Gazette provide an invaluable insight to the opinions and attitudes of members of the Church of Ireland through changing times. Written and read by lay and clerical members of the Church north and south, access via the online search engine brings to life at the touch of a button how unfolding political events in Ireland and abroad were communicated to and received by members of this significant minority community on the island one hundred years ago.
The Gazette can be searched by keyword and access is free.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bankruptcy Records Online

Researchers can now find out whether their ancestors were put behind bars for bankruptcy following the launch of a new record set at Digitised from documents held at The National Archives, the Debtors’ Prison Registers detail over 700,000 criminals detained in Marshalsea, King’s Bench and Fleet Prisons between 1734-1862. Fully searchable by name and date, most of those held were charged with insolvency, but a number of records also relate to vagrancy and sedition.  Remember you can search these records and many more on Ancestry Library Edition free at Camapspe Regional Library.

Friday, October 3, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogy - Week 23 - Electoral Rolls

Shauna has chosen Electoral Rolls for her topic for Week 23, and in my family research I have gained a great deal of information from researching electoral rolls, so I love having access to them.  In her blog Shauna notes that "Electoral rolls can show changes of address, change of name for women after marriage, the death of a spouse or adult children leaving home. Sometimes an elderly parent moves back in with an adult child.  In Australia we have both state and commonwealth rolls and both should be checked as sometimes people only update one and not the other or they are updated at different times.  Information gained is mostly the person’s name, occupation and address but the information at different times can indicate deaths or separations or movement interstate and so on."
I have used the Electoral Rolls to track the movements of several family members as some individuals changed address frequently.  For my father's family they have been especially useful in tracking where his parents lived, as they covered most of the state of Victoria from the time they arrived in Australia until they died.  Tracking them through the electoral rolls help me pin down exactly where each of Dad's siblings were born and to make a timelone of where Dad lived in his youth.
My only regret with the Rolls is that they just don't date back far enough - most of my mother's family arrived in Australia in the 1840's and 1850's and, of course, we don't have the wealth of Census information here in Australia that they enjoy in Britain - having older Electoral Rolls would really be helpful!
Read Shauna's full article on Electoral Rolls here.  Thanks again Shauna - I look forward to reading what subject you choose to explore next. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogy - Week 22 - Family Letters

Shauna is back after a very busy August as the National Voluntary Coordinator of Family History Month, and a HUGE congratulations is in order for all her work and enthusiasm in making the Month bigger and better than last year.  There was an impressive number and variety of activities across the country and I'm sure a lot of people were delighted by the offerings.  Well done to everyone involved.

Shauna's Week 22 topis is family letters and she tells us that "with the widespread adoption of email , Facebook and other social media as a means of communicating with family members, letters and correspondence between people is becoming a rarity. As family historians however, we cherish finding long lost letters written by our ancestors or correspondence highlighting family events and containing information that we are not likely to find in official documents."

I have very little in the way of old family letters but did manage to save some correspondence from one of my great-uncles, who I wrote to in my teens when I first became interested in my family history.  G-Uncle Russell had a very individual style of writing and sometimes it took a bit of effort to decipher exactly what he meant, but I am so glad I saved his letters - and that they were not among the many things my father threw away without my knowledge during one of his 'cleaning up' sessions.

Like many others, I rarely handwrite letters today, finding e-mail so much faster and easier, but looking back over the few family letters I have, I must say it is a shame.  I do print out and save important e-mails, but it just isn't the same as a letter someone has taken the time to sit down and write by hand.  It may be harder to read but a handwritten letter is just more personal - but it is also a dying art.

Shauna tells us "this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world."  Read Shauna's article on Family Letters here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Canberra Congress

I have just booked myself in to attend the 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry in Canberra next year, and what a selection of papers they have on offer again.  Once more the organisers have excelled with a varied program of speakers covering a wealth of subjects.  The Australasian Congress is generally held every 3 years, and I missed the last one in Adelaide due to the ill health of my father.  I'm really excited to be able to make it to this one, and can only regret that I still cannot be in two places at once as there are a number of concurrent talks I would love to attend.

It is not just the talks that make these conferences so wonderful - the exhibits, the mingling with other genealogy enthusiasts, the swapping ideas, resources and brick wall suggestions.  This year there is even a Librarian's Meeting the day before, so I will catch up with some colleagues as well.

The theme for the Congress is Generations Meeting Across Time, and there will be more than fifty presentations and/or workshops allowing Congress participants to hear about the newest developments in family history research, emerging issues and the latest technologies.  There will also be an extensive trade display showcasing the latest publications, products and services for the family historian.

To all those out there who will be attending also, I look forward to seeing you in Camberra next year!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Irish Archives Resource

The Irish Archives Resource portal has significantly expanded the number of collections that can be searched on the website from 360 to over 500 different collections. It covers 34 archives in Ireland. Although this website does not provide ancestral records, it does provide index searches to many of Ireland’s key repositories. By searching keywords such as an ancestor’s name, it is possible to find out what archives hold what records. This is an important resource for anyone wanting to trace their Irish ancestors. This latest expansion makes the website much more powerful. Access is free.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Old and Interesting

Old and Interesting is a website devoted to the history of everyday domestic items such as washing boards, irons, brooms and kitchen utensils. What does this have to do with genealogy? Two things: it can provide context on how your ancestors lived and it can be a useful resource when you are trying to date old images and photographs that might happen to contain household items.
The website is a wealth of information on everyday household items, how they were used, why they were used and what they looked like. As an added bonus, by looking at this website you may be able to finally figure out the purpose of that old family doohickey/heirloom.
Thanks again to Genealogy in Time for highlighting another useful resource.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hear Names

One of the biggest challenges in genealogy is overcoming the spelling of names. As your family tree goes back in time, spelling becomes more uncertain. Part of the problem lies in known spelling variations for certain names (Smith, Smyth, Smythe, etc.). The main problem, however, is that historically many people did not know how to read and write.
Names that were said out loud were often mistakenly written down in a different format. Knowing the proper pronunciation of an ancestor’s name can therefore be a good starting point in trying to decipher how it may have been written down on an old immigration form, a census record or a parish record. But what happens if your ancestor was from Finland or Croatia and you don’t know how to pronounce names in these languages?

Enter Hear Names. This is a website dedicated to the pronunciation of names from around the world. You can either type in a name and it will tell you how to pronounce it or you can search for names by language. Over 25 different languages are listed on the website. Hearing the proper oral pronunciation of a name is a good starting point for trying to reverse engineer how a name may have appeared in written format on historic documents, such as immigration forms.
Hear Names continues to be built out. The authors have informed us that new names can still be submitted to add to the database.
Thanks to Genealogy In Time for highlighting this website.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Measuring Worth

Have you ever come across an old family will or an old land record that states the value of an estate and you wondered how much it would be worth in today’s dollars? There are many websites on the internet that will convert an historical amount into today’s value, but none do it better than Measuring Worth.
Run by two academics with a deep knowledge of alternate ways to compare the historic worth of things, the website provides several ways to convert an historic price into a modern price.
It also converts across currencies just in case you want to know how much UK £10 in 1810 is in today’s dollars (answer $838 using CPI inflation data). The currencies covered by the website include US dollars, UK pound and the Australian dollar. The dataset goes back into the 1700s.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Irish Records Online

Ireland Genealogy Projects has put online a national list of school teachers for the 1873-1874 school year. The list is organized by region and then alphabetically by the name of the teacher. The list also includes monitors, who were senior students aged 12 to 18 that assisted the teacher. Many monitors later went on to become teachers.

 The Clare County Library has added more school rolls to their collection. The latest addition involves the roll books and school register for Lacken National School, which was located east of Kilmihil village. The records for boys cover the years from 1865 to 1922 and the records for girls cover the years from 1889 to 1922. You can search the registers by either school year or surname. Each record lists the student’s name, year of birth, year entered school, home town and parent’s occupation.

A new website has been launched that contains historic Irish street directories and some historic maps of the country.
Included on this website are a collection of digitized maps of Dublin and Ireland, viewable in Google map format, a revised and improved townland database, scans and extracts from a number of directories, a guide to the important, and unique, system of land divisions of Ireland (townlands etc), and a brief introduction and guide to Irish records. 

All are free to access.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Canadian WW1 Records

The website Canadiana has put online the militia lists of each unit of the Canadian Expeditionary Force as of August 1914 (the beginning of World War I). Each record lists the name of each member of the unit, rank, country of birth and date and place of enlistment. Some records also list next of kin and address. Canada was unprepared at the start of World War I. It had only 3,100 men under arms. As volunteers were quickly recruited and organized in Canada, members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force were sent to Europe to help reinforce these newly formed units. Therefore, when looking for ancestors in this collection, be aware that they most likely left Canada under one unit and then were reassigned to a different unit as soon as they arrived in Britain. This collection can be searched by keyword (such as name) and date range. Access is free.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Family History Month

August and Family History Month are now over.  Thanks to all those people who attended my classes in Rochester and Echuca - your enthusiasm has been greatly appreciated.  My apologies to those in Kyabram whose sessions were cancelled while I was ill, I hope to reschedule soon.  During September I will upload the handouts from all my classes onto the Campaspe Regional Library Genealogy page, and will try to keep them updated regularly.  Questions, comments and feedback will be welcomed.
I have always enjoyed running these classes and this year has been no exception.  Not only is it wonderful to see other people's enthusiasm for family history, preparing for and running these classes fires up my own enthusiasm as well.  There is always something new to discover, another hint to track down, another detail to add to my family history.  Not much housework this weekend - I'm going to be researching!
Thanks everyone - I hope to see you in the library again soon!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Naval Records on Ancestry

Ancestry has started a new collection of UK naval officers and ratings (non-commissioned seaman) service records for the period from 1802 to 1919. This encompasses the World War I time period. This collection of some 89,000 records consists primarily of pension applications and supporting service records. Officers and ratings were awarded pensions after 20 years of service in the Royal Navy. Typical information includes the name of the sailor, rank or rating, a list of ships and service dates and remarks. Some records also include muster and pay registers. Please note: no service records are listed past 1912. That means you can’t use this collection to find out what ships your ancestors served on in World War I.  Ancestry is a subscription database, but Ancestry Library Edition is free to use in any Campaspe Regional Library branch.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Change to English Marriage Certificates

David Cameron has announced that mothers’ names will be added to marriage certificates in England and Wales. Speaking to the Relationships Alliance on Tuesday (19 August), the Prime Minister said that the current system of only recording fathers “[did not] reflect modern Britain” and that he has asked the Home Office to address the situation. The announcement signals a victory for a major online campaign on that has been signed by over 70,000 supporters, including family historians.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ancestry UK Naval Records has started a new collection of UK naval officers and ratings (non-commissioned seaman) service records for the period from 1802 to 1919. This encompasses the World War I time period. This collection of some 89,000 records consists primarily of pension applications and supporting service records. Officers and ratings were awarded pensions after 20 years of service in the Royal Navy. Typical information includes the name of the sailor, rank or rating, a list of ships and service dates and remarks. Some records also include muster and pay registers. Please note: no service records are listed past 1912. That means you can’t use this collection to find out what ships your ancestors served on in World War I. Ancestry records can be accessed FREE on any public computers in Campaspe Regional Library or on your own device using our free wifi.

Monday, August 18, 2014

New Zealand WW1 Records

Archives New Zealand and the National Library have put online the World War I service files of some 141,000 individuals. This collection constitutes essentially of all of the WWI service records in the government’s possession. Many of the service records are several pages long and contain detailed information on each soldier (see examples below). This collection is part of the government’s WW100 centenary program. The service records can be searched by name or service number.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

International Committee of the Red Cross

Millions of First World War prisoner records held by the International Committee of the Red Cross have been uploaded to the web for the first time.

Available for free through a new web portal, the vast collection provides details of people who were held in prisoner of war camps across Europe between 1914-1918.
Created by their captors, the records were submitted to the International Prisoners-of-War Agency, which was set up by the ICRC at the start of the conflict to help restore contact between prisoners and their families at home.
Researchers will generally be able to locate an index card for each individual, providing basic details about their imprisonment and reference numbers for any related documents held elsewhere in the database.
Cards containing tracing requests made by prisoners’ next of kin can also be consulted.
Although all civilian-internee index cards from the ICRC’s archives in Switzerland are now online, roughly 20 per cent of the cards for military prisoners from Belgium, France, the UK and Germany are yet to be digitised.
According to the organisation, the missing records will be steadily uploaded over the next six months, with approximately 5 million index cards representing 2.5 million prisoners of the war available through website by the end of 2014.

In addition, the ICRC has also uploaded a large collection of historic postcards and reports on the conditions in which internees were being held at camps across Europe, Egypt, India, Russia and Japan.
Thanks to Who Do You Think You Are Magazine for highlighting this resource.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Family History Month

August is Family History Month and Campaspe Regional Library is offering a series of talks about some of the resources available.

  • Introduction to Online Resources
    A 2 hour session introducing some of the major online databases available free to researchers.
  • Ancestry Library Edition
    Ancestry is probably the biggest subscription database for family history records worldwide, and is available free using the library computer or wifi.
  • FamilySearch
    Created by the Mormon Church, FamilySearch is the result of millions of hours of transcription of parish and other records worldwide and is free for anyone to search.
  • PROV
    The Public Records Office of Victoria holds the records of the State Government of Victoria and has a number of databases of digitised records available.
  • Trove
    Trove brings together content from libraries, museums, archives and other research organisations.  Search digitised newspapers, books, images, maps, music, archives and more.
  • National Archives of Australia
    Discover more than 100 years of Australian Government records, documenting the history of individuals, communities, and the nation including military records, naturalisations, passenger lists and more.
  • World War 1
    With the Centennary of the start of WW1 this year a number of projects helping people research their WW1 ancestors online have been developed.
  • Organising Your Research
    As you gather more and more information about your family, keeping organised and being able to find and link people and data becomes more difficult.  Gain some hints and tips of how to make organising easy.
Various sessions are being held in Echuca, Kyabram and Rochester libraries and bookings for all these talks are now open via our Campaspe Regional Library website.  You can also see the events taking place all over Australia through the Family History Month website.

Friday, July 25, 2014

52 Weeks of Genealogy - Week 3 - Probates (wills and administration)

Shauna has chosen Probates (wills and administration) for her Week 3 topic and tells us that "probate records can fill in missing information on a family, or provide details that would not be found anywhere else or they may just raise more questions. Either way, it is definitely worth checking (usually the records are at the State Archives) to see if there was a will or an intestacy. Remember to widen your search time period as not all estates were wrapped up shortly after death. It may only occur after the death of both partners. There may not be any probate records to find but you will never know unless you look."
I have had quite a bit of luck with wills - many members of my family lived on the land and made wills and some of them are just fascinating reading.  My favourite is the will of my great great grandfather David Mulholland - it provides a great insight into the dynamics of the family.
All the surviving children are named in David's will, including the married names of his daughters but the will itself is an exercise in sexism and favouritism. 
Henry and James, the two sons who farmed with their father get half the land, half the cattle and half the money each after various bequests are filled.  David's wife Eliza gets to stay in their house for her lifetime, but does not own the dwelling.  She may do as she likes with the furniture, however, and Henry and James are to pay her 5 shillings each per week to live on.  Eldest son David, who has his own business, gets £50 cash while unmarried daughter Jane gets £20.  Of the three married daughters, Mary and Ellen get a shilling each and favourite Pricilla gets £10.  The handwritten will is included below.

Shauna tells us "this blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world."  Visit her blog here.