Category Archives: Family Research

A trip to PROV

A couple of months ago I made a visit to PROV, the Public Record Office of Victoria.  I had already used their online services to view wills and probate records of my ancestors, however records created after 1926 are not yet digitised and need to be viewed in their reading room.  I had quite a long list of wills and probates I wanted to view, so decided it was time to make the effort and visit in person.  The reading room in North Melbourne is open Monday to Friday, but also the second and last Saturday of every month.  It just so happened the coming Saturday was the last Saturday of September and they would be open.

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Posted from North Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Visiting Learmonth Cemetery

It’s been a while since I shared a post about my family research, and although this cemetery visit was a couple of months ago I’ve been meaning to sit down and write about it since March! I went to Daylesford for the Labor Day long weekend this year.  About half an hour from Daylesford is a small town named Learmonth where I believed one of my ancestors, John Rankin, to be buried.  I had already seen two photos of the grave on the Australian Cemeteries website, but as you can see from this photo it wasn’t possible to make out the full text on the headstone.  The information recorded on the Australian Cemeteries listing was only partial, and it seemed very likely this was my John Rankin, but I couldn’t be sure from what was available online.

Being so close it was a great opportunity to stop in and visit the cemetery and visit his grave in person.

John Rankin's grave as seen on the Australian Cemeteries website

John Rankin’s grave as seen on the Australian Cemeteries website

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New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

Following from my post last week summarising the information available from the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, this week I’m going to take a look at the New South Wales Registry.

While my research hasn’t been as involved in NSW as it has in Victoria, to date I have 7 resources in my family tree from the NSW Registry spanning all three event types giving me some experience using this registry.

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Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

I started researching my family tree at the beginning of last year. During my initial research I spent a lot of time searching the various state Birth, Death and Marriage indexes. I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts summarising the information available in each registry and tips I’ve picked up along the way for getting the most of out the registries. For more information on my research and links to the other posts in this series as they become available, head to my Family History page.

I’ll be starting with the Victorian registry since that is where my research began. This post also comes at a good time because a significant changes have recently been made to the Victorian registry online.

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Returning to Melbourne General Cemetery

Following my visit to the Melbourne General Cemetery just after Christmas, I returned on New Year’s Day when the office was open. When I first visited, I had a copy of the cemetery record for plot 767 which listed four people. When I found the grave, there were five people listed on the tombstone – two people were missing from the record, and two others were missing on the tombstone. I was hoping the staff at the cemetery could help explain the discrepancy. It turned out to be a very worthwhile visit!

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Posted from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Tracking down my ancestors’ graves

Yesterday I went on an adventure to three cemeteries in Melbourne, to track down the graves of my ancestors. I was able to find the three graves I was searching for at the Melbourne General Cemetery, Boroondara Cemetery in Kew, and Box Hill Cemetery. It was a very rewarding experiences, making my ancestors seem more real and adding a new layer of depth to my family tree with the photos I’ve taken.

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Posted from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Family Tree Poster Printout

It’s almost a year since I started researching and documenting my family tree.  I’ve been gathering all my information and recording my tree online using Webtrees.  I’ve found this to be a great tool for documenting my family tree because it’s easy to update and I can link all the facts to the various sources I’ve uncovered. However, one limitation I’ve found with documenting it online like this is that it’s hard to get a view of the tree as a whole.

On my mum’s side, I’ve gone back as far as I can in Australia for almost all of my ancestors, and now I’m filling in the details to get a picture of what their lives were like.  The overall structure is there, so I decided to spend some effort to produce a poster sized printout of my tree!

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Marriage Certificates To Share

Throughout my family tree research, I’ve purchased a number of Marriage Certificates of my ancestors.  For the older records, I’ve found that multiple records were often documents on a single page, so that along the way I’ve acquired several certificates for people who are not related to me.

Thought I’d share a summary of the records here in the hopes that if someone is researching the history of these people, they’ll stumble across my page. If any of these people are related to you and you’d like details of the full record, don’t hesitate to contact me via the comments!

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Starting my family tree

Late last year, a group of people at work were discussing their family origins.  Someone asked where my family is from, and I told them I wasn’t really sure.  I knew my ancestors had come from England and Ireland at some point, but I didn’t know when or exactly where they were from. After listening to one of the guys telling me about his various family connections, and his annual family reunion, I decided it’s time for me to do some research and find out more about my family history.

So over the summer holidays I kicked it off with two Birth Certificates, two Death Certificates and a Marriage Certificate from my aunt.  Now, two months on, I’ve managed to document eight generations going back to 1819 with ancestors coming to Australia from Ireland, England, San Francisco and New Zealand!  Recently I also discovered a few generations further back on, but I’m still in the process of verifying the sources before I update my tree. Continue reading