Upcoming Events

  1. Trove Workshop

    April 29 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

A tale of two soldiers

Whether we know it at the time or not, fate and coincidence often play an important part in our lives, this often comes to light while researching our family histories. On Remembrance Day 2012, this is just one story that illustrates this perfectly.

from: The Times – Christchurch, New Zealand

July 14 1915

A pathetic incident is reported in a letter received in Christchurch to-day from the Dardanelles. Two cousins, Harold and William Anderson, whose parents reside near to each other in Melbourne, answered the call for recruits, William joining a Victorian Regiment, and Harold, who was holidaying in New Zealand, enlisting with the 13th North Auckland Regiment. They had not seen each other for three years, when they were growing lads of seventeen, and their parents were naturally desirous they should meet in Egypt. However, they did not find an opportunity to do so. Both regiments were ordered to the front, and took part in the memorable landing on Gallipoli Peninsula on April 25, and in succeeding battles both were in the reserve. On May 8, when that fierce battle exacted such a heavy toll among the colonials was raging each lad was unconscious of the other’s presence in the locality. Both were ordered simultaneously to reinforce the fast thinning firing line, and in the rush up the hill, while taking a breath, the cousins saw one another for the first time. They shook hands, exchanged greetings, were swept on with the rush, and did not meet again. Harold was killed in that battle and William, who is now in hospital, was shot through the neck and shoulder. Considering the circumstances, and the thousands of khaki men on the Peninsula, the meeting was a remarkable one.

Harold Richard Anderson was born on the 20th September 1894. He tried to enlist in the Army in Victoria but family stories maintain that his father would not give consent and so he went to New Zealand to visit his two sisters and enlisted there. He, like many others lied about his  age and told them he was born in 1888. After 54 days of basic training he boarded a ship for Egypt and on the 25th April he was among those that landed at Gallipoli.

William Anderson recovered from his wounds and returned to Melbourne, he died in 1971 at the age of 85.

picure of a red poppy

Lest We Forget

National Archives of Ireland Genealogy website

The National Archives of Ireland has a brand new genealogy website, only launched a few days ago and the doorway to the:

  • Census Records for 1901
  • Census Records for 1911
  • Tithe Applotment Books from 1823 to 1837
  • Soldiers’ Wills from 1914 to 1917.
Searchable databases and linked images of relevant pages provide free access to the records and there are plans to add more over time. And most importantly, it all looks pretty simple to understand and navigate so Congratulations to the National Archives of Ireland for providing free and easy access to these resources and thanks to Di for alerting us to the website’s launch.


Casey Cardinia Library and family history

The Casey Cardinia Library Corporation have two events coming up that might interest members.

The first is at Emerald Library on Tuesday 27 November with Ann Dixon from Bygone Days displaying pieces of historical fashion and sharing their stories – from Georgiana McCrae’s shawl, fans, designer shoes and silk boots from the 1850s, mourning jewellery, restoration successes/disasters, and more from her amazing collection.

Booking is easily done online here.

The second one is at Narre Warren and might interest quite a few of our members, Heather Arnold, our knowledgeable and always entertaining Local History Librarian will be conducting a hands-on guided session on Ancestry.

Booking and full details are available here.

Both of these events are just two of the many and varied events that the libraries offer, and occasionally, like these two, some have a family history or historical focus, so it’s worth keeping an eye on what’s happening at your local libraries.

Ancestry free access to Australian BDMs this weekend

Just in case there’s anyone in the world left not watching at least 1 grand final of something this weekend – Ancestry are offering free access to Australian birth, death and marriages until Monday at midnight apparently.

Please note the conditions (taken from their website):
*Terms and Conditions Apply: Access to the records in the featured birth, marriage and death collections will be free from 11:59pm Thursday, 27 September 2012 AEST and end 11.59pm Monday, 1 October 2012 AEST. To view these records you will need to register for free with Ancestry.com.au with your name and email address. We will then send you a user name and password to access the records. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured birth, marriage and death collections using an Ancestry.com.au paid membership.

And the all important link is here.

Members' Interests update September 2012

We’ve just updated our Members’ Interests pages and included:

  • Edward Jones in Delegate, New South Wales
  • Thomas Napier in Ballarat, Victoria
  • James Keith in the Bega district, New South Wales
  • Thomas Edlington in Gippsland, Victoria
  • Samuel Cumming in Gippsland, Victoria

This gives us a chance to remind members that forms are on the website or in the Research Room.

Seniors Week 2012

We’re celebrating Seniors Week this year with two workshops for those just starting out with their family history and also a free research session with some of our very capable members.

Our two Beginner’s Workshops will be held on Monday 8 October (10 am to 12 midday) and Thursday 11 October 3 pm to 5 pm. These are stand alone workshops, so you would only attend one or the other. We have two very experienced ladies leading these workshops, Wendy and Judy, and with a limit of 5 people per workshop you’re sure to get the attention and information you need to get started – a bargain at $10.00.

We’re also offering a free research session with some very experienced volunteers on Wednesday 10 October at 11 am until 3 pm. This will be much less structured than the workshops and therefore will be free, but limited to 6 people.

Bookings are essential for all sessions and can be made by phoning Wendy on 9705 1226 to book your place or for more information.


1911 England and Wales Census Collection

One of our vigilant members has just alerted us to the fact that Ancestry.co.uk are offering free access to the 1911 England and Wales Census Collection from now until November.

From their site: “The 1911 Census of England, Wales, Channel Islands and Isle of Man was taken on the night of 2/3 April. It collected detailed information on the people who spent the night in each household, including their names, marital statuses, ages, occupations and birthplaces.”

So don’t miss this opportunity, registration is required.



Australian Birth, Marriage & Death Certificate Petition

Inside History Magazine have a petition going at Petition Buzz that many of our members and visitors may be interested in. In a nutshell, they’re saying that the cost of certificates in many Australian states is too high and that there should be a more consistent approach to pricing and availability across Australia. And in my humble opinion, it’s hard not to agree.

However, the petition opened on 12 July and to date there are only 780 signatures, I would have thought there would be more, lots more – but perhaps you just don’t know about it yet, so here’s your chance to take a look.

You will find the petition here.


I got up this morning and looked out the window to a day that looked a little damp but was still filled with the promise of completing those jobs, of getting things done. But then I found Historypin and now I can’t even remember what those inconsequential plans were for today!

Do you ever find something really good and wonder if you’re the only person who didn’t know about it? That’s how I feel right now. I’m thinking to myself, if this thing is so good, how come I haven’t come across it before now? So, honestly, I’ve decided that as we’re now into our second day of National Family History Week, it’s my solemn duty to fully investigate this potential new avenue for family historians and post about it so that others may find it too. Well, that’s my excuse for not getting anything else done this morning and I’m sticking to it!

So what is Historypin exactly? Well, it’s an interactive map of the world that people and organisations are pinning pictures and audio and video files to. You can search for a particular place or you can browse, and that’s probably where you’ll get into trouble. I started looking at a picture of people dressed in fancy dress in 1908 in a  Koo Wee Rup farmyard, hopped over to Berwick and looked at the last plane to leave Casey Airfield in 1994, detoured to St. Arnaud c1895 to two men digging a dam with a woman watching in the background. After I while I ended up at Clifton’s Shop c1890s in High Street, West Bromich, took a quick trip to see the John Heath monument in St Giles’ Church in Durham and headed for Main Street, Cowie (near Bannockburn) in the early 1900s.

And I’ve got to tell the truth and say that that’s not all, as a song once said “I’ve been everywhere man” and I’m exhausted!

This short video from Youtube explains it (sort of) in 90 seconds. Click on the arrow to make it play.

More is written about Historypin on the Bright Ideas blog, their guide to Historypin is well worth a look.

But, you will just have to be brave and jump right in – Historypin - if we don’t hear from you in a couple of days we’ll send out a search party.

So many events, So little time....

July is set to be a big month for family history.

There’s the VAFHO Annual General Meeting & Seminar on Friday 20th July at PROV, North Melbourne if you’re a brave soul and don’t mind the Friday afternoon traffic.

National Family History Week is from 27th July to 5th August this year, and the Family History Feast on 30th July at the State Library of Victoria is a free event and if it’s anything like the Family History Feast in 2011, it’s an event not to be missed!

Of course, we’ve got our own Annual General Meeting on July 14th with Professor Janet McCalman from the Founders and Survivors Project and we’re doing our bit for National Family History Week with an Open Day on Thursday 2nd August. You can check out all the events throughout National Family History Week on the website. Events are listed by state and then postcode order making them reasonably easy to find.

And of course, further down the track there’s the South East Victoria Family & Regional History Expo on Saturday 1st September at Cranbourne. It’s going to be a fantastic event so don’t miss it (even if we do say so ourselves) and then there’s History Week 2012 from 21st to 28th October, events are already being listed on the site.