Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Fay Thomas Collection

The Fay Thomas Collection provides an insight into the lives of the local pioneering Thomas family, extended family and the broader community of the City of Whittlesea. The collection includes photographs, books, correspondence, manuscript material and ephemera dating from about the 1830's through to the present.

Thomas Moses with 2 adult women and 2 babies ca.1875


The late Fay Thomas, great-granddaughter of Moses Thomas, was the custodian of the Thomas Family collection and keeper and collector of much of the family lore. In 2015, after her death, Fay Thomas' Executors kindly loaned the collection to the City of Whittlesea prior to its transfer to State Library Victoria. During this time the collection was digitised.

Fay was the eldest daughter of Charles and Jean Thomas, and a descendant of Moses Thomas. Following in the footsteps of three great aunts who had been teachers, and a great uncle who has been a school inspector, she graduated from teachers college in 1961. In the 1980s Fay was one of the first locally appointed women principals in Victoria, an acknowledgement of her outstanding achievements and leadership skills. Throughout Fay's career as a teacher, principal, and education consultant she influenced the lives of thousands of Victorians.

Moses Thomas was a significant figure in the history of the area now known as the City of Whittlesea. Fay had a strong connection with her ancestry and she recognised that accumulating and maintaining a comprehensive collection of historical photographs, documents and objects relating to Moses and his family, his businesses, his involvement with the Church and School at Mernda, and the social milieu of early Whittlesea was an effort that had far-reaching implications.

The digital collection was passed on to Yarra Plenty Regional Library in March 2017. Images are progressively being made available via the Fay Thomas Collection album on Yarra Plenty Regional Library's Local History Flickr   with selected local images via our website.  Search the catalogue with keyword "Fay Thomas Collection".

This blog post also appears on Yarra Plenty Library Local History

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Family History Blog Challenge #2

Australian genealogist and blogger Alexandra Daw has suggested a blogging challenge on her blog Family Tree Frog for National Family History Month.  The challenge revolves around a literary theme.

Week two is inspired by Sumner Locke Elliott’s haunting tale about PS and his aunts, custody battles and secrets titled Careful, He Might Hear You. Set in the Depression era.

How can we research the lives of our family relatives as children?  School records are a good place to start and PROV has an excellent guide to education records.

Over 100,000 British children were sent to Commonwealth colonies and dominions from the 1860s to the 1970s. They were taken from orphanages and children's homes to populate Australia, Canada and African colonies with "good white stock" in schemes that were largely hidden from public scrutiny until the late 1980s. This list provides some personal accounts and a list of resources for further research.

Check out these Memoirs of Childhood

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Family History Month Blog Challenge #1

Australian genealogist and blogger Alexandra Daw has suggested a blogging challenge on her blog Family Tree Frog for National Family History Month.  The challenge revolves around a literary theme.
Week one is inspired by Ruth Park's novel Poor Man's Orange published in 1949.  The book continues the story of the Darcy family of Sydney with various themes of family, poverty and hardship in the mid twentieth century.  Recognised as a classic, this book would resonate with many Australian family history researchers wanting to connect with the times in their ancestors lived.
The books in the trilogy include:
Read some community reviews on Goodreads, but we would love to see you post a comment on the YPRL website if you choose to read one of Ruth Park's novels.
If you have family history in NSW and want some leads on where to look next, check out this brand new guide for researching your family history in NSW.
What is your NSW family story?  Are there any novels you would recommend a family history researcher should read?

Monday, July 24, 2017

August is Family History Month



There has never been a better time to research your family history.  Online tools and digitised content have assisted the research journey for many people seeking to discover where they come from.  Welcome to Family History Month.  Learn, be inspired and share your story. 


This month, various events will focus on our precious heritage photograph collections. We will provide some practical help showing you how to restore your photos both digitally and physically, as well as tips to help date them and store them and scrapbook them to share the stories. We also have experts on how to research in Ireland and British India as well as speakers focusing on the stories of local families in both Heidelberg and Eltham.


 Please join us at Yarra Plenty Regional Library for the following events:



Thursday, July 06, 2017

Soldier Settlement


The Last Battle by Bruce Scates documents the opportunities offered and in many cases the difficulties faced by returned servicemen following World War One.

Family History Researchers can search their Victorian First World War Soldier settler ancestors at Battle to Farm: WW1 Soldier settlement records in Victoria from Public Records Office of Victoria
The War ended in November 1918.  More than 112,000 Victorian men had enlisted  and 91,000 saw service overseas.  About 17,000 were killed.
In order to repay the sacrifice and help returned servicemen return to domestic life, men were offered to opportunity to farm.  The nationwide Soldier Settlement Scheme was established providing blocks of land on which it was hoped that families could rebuild their lives. Across Australia thousands of returned servicemen took up the challenge and reinvented themselves as farmers.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland

Family History researchers have access to a brand new resource which is part of the Genealogy Reference Collection at Ivanhoe Library.

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland contains detailed information about the linguistic origins of more than 45,600 common and rare surnames. Each entry also includes how many bearers of the name were recorded on the 1881 and 2011 censuses, as well as its geographical distribution over time.

The creation of the four volume dictionary is the result of a four year project – the largest of its kind ever undertaken, with data sourced from medieval and modern sources such as tax records, church registers and census returns.

Some names have their origins in occupations, for example Webber and Baker. Other names can be linked to place such as Hill or Green.

Knowledge of the origin of surnames helps the family history researcher understand their own story and maps the origins of their ancestors.

Yarra Plenty Regional Library is the first Australian organisation to order this landmark reference tool from Oxford University Press.

Check these other resources to explore the origins of your surname and learn more via this video from the University of West Bristol England who were a partner on the project.