Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Review: Lost Relations: fortunes of my family in Australia's Golden Age

“Genealogy offers a gateway into an extended family, linked vertically through time rather than horizontally in the present.  In a world of confused and multiple identities, it promises a deeper sense of who we are.”
Historian Graeme Davison has written the saga of his family in the recently published: Lost Relations: fortunes of my family in Australia’sGolden Age”.   His family’s history is similar to many, with origins in England, family seeking new beginnings, part of an exodus to Australia helping to shape the country we know today.  The author has woven contextual and local history into the narrative of his ancestor’s lives, which you certainly would expect from an historian.  It greatly enriches the story he tells and is a great example for family historians endeavouring to tell their own stories.

Endnotes for each chapter are included at the back of the book, but only listed in a very general way.   It is lovely to see the author’s female ancestors being celebrated in the happy informal photograph showcased on the book cover.  This book is a terrific inspiration for any family history researcher to research and tell their family story. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Family History Month

National Family History Month is an initiative of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations. Family history and genealogy is one of the most popular hobbies around the world. Family history is the second biggest subject on the web with sites receiving billions of hits per year. There are over 250,000 Australians who are members of family history related organisations so the month has broad appeal across Australia. YPRL supports this program again in 2015. Check the events link for information on what is happening in your local library.
Highlights include:
Anzac Research Day
Research your WW1 Anzac 
Watsonia Library
Saturday 1 August
11.00am – 12.00noon
Military historian Neil C. Smith of Mostly Unsung Military History Research and Publications will provide tips on researching your World War 1 Anzac.
Photo Restoration
Watsonia Library
Saturday 1 August
1.30pm – 2.30pm
Photographs provide an important link to our past. They provide us with an historical record and priceless, irreplaceable memories of family and special events. Photo Restorer Carol Heath will provide advice on how copying and restoring old and / or damaged photographs, ensures they are there for future generations to enjoy.
Anzac Writing Workshop
Watsonia Library
Saturday 8 August
10.00am – 1.00pm
Do you have a local Anzac Story to tell? Have you researched a World War One soldier? Attend our writers’ workshop and learn how to weave your research into an interesting story and learn more about YPRL’s book project.
How To Preserve Your Family Treasures
Eltham Library
Saturday 8 August
3.00pm – 4.30pm
Bring in a family treasure and Conservator Debra Parry from Melbourne Conservation Services will give advice and tips on how to look after it properly.
Please limit your treasures to one piece each.
The Argus: Icon of Melbourne
Rosanna Library
Tuesday 11 August
10.30am – 11.30am
The Argus, once a Melbourne daily newspaper till its closure in 1957 remains a valuable historical resource on Melbourne and Australia. Janet Creed recounts its history, her personal family connection and her own work on the Argus Indexing Project.
Research your German Family History
In partnership with Whittlesea Cultural Heritage Program
Thomastown Library
Saturday 22 August
10.30am – 12.30pm
German represented one of the major groups of arrivals in the early waves of arrivals in the early history of immigration to Victoria. Michael Rumpff of the International Settlers Group special interest group of the Genealogical Society of Victoria will provide tips on starting your German family history.
Following the seminar join the Friends of Westgarthtown and visit one of Victoria’s best preserved German settlements at the nearby Westgarthown Pioneer Precinct.
Family History Software Into The 21st Century
Mill Park Library
Tuesday 25 August
11.00am – 2.00pm
Doug Elms from ViCGUM will provide advice and information on the popular genealogy computer programs used to organize your family history research.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

DVD Review: Birdsong

Beautifully and accurately filmed, Birdsong moves slowly but powerfully and gradually draws you in.  This UK production is a nice change from the usual fast faced, action packed war dramas with a terrific supporting cast, costumes and sets.
The book became a classic after it was published in 1993.  This first interpretation of it on film as a television mini series was released in 2012. Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne is superb in this war drama that mixes between his life and love affair in France before the war and his experience as an Officer on the Somme battlefields.
I first learned of Sebastian Faulk’s Birdsong when a family history researcher I had been collaborating with alerted me to it.  My Great Grandfather’s brother had been a tunneller in World War One.  He had enlisted in his 40’s following time spent on the Western Australian goldfields.  The author’s description of the tunnellers work and environment portrays conveys to me what the tunnellers had to go through, the mini- series also depicts this well.  I could not help but think about my Grand Uncle while I watched this depiction and marvel that he at least physically survived the horrors of the trenches, tunnels and battlefields of war.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Genealogy Unlock the Past Guides

Family History Researchers may like to review recent acquisitions to the collection which include:
Place a hold today!

New Family History Books

In the lead up to Family History Month in August when we will host a wide range of programs and events the following new titles have been added to the collection:
Photo: Pizzey Family Home, Diamond Creek Nillumbik Local History Digitisation Project Yarra Plenty Regional Library in partnership with Nillumbik Historical Society

Monday, June 22, 2015

Family History Feast

Family History Feast 2015  will be held on Monday 10 August at the State Library of Victoria during National Family History Month. Once again collaborative partners will include the State Library of Victoria, Public Record Office VictoriaNational Archives of Australia (Melbourne Office) and the Immigration Discovery Centre of Museum Victoria. The theme for this year is World War 1. Professor Bruce Scates will be delivering the annual Don Grant Memorial Lecture. Bookings are now open.
The podcasts of the 2014 event and video cast of the Don Grant Memorial Lecture are available on the Library website.
Photo: Thomson Family, Kinglake Victoria 1891 (Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photo Collection, Yarra Plenty Regional Library in partnership with Eltham District Historical Society)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ryerson now at 5 Million

This past weekend saw the Ryerson Index reach five 5 million names. The free Australian website which indexes contemporary death notices from Australian newspapers has been growing steadily since its establishment over seventeen years ago with some of the original indexers still submitting files to the website.
Volunteers at Yarra Plenty Regional Library have been submitting information from notices from the Diamond Valley LeaderWhittlesea Leader and Heidelberg Leader. Hard copies of which can be accessed at Diamond Valley, Mill Park and Ivanhoe libraries.
It is believed that the Ryerson is now the largest free database of Australian death information in Australia, and quite probably the world. The NSW Births Deaths and Marriages index has about 4.5 million entries. None of the other states are larger than this.

Image: Example of death notice indexed for Ryerson Index Leader Newspaper January 1989

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Website review : National Library of Australia (Catalogue)

The Librarians Day at the AFFHO Congress 2015 recently was hosted for us by the National Library of Australia. I was pleased that we could fit in an all be it hurried tour including behind the scenes, as this was my first visit, I was a little disappointed that we had to hurry through so will have to plan a trip in the future and undertake some research. Since my visit the new newspapers and family history zone has opened.  The catalogue is separate to the home page but a link to it can be found on the home page of the website (right beside one for Trove )
A general rule for a lot of catalogues and sites such as Trove and Ancestry is to keep your search simple, especially in the beginning. A less is more approach is more sensible as the use of filters and other options helps to narrow down your search results anyway. In the NLA case, a list of options to narrow your search appears on the right of the screen.
As researchers increasingly expect more and more content on line, you can narrow your search to online items by selecting this option from the drop down menu on the search screen.
Find something interesting, follow the links and see where they take you.
Login in with your NLA registration and keep track of the items you have found by adding them as a favourite. This is a handy option for requesting records at a later date. Information on how to do this is on the website and if after all this, you still need a bit of guidance check out this fun video : Experimenting with the catalogue.