SNELL, KAWERAU, PROWSE, architects, engineers and Family History

Heritage-HomesteadWhat ties all of these together?

They all spent some time in Geelong AND they all come together in the 2014 Heritage Week seminar at the Genealogical Society of Victoria.

Not only is the seminar worth attending, non-members of the GSV have the opportunity to use the extensive GSV Library for the afternoon at no extra cost.

Come along and see what you’re all missing!

More information can be found on the GSV Blog.



Geelong Heritage Centre … moved

National Wool MuseumIf you haven’t caught up with the news, the Geelong Heritage Centre has moved while the new Library and Heritage Centre is built on the site of the old premises.

The Heritage Centre is currently closed during the move and will re-open on Thursday 27th June on the 3rd floor of the National Woold Museum at 26 Moorabool Street, Geelong.

The good news – the Heritage Centre will be open Mon-Fri 10.00 am – 5.00 pm.  This will make things a lot easier for visitors to the region as they can make a “long weekend” of their visit and go to the Heritage Centre on a Monday or Friday.

IMPORTANT: Much of the Heritage Centre Archives are now stored off-site and you will need to order certain items in advance AND check that they are ready for your visit.  Keep checking the Heritage Centre web site for details.

It’s also important to make use of the Geelong Record Series Catalogue and other finding aids to ensure your visit is productive.

In the meantime, enjoy the extended opening hours!

Who built the Great Ocean Road?

Building the Great Ocean RoadWhat an important project and one that YOU can get involved in!  Iain Grant and the Portland Family History Group have been compiling a list of anyone who had a connection with building the Great Ocean Road between 1919 and 1932.  Unfortunately the “official” records were destroyed during WWII so the only way to compile a comprehensive list is with help from you – the descendants, families, or friends of those workers.

And we’re not just talking about the actual road workers – there are so many others who should be on this list.  Local farmers and land owners who helped with provisions.  Suppliers, carters, engineers, surveyors, pastoral care workers, medical and health workers, wives and families who supported their husbands, fathers and relatives.

Who provided the tents and supplies for the various camps along the length of the road?  There were 2,400 ex-servicemen and 500 civilians working on this project.  And how many more were associated with the project?

The 2013 Press Release gives so much more information – it is worth reading and may give you some ideas on how you can contribute – photos, information, names …  It also includes contact details for Iain and the Portland Family History Group.

Have a look at the Great Ocean Road Workers facebook page – the photos are definitely worth seeing.

And if you can help with this terrific project it will help everyone.

Some GOLDEN opportunities

Ballarat Mechanics Institute [SLV IAN14/08/69/160]Ballarat Fine Arts Exhibition [SLV H5525]Was your ancestor in Ballarat in 1869?  Did they attend the opening of the completed facade and Fine Arts Exhibition by the Governor?  Perhaps they’re in these images?  What a wonderful thought!  These beautiful images are of the Mechanics Institute, Sturt Street, Ballarat and its main hall – now called the Minerva Space.

You could follow in their footsteps and stand in this magnificent room – FREE!

Have a look at these golden opportunities – Friday 3rd May, 2.00 pm – 9.00 pm, Mechanics Institute, Ballarat:

  • SPECIAL Ballarat history and genealogy exhibition – an associated event with the VAFHO State Conference.  The Genealogical Society of Victoria will be participating in this exhibition as are many of the other conference exhibitors.  This special exhibition is open to ANYONE - no registration required – and even better, it’s completely FREE.  Why not enter the Poll for this event?
  • The special exhibition is being held in the Minerva Space in the Mechanics Institute, Sturt Street, Ballarat.  This is a great chance to see this magnificently restored room in the 1860s Mechanics Institute.
  • You won’t often get this sort of Golden opportunity, so why not come along and visit us – you might even win one of the prizes on offer from the participating exhibitors.

There are more opportunities – not free but definitely a golden opportunity – Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th May, Australian Catholic University, Ballarat:

  • Under the Southern Cross: A Goldfields Experience – the 8th Victorian State Family History Conference and Exhibition
  • Saturday – 3.00 pm – Regional Victoria: A Goldfields Experience – Susie Zada [yes - that's me!] presenting on the impact of the Victorian goldfields on regional Victoria.  Of course the Geelong region will feature in this presentation and you will learn about resources that may help you find your elusive ancestors on the goldfields.  Of course there is no guarantee you will find them but you’ll certainly gain a better understanding of what you might find.

See you there!

Copulation Register

Copulation RegisterIt’s true – I’m not pulling your leg!

For full details have a look at the GSV blog Genealogy World!

British Isles seminar – great value!

Paul MilnerOK – I will confess to a vested interest in this seminar – it is sponsored and co-hosted by the Genealogical Society of Victoria where I work and I will definitely be attending.

Paul Milner [right] is giving four presentations on the day and as you’ll see on the GSV blog it promises to be terrific day at a great price.

The reason I’m posting it here is because many people in our region will find it worth attending – a pleasant train trip to Melbourne and a day packed full of interest for all family historians.

I hope to see you there!

Michael Gandy in Melbourne … update

In less than a week Michael Gandy will be speaking on the first of two days when Melburnians will be able to experience one of the best genealogical speakers in the world!

Important information about locations, access and bookings can be found on the Genealogical Society of Victoria blog.

Personally I’m looking forward to these presentations immensely – it’s not often that we get such a wonderful opportunity right here in Melbourne!

Michael Gandy: live in Melbourne

This is a wonderful opportunity for all family historians to experience one of the best genealogical speakers in the world!

Michael Gandy has been to Australia before but to hear him speak you would have had to attend an Australasian Congress held somewhere around Australia or New Zealand.  This would not have been cheap – taking into account transport, accommodation and Congress registration fees.  Now you have a chance to hear Michael give four presentations plus a Q&A session in Melbourne.

The Genealogical Society of Victoria web site includes details of Michael’s presentations and how to book for this great event on Saturday 10th November.

The start and end time have been chosen to enable family historians from country areas to travel to Melbourne, enjoy Michael’s presentations, and get back home again on the same day.

GG-Grandfather born in Estonia … NOT!

This has nothing to do with Geelong & District but a general tip on how family trees on the web can go horribly wrong.

Anyone who has done some serious family research knows that a large number of family trees you find on the internet are peppered with mistakes.  We know that we should never accept what we find on these trees but use them to do the research ourselves to see if there is valid information worth pursuing.

My maiden names is FUSSEN – unique in Australia and not that common around the world.  My first FUSSEN immigrant to Australia was my g-grandfather George FUSSEN.  According to Australian documents that I have – naturalisation papers, marriage certificates, birth certificates of children, and death certificate – he was born 19 May 1852 [or 1853] in Tours in France.  Despite several attempts I don’t yet have any European documentation to support his place of birth or the various stories passed down through the family.  These stories came from my late great aunt Mary who remembered a lot of what her mother (my g-grandfather’s youngest sister) told her.   I have been able to prove that some of these stories have been extremely accurate and therefore put a fair bit of faith in her memory.

Now and again I check to see if someone connected with my ancestors may have done some more research and found details I haven’t yet found.  Over the years the number of trees including my FUSSEN family has grown – some are submitted by cousins, descendants of George, but others are unknown people who appear to be based in Europe.  Oddly enough they all appear to have photographs direct from my family tree!

Yesterday I got my first “oh my gosh” moment!  George was the son of Peter FUSSEN and Francoise GENISE – according the family trees on Ancestry Peter FUSSEN was born in Estonia!  This totally threw me – my family tree on my web site [not Ancestry] is quite out-of-date and desperately needs some work on it [that is on the drawing board when I get a break from work at Christmas!].  According to my notes and research I believe that Peter FUSSEN was possibly from Switzerland – that’s some distance from Estonia.

I couldn’t resist searching these family trees further to try to find the source of the information about Estonia.  ALL of them had Estonia as Peter FUSSEN’s place of birth BUT there was one clue that eventually hit me like a sledge-hammer.  Two of the trees did NOT show Estonia as his place of birth in normal text but had (Estonia) in light grey – in other words this was a HINT from Ancestry and NOT data entered in this particular family tree.

The sledge-hammer?  I use abbreviated prefixes when I don’t have specific dates.

  • Abt = means I have found a year of an event in an index – if for example a birth was registered in 1890 I will enter this as Abt 1890 because although it was registered in 1890 the actual birth could have been late in 1889 and not registered until the following year.  The “Abt” is removed when I find the actual date.
  • Calc = means a date has been calculated from another event – if for example a death certificate stated an age, then a year of birth will be calculated from that.  If the age may not be accurate and conflicts with other events then I will prefix the year of birth with Calc.
  • Est = means that I have no idea of a date / year but use the standard 25 years for a generation to give me an idea of roughly when the event might have occurred.

Worked it out yet?

Either a human being or a computer decided that “Est” was an abbreviation for Estonia!  And of course everyone else just copied the information into their family tree!  No wonder there are so many errors floating around in the multitude of family trees out there!

At this stage I have absolutely NO evidence to suggest that my FUSSEN family came from Estonia – oh well, it was nice for a few moments to think that someone else had done some more research.  Roll on Christmas when I’ll have time to do a bit more and update my family tree.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 336 other followers