3 Cheers for Vic BDMs

1894 Victorian Death CertificateI’m supposed to be working on an assignment for my Diploma but this news is SO IMPORTANT that I had to give myself a 5 minute break to share it with everyone.  This wonderful news is already out there on various genie Facebook pages but I know a lot of people don’t use Facebook so I thought it was worthwhile adding it to my Blogs .

The initial screen is dated 10 November 2015 so this is very new.

Victorian BDMs are now FREE to search online!

Last night I was reading my journal from the Birdwood & District Family History Society – it included a lot of notes on the NSW & ACT Conference in Port Macquarie. Amanda Ianna from NSW BDMs announced that Lifelink (their BDM Search Software) had been “purchased by Victoria and NZ and other states have shown interest. More money could then be thrown at putting records online.” So I didn’t dream it – it works beautifully. One disappointment – NSW version of deaths doesn’t show age – that would be a good ‘new feature’ if it’s a possibility. BUT really good option not in NSW – you can search ALL types of events at once!

Victoria is probably now the leader in family history search for BDMs – free online searching and instant digital downloads at one of the best prices in Australia – $24.00.

Congratulations to the Victorian Registry of BDMs – some years back they stated they wanted to put BDM searches online for free but their software couldn’t handle it and they didn’t have a budget for new software.  We complained at the years NSW spent trying to get their online BDM software to work but thankfully they persevered and Victoria is the beneficiary.

Celebrate and pass on the good news.  I first saw this online on Australian Genealogy – a great Facebook page.  It’s closed so you have to request to be added – it is a well-moderated Facebook page that keeps on-topic and is a joy to be on.

Happy searching! :-)

Geelong database – latest additions

Otways At WarIt’s well overdue – a blog showing the entries added to the Geelong and District Database – especially as the last one was back in December 2014!  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been adding lots of entries – I just haven’t done a blog on the additions.

Since the last major update last December, there are now 1,646,239 entries in the Geelong and District Database.  Latest additions include:

  • Surnames of Interest entries – 18 new entries [1,143 submitters in total]
  • 1970 Electoral Roll, Division of Corangamite: Subdivisions of Rokewood, Bannockburn, Beech Forest, Cobden, and Belmont North [part] – 8,605 entries
  • Winchelsea Presbyterian Church 1869 – 1871 – 1971 [Book] – 313 Entries
  • Leopold & District 1914-1918: commemorating Leopold Red Cross, 100 years of community service [Book] – 589 entries
  • Vixens & Vagabonds: Geelong Police Court Reports 1880 & 1881 [Book] – 2,139 entries
  • Alexander Webb 1813 – 1892 [Book] – 132 entries
  • Mount Hesse: History, humour and hazards on a sheep station 1837-1985 [Book] – 758 entries
  • Otways at war: World War 1 Barramunga, Barwon Downs, Forrest, Gerangamete, Murroon & Pennyroyal [Book] – 1,070 entries
  • Deputy Registrars of BDMs in Victoria 1853-1901 – 3,805 entries

Details on these indexes can be found in the Geelong & District Potpourri pages.

And don’t forget to search again for your ancestors in the Geelong & District Database – they could have been in the last load of additions!

Geelong Heritage Centre temporary closure

NewGLHCI initially posted this on my Just Love History blog as the impact is a much greater area than Geelong and District.

Mark Beasley has confirmed that they will shut down at 5.00 pm on Wednesday 23rd September 2015.

Also take not of the message about the new library catalogue on the same blog!

If you haven’t seen them before, at this stage these are the new opening hours for the Geelong Heritage Centre when it opens in the new building:

  • Monday closed
  • Tuesday 9am-8pm
  • Wednesday to Friday 9am-5pm
  • Saturday 10am-1pm

Please spread this message far and wide!

Melbourne Cup Day – Research in Geelong!

"New" Geelong Heritage Centre

The Geelong Heritage Centre, top floor, National Wool Museum

Tomorrow is Melbourne Cup Day [Tuesday 4 November 2014 for those living under a bush].  In Melbourne that means that your favourite research centre may be closed along with most other places.  Don’t panic – it’s a great opportunity to head to Geelong and the Geelong Heritage Centre.

Why not make a day of it?

Come and visit US – we’re a friendly mob!

Not that hard: Update on Land Records

Bound registers in the General Law Library, Land Victoria, Laverton

Bound registers in the General Law Library, Land Victoria, Laverton

My original blog on researching Victorian Land Memorials [old General Law titles] was posted back in February 2011.  Since then the Land Memorial registers have been moved to Land Victoria, Land Information Centre Archive at Laverton.  The Memorial registers have been joined by the Application Files, so it’s appropriate to not only update the method for finding a Victorian Land Memorial, but also include the Application Files.

This blog will guide you through the steps to find a Victorian Land Memorial as well as an Application File – follow these steps carefully as there is NO-ONE at Laverton who can help you.  Most importantly, don’t ask the other researchers in the library – many will be professional land searchers and to them, time is money.  It is NOT their job to help you, so you must do your homework in advance and understand what you’re doing there.

Of course there is no guarantee that you will find a Memorial or Application file for YOUR ancestor, but if it’s there, this guide should help you find it.

Land Information Centre 57 Cherry Lane Laverton

Land Information Centre
57 Cherry Lane


Land Victoria
Land Information Centre
57 Cherry Lane
Laverton 3026


8.30 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Friday

Closed Public Holidays

CHECK THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE for current details.

ACCESS to General Law Library at Laverton – click on the image above right to view details.

  1. Driveway access to Land Information Centre at 57 Cherry Lane, Laverton.
  2. Visitor parking area.
  3. Entrance to reception desk.


  • Report to the Reception desk – the entrance to the left of pathway off the parking area.  There you will sign in and be given an access pass and directions to the General Law Library.
  • Back out through the doors to the Reception area and follow the path to the left.
  • Through two sets of double glass doors and the General Law Library is immediately on your right.
  • Before going to the library, particularly if you’ve had a long trip, the Ladies and Gents are further down the corridor on your left.
  • You will need your access pass on the card sensor to open the double doors for the General Law Library.  Important: when you leave, you need to press the exit button on the wall at the right of these doors.
  • Once through the double doors the General Law Library is through the doorway on the left.


  • DO NOT use pens / biros – use pencils only.
  • YOU MAY use your camera – avoid using your flash.
  • YOU MAY use the photocopier provided at the end of the room.
  • SHARE your time using things like the photocopier with other researchers.
  • There is no charge for photocopying but do NOT abuse this privilege.
  • SHARE your desktop space with other researchers.
  • SHARE your space with other researchers – don’t be too loud.
  • TAKE CARE handling documents / registers – these are original records and any damage you cause will impact all future researchers.
  • DO NOT ask other researchers for help – they are doing their own research and may be on paid jobs – your interruption will cost them money!
  • RESPECT your fellow and future researchers.


  • Bound Memorials of the conveyance (or lease or other Instrument) of land under the General or Old Law, relating to land granted by the Crown between 1838 and 1862.  The Torrens System of land registration was introduced on 2 October 1862.
  • Finding Aids for Memorials
  • Application Files – created by the Clerk
  • Application Files – created by the Examiner
  • Sundry card files / indexes.


  • Left side, in compactus shelves – Application Files [Clerk] in numerical order
  • Far wall on left – photocopier
  • Shelves on far end wall – two bound volumes A-K and L-Z index
  • Shelves on far end wall – numbered FIRST SERIES registers
  • Shelves on left wall – alphabetical volumes A-Z index
  • Shelves on left wall and both sides of cabinets in centre of room – numbered SECOND SERIES registers
  • Bottom shelves on left wall, bottom shelves on both sides of cabinets in centre of room, and compactus on the right near the entrance door – Application Files [Examiner] in numerical order.  BEWARE – you will need to get on the floor to check the bottom shelves of the cabinets in the centre of the room – these are often two deep and you won’t find the second row if you’re standing up!
  • Compactus shelves on right from back wall – Land Memorial Registers


  • Make sure you understand what you’re researching – a good starting point for background reading.
  • Be familiar with the County, Parish, Section, Allotment details and associated names – don’t work on the wrong records by not knowing WHAT and WHERE you should be looking!
  • Application File number – have your Application File number(s) with you.

Application Files - Examiner [stored two rows deep]

Application Files – Examiner [stored two rows deep]


  • Application Files contain references to Memorial Book transactions to enable the property to be brought under New Title.  [Torrens Title] and confirm the legal owner of that property
  • There are two sets – one produced by the Clerk and the second by the Examiner.  A Certificate of Title could be created based on the results of the latter.  It is worth checking / copying both sets as there may be variations – remember that it is the Application File created by the Examiner that will enable a Certificate of Title to be created.  You will also find some handwriting easier to read than others!
  • Application Files are stored numerically so are easy to locate.
  • Take the bundle to the cabinet tops to undo the cloth tape and clip, ensuring that you don’t mess up the order of the files or damage them.
  • Make sure you carefully do up the bundle when you’re finished – ensuring that the bundle number range is clearly displayed.  Be careful that you replace the bundle in the correct location.
  • Remember to check the second row of bundles in the Examiner group of files.


There are a couple of methods of identifying the Application File No [Application No.] – BEFORE you visit Laverton:

  • Certificates of Title – trace back through Certificates of Title, identifying the Parent of each.  The Parent Title will generally be found at the top of the second page.  It will be a Volume and Folio [Certificate of Title] number until you reach the FIRST Title, then it will be an Application Number.  This method is following the Land ownership back in time.
  • Register of Applications for Certificates of Title using the Index of Applications for Certificate of Title at PROV [Public Record Office Victoria] – VPRS 405, VPRS 16705 and VPRS 460.  This method is identifying the owner of the land when it was transferred from Old Title to New.



The search is in three stages.  Our example is a search for Edmond BUCKLEY who had land interests on the coast near Cobden in the 1850s, hence we will search the First Series.

FIRST SERIES: covers the years 1838 to 1859
SECOND SERIES: covers later years with some overlap.


  • First you must consult the index in the First Series Nominal or Name Index – at the end of the First Series books [below left]
  • Volume 1 A-K was searched for Edmond Buckley [below centre]
  • In the columns to the left for Edmond BUCKLEY: Book 44, Number 392 [below right]


Stage One, First Series Index

[No 6] Stage One, First Series, volume 1, A-K

Stage One, First Series, volume 1, A-K

Stage One, Entry for Edmond BUCKLEY

Stage One, Entry for Edmond BUCKLEY


  • Select Book 44 from the First Series books.  These white-cloth covered bound volumes are all labelled in black writing.  [below left]
  • These are the numerical indexes which give a page full of details of land transactions of a particular person.  [below centre]
  • There were three entries for Edmond BUCKLEY:  [below centre]
    • Book 46, No 614 – Patrick COADY – Woranga part por 15
    • Book 63, No 319 – Patrick COADY – Woranga pt Sec 15
    • Book 64, No 267 – J A GOOLD – Woranga pt sec 1
  • Select relevant Memorial Book, First Series, from the compactus file.  [below right]

Stage One, First Series book

Stage One, First Series book

[No 10] Stage Two, entries for Edmond BUCKLEY

Stage Two, entries for Edmond BUCKLEY

[No 11] Stage Three, compactus files

Stage Two, Memorial Books from compactus files


  • Select appropriate Book 46 from the First Series Memorial books.  Take it to the cabinet bench top and open it at Page (or Folio) 614.  This shows that it is a Conveyance.  Edmond BUCKLEY and Patrick COADY are the two parties involved and the date is 10 March 1857.  There is also a witness name.  [below left]
  • Book 63, No 319 describes fully the land being conveyed – sometimes, if it is a hotel for instance, it may well state that the transaction contains the wood building of eight rooms known as the King’s Arms Hotel and the outbuildings and stables attached, or something similar.  Generally there is no description of buildings.  At the right is the amount of money paid by the one party to the other.  [below centre]
  • Select relevant Memorial Book, First Series, from the compactus file.  [below right]

Stage Three, memorial for Edmond BUCKLEY

Stage Three, memorial for Edmond BUCKLEY

Stage Three, memorial for Edmond BUCKLEY

Stage Three, memorial for Edmond BUCKLEY

Stage Three, memorial for Edmond BUCKLEY

Stage Three, memorial for Edmond BUCKLEY


  • Follow the same procedure as for the FIRST SERIES but using the Indexes identified as SECOND SERIES  [below left] and the volumes for the SECOND SERIES  [below right]

Second Series Indexes

Second Series Indexes

Second Series books

Second Series books


The above guide was valid as at Tuesday 28 October 2014 – you should always check that procedures and/or rules have not changed in the meantime.  Information should be available from Land Victoria / Land Information Centre.

The contents of this Blog cannot be blamed on Land Victoria – it was compiled and published by a private individual to assist other researchers looking for items in the General Law Library, Laverton.

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.



Not that hard: visiting the Geelong Heritage Centre

Geelong Heritage CentreI’ve heard on the grapevine that regular visitors to the Geelong Heritage Centre in the former Little Malop Street building have not started appearing at the new location in the National Wool Museum in Moorabool Street.

Despite working in Melbourne 5 days a week, I managed to visit the “new” Geelong Heritage Centre last week – I wasn’t sure what to expect but what a pleasant surprise – you don’t know what you’re missing!

This blog isn’t about repeating the information on the GHC web site – it’s aimed at making you feel comfortable about dropping in to the new centre for a visit and some research.  Explore the web site of the GHC to find out all the details: opening times, services, activities, events, bookshop, catalogue and much more.  And hopefully you won’t miss the great news that the new Geelong Heritage Centre is open FIVE days a week from 10.00 am.

Join me on my journey to the “new” Geelong Heritage Centre …


If you mistakenly go to the Old Geelong Heritage Centre site, this is what you would have been greeted with in November 2013.  It looks pretty forlorn but you’ll have a chance to see the artist’s impression of the magnificent new building for the Geelong Regional Library and the Geelong Heritage Centre.

 Old Geelong Heritage Centre site  Old Geelong Heritage Centre site  Old Geelong Heritage Centre site

If you’re standing looking at this and cursing at anyone you can think of, don’t get too frustrated – the location of the “new” centre is not that far away.


Make your way to the north east corner of Johnstone Park – on the way, enjoy the view of the Peace Memorial, Geelong Art Gallery and the Geelong Town Hall.  It’s amazing how many people haven’t seen these beautiful buildings from this angle.

From the corner of the Park, walk along Malop Street to the next intersection [Moorabool Street], turn left and before you get to the next intersection [Brougham Street] you’ll be at the site of the “new” Geelong Heritage Centre.


There are also Park & Ride options in Geelong that you might find helpful.

The City of Greater Geelong also runs a Central Geelong Free Summer Shuttle Service that stops at the train station, the Waterfront, Geelong Botanic Gardens and other Central Geelong locations.  Contact the City or Tourist Information Centres for details.


Top Floor, National Wool Museum

26 Moorabool Street, Geelong


The GHC is located on the top [third] floor of the National Wool Museum [below left, centre and right]

Go through the main doors between the National Wool Museum [red] and Geelong Heritage Centre [blue] banners.  [below centre and right]

 "New" Geelong Heritage Centre  "New" Geelong Heritage Centre  "New" Geelong Heritage Centre

Once you are through the doors, go to the desk on your left [below left].  Ask for your pass to go up to the Geelong Heritage Centre [below right].  You must wear this pass while you are in the building to use the Geelong Heritage Centre otherwise you will be asked to purchase a ticket for the National Wool Museum.  Don’t forget to return your lanyard and pass to the desk on your way out.

 GHC Front Desk  GHC Pass for all visitors

Access to the top floor is via the ramp through the National Wool Museum.  Go straight to the Geelong Heritage Centre – your pass is not a ticket to the Wool Museum!  The ramp is a very gentle slope to the top floor – if you have any concerns, ask at the front desk for a wheelchair.  Wool Museum volunteers cannot wheel you up to the Geelong Heritage Centre – you will need to be accompanied by someone who can help you.

Continue up the ramp until you see the huge stack of wool bales [below left], go up the ramp with the bales on your right [below centre] and you will notice two entrances in front of you [below right].


Go to the entrance on the left first as this contains the lockers [above right].

No bags are permitted in the Heritage Centre Reading Room so they should be placed in one of the lockers provided [below left].  Remember to take your key with you and keep it in a safe place.  Only pencils are permitted in the centre – if you don’t have one, you will find some in the Reading Room.

 GHC Lockers  GHC Entrance

Return to the entrance on the right [above right], go through the entrance and turn right.


The reception / enquiry desk is on your left inside the Reading Room, just past the shelves of publications for sale [below left].

Report to the desk [below left] and make sure you know how and where to find resources.

IMPORTANT: The Reading Room is on three levels with a few steps on each side of the room between each level.  There are good solid rails to hold as you move up or down the steps but if you feel you might have difficulty please speak to those on duty.  Where possible they will bring items to you for viewing on the top [entrance] level so you don’t have to use the steps.

 GHC Reception  GHC Reading Room  GHC Reading Room

From the entrance:

  • rows of bookshelves are on the right of the Reading Room on all levels [above right and below left and right]
  • computers, tables and chairs are on the left on the middle level [above centre and right]
  • microfiche, microfilms and readers are on the left on the lower level [below left and right].
 GHC Reading Room

 GHC Reading Room

The new Reading Room contains most of what was available in the old [demolished] Reading Room.


There is no direct access to the Archives at the GHC Reading Room.  Mind you, very few people ever used these archives in the old [demolished] centre – and only PART of the Archives were held in Little Malop Street anyway!

It was Murphy’s Law that the item you wanted to view was stored off-site in which case you needed to order it in advance and wait for it to be available [a couple of weeks].  So really, nothing has changed!

Make use of the GHC web site to search the Archives and order the relevant item(s) or check to ensure that what you want to view is available when you visit.  And don’t forget that many of the more popular archives have been filmed and are available to view on microfilm in the “new” Heritage Centre.

The GHC now has a terrific new scanner which means items on film or fiche can be scanned and saved as an image – don’t forget to bring your USB drive with you!


Without doubt, the “new” / interim Geelong Heritage Centre Reading Room is absolutely delightful.  It’s fresh, well laid out, and very inviting.  Do yourself a favour and drop in for some research.


If you’re still standing at the demolition site in Little Malop Street and wondering where the library has gone, just look behind you – it’s in the Government Offices – the upside down pyramid building [below right].

 Geelong Regional Library  Geelong Regional Library

Geelong Advertiser: WWI years

Geelong Advertiser 8th June 1918I hope everyone has been keeping tabs on the National Library of Australia / TROVE additions!  If not, you will have missed the start of the 1914-1918 copies of the Geelong Advertiser appearing.

So far the uploads include part of 1917 and 1918 – keep watching and DON’T FORGET to register and do your bit by correcting as many entries as possible to make it easier for others to find their families.

Thank you to the State Library of Victoria and the National Library of Australia – where would we be without them?

I must confess to smirking last Thursday – sitting in the audience listening to an American genealogist – he was SO jealous of our NLA digital newspapers and TROVE!

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!


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