Lost a male ancestor near Geelong between 1856 and 1889?

You might just find them in VPRS 22 Unit 21 at the Public Record Office Victoria!

This is a wonderful register dating from 7 August 1856 through to 1889 – Register of Seamen engaged Geelong and is the latest project being indexed by our Geelong & District volunteers.

So far, entries for 1856 have been added to the Geelong & District Database – 308 in total.

Details in the database for each entry: 

  • NAME: Name of seaman
  • DATE: of Engagement
  • PLACE: [of engagement] Geelong
  • COMMENT: Name of ship
  • REFERENCE: VPRS number and UNIT number (entries are generally in chronological order)

Additional columns of information in the register:

  • Capacity = rank i.e. AB [Able Seaman], Mate, Cook etc.
  • Nature of Voyage – Coasting, Foreign etc.
  • Reference [if Foreign] to Duplicate Agreement
  • Name of Master
  • Name of Licensed Agent
  • Last Vessel – on which engaged
  • Last Certificate of Character
  • Remarks

You can obtain this additional information and copies of the entries by visiting the Public Record Office Victoria at North Melbourne or submitting a (paid) Research Request to the Geelong Family History Group.

As the first part of the index was uploaded to the Geelong & District Database on Christmas Eve, it’s appropriate to select the seamen engaged on 24 December 1856.

NAME SHIP CAPACITY Prev SHIP REMARKS
John DORAN Ann & Maria Able Seaman Red Jacket Discharge lost
James LOW Mary Ann Cook & Steward Shalimar Discharge lost
George H GREEN Vibilia Mate Vibilia  
John ANLESS Vibilia Able Seaman Martha  
James AULD Vibilia Able Seaman Braces  
James KERR Vibilia Able Seaman Vibilia  
Andrew YILL Vibilia Able Seaman Vibilia  
George F CLEMENT Vibilia Cook & Steward Rattler  

All three of these ships were coastal traders which had arrived from Newcastle [NSW] laden with coal.  They returned to Newcastle carrying ballast and no passengers.  The Ann & Maria, a brig, departed 28/29 December, the Mary Ann, a brigantine, departed on 29 December, and the Vibilia, a schooner, departed on 24 December.

This is an ongoing indexing project – we’ll probably add entries a year at a time – I hope you enjoy this terrific index and register.

Merry Christmas to all from the volunteers in Geelong & District.

Winner of 2011 PMI Short History Prize

Prahran Mechanics' Institute: Short History Prize [2011]The winner of the 2011 Prahran Mechanics’ Institute Victorian History Library Short History Prize was our very own Dr Peter Mansfield.

Most locals involved in family or local history in Geelong & District will know Peter and his involvement with many groups.  He has been convenor of the Geelong & District Historical Association, on the committee of the Geelong Historical Society, guest speaker to many of our societies, and formerly CEO of the Geelong Regional Libraries.  He has researched and written many articles on some of his favourite subjects including Free Libraries and local politicians.

Able, gifted, trustworthy and disloyal: the political fortunes of Henry Bournes Higgins, MLA for Geelong, 1894-1900 is the title of Peter’s winning entry.  Peter has very kindly provided us with a copy for all to enjoy.

Congratulations Peter!

Irish in Geelong and district – INDEX

The Winchelsea girls are amazing!  Di and Joan have finished indexing the 1,700+ pages of the CD publication Irish in Geelong & District.  This has resulted in 33,452 index entries being added to the Geelong & district database.

IMPORTANT: – the CD publication isn’t a list of ALL Irish who came to Geelong & district but a HUGE number of records that may include your ancestors – if not you’ll certainly get an understanding of the wealth of information available in our region.

Details on the publication can be found on our web site.

Geelong: Assisted Immigrants Remittances 1856-1858

I do love some of the wonderful hidden treasures amongst the records held at the Public Record Office Victoria – and those that have been transcribed or indexed by the Geelong Family History Group [GFHG].

As part of an ongoing project with the GFHG, volunteers from our region are transcribing or indexing their huge collection and adding them to our Geelong & District database.

This is one of my absolute favourites!  It is part of VPRS 22 / P0: Customs, Shipping and Immigration Records – 8 of the 27 units in this series are specifically Geelong records!  And yes, we’re planning on working on the other records in this series.

To give you an idea on how wonderful these records are, I’ll step you through the details available in our Geelong & District database and the additional information available from the Geelong Family History Group transcriptions.

A search was done in the Geelong & District database for the name CROHAN.There were 43 matching entries [10 Sep 2011] for CROHAN – the ones of particular interest are the four entries for:

  • Bridget CROHAN
  • 23 Sep 1856
  • Geelong: Assisted Immigrants Remittances 1856-1858

 

 CROHAN – search

  Clicking on VIEW for the first entry you will find these details:

  • Bridget CROHAN was the Depositor
  • Mary CURTIN was the Nominee
  • Mary CURTIN was the MOTHER of Bridget CROHAN
  • PROV reference: VPRS 22 / P0 / 15
  • GFHG Reference Number is 70
  • Link to explanation of this record group which includes links to GFHG Research Requests or the Public Record Office web site

CROHAN – results 1

  Clicking on VIEW for the second entry you will find these details:

  • Bridget CROHAN was the Depositor
  • Mary MOYLAN was the Nominee
  • Mary MOYLAN was the SISTER of Bridget CROHAN
  • PROV reference: VPRS 22 / P0 / 15
  • GFHG Reference Number is 70
  • Link to explanation of this record group which includes links to GFHG Research Requests or the Public Record Office web site

CROHAN – results 2

Viewing the third and fourth entries will provide similar information for Thomas MOYLAN and Patrick MOYLAN – probably nephews of Bridget CROHAN.

If you look at the original record at PROV or submit a Research Request for the transcription from the Geelong Family History Group, you will find these details [in addition to those above]:

  • Bridget CROHAN resided with Ed Willis Esq, Barrabool Hills, Geelong
  • Mary CURTIN was aged 50, a housekeeper and widowed
  • Mary MOYLAN was aged 30, a nurse and widowed
  • Thomas MOYLAN was aged 16, a labourer and single
  • Patrick MOYLAN was aged 9 and single
  • The Nominees [CURTIN & MOYLANs] arrived on the ship Echunga on 20 August 1857 [many ship details have been added to the GFHG transcriptions and were not all included in the original transcription]
  • The Nominees’ residence was shown as – Alex Bannalyneby [?], Ennis Mills, Co Clare, Ireland

GFHG Ref No 70 – CROHAN

CROHAN – GFHG transcription [.pdf file]

Some Nominees’ residence details include cottage / house names, and street addresses – who wouldn’t just love that information for their ancestors?  The majority of entries are from Ireland however there are also significant numbers from England and Scotland which also include detailed addresses.

There are 1,289 entries [total number of Nominees] in VPRS 22 / P0 / 15 for 550+ Depositors.  This equates to 2,578 entries in the Geelong & District database – they are “duplicated” so that you can search by both Depositor and Nominee.

These records refer to depositors dealing with the Sub Treasury in Geelong.  There are plenty of similar records out there for Melbourne, other Sub Treasuries, and of course Geelong for different years.  They won’t be handed to you on a platter like these ones!  You will need to search for them.  Make use of the PROV Guide 52: Transport – Immigration Records.  Look in the Correspondence and administrative section – these type of records are found in the Immigration Branch files.

You should also do some background reading for details on immigration remittances, regulations, procedures and rates payable.  These can be found in these Victoria Government Gazettes by searching for the word IMMIGRATION and the dates shown below:

Well, that should keep you busy on what is a very cold September day in Victoria!

Day 1 – Victorian Expo

Wow – day 1 of the Victorian Expo (Geelong) was terrific – caught up with heaps of friends, didn’t stop talking ALL day [surprise anyone?] and we launched our new “book” [CD] … Irish in Geelong & District.

What a great day – and there’s still time for anyone to get along to the second day – today – and that’s where I’m heading now.  Hope to see some of you there.

I know I’ll be doing plenty of talking again today – 2 presentations – “Look local: it’s not all on the web” and of course my favourite “Sewerage records” – the one that has everyone laughing and completely gobsmacked by the end at this wonderful resource.  And if anyone has heard this before, you might want to hear it again – some terrific news about Sewerage records – something exciting that happened VERY recently that you might find just a tad interesting!

Irish in Geelong & district – NEW publication

Am I excited?  You bet I am!  Just over a year ago Pam Jennings & I published Scots in Geelong & district to 1860.  The obvious question from people was when are you going to do the Irish one?  Of course we replied – “can’t be done”!

OK – we’ve proved ourselves wrong.  At the Victorian Expo tomorrow we’re launching Irish in Geelong & district.  This publication will ONLY be produced on CD and there will NOT be a print-on-demand version.  Why?  Because there are 1,711 pages!  That doesn’t include an index because the book is in Acrobat (.pdf) format and is fully text searchable.  Also the A-Z section is in surname order for easy browsing.  Mind you, it takes a while to browse 1,700+ pages.  At a later stage the full index will be added to the Geelong & district database.

It isn’t a list of ALL Irish who came to Geelong & district but a HUGE number of records that may include your ancestors – if not you’ll certainly get an understanding of the wealth of information available in our region.

The CD will normally be $30 and details on how to purchase a copy will appear on the Geelong & district web site after the Expo, but for an Expo special it can be purchased at the Victorian Expo on Friday 2nd or Saturday 3rd September for $25.00.  Visit us at the Geelong & District Historical Association stand at the Expo – Table 18 – and make sure you visit all the other Geelong & District Historical Societies and Family History groups in our block of tables 13-24.  We’ve got heaps and heaps of books for sale from our region.

And if you haven’t booked to attend the Expo, don’t worry.  Anyone can come and it will only cost you $5.00 to get in.

It’s now less that 24 hours to the start of the Expo – and I’m sure my to-do-list includes more items than there are minutes before it all starts!

See you there!

Assisted Immigrants – lied about their age and/or their occupation!

How many times have we heard this or found them in our own family research?  It’s “common knowledge” that immigrants lied about their age and / or their occupation to be eligible for the various assisted immigrant schemes – that’s why it’s so good to find proof of this accepted statement!

Digging through an old box of papers in a cupboard at the Geelong Family History Group, a bundle of exciting photocopies was found.  Some are being indexed / transcribed to be added to the Geelong and District Database.  There’s a lot there and the majority relate to the Geelong region.

One two-page document stood out – unlike the others, there was no source written on these pages, however I believe I’ve identified the VPRS number and unit at the Public Record Office Victoria.  Hopefully in the next two weeks we’ll be able to confirm that and then see just what other similar documents we may find in this collection.  This two-page document was a covering letter attached to a “List of Ineligible Immigrants by the ship ‘Joshua’ arrived at Melbourne 30th January 1852″.

Although these arrivals were in Melbourne, I’ve added them to the Geelong and District Database.  And if we find the right VPRS number we’ll definitely be looking for Geelong arrivals to add to the database.  In the meantime I’ve included the entries from this document below.  And take note of the comment for the final entry!

Details of the covering letter can be seen on the Geelong and District Potpourri page.  The letter was dated 9 March 1852.  I haven’t checked each immigrant but the few I have checked were either from Ireland or Scotland.  I’m not sure of the implications of being classed as “ineligible” – these immigrants arrived, some were assigned to employment and others went to family already in the colony.

I hope you find this document as interesting as I did!

MARRIED COUPLES  
ANDREWS, Thomas & Mrs A Lighterman; since employed in a foundry – described as an Agricultural Laborer
BOWLES, James & Mary Ages given in the Nominal List 39 and 39.  They are apparently between 50 and 60, and quite unfit for work
FOURBISTER, Robert & Mrs A Builder, described as an Agricultural Laborer
GUDGEON, Nicholas & Mrs A Fisherman, described as an Agricultural Laborer
MELDRUM, James & Mrs Salesman for five years to Mr Anderson, a Merchant of Dundee, described as a Shepherd
RICKARD, John & Mrs A Gentleman’s Servant for 9 or 10 years, described as an Agricultural Laborer
ROWE, George & Mrs A Gentleman’s Servant, described as an Agricultural Laborer
ROUGET, John & Mrs A Guernsey Fisherman, described as an Agricultural Laborer
SHARMAN, Thomas & Mrs Age stated as 34 – apparently 50 and unfit for work
STANBURY, John & Mrs A Miller, who had failed in business, described as an Agricultural Laborer
SEXTON, Morris & Mrs States that the agent at Killaloo [?sp] (Dr Bourke) told him to describe himself as an Agricultural Labourer – he is really a Coachman
SINGLE MAN  
SIMPSON, William A Coachman, described as an Agricultural Laborer
SINGLE WOMEN  
BOYD, Margaret Age stated as 32 – she is apparently between 45 and 50
BOYD, Mary Age stated as 24 – she is apparently 40
REARDON, Catherine Age stated as 38 – she says she is 52.  This is a very bad case as the woman looks older than her real age

Clifton Springs – Heritage in Modern Art

This is really worth visiting!  And for me it was a great way to cap off two weeks holiday.  After 10 days in Darwin with family and friends, I had arrived back in Melbourne [absolutely freezing!], then did all those tasks you try to get done when you’re not working.  Friday was car servicing day [ouch].  Saturday it was a drive into Geelong to buy my next long-term train ticket [big ouch].  Then it was time for the eye test that had been delayed TOO long [another ouch].

So driving back home from Geelong I wasn’t feeling in a holiday mode and definitely feeling much poorer!  I wanted to do something “holidayish” but it had to be something that cost nothing.  Then I had the answer – I had my new tiny digital camera in my bag – a birthday present I was spoilt with in Darwin.  I hadn’t seen the new interpretive signage at the Dell at Clifton Springs – so I detoured up to the north of the Bellarine Peninsula.

Clifton Springs has a wonderful history – the first mineral springs and spa in Victoria – but very little of that history and heritage have survived.  In 1998 the City of Greater Geelong commissioned archaeologist Roger Luebbers to investigate the area.  A second more detailed report followed an initial archaeological dig in 1999.  Through the Bellarine Historical Society I spent some time with Roger providing the information and photographs that the Society had in its collection for these reports.  Roger made several recommendations however nothing more happened until 2007 when a large archaeological dig was commissioned by the City of Greater Geelong.  I was so fortunate to work with Roger on more detailed research on the site at that time – the sort of research we could not have justified for the Society.  It was also exciting to spend time at the site to see what had literally been unearthed.  The end result was more recommendations together with a wonderful 121-page document with a detailed history, images, maps, plans and diagrams.  Copies of this and the two earlier reports are in the library at the Bellarine Historical Society, local libraries, and at the City of Greater Geelong.

This report can be downloaded in 2 parts:

If those links stop working, Google “Luebbers” and “Archaeological Investigation Clifton Springs Spa Resort”.

It was November 2010 before any further action.  The City of Greater Geelong agreed to fund interpretive signage for the Dell at Clifton Springs.  And that is what I saw on Saturday.

My congratulations to all involved – it is stunning, modern, different, and certainly brings the area alive with the information about this Heritage Area – which is also on the Victorian Heritage Register.

There are three main interpretive signs and they really are spectacular.  Artist, Cinnamon Stephens, was commissioned to design these “signs” – and what a design!  They are in the shape of a torpedo bottle – the bottles used at Clifton Springs for the mineral water.  They are full of “bubbles” representing the water from the Seltzer Well.  The beautiful historic photographs and text are in the bubbles.  There is one at the top of the cliff above the Dell.  It can be seen from the dining room and car park of the Clifton Springs Golf Club.

From a distance it would be hard to resist – you are absolutely drawn to this unusual structure to see what on earth it is!  From the base of this sign, a new sealed path leads you around to the bluff.

Part of this project involved a new lookout built at the top of the bluff with a view across the Dell and along the shore where the Sulphur Spa Bath and Mineral Springs bottling factory were situated.  A second “sign” is located at this lookout enabling visitors to visualise what it was like in its hey-day.

From here it is again hard to resist the urge to do down to the Dell and see what this is really all about.

Take the time to go down the steps to the Dell, and then follow the path along to the site of the beautiful Spa Bath building [the photo at the beginning of this blog].  Sadly none of the buildings have survived but we are fortunate to have many photographs in the Bellarine Historical Society collection.  The third “sign” is located here and at low tide visitors can explore the wells and channels that were part of this complex.

The signs include a circle of bricks at the base representing the numerous wells located at this historic site – bricks from some of the wells were used in these structures.

Again, congratulations to all involved: Matthew Jackman [initially from the City of Greater Geelong and later with the TGM Group managing the project], Cinnamon Stephens, the artist, and the representatives of the local community groups who worked on the text and images for the signs.  It really has ended up being a wonderful blend of modern representative art depicting an important heritage site – well worth a visit!

The Dell is located at the end of Clearwater Drive at Clifton Springs, near Geelong.

New database to search

I’ve combined the five major databases and numerous smaller ones into a single searchable database but with the flexibility to narrow the search by Groups [which generally equate to former databases] and Index Titles [sub groups within the database or items such as Book Titles].

There are more than 800,000 entries but don’t forget to read the tips, warnings and information section to get the most out of your search.

Try it out!

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