Sparrovale or Sparrowvale Farm?

I can’t believe that it’s more than two years since I was asked a simple question – is it Sparrovale or Sparrowvale Farm?  The sign on the gate is Sparrovale – the sign on the road is Sparrowvale.  It would have been simple to accept the spelling on the entrance gate but then I would have missed the amazing detail found over more than two years of research.

Sparrovale Irrigation Farm began in 1906 at Marshall near Geelong – relatively modern history – but such an important part of our local history.

I hope you enjoy the journey of discovery that definitely proved that the correct spelling is Sparrovale Farm, despite it being named after Edward Rogers “Ned” SPARROW.

Geelong District – databases and rainbows

So what do rainbows have to do with the Geelong & District Database?

Well, not a lot actually but this double rainbow appeared while I was preparing to upload more records to the database and I thought it looked rather beautiful – isn’t that a good enough reason to include it on this blog?

It’s been too long since the last lot of entries were added to the database but between weddings, holidays, funerals, and lots of presentations at seminars etc., things have been just a tad hectic!  Better late than never …

This is the list of additions since 20 May making a total of 1,281,998 entries in the database:

  • Colac Shire: Rate Books 1910-11 [GRS 1393] – 3,612 entries
  • Geelong District: names from the Geelong Times [groups, prizes etc.] – 1,123 entries
  • Steiglitz: Court Records [VPRS 351 / P2 / 1 - 1868] – 161 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 Advertiser … it’s here!

The first part is here!  So far 1 Nov 1851 – 20 Dec 1851 and I must confess that the first page I looked at was not great quality but there is so much to look forward to.  As you can see from the list below, this is the last part of the second group of papers.

  • Geelong Advertiser and Squatters’ Advocate (28 May 1845-26 Oct 1847)
  • Geelong Advertiser (29 Oct 1847-20 Dec 1851)
  • Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (22 Dec 1851-9 Aug 1856)

Have a look at Trove Digitised Papers or the summary page.

We can expect notification of additions progressively over the next couple of weeks.

Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Geelong Advertiser … 24th June 2012 update!

I think we’ve all been holding our breath after the National Library said [in January 2012] the following would occur …

The papers are currently being scanned and hopefully would be completed by the end of the financial year [June 2012].  The papers in this lot are:

    • Geelong Advertiser and Squatters’ Advocate (28 May 1845-26 Oct 1847)
    • Geelong Advertiser (29 Oct 1847-20 Dec 1851)
    • Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (22 Dec 1851-9 Aug 1856)

Now for the latest news!

It is so close you can smell it!  If you go to TROVE and search for Geelong Advertiser you’ll see what I mean!  For the results which include the title(s) and date range shown above it also shows the magic words [coming soon].

A layman’s interpretation is the OCR / text part is loaded [or in the process of being loaded] and the images will follow.

The bottom line is that it is VERY CLOSE!

I suggest that everyone gets some extra sleep in preparation for some LONG nights searching the Addy.

And for those that want 1843 or 1857 or later – let’s be very grateful that at least it’s started and there will be more to come.

Peter Bowden aka Peter St Albans

What a fascinating journey of questions, doubts, research and discovery!

Dr Andrew Lemon presented the Don Grant lecture at the Family History Feast almost a year ago, but it was only last weekend that I finally had time to listen to this fascinating presentation and give it the attention it deserved.

To precis it here would not do justice to Andrew’s presentation – to appreciate it to the fullest you should download the podcast from the State Library of Victoria’s website.

It is the story of Peter Bowden, also known as Peter St Albans – an alias acquired from his association with James Wilson and the St Albans stud at Whittington in Geelong.

I must confess that when I had listened to and absorbed the presentation in its entirety I hastened to my Geelong and District web site to see if I had also fallen into the trap of repeating the “story” behind Peter St Albans’ origins!  Thankfully I hadn’t.  The local references I have found certainly support Andrew’s research and hopefully there may be a few that are “new” and can be passed on to support Andrew’s conclusions.

It was pleasing to find references in two local publications that adhered to the facts and did not expand to include the “popular story”.

Brownhill’s The History of Geelong and Corio Bay published in 1955 …

The rider of Briseis in the Melbourne Cup [1876] was Peter Bowden, who was popularly known, because of his association with the St Albans stables, as Peter St Albans.  He died at the home of his father-in-law, William Ryan, at Breakwater, Geelong, in July 1898.  Remarkable testimony of the popularity of the jockey was given at the funeral to the Eastern Cemetery, which was attended by sporting men from Melbourne, Ballarat and other places besides Geelong.  There were 50 vehicles in the funeral procession. [p.524]

In Painters of the past: colonial art and Geelong, published by the Geelong Art Gallery in 1991 …

Frederick Woodhouse 1820-1909 [ ... ] In his painting of Briseis, Woodhouse included portraits of the horse’s jockeys, Tom Hales (seated) and Peter Bowden, better known as Peter St Albans.  Hales was Briseis’ usual jockey but, on being placed on Feu d’Artifice in the Cup, was replaced by St Albans, who rode Briseis to victory with Hales coming in second. [p.50]

Give yourself a treat and listen to the podcast!

Geelong District – Honour Boards plus more

The featured index in the latest bundle of additions to the Geelong & District Database is for names on numerous Honour Boards in the Geelong district.  These Honour Boards include those commemorating servicemen in the region but they also include other Honour Boards for various organisations.  Some boards include Presidents, Life Members, Members and other groups of people.  The initial entries were extracted from the Geelong Family History Group publication Index of names listed on Geelong & District Honour Rolls which has been out of print for some years.  More boards have been added in addition to those from the GFHG book – see the list of Geelong and District Honour Boards already included in the database.

Entries include name, date(s) [where available], and the title of the board.  At the recent meeting of the Geelong & District Historical Association, members adopted the Honour Boards as a new global project for all members.  Already we have photos of some of the boards and plan to expand this for all existing boards in the database as well as all additions to the project.  Most of the boards in the GFHG publication were transcribed many years ago – before digital cameras made this exercise so much easier!  Sadly some no longer exist – it is believed that the Geelong Golf Club entries were destroyed in the Club’s fire – at least we have the names from the board.  

This is the list of additions since 6 April making a total of 1,277,102 entries in the database:

  • Geelong District: Honour Boards – 3,648 entries
  • Geelong District: Orphan Immigrants 1848-1850 – 366 entries
  • Colac Shire: Rate Books 1900-01 [GRS 1393] – 2,759 entries
  • Book – A Grand Vision: the first 150 years of the Geelong Agricultural and Pastoral Society – 2,062 entries
  • Geelong District: names from the Geelong Times [groups, prizes etc.] – 359 entries
  • Geelong District: Hospital Admissions from the Geelong Times – 181 entries
  • Geelong: Immigration Depot Funerals 1853-1857 [VPRS 22] – 38 entries
  • Geelong: Immigration Depot Returns 1851 [VPRS 116] – 168 entries
  • Geelong District: Reports of Felony and Stolen Horses [VPRS 124] – 120 entries
  • Geelong: Register of Seamen Engaged 1856-1889 [VPRS 22] 1857 – 564 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!

Mount Moriac – Duneed baptisms plus more

The featured index in the latest bundle of additions to the Geelong & District Database is for baptisms at St Patrick’s Roman Catholic church at Mount Moriac – also referred to as the Duneed Mission.  Separate pages for each year were found at the end of the St Mary’s Geelong baptism registers – these covered the years 1875-1881.  Earlier years [1855-1873] had already been included in our GDHA Church Records database and indexed in the Geelong & District Database.

These new entries generally include parents’ names, mother’s maiden name, residence and sponsors – so if you’re looking for more on someone in the Mt Moriac / Duneed area in 1875-1881 these baptisms could help you.

This is the list of additions since 24 March making a total of 1,266,631 entries in the database:

  • Geelong District: GDHA Church records – Duneed Mission RC 1875-1881 [St Patrick's, Mount Moriac] – Baptisms [inc. Fathers, Mothers & Sponsors] – 539 entries
  • Book – The History of the Geelong Golf Club 1892-1992 – 4,141 entries
  • Colac Shire: Rate Books 1890-91 [GRS 1393] – 2,417 entries
  • South Barwon Courts: Petty Sessions Registers 1861-1863 [VPRS 350] – 634 entries
  • Geelong District: names from the Geelong Advertiser [groups, prizes etc.] – 592 entries
  • Geelong District: names from the Geelong Times [groups, prizes etc.] – 1,129 entries
  • Geelong District: Hospital Admissions from the Geelong Times – 106 entries
  • Geelong District: Grapevine compensation lists from the Geelong Times – 104 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!

Our volunteers and contributors are amazing!

To say we are blessed with our wonderful volunteers and contributors would be an understatement – they really are amazing and such an asset to anyone researching in the Geelong & District region.

Our latest major addition to the Geelong & District Database comes courtesy of Fred Walter and Heather Cox.  Way back in 1990 they compiled and published the Index to the Admission Books of the Geelong Infirmary and Benevolent Asylum.  They then provided this index free on their web site of the same name.

Now they have taken this a step further by giving us permission to include what we call a limited index of their web site in the Geelong & District Database.  We call it “limited” because we have omitted the Admission number from our index.  This number is the key to follow up further details and means you need to use their web site to obtain that key as well as read the explanation of the source of the index, how to use it and how to proceed further.  The entries in the Geelong & District Database include the name, year and TAB on their website under which you’ll find the entry.

This isn’t the only addition to the Geelong & District Database since I posted the last lot of updates but it’s certainly one of the most signicant ones and a perfect example of the contributors to everyone who is researching in our region.

Another highlight in the latest additions – a great selection of Court Records for Steiglitz.  This is just the start – there are more entries to come for people with ancestors at Steiglitz.

This is the list of additions since 4 March making a total of 1,256,871 entries in the database:

  • Geelong District: Admission Books of the Geelong Infirmary and Benevolent Asylum – 12,594 entries
  • Geelong District: GDHA Church records – St Mary’s RC church, Geelong 1873-1881 – Baptisms [inc. Fathers, Mothers & Sponsors] – 10,635 entries
  • Geelong District: GDHA Church records – Wesleyan circuit, Geelong 1868 – Baptisms [inc. Fathers & Mothers] – 510 entries
  • Colac Shire: Rate Books 1869-70, 1880-81, 1905-06 [GRS 1393] – 6,894 entries
  • Steiglitz Courts: Petty Sessions Registers 1899, License Register 1862-64, Charge Book 1868-79 [VPRS 351] – 2,634 entries
  • Book – Beacons of Hope: an early history of Cape Otway and King Island lighthouses – 546 entries
  • Geelong District: names from the Geelong Advertiser [groups, prizes etc.] – 615 entries
  • Geelong District: names from the Geelong Times [groups, prizes etc.] – 1,182 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!

Red faced again!

We now have 1,223,897 records in the Geelong & District Database

Why the red face?  Because I set a target of 1,250,000 entries by the end of 2012.  That’s only a little over 26,000 entries for the rest of the year – we MUST be able to achieve that and more.

Mind you, the entries added in this group have a BIG lump factor from existing records – we’ve included mothers from the Geelong & District Historical Association Church records for baptisms as well as marriages.  The mothers listed in the baptisms in particular are a large number of entries as they’ve been created for mothers with their maiden name as well as mothers with their married names.  We decided that would be beneficial where researchers knew the mothers first names but not their maiden name – conversely the benefit of showing mother’s with their maiden names would obviously also benefit researchers.  Before people complain that we don’t show the child’s name in the same entry as the mother, please understand that we are not able to do that based on agreements made when we created the GDHA Church records database.  In the end the decision was made to include separate entries for the parents rather than not to include them at all.

The other good news on the GDHA Church records database – a lot of work is being done on adding another 15+ years of baptisms for St Mary’s Roman Catholic church in Geelong – something many will look forward to.  This is an ongoing project with many more entries to come.

This is what’s been added since the last update on 12 February:

  • Geelong District: GDHA Church records – Baptisms [Mothers] – 101,124 entries
  • Geelong District: GDHA Church records – Marriages [Mothers] – 17,982 entries
  • Colac Shire: Rate Books 1863-64, 1865-66, 1867-68, 1868-69, 1870-71, 1885-86, 1896-97 [GRS 1393] – 9,857 entries
  • Mt Moriac: Court of Petty Sessions – 1876, 1877 [VPRS 335] – 162 entries
  • Geelong District: extracts from Crown Reserves Correspondence files [VPRS 242] – 150 entries
  • Geelong District: Schools – pupils, prize winners etc from the Geelong Times 1874-1898 – 380 entries
  • Gerangamete, Barwon Downs & Forrest: Names on parish plans [VPRS 16171] – 83 entries
  • Geelong: Register of Seamen Engaged – 1856-1889 [VPRS 22] – 92 entries for 1857
  • Geelong District: Reports of Felony and Stolen Horses – 1853 and 1858 [VPRS 124] – 103 entries
  • Geelong District: Geelong Times – Admissions to Geelong Hospital – 1875 – 144 entries

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

Don’t forget to check out your ancestors in the Geelong & District Database.

Database target for 2012!

We now have 1,094,870 records in the Geelong & District Database

That’s a good enough reason to set a target for the end of this year – I hope it’s realistic but if we don’t have a target we don’t have anything to aim for!

This is what’s been added since the last update on 28th January:

  • Barrabool Shire: Rate Books 1917-1949 [GRS 877] approx every 5 years indexed – 9,675 entries
  • Geelong District: GDHA Church records – Marriages [Witnesses] – 13,202 entries
  • Geelong District: GDHA Church records – Marriages [Mothers] – 18,890 entries
  • Geelong District: GDHA Church records – Baptisms [Sponsors] – 37,939 entries
  • Geelong: Infirmary & Benevolent Asylum Annual Report 1878 – 1,466 entries
  • Colac Shire: Rate Books 1864-65 and 1875-76 – 2,199 entries

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

Don’t forget to check out your ancestors in the Geelong & District Database.  Good luck with your research!

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