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 …

THE OLD 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.

GETTING TO THE “NEW” GEELONG HERITAGE CENTRE:

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.

OTHER WAYS OF GETTING THERE:

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.

THE “NEW” [INTERIM] GEELONG HERITAGE CENTRE – WHERE:

Top Floor, National Wool Museum

26 Moorabool Street, Geelong

HOW TO FIND THE GHC at the NATIONAL WOOL MUSEUM:

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].

GHC Top Floor GHC Top Floor OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

INSIDE THE GEELONG HERITAGE CENTRE READING ROOM:

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.

WHAT ISN’T IN THE “NEW” GHC 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!

ENJOY YOUR VISIT TO THE “NEW” GEELONG HERITAGE CENTRE:

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.

GEELONG REGIONAL LIBRARY:

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

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 ancestry.com 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.

Not that hard: visiting the Genealogical Society of Victoria

If you think that you need to be a member to visit the Genealogical Society of Victoria [GSV] hopefully this blog will encourage you to visit and find out the facts first hand.  The other misconception some people have is that the Society’s resources are limited to Victoria.  In fact the society has wonderful resources for researching ancestors from around the world.

Explore the web site of the GSV to find out all the details: opening times, services, activities, events, bookshop, catalogue and much more. 

This blog isn’t about repeating the information on the GSV web site – it’s aimed at making you feel comfortable about dropping in for a visit.

WHERE:

Level B1, 257 Collins Street, Melbourne

HOW TO FIND THE GSV:

The GSV is located in Emirates House on the south side of Collins Street between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets.  Australia on Collins is almost opposite and Emirates House is just a few doors towards Swanston Street from the pedestrian crossing lights.  [below left and centre]

Go through the sliding glass entrance doors of Emirates House.  [below right]

 
     

Once you are in the foyer, DON’T go past the escalators!  Turn LEFT immediately before the jewellers on the left – the lifts are behind the jeweller’s shop.  Press the DOWN button and when you’re in the lift select “B1″.  [below left]

Emirates House runs between Collins Street and Flinders Lane.  If you are coming from the Flinders Street Railway Station, you can enter the building at rear – 257 Flinders Lane.  [below centre]

When you come out of the lift at level B1 you will see the GSV sign in the foyer.  [below right]

 
     

WHAT YOU’LL FIND AT THE GSV:

Turn left down the corridor – and pause to look at the wonderful family charts on the wall.  There are also photos of all the GSV’s presidents.  [below left]

At the end of the corridor is reception and the bookshop.  Allow plenty of time to browse the wonderful selection of books, CDs, charts, genealogy programs, vouchers and much more.  Have a look at the online GSV bookshop to get an idea of the huge range available … and if what you want is not in stock the GSV may be able to get it in for you.  [below right]

 
   

USING THE LIBRARY:

Prospective members may have a brief tour of the library if the staff or volunteers are available.You do not need to be a member of the GSV to use the library – there are day rates and also reciprocal rights for members of nominated interstate societies.  Ask at the reception desk to check the options for you.

Visitors and members are required to wear their name tags or membership cards at all times in the library. 

No bags are permitted in the library – these should be placed in one of the lockers provided.  Clear plastic bags are permitted for your research papers.

Only pencils are permitted in the library – if you don’t have one, you can borrow one from the library information desk.

Members should scan the barcode on their card when they first arrive at the library and at the end of the day when they leave.  [below left and right]

 
 

 

LIBRARY FACILITIES and RESOURCES:

The information and enquiry desk is the first point of call – this is where you book computers and film readers, ask for assistance and advice on using the catalogue and doing your research, and collect your printing and copying.  [below left]

Bookings must be made for using the computers and film readers as there are time limits and specific machines are allocated depending on your area and type of research.  [below centre and right]

All monitors have been upgraded to flat screens providing greater desk-space for everyone.  [below right]

 
     

You will also need to book microfilm readers and should check with the information desk on procedures for using microfiche.  [below left]

Many resources are still available on microfiche and microfilm and the GSV holds an extensive collection.  [below centre]

In addition to the film printer, the GSV has a Scanpro film and fiche scanner and printer – digital images can also be saved to USB drives from this equipment.  Check with the information desk to book the Scanpro for short-term use.  [below right]

 
     

OTHER FACILITIES:

The GSV meeting room is used for the Thursday lunchtime talks, computer classes, courses and various special interest groups.  It includes full data projection and audio equipment.  Check the GSV web site for information on all activities.  [below left]

You can plan a full day at the GSV – bring your own lunch or make use of the numerous food outlets nearby.  There is a kitchen with tea & coffee making facilities.  Relax and chat with other library users in the lunch area.  [below right]

 
 

 

There is so much to see and do at the Genealogical Society of Victoria – don’t be afraid to visit and find out what you’re missing!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 295 other followers