The database is still growing!

We now have 1,011,499 records in the Geelong & District Database

This is what’s been added since the last update on 8 January:

  • The Sea War in Bass Strait by Jack Loney [Book]
  • Geelong City Council: WWII Servicemen and women enlistments – now complete
  • Ashby: State School teaching staff
  • Victoria: Exiles and others on Pentonvillain ships 1844-49
  • Geelong circuit: Criminal Trial Briefs [VPRS 30]
  • Geelong District: extracts from Crown Reserves Correspondence files [VPRS 242]
  • Drysdale: stipend subscriptions St James Church of England 1890-1899
  • Geelong District: soldiers
  • Geelong District: names mentioned in the Geelong Times
  • Geelong District: Geelong Agricultural Show results and prizewinners 1868 and 1874
  • Geelong District: Grapevine compensation lists
  • Geelong District: various entries from Victoria Government gazettes – additions

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!

Geelong Advertiser … update!

One thing my previous blog proved – a LOT of people believe that the Geelong Advertiser is an important newspaper and that it should be part of the National Library of Australia Newspaper Digitisation project!

Now for the latest and greatest news!

One member of our Geelong & District Mailing List contacted the National Library about the digitisation of the Geelong Advertiser.  The reply she got included a statement that the Geelong Advertiser WAS included in their 2011-12 schedule and that it had been added to the NLA Future Titles – Titles coming soon web site.

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)

It is important to note that this scanning is being funded by the National Library of Australia and not by the State Library of Victoria.  And I guess that also adds weight to our argument on how important these papers are.

This also fits with the statements made when the Digitised Newspapers project was announced at the Genealogy Congress in Darwin in 2006.  At the time I remember being particularly excited when they announced that one key regional newspaper for each state would be selected as part of the pilot project.  For New South Wales it was the Maitland Mercury [where many of my ancestors lived] and for Victoria it was the Geelong Advertiser.  At the time I remember feeling smugly spoilt!  The Maitland Mercury happened but not the Addy.

Now before you start jumping up and down and yelling and saying that the Addy doesn’t appear on the Future Titles web site [that’s what I did!] … if you do a FIND on the page you’ll find them in the strangest place!   They’re listed under South Australia!  I don’t care where they’ve put them – as long as they are there that’s all that matters.  [And AFTER I posted this blog I noticed that the Geelong Advertiser now belongs to Victoria – right where it should be.]

By now you should have noticed that the papers to be scanned commence 28 May 1845 and the Geelong Advertiser began 21 Nov 1840 – so what about the issues 1840-1845?

I’m guessing the decision has been made to not repeat what’s already been done or they’re waiting until they can access all the issues missing between 1840 and 1845.

In my previous blog I mentioned that:

Some issues from the first five years of the Geelong Advertiser were digitised as part of the Australian Periodical Publications 1840-1845 project.  It’s available online as single page downloads however it’s not searchable.

Back in 2004 to 2006 I did a lot of work checking these files.  At the time I produced a spreadsheet showing which papers were missing.  I’ve just double checked the spreadsheet and it’s still the same.  I’ll mention a few gaps here but I’ve also uploaded the spreadsheet as an Acrobat file so you can at least check if there are important dates that may already be online.  [ Geelong Advertiser Summary of papers 1840-1845 ]

Some explanations for the “gaps”:

  • There are random omissions – I don’t have an explanation for these.
  • There are NO editions for 1843, hence the jump from 26 Dec 1842 edition No. 110 to 1 Jan 1844 No. 184.
  • There is a strange mixup of edition numbers from 10 Jul 1844 No. 238 to 15 Jul 1844 No. 230.  A sequence of edition numbers if repeated – and also missing first time around.
  • There are some gaps of almost a month throughout 1844 – no explanation.
  • There is no issue No. 315 however this may never have been produced – following the sequence it would have been for 28 May 1845.  You’ll notice that the name changed 28 May 1845 to Geelong Advertiser & Squatters Advocate – they may have just decided to skip an issue number.
  • The planned scanning for NLA commences with this new title on 28 May 1845.

It’s possible that someone on our Geelong & District Mailing List may have done more detailed research into the missing / existing issues and can give us an update.

In the meantime let’s celebrate the imminent digitisation of a good chunk of the Geelong Advertiser.  Our next task is to confirm the plans for 2012-13 – hopefully the scanning won’t stop at 1856.

I know a LOT of people will be getting a LOT of sleepless nights once the Addy hits TROVE – in the meantime you’ve got nearly six months to store up some extra sleep to compensate for the last half of the year!

Geelong Advertiser … where is it?

The banner for the Geelong Advertiser includes the words “Fortis est veritas” or THE TRUTH IS STRONG.

From the Geelong Advertiser web site:

The Geelong Advertiser is Victoria’s oldest morning newspaper, the first edition being published on November 21, 1840.

A mere 171 years ago today, the Geelong Advertiser included a supplement to the (then) standard 4-page issue.  The supplement was this amazing “Map of the Town of Corio (or Geelong) including the Suburbs, the Bay, and the River, 1841 … printed and published for John Pascoe Fawkner by Harrison & Watkins, Corio”.

And what a huge amount of history is in the map and the names associated with it – not least of which is James Harrison a true pioneer of our region.  [Do yourself a favour and actually click on the link to read the Australian Dictionary of Biography entry for this truly amazing man!]

So why am I writing this blog today?  There are TWO reasons …

  1. Today I published a blog to announce that we had achieved more than one million records in our Geelong & District database.  This amazing effort is due to a heap of volunteers who have just one aim – to help others research their family and local history – a totally unselfish attitude by all involved.
  2. I’m CROSS – and it’s time I got on my soap box.

ANYONE with an ounce of history running through their veins knows how much history exists in our region.  I have given presentations all over Victoria and also in New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory.  Many have been on Geelong and Point Henry (the place of arrival of so many ships bringing immigrants to our shores) but the majority have been on other local and family history subjects.  Without fail the majority of the audience had ancestors who arrived in Geelong / Point Henry.  In June 2011 I gave four presentations to the Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory [GSNT] – almost 100% of the audience had Geelong connections!

Using the National Library of Australia catalogue, I have confirmed the following places where people can access the “full” Geelong Advertiser, either on microfilm or hard copy, to do their research:

Of course, being the LONGEST RUNNING morning newspaper in Victoria AND the newspaper covering not just Geelong but all of the western district of Victoria [and across the border into South Australia] you would think it would be a high priority to be included in the wonderful Digitised Australian newspapers web site.

Have a look at this amazing list of places already included in the Victorian newspapers that have been digitised or are on the 2011-12 list to be digitised:





Bacchus Marsh





Bellarine Shire



Box Hill





Buln Buln











East Bourke

East Brighton



Emerald Hill
































Narracan Shire


North Melbourne



Point Lonsdale






Reedy Creek


Rodney Shire





South Bourke

South Brighton

South Melbourne

St Leonards





Swan Hill








Upper Yarra

Violet Town

Wandin Yallock



Werribee Shire

West Gippsland






Yarra Glen




So what’s missing?  GEELONG !

If the Geelong Advertiser was digitised this list of places would double as it covers so many towns and districts in Western Victoria.

Verbally we’ve been told that if the Geelong Advertiser was digitised it would gobble up the annual newspaper digitising budget for the State Library of Victoria and that wouldn’t be fair on every other area of Melbourne and Victoria.  But is that fair on Geelong and half of the rest of Victoria?

What pre-1850 Victorian newspapers have been digitised for the NLA site?

  • 1842: Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser
  • 1846: The Argus

And what about 1850-1860?

  • 1855: The Star [Ballarat]
  • 1856: Williamstown Trade Circular and Williamstown Chronicle

That’s it!  The Port Phillip Herald was digitised some years ago and is available [not free] as part of the Paper of Record web site, hence the reason it’s not included on the NLA site.

Did you know that the Geelong Advertiser published lists of people who shipped gold from the gold-fields to the port of Geelong in 1851-54?  We have 6,624 entries in our Geelong & District database for the gold shipments.  In fact our database includes 29,413 entries transcribed from various editions of the Geelong Advertiser on a variety of subjects.

There is no argument … the Geelong Advertiser should be digitised as part of the National Library Digitised Newspapers project.

What can we do about it?

If you look at the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program for 2011-12 you’ll get an idea from the bottom of the page about the funding sources to get some newspapers into the program.  Of course there is no limit to where funding and/or support can come from:

  • the newspaper [Geelong Advertiser] and associates
  • the local council [City of Greater Geelong] and nearby  and western Victorian municipalities
  • private individuals and organisations
  • Federal and State funding including heritage / history type grants
  • other sources for grants / funding
  • petitioning the State Library of Victoria
  • petitioning State and Federal members of parliament
  • contributions from local societies and organisations

I’m an individual – I can’t do it all [apart from working 5-days a week] – but let’s get something moving!

OK – that’s my soapbox all worn out for now – come on everyone, come up with ideas and actions to help get the Geelong Advertiser digitised for the benefit of ALL researchers.

P.S. I almost forgot to mention that some issues from the first five years of the Geelong Advertiser were digitised as part of the Australian Periodical Publications 1840-1845 project.  It’s available online as single page downloads however it’s not searchable.

One MILLION … and still going

What a milestone … One MILLION records in the Geelong & District Database.  To be more specific – 1,005,265!  And of course, there’s plenty more where they came from.

This is what’s been added to reach that milestone:

  • Geelong City Council: WWII Servicemen and women enlistments – 2,429 entries [more added, only the “L”s to go]
  • Church Records: Marriages [Parent] – 19,306 entries [fathers done, mothers and witnesses yet to come]
  • Church Records: Burials [Spouse] – 546 [up-to-date for all burials]
  • Church Records: Burials [Parent] – 10,082 [fathers, mothers and mothers with maiden names done – up-to-date for all burials]

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!

Sometimes you just have to eat your words!

These are the words I used in my last blog just 5 days ago … Yippeeeeeeeeeeee!!  We now have more than 900,000 entries in our database and heading in the right direction to reach that magic 1,000,000 mark.

No – I didn’t “mis-count” or “over-calculate” – I just had one of those flashes when I said to myself … You idiot, why didn’t you think of that before?  I’m talking about the number of records in the Geelong & District Database.  My crazy dream was reaching 1,000,000 entries by the end of 2012 – but that was before I had that flash.

I had a few more indexes to add – one of the fun things you can do when you have some holidays – and I thought we would get the total close to 910,000.

So what was the flash?  I realised that in one of my large databases I had a couple of extra columns of names that weren’t in the Geelong & District Database – and they should be!  I’m talking about the wonderful GDHA Church Records database available at select societies in our region – the societies who have contributed to the GDHA database.  These extra columns of names need some manipulating / tidying up as they were not the key indexes, so some still need a lot of work before they can be added to the Geelong & District Database but some were reasonably easy.  What I’m talking about are the parents, and potentially witnesses and sponsors in the GDHA baptisms, marriages and burials.  The records will NOT be added as a whole but the parents etc. will become new entries showing the name, year, place and event – i.e. Baptisms [Parent].  So they won’t be matched to the child, but will give you enough information to evaluate following up on the records further.

So, we now have 986,027 entries to search free online in the Geelong & District Database!

Now you understand why I have to eat my words?

That’s just 14,000 short of 1,000,000!!!!!

And at the risk of having to eat my words again, I hope to hit 1,000,000 before the end of January.

This is what’s been added since my last blog:

  • Geelong District: Schools – pupils and prize winners.  These appeared in the Geelong Times and so far include 906 entries from 1874-1898
  • Winchelsea Court of Petty Sessions – 1,082 entries from 1865-1872
  • South Barwon Court of Petty Sessions – 212 entries from 1859-60
  • Mount Moriac Court of Petty Sessions – 852 entries from 1862-1867
  • Birregurra Court of Petty Sessions – 576 entries from 1907-1910
  • Higgins Collection – 6412 entries from 1840s-1904.  This is an index to the solicitor’s papers held at the Geelong Heritage Centre.  They’re an amazing collection covering wills, crime files, land transactions and debt cases and most are available on microfilm at the centre.
  • Church Records: Baptisms [Parent] – 63,701 entries [fathers only at this stage, mothers and sponsors yet to come]
  • Church Records: Marriages [Parent] – 11,058 entries [fathers part done, mothers and witnesses yet to come]

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

As you can see from this and the previous two blogs, we’re trying to include a huge mixture of record types as well as covering all the municipalities in our Geelong & District region.  Apart from our Winchelsea Wonders who I’ve spoken about before we also owe thanks to our PROV Girls and GFHG & GDHA volunteers.

The PROV Girls regularly make the trip up to North Melbourne for a day of focussed work.  One is responsible for photographing pages of registers which can be indexed from the images at home, and the others index directly into their notebook computers from other registers.  As you can imagine it’s quite a logistical exercise pre-ordering the right records for the team and this is all co-ordinated and managed by Pam Jennings who is also the chauffeur for the day – What a team!

In the meantime the GFHG (Geelong Family History Group) and the GDHA (Geelong & District Historical Association) volunteers are working on local newspapers and the huge collection of indexes from the GFHG Library.  Most of this library now resides at the Bellarine Historical Society at Drysdale and to search for a name in these 100s of indexes would take a week – thanks to the GFHG we are progressively indexing / transcribing these to go into our online database.

What a team effort – thankyou to EVERYONE involved!  By the way, the new target for the end of 2012 should be something like 1,250,000!!!

If you’ve got this far, you’d better scurry for the Geelong & District Database and search for YOUR ancestors!  HAVE FUN!!!

MORE reasons to celebrate: 900,000+ entries in our database!

Yippeeeeeeeeeeee!!  We now have more than 900,000 entries in our database and heading in the right direction to reach that magic 1,000,000 mark.

It’s amazing what you can get done when you have a few days off – like sort out some of the indexes done by our terrific volunteers and manipulate them to import into the Geelong & District Database.

Since the last blog – and that was only one and a half days ago – this is what’s been added:

  • Portarlington: Mechanic’s Institute petition in 1860 [VPRS 5357]
  • Murroon: names on Parish plan
  • Geelong Times: Deaths at Geelong Hospital 1882-83 – there aren’t heaps but what’s there is pure quality – wish they were my ancestors!  Details include age; date of admission; date of death; cause of death; former abode; native place; arrival date and ship
  • Drysdale: Police receipt book
  • Victoria: Geelong Advertiser list of Ayrshire emigrants of 1854
  • Colac Shire: Rate Books 1863-64
  • Barrabool Shire: Obituary Book 1972-77
  • Drysdale: Racing Club Minute Book 1874-1895
  • Drysdale: Court Suitors Book 1862-1864
  • Geelong City Council: WWII Servicemen and women enlistments
  • Geelong Decorating Company: employees at William Nash’s Paint and Paper Store
  • Geelong Branch Australian Womens National League: members in 1906
  • Additions to Geelong Court of Insolvency records

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

Updating those stats from the last blog – as most of these indexes were done in 2011 – they just had to wait until I had a bit more free time to work on them and get them in the database!

  • 9th January 2011 – 785,753 entries
  • 2nd January 2012 – 901,013 entries
  • 115,260 entries added to the Geelong & District Database in 2011

I think we can all celebrate that sort of effort.  I hope you find YOUR ancestors in this great collection.

What a wonderful team of volunteers – THANK YOU!

Reasons to celebrate: more indexes added!

To celebrate the New Year, more indexes have been added to the Geelong & District Database.

Recent indexes added:

  • Murroon State School No. 940: students [VPRS 4123]
  • Travancore passengers: Geelong Advertiser 1849
  • Duneed / Mt Moriac Police Occurences Book [Police Department Geelong District]
  • Geelong & District Surnames of Interest
  • Remembering our Anzacs [publication]
  • The Queenscliffe Lifeboat : Wreck and Rescue at Port Phillip Heads [publication]
  • St Mary’s, Geelong (RC) baptisms 1867-1872
  • Leigh Shire Voters Roll 1872

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

Looking back at what our local volunteers have achieved in 2011:

  • 9th January 2011 – 785,753 entries
  • 1st January 2012 – 890,126 entries
  • 104,373 entries added to the Geelong & District Database in 2011

If we managed the same number of entries in 2012, we would end up with 994,499 entries by 1st January 2013 – that’s rather scary!

Mind you, 2011 was an amazingly productive year so we should probably set out target at 950,000 entries by the start of 2013.

Then again we could be really rash and aim for 1,000,000 or is that just plain silly?

Oh who cares – our team of volunteers have been absolutely amazing and simply deserve a huge THANK YOU and WELL DONE!