History Week – did you know?

2000 - close finish.  Image source: downunder exposuresEven a lot of Ocean Grove people don’t know this part of our history!  It was unique in Australia and therefore unique in Victoria AND our region – the Ocean Grove Races featuring the Ocean Grove Cup.

As the photo shows – it was a close thing at the finish line with the horses – it was also a close call to see if they finished the race before the tide came in much further.

Read ALL about the famous Ocean Grove Races as well as seeing all the of race books – fully digitised and available for download.

RootsWeb alternative for Geelong and District

Red British post boxI know many of you will be frustrated with the technical problems that RootsWeb are having with their Mailing Lists although some of you may just think that Mailing Lists have lost their appeal and aren’t being used any more!  Just like the old fashioned letter box has lost its popularity and falling into decline.

Well, I can assure you that a number of people are missing the assistance they used to get from the Geelong and District Mailing List and the Bellarine Peninsula Mailing List.

I came to the conclusion that you could:

  • read all the complaints and contradictory suggestions on the RootsWeb Listowners Mailing List (for admins of RootsWeb Mailing Lists)
  • get cross
  • join the tirade – unfortunately many of us couldn’t as a HUGE number of email addresses / domains were not getting through to the list so that wasn’t an option for many
  • do nothing
  • do SOMETHING !

I opted for the latter as subscribers from my Mailing Lists were contacting me directly and asking what was happening and what could be done.

I know I could create a new Yahoo Mailing List but I didn’t want to “replace” the existing ones – just offer an alternative until the Mailing Lists were fixed.  The Alternative could continue with a life of its own if users wished (although I intend to post “new messages” to the old list once it recovers).

I know many people are not comfortable with Facebook and I wanted something relatively easy – so I’ve created a pseudo Blog Mailing List.

It’s called the Geelong and District Mailing List and although you can click on that link it’s really easy to remember because you just need to type in:

geelonganddistrictmailinglist.com

and you’ll find it!  Although its called the Geelong and District Mailing List it also caters for the Bellarine Peninsula.

Make sure you read the tabs: About, and Guidelines for some more information but basically:

  • Click on FOLLOW BLOG / FOLLOW THIS MAILING LIST VIA EMAIL
  • Follow the instructions to enter your email address etc.

That means you’ll get an email when a new Message / Post is added.  The email will include a COMMENT button – click on that and you’ll be taken to the Comments area for THAT Message.  Type in your comment.

That’s as hard as it gets!

Now, a brief word of warning – I’ve tested it as much as I can and I’m 99.999% certain that’s how it will work.  I may need to do a little more tweaking as people post messages but it should be good.

A couple of important things / benefits of this pseudo Mailing List:

  • Your email address does NOT appear anywhere on the Blog / Mailing List
  • I can add photos to Posts / Messages

How do you post a message?  Just click on the POST A MESSAGE tab near the top right and fill in the fields.

Initially ALL Messages Posted and Comments on Messages will be held for approval – just to make sure you are legitimate – once someone has been approved to Comment on a Message they will be able to Comment without waiting for another round of approvals.  BUT if anyone thinks this is a way to get in and cause problems, I can suspend / remove you so you don’t annoy our legitimate Mailing List users – the same sort of option the List Admin had on our RootsWeb Mailing Lists.

Posted Messages at this stage will require me to copy and paste to the Mailing List Blog – again making sure things are legitimate.  Once things have started moving, I will invite Posters to become Authors on the Mailing List Blog – ONLY if you’re comfortable to do that.  Becoming an Author will allow you to create your own Mailing List Blog on this site, edit it and add photos however it won’t allow you to edit or change anyone else’s Mailing List Blog.  It means you can post a Message without using the Post a Message form.

Confused?  Don’t worry – you can sit back and read other messages and comments just like you did on the RootsWeb Mailing List and do nothing more.  Then if you feel the urge to get involved you just need to click on the comment button in the email you received with each message.  Remember you do have to click on FOLLOW BLOG / FOLLOW THIS MAILING LIST VIA EMAIL to get the messages as emails from the list.

Let’s give it a try and see how it goes.

If you want to comment to me privately, just you the CONTACT US button in the menu at the top of this blog, or use the POST A MESSAGE button on the Mailing List Blog – both options ONLY come to me and I will get back to you personally to answer your questions.

I hope this all works – it depends on YOU – it’s frustrating not being able to use our normal Geelong and District Mailing List and the Bellarine Peninsula Mailing List, so in the meantime try the new GEELONG AND DISTRICT MAILING LIST.

Scottish Road Show in Geelong

Geelong Family History Group Scottish Road ShowIf you have Scottish ancestors or an interest in Scottish research, then this Road Show is NOT to be missed.

The Road Show has been organised by the Geelong Family History with support from the Scottish Ancestry Group and their speakers.  The Road Show is being held in the meeting room of the Waurn Ponds Libary.

Even if you’re not a member of the Geelong Family History Group, the Scottish Ancestry Group, or the Genealogical Society of Victoria, this full day of brilliant speakers and information will only cost you $25.00 for the whole day which includes morning and afternoon tea.  And if you are a member of one of the groups mentioned, then it will cost you just $20.00.

Download the brochure for all the details and the booking form.

See you there?

A lot happens in a short space of time …

Purple ChipsIt was scary looking at the date of the last blog I posted for Geelong and District – FAR TOO LONG AGO!  But I have some good reasons …

  • There have been TWO Geelong & District Historical Association quarterly meetings (the second was yesterday at Birregurra)
  • I have done SIX presentations to various groups / events (including the Don Grant Memorial Lecture for VAFHO as part of the Family History Feast at the State Library of Victoria).
  • I have moved house (after more than NINE years) AND managed to keep my nine largest bookcases full of books.  For a historian my new home is in the heart of historical Geelong – not the “new” Geelong on Corio Bay but the original old Geelong beside the Barwon River – the area now known as South Geelong – and it’s just beautiful.  I can’t wait for some warmer weather and longer daylight house to explore the area more on foot.
  • And MOST importantly I have a fantastic full-time job (after 22 months of being unemployed).  My position is Administration Coordinator with Bellarine Memories / Kings Funerals.

So what does the picture above have to do with all of this?  A lot actually!

I mentioned that yesterday we had our Geelong & District Historical Association quarterly meeting at Birregurra – a picturesque and historic town at the foot of the Otways.  Our meetings are for representatives of family history societies, local history societies, and museums in our region.  They are great meetings and attendees can take all sorts of useful information and ideas back to the members of their own groups.  The beauty of these meetings – although we sometimes have a set topic for the second hour – is that you just don’t know what comes up in the “around the room” session – some fascinating, useful and informative items.  After our two hour meeting, we continue chatting over lunch – the traditional country “bring a plate” lunch.  That’s when I sampled the PURPLE CHIPS in the picture above.

BirregurraShopsThe potatoes are specially grown by a local and after some enquiries I found out that the Provedore next door sold the chips – of course I had to purchase a packet (two in fact) before heading home – they were really yummy!  In this image, the Provedore and Cafe are on the left right beside the Birregurra Historical Centre on the right.

Although I will be adding HEAPS more information in my post-meeting newsletter, there was another important piece of news that I’ll share with you here.

Another one of our groups has a brand new web site – the Colac & District Historical Society Inc. – an attractive web site with plenty of information – hopefully you’ll all add it to your list of favourites / links.

Save

175 years ago!

Old Geelong Advertiser buildingAnyone researching in our Geelong & District region who doesn’t know that the Geelong Advertiser is THE paper to use must have been hiding under a rock!

You can read some of the history of this wonderful newspaper or visit the paper’s current web site.  This newspaper has been published continuously since 1840 and still going strong today.  In the earlier years the Geelong Advertiser was the newspaper for ALL areas of Western Victoria and south east South Australia.  It carried important news and VERY personal news – some that they wouldn’t be allowed to publish today for fear of being sued!

It’s full of wonderful articles and snippets for local and family history researchers so it’s a wonderful candidate for “On This Day”.  BUT it wasn’t published every day in the early years and I’m certainly not up to doing a daily blog.  Instead I’ve decided to do a semi-regular blog with entries from the newspaper 175 years ago.  Not on a specific date but sometime during the year 175 years ago – so this year that means 1841.

And of course you can do your own research as the Geelong Advertiser is searchable on TROVE – currently up to 1926.

So this is the beginning of a series of blogs for “175 years ago!”

Congratulations to Jan Parker

Jan ParkerJan isn’t a Geelong “local” although she definitely has ancestors in our region.  However many of you will know Jan from her involvement in the family history world – President, Victorian Association of Family History Organisations together with her ongoing involvement with the Yarrawonga, Cobram and Goulburn & Murray Family History associations.

Australia Day 2016 was a special day for Jan who was named the Yarrawonga Citizen of the Year and gained a special mention in the Moira Shire’s Citizen of the Year – both well-deserved for this hard working community contributor.

Congratulations from all your Family History cohorts.

DIFFERENT free Victorian records to search!

Australia DayBy now everyone knows that Findmypast and Ancestry have offered free access to some of their Australian records in celebration of Australia Day.

More than 40,000 entries from a myriad of different sources have just been added to the Geelong & District Database.

Big bonus:

  • You DON’T have to give any credit card details
  • It’s ALWAYS free to search
  • That offer doesn’t end after Australia Day!

The Geelong & District Database now contains more than 1,689,267 entries from more than 9,811 sources!

Have fun!

Do you enjoy the Antiques Roadshow?

bellhsfIf so, you won’t want to miss this special event at the Bellarine Historical Society!  Come along and bring your bottle(s).

What: Free Bottle Appraisal and Valuations

When: Sunday 14th February, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Bellarine Historical Society, Old Court House Museum, 11 High Street, Drysdale Vic 3222

Details: Bottle Valuations Event and contact details.

About: Paul and David Bruce, well respected collectors and traders in antique bottles, will appraise and value your bottle(s).

Cost: No charge however a gold coin entry donation would be must appreciated.

The Bellarine Historical Society will also be supporting the 2016 Festival of Glass in Drysdale on Sunday 21st February.

Geelong Advertiser … can’t research without it!

Geelong Advertiser 9 January 1841 p1Just 175 years and 3 days ago the first edition of the Geelong Advertiser was published – November 21, 1840 in fact.  It is Victoria’s OLDEST morning newspaper.  The banner for the Geelong Advertiser includes the words “Fortis est veritas” or THE TRUTH IS STRONG.

Map of Corio from the Geelong Advertiser 9 Jan 1841On Saturday January 9, 1841, a supplement to the (then) standard 4-page issue 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!]

We’re celebrating the 175th birthday of this wonderful paper and as a researcher and historian [local and family], I am so fortunate to be able to search and access the digitised version of the Geelong Advertiser from 1840 to 1926.  Of course researchers are greedy and we want more and more to appear online.  Hopefully funds will become available to continue the digitising.

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!

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] the paper is so important to many researchers.

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.

It is full of people and local history – an absolute goldmine for researchers.  If you are researching past 1926, in Victoria the Addy is on microfilm at the State Library of Victoria and the Geelong Heritage Centre.

From all of us … “Happy Birthday to the Geelong Advertiser“!

 

Really, really, really important news!

Geelong Library & Heritage Centre - new buildingThis has been confirmed by the Geelong Heritage Centre – SPECIAL opening hours to celebrate the opening of the new building.

The centre will be open the SAME times as the library on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November AND on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th November.

That means 10.00 am to 5.00 pm BOTH days and BOTH weekends.

IMPORTANT : on those two weekends you will NOT be able to order items from the archives repository, however during the week – Tuesday to Friday – you can order items as usual.

From Saturday 5th December, you will be able to order items from the archives repository and opening hours will be 10.00 am to 1.00 pm.

We hope to see lots of familiar faces at the celebratory opening weekends!

Keep your eye out for a new web site coming VERY soon for the Heritage Centre.  There should be announcements in the press and on the Geelong Regional Libraries site.