My original blog on researching Victorian Land Memorials [old General Law titles] was posted back in February 2011. Since then the Land Memorial registers have been moved to Land Victoria, Land Information Centre Archive at Laverton. The Memorial registers have been joined by the Application Files, so it’s appropriate to not only update the method for finding a Victorian Land Memorial, but also include the Application Files.
This blog will guide you through the steps to find a Victorian Land Memorial as well as an Application File – follow these steps carefully as there is NO-ONE at Laverton who can help you. Most importantly, don’t ask the other researchers in the library – many will be professional land searchers and to them, time is money. It is NOT their job to help you, so you must do your homework in advance and understand what you’re doing there.
Of course there is no guarantee that you will find a Memorial or Application file for YOUR ancestor, but if it’s there, this guide should help you find it.
Land Information Centre
57 Cherry Lane
8.30 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Friday
Closed Public Holidays
CHECK THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE for current details.
ACCESS to General Law Library at Laverton – click on the image above right to view details.
- Driveway access to Land Information Centre at 57 Cherry Lane, Laverton.
- Visitor parking area.
- Entrance to reception desk.
- Report to the Reception desk – the entrance to the left of pathway off the parking area. There you will sign in and be given an access pass and directions to the General Law Library.
- Back out through the doors to the Reception area and follow the path to the left.
- Through two sets of double glass doors and the General Law Library is immediately on your right.
- Before going to the library, particularly if you’ve had a long trip, the Ladies and Gents are further down the corridor on your left.
- You will need your access pass on the card sensor to open the double doors for the General Law Library. Important: when you leave, you need to press the exit button on the wall at the right of these doors.
- Once through the double doors the General Law Library is through the doorway on the left.
- DO NOT use pens / biros – use pencils only.
- YOU MAY use your camera – avoid using your flash.
- YOU MAY use the photocopier provided at the end of the room.
- SHARE your time using things like the photocopier with other researchers.
- There is no charge for photocopying but do NOT abuse this privilege.
- SHARE your desktop space with other researchers.
- SHARE your space with other researchers – don’t be too loud.
- TAKE CARE handling documents / registers – these are original records and any damage you cause will impact all future researchers.
- DO NOT ask other researchers for help – they are doing their own research and may be on paid jobs – your interruption will cost them money!
- RESPECT your fellow and future researchers.
The GENERAL LAW LIBRARY contains:
- Bound Memorials of the conveyance (or lease or other Instrument) of land under the General or Old Law, relating to land granted by the Crown between 1838 and 1862. The Torrens System of land registration was introduced on 2 October 1862.
- Finding Aids for Memorials
- Application Files – created by the Clerk
- Application Files – created by the Examiner
- Sundry card files / indexes.
- Left side, in compactus shelves – Application Files [Clerk] in numerical order
- Far wall on left – photocopier
- Shelves on far end wall – two bound volumes A-K and L-Z index
- Shelves on far end wall – numbered FIRST SERIES registers
- Shelves on left wall – alphabetical volumes A-Z index
- Shelves on left wall and both sides of cabinets in centre of room – numbered SECOND SERIES registers
- Bottom shelves on left wall, bottom shelves on both sides of cabinets in centre of room, and compactus on the right near the entrance door – Application Files [Examiner] in numerical order. BEWARE – you will need to get on the floor to check the bottom shelves of the cabinets in the centre of the room – these are often two deep and you won’t find the second row if you’re standing up!
- Compactus shelves on right from back wall – Land Memorial Registers
HOMEWORK – BEFORE YOU ARRIVE:
- Make sure you understand what you’re researching – a good starting point for background reading.
- Be familiar with the County, Parish, Section, Allotment details and associated names – don’t work on the wrong records by not knowing WHAT and WHERE you should be looking!
- Application File number – have your Application File number(s) with you.
- Application Files contain references to Memorial Book transactions to enable the property to be brought under New Title. [Torrens Title] and confirm the legal owner of that property
- There are two sets – one produced by the Clerk and the second by the Examiner. A Certificate of Title could be created based on the results of the latter. It is worth checking / copying both sets as there may be variations – remember that it is the Application File created by the Examiner that will enable a Certificate of Title to be created. You will also find some handwriting easier to read than others!
- Application Files are stored numerically so are easy to locate.
- Take the bundle to the cabinet tops to undo the cloth tape and clip, ensuring that you don’t mess up the order of the files or damage them.
- Make sure you carefully do up the bundle when you’re finished – ensuring that the bundle number range is clearly displayed. Be careful that you replace the bundle in the correct location.
- Remember to check the second row of bundles in the Examiner group of files.
There are a couple of methods of identifying the Application File No [Application No.] – BEFORE you visit Laverton:
- Certificates of Title – trace back through Certificates of Title, identifying the Parent of each. The Parent Title will generally be found at the top of the second page. It will be a Volume and Folio [Certificate of Title] number until you reach the FIRST Title, then it will be an Application Number. This method is following the Land ownership back in time.
- Register of Applications for Certificates of Title using the Index of Applications for Certificate of Title at PROV [Public Record Office Victoria] – VPRS 405, VPRS 16705 and VPRS 460. This method is identifying the owner of the land when it was transferred from Old Title to New.
The search is in three stages. Our example is a search for Edmond BUCKLEY who had land interests on the coast near Cobden in the 1850s, hence we will search the First Series.
FIRST SERIES: covers the years 1838 to 1859
SECOND SERIES: covers later years with some overlap.
- First you must consult the index in the First Series Nominal or Name Index – at the end of the First Series books [below left]
- Volume 1 A-K was searched for Edmond Buckley [below centre]
- In the columns to the left for Edmond BUCKLEY: Book 44, Number 392 [below right]
- Select Book 44 from the First Series books. These white-cloth covered bound volumes are all labelled in black writing. [below left]
- These are the numerical indexes which give a page full of details of land transactions of a particular person. [below centre]
- There were three entries for Edmond BUCKLEY: [below centre]
- Book 46, No 614 – Patrick COADY – Woranga part por 15
- Book 63, No 319 – Patrick COADY – Woranga pt Sec 15
- Book 64, No 267 – J A GOOLD – Woranga pt sec 1
- Select relevant Memorial Book, First Series, from the compactus file. [below right]
- Select appropriate Book 46 from the First Series Memorial books. Take it to the cabinet bench top and open it at Page (or Folio) 614. This shows that it is a Conveyance. Edmond BUCKLEY and Patrick COADY are the two parties involved and the date is 10 March 1857. There is also a witness name. [below left]
- Book 63, No 319 describes fully the land being conveyed – sometimes, if it is a hotel for instance, it may well state that the transaction contains the wood building of eight rooms known as the King’s Arms Hotel and the outbuildings and stables attached, or something similar. Generally there is no description of buildings. At the right is the amount of money paid by the one party to the other. [below centre]
- Select relevant Memorial Book, First Series, from the compactus file. [below right]
SECOND SERIES SEARCH:
- Follow the same procedure as for the FIRST SERIES but using the Indexes identified as SECOND SERIES [below left] and the volumes for the SECOND SERIES [below right]
The above guide was valid as at Tuesday 28 October 2014 – you should always check that procedures and/or rules have not changed in the meantime. Information should be available from Land Victoria / Land Information Centre.
The contents of this Blog cannot be blamed on Land Victoria – it was compiled and published by a private individual to assist other researchers looking for items in the General Law Library, Laverton.