Digitising Shire of Bellarine Rate Books

Who lived here?Well, this is definitely an experiment – my first POLL and I have no idea what it will look like or how it will work!  So forgive me if I get it all wrong.  More and more people are trying to research where their ancestors lives, and who lived there before and after them.  Rate Books are a great tool for this type of research.

The Bellarine Historical Society in conjunction with the Geelong Heritage Centre are applying for a grant to digitise the Shire of Bellarine Rate and Valuation Books – one of the few former shires in the region that doesn’t have them digitised yet!  The digitised records will enable us to properly index them – the index will be online but not the digitised records – the grant will only cover so much and this is the first step!

We are gathering letters of support from organisations in our district but I wondered what sort of response we might get with a Blog Poll?

So here goes – the instructions say to paste this code … 🙂  Please participate and help us with the application!



Spotlight on Steiglitz

Township of SteiglitzThe town of Steiglitz in the Brisbane Ranges north west of Geelong is a fascinating place to visit with a rich history from its peak time as a goldfield site in Victoria.  It is just 40 Km from Geelong and 50 Km from Ballarat.  A detour off the main highway between these two regional cities is where you’ll find the Steiglitz Historical Society and learn more about this virtual ghost town.  [WARNING: The society are currently upgrading their web site – try their link a bit later if it doesn’t work!]

The latest update to the Geelong & District database just happened to include two groups of records for Steiglitz.  In the process of looking for a suitable image for this blog, I came across a lovely digitised geological map of the Steiglitz goldfields on the State Library of Victoria web site.  Browsing the two images for this map, I was amazed at the number of features that were named – reefs, gullies, mines etc.  I’m afraid when you’re addicted to indexing, you just can’t pass up something like this, so instead of two Steiglitz indexes, this update includes three!

This is the list of additions since 3 August making a total of 1,408,630 entries in the database:

  • Steiglitz: Borough Rate Books [GRS 820] – 1865-1878 – 2,952 entries
  • Steiglitz: Court Records [VPRS 351 / P2 / Unit 1] – 1862 – 246 entries
  • Steiglitz: Geological Map of the Gold Field – 1909 – 196 entries

And don’t think these are the only Steiglitz entries in the database!  Over the years there have been a bundle of entries including:

BOOKS indexed

  • History of Steiglitz: 1835 – 1951
  • The Pubs and Licensees of Steiglitz and History of the Alfred (ANA) Hall
  • Steiglitz Memories of Gold

DIRECTORIES transcribed – extracting Steiglitz entries

  • 1857 Bradshaw’s Guide to Victoria
  • 1858 Bradshaw’s Guide to Victoria
  • 1859 Bradshaw’s Guide to Victoria
  • 1860 Bradshaw’s Guide to Victoria
  • 1861 Geelong and Western District general directory
  • 1866-67 Stevens’ Geelong & Western District Directory
  • 1866-67 Butler & Brooke’s National Directory of Victoria
  • 1868 Bailliere’s Victorian Directory
  • 1870 Bailliere’s Victorian Directory
  • 1871-72 Bailliere’s Victorian Directory
  • 1875 Bailliere’s Victorian Directory
  • 1880-81 Bailliere’s Victorian Directory
  • 1882-83 Maning & Bishop’s Geelong and Western District Directory [Shire of Meredith]
  • 1888-89 Wise’s Victorian Post Office Directory
  • 1891-92 Wise’s Victorian Post Office Directory
  • 1893-94 Wise’s Victorian Post Office Directory
  • 1895-96 Wise’s Victorian Post Office Directory
  • 1897-98 Wise’s Victorian Post Office Directory
  • 1899-1900 Wise’s Victorian Post Office Directory
  • 1904 Wise’s Victorian Post Office Directory
  • 1911 Sands & McDougall Directory
  • 1913 Sands & McDougall Directory
  • 1915 Sands & McDougall Directory
  • 1919 Sands & McDougall Directory
  • 1924 Sands & McDougall Directory
  • 1928 Sands & McDougall Directory

BURIALS / HEADSTONES data including:

  • Early Steiglitz Burials
  • Steiglitz Cemetery Burials
  • Steiglitz Cemetery Headstone Transcriptions

Details on all these indexes can be found in the Geelong & District Potpourri pages and other database 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!

Latest additions to database

Jane FRANCISIt seems that people are still fascinated with Midwives which again feature in the latest additions to the Geelong and District database.  Unlike teachers who had to give up their job if they married, midwives could be single women, married women or widowed women.  Women of any status are traditionally difficult to trace and perhaps that is one of the reasons for the popularity of this index in our database.  There are still some years to be indexed from the Victoria Government Gazettes and when they are finished we’ll start extracting Geelong District women from the Registers of Nurses in the Gazettes.

Pictured is Jane FRANCIS, a midwife in our district.  Jane PIPER was the daughter of John and Grace PIPER.  On 8 April 1830 Jane married Joseph FRANCIS at Bradworthy Parish Church in Devon, England.  The couple had 10 children in England.  In 1853 they emigrated to Geelong where their married daughter, Mrs Elizabeth PRICE, had settled.  Jane FRANCIS is recorded as the midwife on birth certificates from 1867 to 1884.  Jane died 2 December 1891 aged 82 and is buried in the Geelong Eastern Cemetery.  [photo and information provided by Pam Jennings]

This is the list of additions since 23 June making a total of 1,405,236 entries in the database:

  • Geelong District: Midwives – 1940, 1941, 1943 & 1945 – 177 entries
  • Bush Nursing at Forrest & District: accidents & recoveries – book – 671 entries
  • Barrabool: Shire Rate Books [GRS 877] – 1908, 1913 & 1853 – 3,885 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!

Winchelsea Wonders give us Barrabool!

The Barrabool Inn, Ceres [Wynd collection]So just who are the Winchelsea Wonders?  A pair of wonderful ladies who are constantly doing indexing projects for the Geelong & District database.  Joan and Di are from the Winchelsea & District Historical Society.

Their most recent project has been the Shire of Barrabool rate books 1869-1901.  They have indexed every five years but have access to the interim years if you are “missing” your ancestor in that period.  The indexed rate books include 5,204 entries.

The Barrabool Inn at Ceres [photo above] can be found in the index in 1869 under the ownership and occupation of James Parsons.  He “inherited” this imposing establishment by marriage.  The former owner, George Cartwright from Yorkshire, died in 1868.  His widow, Eliza, carried on the business until she married James Parson in 1869 when the licence was transferred to him.

The Shire of Barrabool rate books are grouped into three ridings: Ceres, Moriac and Coast.  The parishes in the Shire are:

  • Barrabool
  • Gnarwarre
  • Modewarre
  • Duneed
  • Puebla
  • Paraparap
  • Jan Juc

Thank you from all of us to our Winchelsea Wonders!  Think of them while you search the Geelong & District database for your ancestors.

Winchelsea rate books 1895-96

Another year of the Winchelsea Rate Books has been added to Geelong & District Database.

This completes the current planned indexes for these rate books and includes: 1863-1871, 1875-76, 1880-81, 1885-86, 1890-91, 1895-96, 1900-01, 1905-06, 1910-11, 1915-16, 1920-21, 1925-26, 1930-31, 1935-36, 1940-41, 1946-1955

These include places such as Birregurra, Lorne, Winchelsea etc. which came under the Shire of Winchelsea.