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More books about women's stories

Bill Barlow
10 April 2021
GSV News

More books about women's stories


We had a good response to our list of books about women's stories.

So another list prepared by Penny Mercer for our GSV Writers is attached here as well. (See PDF below).


Liz Rushen's book Single and Free: female migration to Australia 1833-1837 is in the GSV library and elsewhere. See her website for her accounts of four women's stories https://www.rushen.com.au/bounty-womens-stories


Barbara Goldfinch let us know of a rare book  'Women of Williamstown' (City of Hobson's Bay, 1990), which includes a piece about her grandmother in WW2 written by her father. This is not in the SLV or NLA (but Prahran Mechanics Institute has a copy), so it reminds us how important it is to ensure publications are put in places for safe-keeping and thus turn up on databases like Trove.


Writing stories is one thing but ensuring they can be found is just as important.



How a picture revealed a woman

Lucrezia Borgia, Dosso Dossi, NGV
Lucrezia Borgia, Dosso Dossi, NGV
Bill Barlow
10 April 2021
GSV News

It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words.


This coming week on 15 April the GSV is very pleased to host a talk by Carl Villis of NGV about the revealing of a famous woman, Lucrezia Borgia.


Dating of paintings - Lucrezia Borgia

Lucrezia's portrait - a journey across five centuries


15 April 10.30-11.30 am via Zoom.


Don't miss this opportunity. Book via the GSV website quickly.

$5 GSV members. $20 non-members. GSV members please log in to register.


Carl Villis will relate the journey of discovery that led to the newsworthy reattribution of the National Gallery of Victoria’s sixteenth-century portrait of Lucrezia Borgia, the most famous woman of Renaissance Italy.  Prior to this research, the portrait was believed to represent a young man, but through one discovery at a time, a detailed examination of the portrait’s highly specific technical and visual features led to the conclusion that the painting’s subject could only be Lucrezia. The revelations came about through an interconnected examination of conservation, art historical and provenance sources which may be familiar to genealogical researchers.


About our presenter

Carl Villis is the Senior Conservator of Paintings at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. He has specialised in the conservation of Old Master paintings at the NGV for the past twenty-five years. He has also spent several years working in both Italy and the United States. At the Gallery he has conducted major conservation treatments and technical research on paintings by many artists in the collection, including Correggio, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Rubens and Giambattista Tiepolo. He frequently combines his technical analysis of paintings with art historical research and has published studies on works by Poussin, Van Dyck and Bernardo Bellotto, among others. In 2013-14 he was a Craig Hugh Smyth Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s Centre for Renaissance Studies at the Villa I Tatti in Florence for the purpose of researching and writing a book on his identification of the Gallery’s early sixteenth-century portrait of Lucrezia Borgia.



Lucrezia Borgia, Duchess of Ferrara (1519-1530)

Dosso DOSSI 

Battista DOSSI (attributed to) 

oil on wood panel

74.5 × 57.2 cm

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Felton Bequest, 1966

© Public Domain 

Photo: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne



Bill Barlow
3 April 2021
GSV News
In the Library

As advised in the last BLOG post the GSV is now offering books from its Collection for sale as a result of our recent move.

The first selection are Australian titles. My apologies that the list was not attached to the notification of the previous post. (I hope it works this time) See the link below.  You can also access this via the website > BLOG.


There will be further notifications of books being sold. It may be just nostalgia, but sometimes it is nicer to turn pages rather than digitally scroll, especially in areas of special interest to which you often return.

You may find a local history that fills a niche in your research.


Book Sale at the GSV

Bill Barlow
1 April 2021
GSV News

The GSV is in the process selling a number of ex library books that are surplus to requirements, starting with those from the Australian collection.

Most are in good condition, with usual catalogue markings, and cover a variety of topics including passenger records, local history and research guides. See list below.

Members interested in purchasing titles from the list below should email gsv@gsv.org.au with GSV Book Sale in the subject line, or telephone Linda Farrow at the GSV on 03 9662 4455.

As the books are stored offsite, collection is by arrangement only, with payment (credit card preferred) on pickup from the GSV: Level 1, 10 Queen St, Melbourne.


We have sorted many more books for sale and will let you know when these are also available.

You can view/download the list of books here: Books for Sale




What's in the current issue of Ancestor

Bill Barlow
8 March 2021
GSV News



The March edition of the GSV's award-winning quarterly journal Ancestor is now out.

Members will receive it in hard copy by mail or can read it as a flipbook or a PDF in the Members Area of our website, thus saving paper and running costs for the GSV.

Back copies are also available via the website - helping you with your home de-cluttering!


' In the March 2021 we open with the runner-up from last year’s Writing Competition, Susan Wight’s article about her Webster forebears who made soda water in a number of locations in Victoria and southern New South Wales. Also included is one of the short-listed articles from 2020 and one from 2019. Bernard Metcalfe tells of the hard but eventful life of Jane Hughes and her family on the gold diggings of central Victoria in the 1850s to 1880s. Claire Dunlop invites us to consider how the life of her ancestor worked out after a most disadvantageous start.

We also feature the first two articles in a series on female publicans. Leonie Elliss writes about her widowed ancestor Mary Delany who successfully ran both a hotel and a drapery store in the former mining town of Gordon. Margaret Vines speculates on what prompted the widowed Johanna O’Donnell to take on the licence of the North Fitzroy Arms hotel.


Have you ever wondered whether to use the word baptism or christening? In our back page feature, Robert Gribben, explains the origin of the terms and how any perceived differences may have arisen.


Phillip Crane’s ‘DNA News and Notes’ explains how he needed to use conventional genealogical research techniques married to his autosomal DNA results to make sense of the true relationship to one of his ancestors.


Senior New Zealand genealogist, Bruce Ralston has generously prepared this issue’s ‘How to’ article on researching your New Zealand genealogy. It is a very comprehensive article and is sure to be referred to frequently. We particularly thank Bruce for this important contribution.


Submissions for Members Queries have been diminishing over recent times, so we have decided to discontinue this page. We advise members to use the forum membershelpmembersto get help with their queries.


Finally, be sure to read the President’s report about our new home. This is an exciting new development and we are looking forward to being able to visit, but please check the website for Covid-19 restrictions.'


- Barbara Beaumont, Ancestor Editorial Team



Entries are now invited for the


2021 GSV Writing Prize.


Closes 4 pm 27 August 2021.


You too may be published in future Ancestor journals.


Purpose of the Prize

  • to encourage the writing of family history 
  • to provide an opportunity for recognition and publication
  • to publish the winner as an example of quality family history writing


You can see details about the Prize on the website under 'ANCESTOR' here https://www.gsv.org.au/gsv-writing-prize


The Prize was first awarded in 2013. Past winners are:


2013    Kath McKay: Finding Shakespeare in family research

2014    Anne Cavanagh: Elizabeth and the Doctor elope: the story of Elizabeth Ware

2015    Marilyn Fordred: Every photo tells a story     

2016    Emma Hegarty: Finding Mary Jane

2017    Helen Pearce: Thomas Owen: the skeleton in the family’s closet

2018    Helen Pearce: Daniel Elphinstone: his son’s secret exposed

2019    Louise Wilson: Masters of the Road

2020   Brian Reid: 'Tom were the naughty lad'.


The Judges's report on the 2020 Prize is available on the website to help you think about your entry this year.


There is plenty of time between now and August. But it is important not to leave your writing to the last minute, as it will benefit from having time to review and reflect on it, before your final rewrite.


Happy reading ... and writing!

Don't forget there is no family history without the writing part.

New GSV Centre opens 2 March

Bill Barlow
25 February 2021
GSV News

Great news!

The GSV Centre has now moved to

Level 1, 10 Queen Street, Melbourne

and we are delighted with our new home.


As you can see we are still finishing the unpacking, but the library is ready for members to come in again on Tuesday next week (March 2). An email explaining our safe reopening procedures is being sent to all members.



Because of Covid requirements for physical distancing you will need to book before coming in. The workplaces are more spread out than usual but six computers are ready for you to resume your research using all our commercial databases plus our own digital collections. Those LDS films which you have not been able to access during Covid are waiting for you come in and browse.



Finding new premises then moving has not been easy especially with Covid restrictions but everything has gone smoothly, thanks entirely to the months of planning and effort by our Councillors and other volunteers. They have been fantastic.


The GSV has downsized in floorspace but become efficient in the process. Our task over the next few months is to develop our media hub for simultaneous in centre and at home Zoom presentations.


In the meantime it will be great to have in-person communication with members again, so do come in when you can, have a coffee in the shop downstairs and check out our new home.


So please ring or email to confirm your visit, so we are Covid safe.



Jenny Redman