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Where has the year gone? More Events at GSV

Bill Barlow
26 October 2020
GSV News


Where has the year gone?

Footy done! And not going to the Races this year! But luckily summer is coming.

In Melbourne we have had to find the old picnic gear and resurrect such outdoor pastimes to see our friends and family. But the GSV keeps cooking up online events to compete with the picnics and obligatory walking. (Have the dogs ever been walked so much!)

For the closing months of the year, you can book online for these four interesting presentations. We have increased the numbers who can attend, so you should be able get in if you check your busy calendars and book NOW.

Go to our website to book https://www.gsv.org.au


5 November at 11 am

The Diary of Isabelle Quin of Nenagh, Tipperary, Ireland

Carmel McEvey will present details of a diary, written by an Irishwoman during the 1860s, which provides an insight into the role of women during this period.

Her diary offers a significant insight into the role of women during the mid-Victorian era and it illustrates the importance and context of place for family historians when undertaking research. The diary offers a snapshot of society of the era and its connections to landed gentry, the military and those of standing in the community.

Carmel McEvey is a GSV member who has recently completed a Master of Arts (History of Family) (Hons), and a Certificate of History of Family and Genealogical Methods (Hons) at the University of Limerick in Ireland.


19 November at 1 pm

Grave Concerns of the Queen Victoria Market

The Old Melbourne Cemetery, which opened in 1837, was doomed as it was surrounded by the growing settlement of Melbourne. Dr Celestina Sagazio will discuss this cemetery, which now lies beneath The Queen Victoria Market.

This illustrated presentation will provide fascinating information about the Old Melbourne Cemetery, which opened in 1837, as well as revealing details about the development of the market itself. This was Melbourne’s first official cemetery but over time it became surrounded by settlement and over government authorities and businesspeople planned to replace it with the Queen Victoria Market. It is estimated that the remains of 7000 people are still buried beneath the market. This very interesting and much-loved historic site is steeped in history and will reveal many astonishing stories.


Dr Sagazio is a recognised authority on the history and conservation of cemeteries in Victoria and Melbourne’s heritage. In addition to her publications, Dr Sagazio shares her passion and enjoyment of heritage, by bringing history to life in an engaging and informative way through story-telling, presentations and specialty tours. Dr Sagazio is the organiser/tour guide of the very popular and professionally-choreographed Halloween cemetery tours and other well-received night and day tours of Melbourne General Cemetery which raise funds for the restoration of significant cemetery monuments.


24 November at 10.30 am

Frontier Encounters between Europeans and Aboriginals

Dr Richard Broome will discuss the impact of Europeans on the networks of kinship, trade and culture that various Aboriginal peoples of Victoria had developed over millennia.

From first settlement to the present, he shows how Aboriginal families have coped with ongoing disruption and displacement, and how individuals and groups have challenged the system. With painful stories of personal loss as well as many successes, Dr Broome outlines how Aboriginal Victorians survived near decimation to become a vibrant community today.

RICHARD BROOME is a Professor of History and Associate at La Trobe University. One of Australia's most respected scholars of Aboriginal history, he has written many articles and books including Aboriginal Australians and Sideshow Alley.



3 December at 10.30 am

John Marshall: Immigration to Victoria before the Goldrush

John Marshall, shipowner and Lloyd’s agent, was influential in the bounty emigration schemes introduced in the Port Phillip District in 1839. Dr Liz Rushen will discuss Marshall’s lifeand the schemes. 

When the Port Phillip District was opened up to bounty emigration in 1839, a flood of emigrants poured into the new colony, most encouraged by John Marshall. He had immigrants on three of the first five bounty ships and when the trade was at its peak, he sent a ship to Australia every month. In this talk, Liz Rushen will discuss the work and influence of John Marshall.

Dr Liz Rushen is a Melbourne-based historian who has written extensively on nineteenth Century migration to Australia. She is an adjunct research associate in the School of Historical Studies at Monash University.



Register for the events by logging into the Member’s section of the GSV website.

Further talks are being planned for 2021


If you want to comment on any of our posts you can do so in the COMMENTS section at the bottom or add your comments to the post republished on the GSV facebook page. [Ed.]

Tale of a naughty lad wins 2020 GSV Writing Prize

Bill Barlow
7 October 2020
GSV News

I was very pleased to announce the Winner and Runner-up of this year's GSV Writing Prize at a Zoom ceremony on Saturday 3 October.

The Winning Entry was 'Tom were the naughty ladby Brian Reid. The Runner-up prize was awarded to Susan Wight for her piece 'Webster Soda Water'.

Ancestry provided the prize for the winner of a 12-month subscription to Ancestry Worldwide plus an Ancestry DNA Kit, as well as a 6-month subscription for the Runner-up. The GSV thanks Ancestry.com for their continued support. 

Things were a bit different this year, as our award announcement could not be made at the AGM, which has been postponed. Instead 22 members assembled at a Zoom event to hear the announcement and congratulate the winners.


On behalf of the judging panel Margaret Vines observed that all 12 entries were of a good standard and that they covered a wide range of subjects and some unusual themes, which the judges had found interesting. Our guest judge, Dr Gary Presland, archeologist, historian and award-winning writer, commented that he had enjoyed reading writing which took him to places he had not been before.We thank Gary very much for his time as our guest judge this year.

Last year the Prize was opened to any members of GSV Member Societies and we are pleased that our runner-up heard of the Prize through her local group, the Queenscliffe Historical Museum. We hope to publicise this Prize more widely amongst our regional societies in future.

The wining entry 'Tom were the naughty lad' will be published in the coming December issue of Ancestor. The Judge's Report will also be published then and on the GSV's website.

On behalf of Council I extend our thanks to the judges, Gary Presland, Joy Roy, Margaret Vines, Tina Hocking and Bill Barlow; to Leonie Elliss, the coordinator of the competition process, and to the AncestorEditorial Team for its custodianship of this important event in our year.

One of our objectives is to encourage family history writing and these entrants demonstrated how important it is that we all tackle the writing as well as the researching of our family stories.


Our Zoom screens did not have a button to raise virtual glasses in a toast to this year's winner and runner-up, but there was distant clapping at separate computer terminals across the land. 

Congratulations to Brian and Susan and all the entrants.


Jenny Redman

President GSV

'The Good Oil' : a new Topic is added to our October Events

Is this your family?
Is this your family?
Bill Barlow
3 October 2020
GSV News

Our program of Zoom events continues to expand in October. We have extended the number of participants we can accommodate in our classes and discussions as we gain experience conducting these sessions.


'The Good Oil' - Oct 20

We are introducing a new series of events commencing this month. ‘The Good Oil’ will be sessions designed to enable members to share their tips and tricks about a wide range of subjects. The topics will be initially discussed by a panel of GSV Research Assistants and other volunteers before being open to questions and answers and general discussion. The topic for the first session on 20 October will be: useful, mainly free, tools to assist with digital image manipulation, and ideas, systems and techniques for filing your digital images and documents. The tips and tricks discussed will be pertinent to both the Windows and Mac OS operating systems. 

Suggested topics for future sessions have included the pros and cons of some family history software programs, methods of citing sources and tips and tricks for using Trove.We would be interested in receiving suggested topics from you. You could email those to education@gsv.org.au


There are spaces available in our Discussion Circles and our classes including Linley Hooper’s class about GSV’s new library catalogue and our databases. 


Oct 8 - Catch up with our Catalogue and Databases - Linley Hooper

With our new look catalogue and databases now is a good time to catch up with their attributes. These small-group classes are designed to enable you to get the most out of the computer-based resources available in the GSV library and at home. This class will be held online via Zoom. 11 am - 12 noon. Maximum of 15 participants.

Free for GSV members -  $20 non-members. Please Register HERE.


Oct 13 - DNA Ancestry's ThruLines - Alan Rhodes

ThruLines is a feature on Ancestrythat provides you with another way to view your matches and potentially identify new ancestors.  The presentation demonstrates how to use ThruLines, verify the suggestions and extend your family tree. This talk will be presented online via Zoom

Please Register HERE.


There is something of interest for everyone. If you did not have an opportunity to attend an event at the Centre now is your opportunity to join online.

Make sure you book! Log in to the GSV website as a member to book your place, and the session details with a clickable link will be emailed back as part of your booking confirmation. Information about using Zoom may be found on our website and in the September issue of Ancestor.


We are still here to help you on your family history journey. JOIN US



Photo credit: 'Is this your family?'  A typical suburban family spied on a Covid walk - within 5 k of course! Courtesy of one of our members, Louise Wilson (author 'Sentenced to Debt: Robert Forrester, First Fleeter', 2020).

Women on the goldfields

Goldfields dress (photo: G. Nicholas 2020)
Goldfields dress (photo: G. Nicholas 2020)
Bill Barlow
11 September 2020
GSV News

REMINDER - The September Ancestor journal is now out - and available as a Flipbook for members on the website. Log in as a Member. You will still receive a hard copy by post unless you have opted not to have it delivered. But you can read it online at any time as a PDF or flipbook. You can change your delivery directions at any time under your Member Details. 


Women on the Goldfields


At their August meeting, members of the GSV's VicTas Discussion Circle tackled a difficult research task. Gayle Nicholas - a member of this group - gives us a few insights that were shared in the discussion.



There was no doubt the women were strong and resourceful – but how do you find resources? One member told of a mother and 14-year-old daughter who travelled from Kent in England to Victoria, and through the notorious Black Forest to Castlemaine. Another tale was of a woman who left her English husband to partner with a goldminer and stayed with him until his death 20 years later. Accounts of travel to the goldfields, written at the time, help us to imagine these women’s travels as they bumped along the road, got bogged and stopped at Inns, or in the open, for supper and sleep (ref. 1).

The women on the goldfields liked to dress up. The watercolour Digger’s wife in full dressby George Lacy portrayed as laughable the contrast between women in finery against the men and landscape of the goldfields (ref.2). The crinoline (dress) pictured was on display at the Old Treasury in Melbourne for Gold Rush: 20 Objects, 20 Stories in 2018 (ref. 3). The dress is hand stitched with a high level of skill. It is noted as suitable for shopping or visiting – even on the goldfield. The Old Treasury web site is well worth a visit to explore the story of this dress or other artefacts from the goldfields’ era.

Many Women on the goldfields were in childbearing years and were giving birth with the assistance of neighbours or midwives. Doctors were too expensive. Those parents who registered the birth of their children provided a much-needed source of information for today’s family historian. 


The high number of deaths of children from accidents or illness was endured.


'Deaths, particularly the deaths of children, were mourned with the force of a lightning bolt to the heart. A child was considered born under a lucky star if she reached her first birthday on the goldfields' (ref.4).


Women also suffered violence, fueled by alcohol, on the goldfields. Author, Claire Wright writes of the acceptance of wife bashing and noise of violence perpetrating the campsite at night (ref. 5).

Death certificates, cemetery records and inquests provide more research material.  Group members referred to dropping into local history centres and museums while visiting former goldmining towns e.g. Beechworth, Chiltern, Talbot, and Chewton, to find resources not otherwise available. 


All current GSV members are welcome to attend the monthly meetings of the VicTas Discussion Circle. Of course, if you are not a GSV Member you can join easily and benefit from this Circle as well as many others, all of which are part of your membership. (Register at https://www.gsv.org.au), join the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/320532581948801or our email mailing list. Email victas@gsv.org.au for more information or for copies of the resource lists from the 'Women on the Goldfields' meeting.


Gayle Nicholas



1. For example: Duyker, E. A. Woman on the Goldfields: Recollections of Emily Skinner 1854-1878,MUP Melbourne 1995

2. Lacy, G. Digger’s wife in full dress, National Library of Australiahttps://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-134736742/view

3. Old Treasury Building. Gold Rush: 20 objects, 20 stories Old Treasury Building in conjunction with Public Record Office of Victoria, 2018-2019 https://www.oldtreasurybuilding.org.au/past-exhibitions/gold-rush/

4. Wright, C. The Forgotten Rebels of EurekaThe Text Publishing Company, Melbourne reprint 2014 p. 174

5. Wright, C. p. 178



Join our Events online in September

Bill Barlow
31 August 2020
GSV News

Our GSV Events come to you in September

Yes, all our genealogical resources are still at the GSV's research centre in the city (shown above in case you have forgotten what it looks like). It is just that we can't be there with them!

It is amazing, but the situation has produced some good things. You may have had difficulty getting to our Centre for classes or talks in pre-Covid times, but now we have developed ways to bring a lot of our events to you.


During the lockdown the Genealogical Society Victoria has developed a suite of events that are being delivered through our Zoom licence.


Our many September events are advertised on our website. They include:

  • classes conducted by our librarians and other volunteers
  • Discussion Circles where you can chat about researching specific topics or geographical areas
  • DNA talks which will be presented by Alan Rhodes
  • sessions to assist you with your Scottish research 


There is something of interest for everyone. In pre-Covid times you may have found it difficult to attend an event at the Centre, but now we can bring the events to you with the opportunity to join online.


Make sure you book! Log in to the GSV website as a member to book your place, and the session details with a clickable link will be emailed back as part of your booking confirmation. Information about using Zoommay be found on our website and in the September issue of Ancestor.


Participate and enjoy our events.

Not too late to enter GSV Writing Prize 2020 - closes 28 August

The Last of the Mail Coaches at Newcastle upon Tyne (1848) by James Pollard (1792-1867)
The Last of the Mail Coaches at Newcastle upon Tyne (1848) by James Pollard (1792-1867)
Bill Barlow
17 August 2020
GSV News
Writers Circle



You have just under two weeks - a week from Friday to enter the GSV Writing Prize 2020.


Last year's winner Louise Wilson painted a vivid picture of the development of the Royal Mail coaches in England unravelling the story of her coachmaster Boulton and Willson families in her article 'Masters of the Road' (Ancestor 34:8 December 2019).


In 2018 Helen Pearce won this prize for 'Daniel Elphingstone: his son's secret exposed' (Ancestor43:4 Dec 2018). Both these winning entries can be read by GSV Members on the website. Go to 'Ancestor Journal / View Ancestor as a PDF' where past issues from 2012 on are available.


But this year it's your turn. I suggest you lock yourself in (oh! done that) and polish up that family history story you have been promising to finish.


Members of the GSV as well as members of GSV Member Societies are eligible to enter. You can read the Judges' Report on 2019 winners on the website and 'Tips for Writing an Article' in the last issue of Ancestor 35:2 June 2020 is a very useful guide on how to 'make it easy for the judge's to say yes' 


Full details of the competition are on the website www.gsv.org.au/gsv-writing-prize


Entries close at

4 pm on 28 August 2020.

Now lock yourself away!



Webcasts on Irish Research

Bill Barlow
12 August 2020
GSV News
Irish Ancestry
An update on accessing the GSV Collection Unfortunately our catalogue and databases are not available currently. Due to CoVID level 4 restrictions we may not be able to fix this, as it requires a permit to visit the GSV where the server is hosted. Please use our new catalogue and databases, though links to files in the databases are not available at this point. Our September issue of Ancestor will have a full description of our coming new system. If you do wish to obtain a file please use Quick Lookup request. GSV Members can access this from the Members area and the link to New Look Databases & Catalogue (Beta version) ... and GOOD NEWS about access to our webcasts GSV Webcasts – Researching Irish Ancestors The Society holds an extensive collection of webcasts on a wide range of topics. A webcast is a video of a talk that is available to stream from our website. To promote our collection, we have selected six webcasts that relate to researching Irish ancestors. The talks range from examining the social conditions in Ireland in past centuries to emigration, especially to Australia, and to the lives built by Irish workers in Victoria. In all cases the presenters refer to resources you can find that will assist with your own research. To find these webcasts you should go to the GSV Website, login as a Member, select the 'Members Area' and then look for 'Researching Irish Ancestors' under the Webcasts heading. Here you will find a link to the page that displays six selected webcasts. Click on an icon and the webcast will stream to your computer or portable device. Each file has controls that will enable you to adjust the volume and to pause and restart the webcast. Over the next few months we will be highlighting other webcasts that fall into particular themes. In the interim you can find all our webcasts by searching our catalogue using the term ‘webcast’ in the format field and combining that with a subject in the topic field. We hope that you enjoy listening to these talks and that they inspire you to further your research. ***

Events in August - National Family History Month

Bill Barlow
2 August 2020
GSV News

As it's cold in August, we have arranged for you to stay home! 

OK it's the not the only reason, but always look on the bright side...! It is National Family History Month and at the GSV we also have plenty of regular talks and sessions that you can access at home.

We have developed a suite of events that are being delivered through our Zoom license.

Our GSV August events are advertised on our website. They include:

  • classes conducted by our librarians Linley Hooper and Meg Bate 
  • Discussion Circles where you can chat about researching specific topics or geographical areas
  • meetings of the Irish Ancestry Group and the International Settlers Group
  • DNA talks which will be presented by Alan Rhodes
  • sessions to assist you with your Scottish research. 


There is something of interest for everyone. If you did not have an opportunity to attend an event at the Centre now is your opportunity to join online.

Make sure you book! Log in to the GSV website as a member to book your place, and the session details with a clickable link will be emailed back as part of your booking confirmation.

Participate and enjoy our events.



National Family History Month is August throughout Australasia!


Family History events are being held during August 2020 by family history groups, libraries, museums, archives, companies and individuals, all celebrating family history related topics.

Events are posted on the National Family History Month website. Check out some of the events already listed at NFHM EVENTS. There are prizes up for grabs for participating in National Family History month events including subscriptions to Ancestryand MyHeritage.See the website for more details: NFHM COMPETITIONS.

Many events are free.

Get involved in National Family History Month this August!


Accessing GSV services - update

Bill Barlow
1 August 2020
GSV News

Greetings all GSV Members


We really value your continued involvement with GSV and we are working hard to bring you lots of ways of getting your genealogical fix.


As you are aware, the GSV premises are closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 situation, with all staff and volunteers working from home.  This means that we are operating under restricted conditions, including in relation to processing of payments.


Because the office is unattended, any incoming phone calls are redirected to a message advising that our office is closed and to contact the GSV via email at gsv@gsv.org.au, so we are currently unable to process credit card payments over the phone.  


The preferred payment methods at the moment are either online via PayPal or credit card, or via direct deposit to our bank account (details below).  GSV membership renewals can be paid online through ‘Renew Membership’ on our website when logged in.  Payments to our service groups – Scottish Ancestry, Irish Ancestry or International Settlers – can be made by selecting ‘Activities’, ‘Special Interest Groups’, then the applicable group, and clicking on the ‘Renew Online’ button. 


GSV’s Westpac bank account for direct payments is:


Account: Genealogical Society of Victoria

BSB: 033-009

Account No: 38-7919


Please include your membership number/surname as a reference.  If your payment relates to a service group, please also include the service group initials, e.g. SAG 12345.  This ensures that the payment is allocated correctly.


It is still possible to post a cheque to the GSV office, but processing may be delayed.  Mail is only being collected about once a week by one of our volunteers, then the cheques need to be banked and the information emailed to our office administrator for processing into our system.


Thank you for your understanding during these difficult and challenging times.


Best wishes from Linda and the GSV Team


Go to 'About Us' on our website to read about our wonderful staff. They get a big THANKS for carrying on! [ed.]

GSV's 'Ancestor' journal in print and online in September

Bill Barlow
24 July 2020
GSV News

From the Keyboard of the President

I am very pleased to let you know that providing the June edition of Ancestor in digital form for most members has saved almost $5,000 in costs (mostly postage). This is a huge contribution to both getting us through this extended lockdown period and the ongoing financial sustainability of the GSV.

As previously advised, for the September edition of Ancestor we are reverting back to a mailed copy for all members.


However, many members have commented that they preferred the digital form for many reasons, including the cost-savings for the GSV and the environmental benefits of reduced production and distribution of the paper copies.

If you would prefer to continue to access the September and future editions of Ancestor in digital form, please email membership@gsv.org.au to let us know and we’ll update your Ancestor delivery preference in our membership system.  As with the June edition, the September and future editions of Ancestorwill be available on-line to all members in our extensive digital Ancestor library, through the Flipbook and PDF links in the Members Area of GSV’s website.

Having members switch to the digital Ancestor will help us continue the important cost-savings and environmental benefits, all of which are very much appreciated. However, we fully understand that many members still prefer to receive the mailed copy.

You only need to email us at membership@gsv.org.auif you would like to change to the digital format. 

We look forward to hearing from you. Take care.


Jenny Redman

President GSV