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In the Library


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.


Where to keep your family history?

Bill Barlow
28 June 2020
In the Library


I hope you have been getting a lot of research done in these last four months of enforced solitude (more positive than 'isolation').

So what have you done with your family history? Where is it? Who has got it?


Recently in lockdown I wrote a prose summary of BDM facts of my Barnes ancestors in Lancashire. These eight A4 pages plus endnotes, cover, copyright page and family tree are all that I plan to do. Job done! Well not quite. Where does it go now?


I have sent a digital copy to my sons, my sister and to some interested family members. I will send a digital copy to my larger family group and I have offered it to others. So I have published it. 


Put it in a library

By law, as the publisher, I should lodge copies by Legal Deposit in our State and National libraries. 'If you publish a work in Victoria – that is, make material available to the public for sale, to registered members or free of charge – you are required to send one copy to the Library within 60 days of publication'(State Library of Vic (SLV) website).An ISBN number is not a prerequisite. That is only relevant for marketing and selling. Legal deposits will be catalogued by SLV and be recorded in TROVE, that wonderful database for researchers and my unknown future descendants.You can even deposit your published work online at the National edeposit website (NED). Read about State legal deposit HERE. I strongly support our Legal Deposit laws as the basis of our State and National collections. My taxes at work!


I could also offer my booklet to other libraries, particularly those in referenced locations. Check if a library shares its catalog with TROVE, so your work can be easily found - not all do.


Acceptance by libraries will depend on their Collecting Policies.The SLV does not generally collect individual family histories, either published or manuscript, nor pedigree charts (SLV Collections and Content Strategy 2020, p.16). But the GSV does.


Publish in a journal

You could submit a shorter family history for publication in a journal, such as the GSV's Ancestor. It would then be available at SLV and NLA and other libraries that subscribed. But the article itself would not be indexed in TROVE. Your work would have to be of interest to a journal's readership, and be subject to its editorial policy and editing. Most journals require that it has not been previously published. For publishing in Ancestor, see SUBMIT ARTICLE


Publication in GSV's journal Ancestorwould also ensure it is kept in the GSV Collection. Also the article itself would be listed in the GSV's searchable catalogue. Of even more value, family names in the article could be added to the GSV's Genealogical Index of Names(GIN) of about 4 million names, if you can also provide a suitable extract of names. Check with us about format. 


Another option may be to publish it on a blog or website. See 'Not Everyone Wants to Publish a Book' by Jenny Scammell in Ancestor34:8, Dec 2019 (on the website for members). Or it could be uploaded on to sites such as Ancestry.com, with appropriate settings for privacy and access. 


So where is the best place for safekeeping your story and how can it be found in future?


Lodge a copy in the GSV Collection


Even if you are only circulating copies of your history to the family, at the very least you should consider lodging your family history in the GSV Collection


The GSV Collection has many family histories (about 2,200, and 1,160 of these are unpublished typescripts or manuscript material.) This unpublished material has been scanned and even more importantly, indexed by volunteers and the family names included on the GSV's GIN database. Print copies are acceptable, but as all libraries have limited shelf space, a digital or electronic copy is preferred.


To lodge your family history in the GSV Collection, go to the website here DONATION FORM.. Even better, include an index of family names. If this index is digitally prepared, our volunteers can efficiently add those names to the GIN database. 


1. Complete the 'Donation to Library Collection' form and scan that.


2. Send PDF of family history with scan of the completed Donation Form by email to gsvlib2@gsv.org.au or email first to discuss your proposed donation.


3. If there is a name index, send a separate MS Word or similar file of that.


You researched, you wrote, you published* and now you have safeguarded it for posterity and made it findable. Your job is done - at least until new information is found.


Thank you for helping build the GSV Collectionof family histories for the future.




* By publishing, responsibility has been taken for copyright, as well as privacy and libel regarding living persons (just a reminder).




Big thank you to our donors - The Keyboard of the President

Bill Barlow
6 June 2020
GSV News
In the Library
President's Keyboard

To the GSV Fundraiser Campaign donors and all our wonderful members


Thank you so much for your wonderful support, your generosity has been quite overwhelming. We have already reached the target we set to help us cover our operating costs during this Covid lockdown period.


Although government restrictions are being gradually relaxed, we do not envisage opening the Centre to members for a while yet. We can limit numbers and can social distance and sanitise at the Centre, but public transport into the CBD (which is steadily returning to pre-Covid passenger levels), is a major issue of concern for many of us. We are monitoring the situation and planning for a staged reopening of the Centre as soon as it is safe and practicable.


On the upside, we have used the closure period to work from home developing our digital skills. Using Zoom we can now resume some of our monthly Discussion Circles and members who are unable to get into the CBD can now participate. New members can access talks via the website introducing them to the society and our resources. We can now offer our Ancestorjournal in two digital formats as well as hardcopy.


In addition to having access from home (for the duration) to many of the major databases (find my past, TheGenealogist, MyHeritageand Ancestry), staff and volunteers have been working hard producing more digital resources for members to access from home. More than 128,000 new records have been added to our catalogue.  Members can now access a beta version (pre-release software) of the GSV Presto catalogue by going to the bottom left of the Members’ page and clicking Presto.


These Victorian databases are unique to the GSV and we encourage you to explore them. There are now more than 3 million records in the GSV Genealogical Index of Names(GIN) database of people mentioned in our library holdings and elsewhere. These include names from hospital, criminal and school records, directories and newspapers as well as pioneer registers and published books. A new separate database called Milestonesnow contains nearly 1.4 million entries including births, baptisms, deaths and burials plus obituaries, cemetery and church registers. There are even more new records in the updated catalogue that can only be viewed at the GSV due to copyright requirements.


Once again, I thank you all for your ongoing support of the GSV. With your help, we are working to ensure that the GSV continues to educate family historians and provide research assistance for many years to come.


Jenny Redman



If you are not a member, you can see from the activity above that this is a good time to join - you have the time and we have the resources. Go to our website www.gsv.org.au and follow the links. 


Family historians self-isolate

Bill Barlow
14 March 2020
GSV News
In the Library


My mother often wished her brother would self-isolate. Later in life she would often complain that her brother had rung again, but all he ever talked about was yet another distant cousin he had discovered in the family history. We all know the feeling. Our research is often not interesting to other family members.


Self-isolation is what family history writers - and all writers - are good at. It is a necessary and sought-after precondition for our research and our writing. 


In a new development, if GSV members are stuck at home they can now access the GSV's Library edition of MyHeritage database from home. Simply sign on to our website as a Member, go to the Members Area and select MyHeritage.


GSV Members can also use the new online forum membershelpmembersto link with others who may be able to answer questions or give advice, and they can use our online catalogue and unique databases. 


You can see our Presidents notice to members on Covid 19 on our website here https://www.gsv.org.au/article/gsv-responding-covid-19


Many of us, or even most of us will have documented sad stories from our own families of Spanish Influenza epidemic of the 1918/19. In Australia 40% of the population fell ill and 15,000 died. In 1921 there was a peak in diphtheria cases and over the following decade 4,000 died. In the 19th C this infectious disease occurred often and many children died. In 1872 the Victorian Government held a Royal Commission into its nature and treatment. In my family young John died in Molong in 1886 aged 11, only two years after its cause had been identified in Germany. By the mid 1890s an anti-toxin was available. Too late though for him. Later vaccination programs have almost eliminated this death from our family histories.


We sincerely hope you are all well and treating yourself and others with kindness and reason. 


Over 200 current family history journals indexed at GSV - and more

Bill Barlow
4 January 2019
In the Library

Happy 2019 New Year to all family historians and blog followers!

I see we have reached over 100 posts to this blog and I hope you have found them informative and interesting. We would love to hear from you in the 'Comments' section of any post - just register and join in. (Remember this is a public site). For our first post for 2019 Michael Rumpff at the GSV highlights the large collection of family history periodicals that are received and indexed at the GSV Research Centre. [Ed.]


From time to time, the GSV receives bulletins and newsletters from associated organisations. Because a lot of work goes into producing these communications, it’s only fair that we share them will all GSV members. You may well be aware of these organisations and their newsletters, but then again, you may not! They all contain information that you may find useful. We recently received one from the Federation of Australian Historical Societies, and it can be read at https://www.history.org.au/ebulletin/  Of note in this issue is a tribute to the late Joan Hunt, a farewell to the former President of the FAHS, Don Garden, and a welcome to the new President, Margaret Anderson. There are a number of other items that may be of interest, for instance on shipwrecks.


GSV holds a large resource of family history periodicals from around the world. To date there are over 200 of these which are acquired by subscription, gratis and by way of exchanging GSV’s own journal Ancestor for those of other groups. These are then indexed by our volunteers and can be searched by members on our Catalogue, so you can follow up the leads they provide. These periodicals come from everywhere and form a resource you would have difficulty finding anywhere else. A casual inspection of the catalog reveals such journals as ‘Rodziny: the journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America, the Geelong Family History Group’s The Pivot Group, Stawell’s The Reef Rumblings, other from Ormskirk and Saskatchewan, Origins from Buckinghamshire and Die Zeitung from Germany. In the catalog enter ‘Perio*’ as TOPIC and ‘to date’ in the ‘Any Word’ field for all currently received periodicals. If you want to limit the search to a specific country, other than Australia, put in ‘ENG’, for example. 

'We also have many other periodicals which have either ceased, or our acquisition program has changed', Linley Hooper, GSV's Research Library Manager reminds us. 'The Irish ancestor and The Irish genealogist are just two examples of defunct journals, but we have an index (and electronic copies) to all their issues. The electronic journals are searchable as PDFs, but that can be overwhelming – always best to start with an index created by humans who know what you may be looking for.'

GSV would love to have some more volunteers for this interesting work. Look in our catalog and see what you can find in this extensive resource to help your research.