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DNA and Family History

31 January 2023
GSV News

GSV’s very popular Zoom sessions ‘DNA and Family History’ are starting again in March 2023.

The sessions will help you use DNA with your family history. Whether you are looking to break down a brick wall, extend your family tree, confirm your research, or find new cousins, DNA can help with your family history.

The sessions start with the basics and progress through to more intermediate topics. They are relevant to which ever testing company you have used but concentrate on Ancestry and My Heritage as the most common.

The early sessions assume people are just starting to use DNA for family history. You can either follow the whole series of sessions or join for topics of interest. Look at the GSV Events Calendar for the details of each session.

The online sessions are presented by Alan Rhodes and involve a presentation on Zoom, followed by time for questions and discussion. Detailed handouts are provided for each session which explain the main ideas and provide suggestions for further reading and follow up activities. GSV also offers a DNA email where you can ask questions about the session or get advice on using your DNA test.

If you have not yet done a DNA test and wondering whether you should, why not look at the GSV’s three webcasts, listed in the GSV catalogue. They cover the basics of:

  • Should I do a DNA test?
  • DNA Ethnicity results
  • DNA and family history

It is recommended that you do a DNA test and preferably have your results to get best value from the sessions. The sessions start in late March so there is still time to organise a test and have the results for the early sessions. There is a $5 registration fee for each session.

If you have any questions about the sessions or how they might help you, email us at dna@gsv.org.au

DNA Matches in Family Tree maker

23 January 2023
GSV News

Talk - How I Manage My DNA Matches in Family Tree Maker by David Stephen – Thursday 9 February 2023 at 10.30 am by Zoom.

DNA is a powerful tool to help with your family history research and a DNA test can set you on your way to finding cousins, common ancestors and solving family history mysteries. DNA results list thousands of people who share DNA with you.  These matches could be immediate family, or cousins, close and distant. Your DNA matches are the key to using DNA in your family history.

David Stephen will explain how to set up a source template in Family Tree Maker (FTM) to track your DNA Matches. He will also explain how he uses the smart filtering in FTM to let him know how many DNA Matches he has in FTM.

David is the current President of VicGUM.  VicGUM is Australia’s leading association helping genealogists better use their computers, associated equipment and genealogy programs as part of their family history interest.

This talk is for GSV Members only and there is a $10 charge to attend. Book via the GSV web site.

David Down

STOP PRESS: Access to Irish Newspapers, FREE for GSV members until 3 February, 2023

17 January 2023
GSV News

A free trial British Library Newspapers: Part VI: Ireland has been set up for members of the GSV until 03 February 2023.

British Library Newspapers: Part VI: Ireland 1797-1950 includes both National and regional newspapers from Dublin,Cork and Galway as well as more rural towns like Waterford, Tuam, Ballinasloe, and Birr.

It also includes newspapers and periodicals that cover various aspects of Irish history, society, economy, politics and religion.

The trial is for unlimited access.

The link for you to access the newspapers is available in the GSV members area under Commercial Databases, and the link and access code is available to members when they contact the GSV office during office hours, 10am - 4pm, Monday to Fridays.

Further information about the Newspapers is available at


If you are researching Irish ancestors, do make use of this offer. Newspapers can be a fantastic resource for details of your family story.

Please Help Make this a Special Christmas for the GSV

16 December 2022
GSV News

As Christmas approaches, the thoughts of many of us turn to giving – to our families, important causes and to supporting activities which interest us.

We hope that the Genealogical Society of Victoria fits into that last category. Indeed, as a member of the GSV you have demonstrated that!

The GSV only exists for its members, providing valuable services and facilities for current and future members and researchers. We are developing ways and means to enhance and expand our services to you and all our family history researchers. We want to ensure we are here and ready to help you.

Would you consider a gift to the GSV this Christmas? Whether it be $10 or $10,000, we are enormously grateful for all donations – and they are tax-deductible for you. They can be made online through the Donate Now link on the GSV website homepage, by a call to the GSV with your credit card details, or by a cheque in the mail.

You might also like to consider purchasing a GSV gift certificate for a friend or relative to introduce them to the joys of family history research. The certificates provide for 12 months membership of GSV and include a $20 saving as there is no joining fee for these memberships. The certificates can be purchased through the A perfect Christmas gift link on the GSV website homepage.

Thank you for considering a donation or gift certificate purchase – and a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2023 to you all.

Library and Resources Manager (part-time)

10 December 2022
GSV News

About the Genealogical Society of Victoria

The Genealogical Society of Victoria is a leading Australian family history society and exists to assist members in tracing and researching their ancestors and to promote the study of genealogy.

The GSV welcomes and supports members by providing the skills and experience to assist them to discover their family story. The Society’s objectives are to:

  • provide focussed educational programs that are attractive to family historians,
  • maintain and develop our in-house research skills and knowledge in order to provide a service to our members and the wider community,
  • provide advice on the use of family history resources, and
  • catalogue and make accessible historical records of genealogical interest.

Our centrally located Research & Education Centre at Level 1, 10 Queen Street, Melbourne, includes a significant library of books, journals, publications, maps, films etc., and a large and rapidly expanding collection of digitised records/documents and online databases.

Members are guided and assisted by experienced volunteer research assistants. Other services include presentations, classes and discussion circles (accessible from home via Zoom), forums, commissioned research and more.

The Opportunity

The GSV is seeking a highly motivated professional, passionate about working in the genealogy field.

This position is a permanent 0.4 FTE (14 hours over set days per week, Tuesday to Friday, days to be negotiated). This is a shared management position (both 0.4 FTE) with some distinct areas of responsibility.

Salary $28,000 ($70,000 FTE) plus 10.5% superannuation with 4 weeks FTE annual leave.
Key Responsibilities

  • To manage, develop and promote the library’s research and education resources.
  • To organise and support library research volunteers by mentoring and assisting them to develop their skills in information service provision.
  • To proactively engage with members to maximise their use of resources, databases, equipment, technology, and online platforms.
  • To provide high-quality service to ensure members have a positive experience characterised by active engagement.
  • To contribute and work effectively within a team environment with other staff and volunteers.

About you

To be successful in this role, you will be a ‘people person’ with enthusiasm and high-level communication skills to effectively work within a team and/or individually with members.

Highly desirable is knowledge and/or experience of family history resources and database searching.

Familiarity with Lucidea Inmagic Presto software would be an advantage.

You will also have

  • Relevant tertiary qualifications and/or equivalent combination of relevant experience and education/training.
  • Relevant experience in developing and maintaining local or family history resources, digital collections and databases.
  • Ability to creatively use a range of social media and multimedia technologies, including collaborating on the creation of web pages, blogs, wikis or multi-media communications.

How To Apply

If you require further information about the position, please contact Stephen Hawke at president@gsv.org.au

Applications must include a resume and address the key responsibilities outlining your suitability for the role. Please supply contact details for two referees.

Applications close on Thursday 12 January 2023 and must be submitted to president@gsv.org.au

An enforced overseas research adventure!

16 November 2022
GSV News

Join the International Settlers Group on Saturday 19th November at 1pm on Zoom.

Maria Picyk is going to talk about her enforced overseas adventure and all the amazing genealogical research she was able to do in Poland. Learn about life and research in Poland, past and present. Sometimes the best trips/finds are those you didn’t expect.

Did you know that many cities that were German prior to WW2 are now in Poland? The names of those cities have changed but the records may still be there. For example, the archivist in Boleslawiec is mainly cataloguing German records.

New members are most welcome.

All discussion circles are free to members and on Zoom.

Please go to the Activities>Events page of the website and register.

Early English Discussion Circle

31 October 2022
GSV News

Our next meeting is by Zoom on Friday 4 November, 1:30 to 3:00pm.  

Women in the English Civil War (the presentation delayed from September) will open this meeting. This is a great topic - too often the place of women in our history has been neglected and this is an opportunity to hear their stories and learn about researching and placing them in that time of war and change.

We will then start looking at records from the 1700s that will be useful in your research. There are many useful records available that can help us identify and locate our ancestors despite not having a National Census every 10 years.

Finally, we will hear how using DNA test results together with traditional research helped break through a brick wall allowing a family story that was stuck in the early 1800s to extend back to the early 1700s. Not a talk on how to do DNA but how DNA results coupled with records are a powerful research resource. The family was from Suffolk but the method can be used anywhere.

GSV Discussion Circles are free for members but don’t forget to register.

Melbourne Cup memories

28 October 2022
GSV News

I never miss an opportunity to collect family stories.

A couple of years ago I was with my parents near Melbourne Cup time. My grandfather owned a large racehorse transport company. Dad worked with him for several years, including driving trucks on busy days like Cup Day. I have fond memories of travelling in the truck with Dad when he transported Rain Lover to one of the Cups that he won.

I asked Dad about his time as a driver. He mentioned that he saw Jean Shrimpton, and was only a couple of metres away from her.

Dad had a bit of a chuckle as he remembered the reactions and the ‘fuss made by all the old matrons over this young bird who had no hat, no gloves and a very short skirt.’

He said she was a ‘very pretty slim girl’ but he wasn’t that interested, he was already married to a ‘very pretty slim girl’.

This lighthearted questioning then prompted Dad to expand on his time driving. He talked about how early they had to start, how hard the work was - so much pressure to get horses transported with tight deadlines and keep them calm, and with no mobile phones. He told me sometimes he’d get a ‘good feed from an owner or trainer in their posh tent, or champagne and fancy food out of the back of their Rolls Royce.’

Do you have family memories of Melbourne Cup time?

Perhaps this is a good time to record some stories of your own.


Jackie van Bergen

Do you have questions about DNA tests and results?

DNA logo
6 October 2022
DNA and family history
GSV News

Jenny Redman will lead a discussion on 20 Oct at 1.30pm: DNA testing and your Family History: Why, How and When. She will look at how DNA testing can help you find your family story and how to do that testing.

Are you nervous about security and privacy issues? Jenny will cover these in this session. There will be plenty of time for questions.

This event is free for members and visitors as part of the Victorian Seniors Festival. It’s presented via zoom and you need to register on the website under Activities.

An invaluable resource: Off the Drawing Board

4 October 2022
GSV News

An invaluable resource: Off the Drawing Board

Patrick Ferry, a GSV favourite, returns to tell us about a little-known collection held by the National Archives of Australia: over 5,000 architectural drawings of public buildings across Victoria.
The collection of drawings date back to the 1850s and covers not just landmark buildings but suburban and rural facilities too.

This event is free for GSV Members only, with a limit of 45. Please log in to register.
‘Off the Drawing Board’ is a joint event, presented by the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. Presented via Zoom on 17 October at 10.30am.