Welcome to the GSV

Rod Van Cooten's blog

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.


Applications for the GSV/UTAS Diploma Scholarship Now Open

Woman researching family history
1 September 2022
GSV News

You may have read in the latest edition of Ancestor that the University of Tasmania is offering a scholarship for a GSV member to study their Diploma of Family History commencing in 2023.

Applications are now open and can be made online through the University’s Scholarship Office: https://info.scholarships.utas.edu.au/AwardDetails.aspx?AwardId=2940

Details of the scholarship are:

  • The scholarship will cover the full tuition fees
  • The course is fully online and flexible, consisting of 8 units that can be studied at the student's own pace
  • Applications are open to members of GSV
  • The scholarship recipient will be announced in November
  • Applications will need to include:
    1. Evidence of current membership of the GSV
    2. A brief CV (max. 2 pages)
    3. A written statement, comprising two parts:
      • A micro-story (max. 350 words) regarding a family photograph or heirloom and what it reveals about your family history
      • A response to the question (max. 250 words): What would a scholarship to study the Diploma of Family History mean to you?
    4. Be able to commence study in Term 1, in February 2023.

This is an excellent opportunity to develop your family history research skills and to expand your knowledge in finding and interpreting information about families in the past and sharing family stories with others. Further details about the course may be found on the University’s website: https://www.utas.edu.au/courses/cale/courses/r2h-diploma-of-family-history

Breaking News from National Family History Month!

25 August 2022
GSV News

Breaking News from National Family History Month!

We are delighted to announce that you can now view a recording of a presentation that Dr Jonathan Richards, Adjunct Research Fellow at the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry UQ, hoped to present at Congress recently.

Dr Richards researches and writes about Australian (mostly Queensland) history, particularly colonial and frontier policy and violence.

His talk about convict Israel Shaw is fascinating to all those who research convicts and covers a wide terrain from Tasmania in the south to Norfolk Island and then Queensland in the north.

You can watch the recording of it here at a time to suit you. Enjoy!

Don't forget to register for our Closing Ceremony on Wednesday 31st August at 5pm.

Our speakers will be joining us live from Yorkshire and Israel via Zoom.

Speakers : Catherine Warr (YouTube Yorkshire's Hidden History) and Daniel Horowitz (MyHeritage)

How to Bring your Ancestors to Life!

Catherine will share how to make history interesting, engaging and accessible for everyone.

Daniel will talk about MyHeritage's latest tool DeepStory and how it can enhance your storytelling.

Catherine Warr has become one of the most prominent young local historians, reaching thousands of people all over the world through her YouTube channel Yorkshire's Hidden History. With a passion for making history interesting, engaging, and accessible for all, she has been featured in a national YouTube campaign recognising regional creators. Her first book - A Yorkshire Year: 366 Days of Folklore, Customs, and Traditions - is due to be released in Summer 2022.

Daniel Horowitz is a Genealogy Expert at MyHeritage, providing key contributions liaising with genealogy Societies, bloggers and media, as well as lecturing, and attending conferences around the world. Dedicated to Genealogy since 1986, he was the teacher and the study guide editor of the family history project “Searching for My Roots” in Venezuela for 15 years. Daniel is involved in several crowdsource digitization and transcription projects and holds a board level position at the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA).

There are still so many wonderful prizes to give away. Check out our competition page here https://familyhistorymonth.org.au/index.php/competition-page.

To register for the Closing Ceremony just email jan@jansquire.com to be sent the details to connect via Zoom or use the NFHM website contact form.

Gisborne Genealogical Group’s Celtic Day

20 August 2022
GSV News
Member Societies

Member Societies Showcase

Gisborne Genealogical Group Inc

Spring is coming, time to get out and about again?

How about the Gisborne Genealogical Group’s Celtic Day on Saturday 27 August, 9.30am to 4.00pm?

You could also visit their Family History Room and support regional tourism by making a weekend of it and doing both!

Make the most of your trip to Gisborne and also call in at The Gisborne and Mount Macedon Districts Historical Society centre, just on the other side of the library from GGG. This is open Wednesdays.

Saturday 27 August 2022


9.45 – 11.00am – The Celts, Cornwall, and the Cornish in Australia – Lyn Hall

11.15 – 12.30pm - Scottish Kirk Session Records – Joy Roy

1.15 – 2.40pm – You can’t research Irish ancestors - All the records were lost – WRONG! - Susie Zada

Venue – Uniting Church, Brantome Street, Gisborne

Bookings are essential

Contact Lorna Jackson – Ph 0402 091 034
Featuring Harpist – Fran Thiele

GGG members: $20 | non-members: $25

For more information please contact Lorna Jackson at: lorna_jackson@bigpond.com


The Family History Room is located next to the Gisborne Library. It will be open for research, between 1.00pm and 4.00pm. each day during the week preceding our Celtic Day (Monday 22 August until Friday 26 August).

Volunteers will be on duty each day to help you with your research queries.

The Family History Library contains:

  • over 1200 reference books
  • thousands of fiche
  • data CDs and DVDs
  • journals
  • maps

You can view the catalogue at https://www.ggg.org.au/catalogue

Additional family history resources (e.g. Ancestry.com, findmypast, Trove and over 300 years of UK newspapers) are available on the Gisborne Library computer system. For more information visit the Gisborne Library’s Family History page at https://www.ncgrl.vic.gov.au/e-resources/familyhistory<p>

For further information about the Gisborne Genealogical Group, please see their webpage: https://www.ggg.org.au


Top: Family History Room of the Gisborne Genealogical Group, part of the old Council Chambers and Mechanics Institute complex. (Photo courtesy of GGG).

Bottom: Gisborne and Mount Macedon Districts Historical Society in the restored old Gisborne Court House (1858). (Photos courtesy of G&MMDHC).

Acknowledgments: Julie Dworak, GGG; Kristy Love, GSV volunteer.
[Other GSV Member Societies might like to showcase their activities in this section of our blog. Ed]