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You have just under three weeks to enter the GSV Writing Prize 2022 - closing Friday 26 August

7 August 2022
GSV News

Each year the GSV awards a Writing Prize for family-history writing.

The purpose of the Prize is:

  • 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

Last year's winner Sue Wight, in ’The Mystery of the extra Booth Hodgett’, conveyed the thrill of her chase in solving a family history mystery. You can read the judge’s report from last year on the GSV website and also read the winning entry in the December 2021 Ancestor issue.

The GSV website / Ancestor tab gives essential guidelines for writing articles that may appeal to the readership of our journal and contribute to our told stories.

So there is time and incentive to finalise that article you have been working on!

Entries close 4 pm Friday 26 August

Full details of the competition are on the website

New records added to GSV Databases

26 July 2022
GSV News

In the last few months the GSV has uploaded 13,028 records to our Genealogical Index of Names (GIN) database and 10,035 Records to our Milestone database.

Many thanks to all our hardworking DIGI team who assist us. The highlights of the additions are below.

Genealogical Index of Names (GIN) Database


General alphabetical list of electors of the Electoral District of Port Phillip for the year commencing 1st June 1850, and ending 31st May 1851

[Index to] The Victorian municipal directory and gazetteer for 1885 compiled by David Holloway

Baringhup schools: Baringhup State School No. 1687 (Old), Baringhup West State School No. 941

Register of municipal ratepayers: Nepean ward and surrounding areas of the Mornington Peninsula shire 1864-1900 compiled by Frank South


Index of names from “My wonderful family and me: an overview of Alan's ancestry” by Alan Haintz. Families include Haintz, Boadle, Kelly, Bousted, Lyons, Pickering



Gerogery Lutheran cemetery headstones 1869-1979 by C A J Summerton


'The Spirits' of Pioneer Park: Narracoorte-Kincraig Cemetery 1850-1878 by Murray Sherwell


Clunes burial register 1861-1989 compiled by Genealogical Society of Victoria Ballarat Group


Yan Yean cemetery (Whittlesea) headstones 14/5/1853-2/5/1951 compiled by Niel T Hansen


St Giles Presbyterian church Geelong: baptisms 1889-1916


Christ Church Melton marriage register 1906-1954 compiled by Judith Bilszta


St Stephen's Church of England, Richmond, Victoria baptisms 1901-1914 compiled by Miriam Macartney.

Slingshots, rag dolls and knucklebones

Girl with toys in wheelbarrow
6 July 2022
GSV News

What did you and your ancestors play with as a child?

Dr Carla Pascoe Leahy will explore the history of children’s play in the twentieth century in a talk on 14 July at 10.30am. She’ll draw on evocative examples from her own research and the collection of Museums Victoria.
This is a joint zoom event with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and has limited numbers.
Book in early. It’s $5 for GSV members.

The title “Slingshots, rag dolls and knucklebones” prompted me to look through my old photos. I found quite a few photos of my grandfather’s siblings, and my mother and her sister at play. What a wonderful prompt for a 350 word story. Perhaps you are also inspired.
If so, register for the talk, check your old photos, and then write up a little story for one of the discussion groups.

Written by Jackie van Bergen


A postcard looking for a home

27 June 2022
GSV News

Back in November Jackie van Bergen noticed a little paragraph and photo in the GSV eNews. She writes:

Are these your ancestors? was how it started.
The names caught my eye. It was a name in my family tree.
Victor Mason Luke is my 1st cousin 3 times removed.

His grandparents: Charles Kelvey Pearson and Eliza Mason were my 3 times great grandparents.
My 2 times great grandfather Frederick Augustus Pearson was the oldest sibling and Victor’s mother, Ida Florence was 14 years younger, the ninth child.

Ida was born in Avoca in 1862 but the family had moved to Geelong by 1869 when her mother tragically took her own life.
Ida married Edmund Thomas May Luke from Beaconsfield in 1884. Just a few months after her big brother Frederick took his life.
Edmund was the first “artist and photographer” employed by The Age newspaper. They bought land in the Beaconsfield/Berwick area and named their home Montuna after their eldest son (Monte) and eldest daughter (Una). This land is now part of the Berwick Montuna golf club.
In 1917 he bought more land and the ET Luke subdivision includes Montuna Grove and Victor Avenue.

Victor was their fourth child, born in 1891. When he enlisted in WWI he was a signwriter of Beaconsfield. Very soon after his return (in 1919) he married Nellie Elizabeth Merritt. They had five children:
Verna Dorothy Luke b1921 married Frederick Archibald Field. Verna died in 2016.
Kelvin Victor Luke b1925 married Nancy Coffield. Kelvin died in 2003 in Horsham.
Austin Edmund Luke b1927 married June Patricia Wilkinson. Austin died in 1980.
Margaret Luke b1930
Trevor John Luke b1938, d2007.

Victor was Mayor of Kew around 1950-51.
His older brother Charles Montague Luke, known as Monte was a famous photographer in Sydney.

Perhaps you are more closely related to Victor and Nellie than I am and would like this postcard.
Please email gsv@gsv.org.au to claim it.

We Need Your Help

14 June 2022
GSV News

We Need Your Help

GSV’s membership fees are kept as low as possible, largely through the enormous number of hours given freely and willingly by many volunteers. But like many organisations and individuals, the GSV is experiencing increasing costs.

Our membership fees cover our operating expenses, but they do not stretch to covering the rising costs of our IT infrastructure and the storage of our digitised records and resources. We are asking you to please consider making a donation to help us continue to ensure that your GSV is able to provide all its existing and new services to you and other members.

Our electronic storage equipment is our behind-the-scenes “hero”, always there, running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 12 months a year. It is at the heart of the services we offer. We must regularly upgrade our electronic equipment. We need funds to do this.

We must maintain state of the art software to ensure optimal use of our equipment, and this is becoming more costly. For example, our storage service providers have increased prices for the provision of our online services and the cloud storage of digitised records, all of which we need to improve remote access to our information and services. We need funds to ensure we can do this.

We also want to upgrade GSV’s website, to provide you with easier and improved access to GSV’s records, resources and services. We need funds to do this.

As we continue to emerge from the past two years of unprecedented and unanticipated change due to Covid, we are facing huge increased demands for information from all our existing and new online services. In order to continue to increase the services available to you and all our members, we need your support.

Donations to GSV are tax-deductible and 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.

Whichever way you choose we will really appreciate your financial support, large or small, to help us meet these costs, upgrade our website and further improve our services and offerings to members.

Would you be able to do something before the end of June?

Many thanks.

Stephen Hawke

Recent GSV Webcasts

8 June 2022
GSV News

The Genealogical Society of Victoria has made available many Webcasts for members to enjoy. Below is the list that has been uploaded to our webpage from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Just login as a GSV member from home and these are available from our Webcasts page at https://www.gsv.org.au/webcasts

If you are not a GSV member, purchase a GSV Visitor E-pass https://www.gsv.org.au/visitor-e-pass and for the special price of $10 you can access a large range of Genealogical resources for a short period (6 hours) from home, and it includes viewing our webcasts.


Dancing at the southern crossroads: histories, families, genealogies.
Presented by: Mollenhauer, Jeanette
Dr Mollenhauer describes her research into the history of Irish Step Dancing in Australia.

Great War Soldier Settlement and its records.
Presented by: Fahey, Charles
In this presentation Dr Charles Fahey describes the Soldier Settler Scheme in Victoria and examines the scheme and the effects on the farmers and the community.  He also discusses the records that are available for researching soldiers and their farms.

Passenger records: how did your ancestors get here?
Presented by: Johnson, Claire
Describes the records available to assist research into your ancestor’s voyage to Australia.

Strategies for researching and writing about convict ancestors.
Presented by: Vines, Margaret
Explores convict records and resources available in the UK and in Australia and discusses how best to utilise them to research and write about your convict ancestors.

Why did they leave? Exploring the migration of our ancestors from Ireland.
Presented by: Vines, Margaret
An examination of the migration of people from Ireland to Australia. She considers the choices, the push and pull factors and other reasons for their decision through the eyes of her family ancestors. Families mentioned Fogarty, Shannahan, Stawell, Lonergan, O'Shannassy, Baggot, Ferguson


Exploring the RHSV: register of Victorian pioneers.
Presented by: Hiscock, Gillian
The RHSV has collected and maintained an ‘Historical Register of Persons who arrived, or were born in Victoria before 1900.’ In this presentation Jillian Hiscock describes the Register and provides information regarding how to access the data.


James Bate: an enigma.
Presented by: Blackwood, Sue
Describes searching for James Bate who lived in Scotland during the first half of the 18th century.


My journey: researching my family history.
Presented by: de Fircks, Alex
Describes the journey researching family in Germany and Latvia.


Maldon: the Maddocks and Stevenson families.
Presented by:   Vanderstoel, Jane
Jane Vanderstoel discusses researching her families who resided in Maldon for many generations.


Chain immigrants from Southeast Limerick to Victoria: 1854 and after.
Presented by: Noone, Val
The story of immigration of families from Limerick to Victoria during the gold rush era and afterwards through the lens of Michael O'Donnell and Johanna Barry


The life of a squatter in the Port Phillip district 1837-1854.
Presented by: Playne, Martin


Living in the 1890s depression years in Victoria: family experiences.
Presented by: Trotter, Maureen
How their families lived and survived the 1890s depression years in Victoria.


Thomas Wainewright: artist and convict.
Presented by: Norwood, Clodagh
The life of her ancestor Thomas Wainewright who was transported to Hobart for fraud, became an artist and his portraits provide documentation of personalities in Hobart before 1850.


GSV Member Research Interests Database.
Presented by: O'Dea, Tom
The developer of the GSV Member Research Interests Database describes the background to this project and provides a detailed demonstration of the functionality of the system

Preservation of your collection.
Presented by: Parry, Debra
Debra Parry of Melbourne Conservation Services outlines methods of preserving documents, books, maps, plans as well as ceramics, textiles and other objects


Using the Tithe Apportionment records.
Presented by: Down, David
The tithe apportionment records of England and Wales from 1836 - how to use the records to enhance the stories of your rural ancestors.


Cholera in South-West England.
Presented by: Hawke, Stephen
Explores the major cholera outbreak in the 1830s in south-west England and also the later outbreaks of the pandemic in the UK in the 19th century.


Devon cottage scenes during the cholera.
Presented by: Carman, Cathy
Using the diary of a Devon vicar to describe the scenes in a Devon village during the cholera outbreak of 1832


Richard Turner: an excise officer in London.
Presented by: Trethewey, Jillian M
The life of a 19th century Excise officer based in London. Jill describes how she researched her ancestor and the records that are available.

Watermen in London: the Round family in Williamstown.
Presented by: Ansell, Robyn

British India Discussion Circle - Tuesday 17 May at 7.30 pm

13 May 2022
GSV News

At this meeting Clare Claydon will lead a group discussion on some useful resources for extending your knowledge of the history of India, its influence on world history and how the British lived and worked on the sub-continent. India developed sophisticated cultures and technologies long before Europe and, with China, led the world for more than 2,000 years, economically and politically as well as culturally and technologically. Over time Indian religions, language and culture have travelled the globe and had immense influence on societies throughout the world.

Come along and enter into the discussion. The Circle is open to all GSV Members. Please remember to register through the GSV event page to obtain the zoom link.

Talk: Land Surveying in the early days of Port Phillip and Colonial Victoria

Map Image
29 April 2022
GSV News

A Reminder to Register …… Note that this is an evening meeting (6pm-7pm)

This presentation by Craig Sandy, Surveyor-General of Victoria, will be held on Monday May 2 by Zoom, 6pm-7pm and will examine the role of the early surveyors in the establishment of Melbourne and Colonial Victoria.
The event is being held in conjunction with RHSV ($5 for members)
Register now via the GSV website (https://www.gsv.org.au) or by using the link:



International Womens Day, Tuesday 8 March

Emma Pearson nee Rowden
Emma Pearson nee Rowden
8 March 2022
GSV News

How are you going in your research of the women in your family tree?
Some of the discussion circles this month are talking about this, eg CONE (Counties of Northern England) on 8 March.

This is a photo of my great great grandmother Emma Pearson nee Rowden, born 1853. Her father had left for Australia in 1855 so she would barely have known him. Her mother died in 1857. There is a gap in my research from then until she emigrated to Australia in 1864 aged eleven.

She came to Australia with a widow, Elizabeth Bowden nee Downing. Elizabeth became Emma’s stepmother and they lived in Melbourne city.
Emma married in 1874 in Geelong to Frederick Augustus Pearson. My great grandmother, Florence May (May) was born nine months later.

As we often find, it’s always easier to research the men in our families. Sometimes we only learn where our women ancestors lived and what they did because of our research of these men. Emma and Frederick lived in Geelong. Frederick was a professor of music, a composer, a band master and a piano teacher. His body was found face down in deep water near Limeburners jetty, Geelong in 1884 aged just 36 years.

Emma was now a widow with five small children. One of her sons had died in 1882 at six months old. Emma may also have been an accomplished musician, as I found her working as a piano teacher in Geelong in 1888.
She died in 1889 of acute gastritis. Her daughter, May, was fourteen years old and the youngest son was only five. Emma’s father and his third wife took the children in and raised them.

My research of Emma is much more difficult than my research of her husband or father. But by trawling through BDM certificates, PROV inquests, PO directories, and Trove family notices, business advertisements and court inquest reports, I have been gradually joining the dots.

Jackie van Bergen

Have you had a look at the new Member Research Interests Database?

Opera glasses
Opera Glasses
24 February 2022
GSV News

The GSV has recently released a new feature which enables members to enter and display the family names and brief details of ancestors and special interest areas they are researching. This database is only able to be accessed by members of GSV.

Log into the GSV website, select Members Area, then select Member Research Interests Database.
You can access this database to search existing entries, and to submit or edit your own entries.

It’s really easy to use. There are ‘?’ buttons beside each field for clarification.
You must select a ‘Discussion Circle/SIG’ or ‘Other Interest’.
There is a Comment box for additional information.

Your email address is not seen by others viewing the database.
Use the search boxes at the top of the screen to filter to database to identify shared interests.
If you wish to follow up an entry submitted by another member, you can click on that person’s name. This takes you to a form where you can type your response or query and this is emailed to the member.

If you have questions, there are lots of answers in the FAQ section of the Home page of the GSV website.

What have you got to lose?
Maybe you’ll break down one of those brickwalls, or find a long lost relation!