Our Collection

The GSV holds over 30,000 titles, including books, microforms, CDs and computer databases, pamphlets, maps and periodicals. Our unique collection includes indexes and images of births, deaths and marriages, passenger lists, census, cemetery, probate, occupations, convicts, family histories, local histories, directories, and much, much more. The collection covers all states of Australia, New Zealand, British Isles, Europe, North America and the rest of the world.

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1. Search our Collection here

Members (login before you use this link to access to our catalogue and databases)

Non Members (a free search, more details are available to GSV members when they login)

If unable to visit the Research Library, you make like to use our research services.

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2. What is our Collection?

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3. Library Catalogue

The library catalogue lists all our physical and digital holdings, web links to major genealogical resources, webcasts, and information about the records in our indexes. In many instances, the catalogue may provide further information about the records that have been indexed in our Milestones, GIN and GIN @ GSV databases.

a. Family histories

The GSV Collection covers families from royalty to paupers. Items include a large range of published volumes, modest self-published works and manuscripts. A significant collection of over 1300 digitised family histories and genealogical charts are available online within the library. In some cases the copy in the GSV collection is the only copy in existence.

b. Periodicals and journals   

Access over 200 Australian and international family history periodicals from groups around the world, as well as special interest magazines. These periodicals form a resource you would have difficulty finding anywhere else. We also have many periodicals which have ceased, such as The Irish ancestor and The Irish genealogist  in searchable PDF format. These periodicals are indexed and can be searched in our catalogue. All printed journals published prior to 2015 are now located at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, while digital issues are held at the GSV.

c. Webcasts  

Members can watch and listen to nearly 200 presentations of talks on a wide variety of topics specifically for family historians. These contain expert advice on research topics such as using Scottish records or finding wills.

Enjoy a selection of our current webcasts

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4. Databases and indexes unique to the GSV - All records and any images attached are available to logged in GSV members from home.

a. Milestones

Births, Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths and Burials etc. Records includes church registers, newspaper notices, obituaries and cemetery headstones and register transcriptions. A mostly Victorian database of over 1 million entries.

b. GSV Genealogical Index of Names (GIN)

More than 3 million references to people mentioned in our library holdings and elsewhere. Victorian resources indexed into this database include directories, newspapers, hospital, criminal, passenger arrivals, parliamentary papers, family histories and school records as well as pioneer registers and published books. In fact any material that we can index to make it more available to our members.

c. VicFamilies

A register of our members' research interests in Victoria. More than 44,000 names are listed. How to submit your  names

d. Scottish places

A database of over 3000 parishes, towns, villages etc. providing parish number references to our collection of 1841 and 1851 Scottish census records and parish registers. Census records are now readily available, but obscure or duplicated place names are not so easy to find. Details of the Scottish registers and census records that we hold on microfilm and fiche have also been incorporated..

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5. Member Research Interests Database

This is a single Database of research interests for all GSV Members. Any GSV member can add an interest whether you belong to a Special Interest Group or not. 
Here you can publish your areas of research eg. Names, places, occupations, etc so that other members can see if they have the same or similar interests. 

This Database is available to GSV Members Only and is a self-service system.

  • You must login as a GSV Member to view the Database.
  • You must login as a GSV Member to submit an entry.
  • An online form enables you to submit your own entries.
  • You can submit as many entries as you like.
  • You can Edit or Delete your own entries at any time.
Accessing the Member Research Interests Database: 

The Database is available here: Member Research Interests Database
You can submit a new entry here: Submit a New Entry
For more information, please refer to the FAQs: Member Research Interests Database FAQs

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a. GIN@GSV Premises

A database of more than 1.4 million records with copyright restrictions that may only be viewed in our library. Includes names mentioned in materials held in our library. Most of these records are from England and published by other organisations. This database include baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials, poor law and militia records.

b. Jewish Chronicle

An index to personal announcements 1900-1909 from the oldest and most influential Jewish newspaper based in London. This was published by another organization and cannot be incorporated into our existing databases.

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7. Subscription databases

  • Ancestry™
  • Findmypast™
  • TheGenealogist™
  • British Newspaper Archive™
  • MyHeritage™
  • Biographical Database of Australia™
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8. Reference book and guides

The GSV collection an extensive range of books to guide you through researching records in countries from Barbados to Ukraine; foreign language dictionaries to assist with research; guides to particular types of records such as occupations, or pauper records and a collection of maps and atlases. Handbooks on using technology, searching databases, writing, publishing and dating photographs are also available.

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9. Where is our Collection located? / Find our Collection

Our library is split between our current premises and the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV). An agreement between the two societies provides access to the combined collection for GSV members. Those that are now at the RHSV have a prefix RHSV in the catalogue.
If the Call /Shelf number has a RHSV prefix:

  • Email collections@historyvictoria.org.au your request with the title and call/ shelf number and your GSV membership number. Please provide at least one day’s notice. Item requests can only be taken by email. 
  • The RHSV will confirm by return email when the item is ready for you. 
  • Present your GSV Membership card or quote your membership number on arrival (otherwise the RHSV Day Visit fee would apply).

a. How to get to the RHSV

Royal Historical Society of Victoria is at 239 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne. The entrance to the RHSV is in A'Beckett St.

Opening Hours: Library and Office: Weekdays 9am – 5pm. Phone number 9326 9288

Walk: A 15-20 minute walk from the GSV.

Tram: From the GSV Centre in Queen Street take Tram 58 from corner of Flinders Street and Queens Bridge Street up William Street, and get off at the LaTrobe Street stop.  Then a short walk to A'Beckett Street. 

Bus: There are frequent buses up Queen St from GSV to A'Beckett Street.  The closest stop to the GSV is just past Flinders Lane.

Train: To Flagstaff Station, and walk one short block up William St to A'Beckett Street.

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10. Donating material to us  

The GSV welcomes the donation of books, journals and manuscript material of a genealogical nature. In particular the GSV can provide a lasting refuge for original family histories and accompanying research material. This will mean that the fruit of your research will be preserved and made available for others. This is especially valuable for small print-run booklets and unpublished manuscripts. Your family's memories can contribute to the larger history of Australia. Space is increasingly at a premium for all libraries and much of this material will be kept in digital form. It may also be indexed and able to be searched in the GSV's databases.  

For further information on donations please click here.

Please read and complete the GSV donation form (PDF) to accompany any donated material.

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Last updated on 09 May 2024 @ 3:55 pm by 11109