Family History research – ideas during lockdown or not

Have you struggled to find your ancestors around Geelong or in the Western Districts?  What if you could track them year by year like this?

Follow the steps I used for Grant DENYER’s ROSS family for Who Do You Think You Are 2021.


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More VIC Wills and Probates online!

If you’re anything like me – when you’re doing research in Victoria and someone dies, you mentally think … what year?  Oh bum – it’s after 1925.

Read all the details on my I Just Love History blog.

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Exciting GFHG Update

Even more reasons to get involved with the Geelong Family History Group(GFHG) – whether you are a member or not.

NEW: DNA Interest Group

We are delighted to announce that our GFHG Member and DNA expert, Louise Coakley, has agreed to establish and run our own DNA Interest Group.  We’re still working out the logistics however:

  • We will be using ZOOM Pro Meeting for the group meetings (see details below)
  • We will limit the number of attendees at each session to ensure all attendees can participate
  • Meetings will be FREE for Geelong Family History Group members
  • There will be a small fee for non-Members to attend – of course you can always become a member to attend free
  • There may be separate meetings for Beginner / Basic attendees and Intermediate or Advanced
  • Meetings may be Monthly to allow you to progress your DNA research between meetings

To help us finalise our plans for the DNA Interest Group(s), please:

  • Email the GFHG Secretary if you are interested
  • State your DNA knowledge / experience level – Beginner, Basic, Intermediate, Advanced
  • If you have questions about our DNA Interest Group(s) include them in the email – do NOT include questions about DNA – that’s what the DNA Interest Group Meetings will be about!
  • Get your emails in quickly so we can get the DNA Interest Group(s) started as soon as possible.

Monthly pre-recorded speakers

The Geelong Family History Group has been very fortunate to continue our scheduled program of monthly speakers and topics.  These are provided to our members (and non-members on our GFHG Mailing List – ** see note below) for download as a MP4 video.  That means that people are able to copy the video to USB and watch on their television – a very relaxing way to enjoy our amazing speakers.  This also means that our members who were previously unable to enjoy our meetings in Geelong can enjoy our monthly speakers.  And yes, we’re looking at ways that we can continue this when life gets back to ‘normal’.

Monthly Virtual Meetings

  • From this month (August 2020), the Geelong Family History Group will be using ZOOM Meeting Pro.  That means we will NOT be restricted to 40 minutes.  We encourage everyone joining our monthly ZOOM meetings to be prepared with questions, help with research, bragging about a family history breakthrough, or any other issues you want to discuss.  If you wish, you can send your questions in advance of the meeting so we can schedule or plan for them – email GFHG Secretary.  As with our monthly speakers we hope to continue something similar for the benefit of our non-local members.

July Pivot Tree

  • Our printer is operating again and we have our July Pivot Tree ready to be posted out to financial members who have paid $30 covering their Membership Renewal as well as postage.  All other Financial members will be given access to the digital version of Pivot Tree.

** non-members on our GFHG Mailing List – these are people who were previous members or people who attended our GFHG Meetings at the Belmont Library.  It doesn’t include people subscribed to this and other Geelong and District Blogs and receive ’emails’ sent out by WordPress – i.e. this blog.

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Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company employees

Are any of these employees your ancestors or person of interest?

Read all the details to find out.

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Business as usual – well close!

The Geelong Family History Group has been a ‘virtual’ / online family history group since we closed our Research rooms and Library in 2006.  APART from our Monthly meetings everything we have done since then was online.  That’s why I say … Business as usual – well close.

The ONLY thing different at the moment is that our Monthly (physical) Meetings have been deferred BUT we are still enjoying our speakers already scheduled at our publicised ‘Monthly Meetings‘.  Those speakers are very generously pre-recording their presentations which I release to our Members (and non Members if speakers agree) on the day of our normal scheduled meeting.

That means that Members can enjoy our speakers’ presentations when it is convenient.  They don’t have to be online at a specific time for these presentations.  For our next meeting – 22nd April 2020 – we are also going to have a ZOOM meeting for those who wish to join in.  If you’re interested, email me (Susie Zada, GFHG Secretary).

The MOST important thing – we still have access to ALL our Research Resources – so we are able to provide both of our Research Requests options.

From the various facebook pages and mailing lists it is obvious that many Family Historians are making the most of their ‘spare time’ to do more on their Family History.


  • Members get free quick look-ups
  • Members get half-price Research Requests ($10 instead of $20)
  • Anyone can request a free first check of our GFHG Research Files – see procedures.
  • We encourage everyone to check the Geelong and District Database – it’s free with more than 1.7 million entries for the extended Geelong District region!  And make sure you read the Tips, Warnings and Info to get the most out of your search.
  • If you then look at the GFHG Research Files Catalogue you’ll see which entries are included in the GFHG Research Files request and all those extras.  You may find that a GFHG Research Files request works out more economical than a standard Research Request or you may find that a more focussed Research Request is a better option.  REMEMBER that the Geelong Heritage Centre is currently closed so some resources are unaccessible to us unless we have our own copies.  We also have many resources not available at the Geelong Heritage Centre.

When do things get back to normal?  That is probably the main question on everyones’ lips about everything.  Obviously the libraries need to re-open but when we can recommence meetings will be a library decision and not automatically once each library re-opens.

In the meantime we will keep providing IMPORTANT extra options for our members and supporters.

  • We are providing pre-recorded presentations by our advertised monthly speakers.
  • We are going to have short ZOOM meetings on our normal monthly meeting times and dates – to keep in touch, ask family history / research questions and advice, and keep you up-to-date with special access to various sites during isolation periods.
  • Members now have online access to ALL journals the Geelong Family History Group receives each month.
  • Our Pivot Tree journal is being provided to all our members as a digital PDF file until we are able to get them printed and Members can collect them at our meeting.

If you have any questions, please email me (Susie Zada, GFHG Secretary).

If you are not already following this Blog, subscribe to our Blog so you will be notified of any changes.

Join our Geelong and District Mailing List to keep up with other news for Family and Local Historians or join the Victorian Mailing List for broader topics.  I’m List Admin for both of these lists and will be a tad more lenient on topics during our period of isolation.

Most importantly – keep in touch!

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If you thought March was going to be quiet – think again!

Discounted certificates for the month of March

To say thank you to our valued family historians, the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria (BDM Victoria) are offering downloadable uncertified historical certificates for $20 each for the entire month of March.

This is a saving of $4.50 per certificate.

You can also subscribe to BDM Victoria’s mailing list for future offers, updates about system improvements and user guidance.

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DNA in Focus – and in Plain English

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is more commonly referred to as Genetic Genealogy.  And if you can’t remember, or pronounce, the full meaning of DNA, it won’t impede your ability to doing DNA research.

Thinking of taking a DNA test?

Already taken a DNA test and need to understand your results?

Just need a new angle to tackle your results?

Why not join me at 6.30 pm this Tuesday – 11th February 2020 – at the Belmont Library.  Still time to book for this FREE presentation?

There are two outcomes from a DNA test for family history purposes: Ethnicity estimates and DNA Matches.  This presentation looks at both outcomes but with more emphasis on DNA Matches and how you solve your family history puzzles.  It is also very important to be aware of the impact of doing a DNA test that can impact you, your family and others.

This presentation will be suitable for people who have not yet done a DNA test; those who have done a test and are overwhelmed or don’t understand the results; as well as those who have made some progress with their DNA results but need more help.

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New exciting Research option

The Geelong Family History Group now offers TWO options for paid Research.  Both options cost $20 ($10 for Members).  You can request either Research option or both.  Today we’re announcing the second and most exciting addition for people researching in the Geelong and District region.

For those not sure of the area this covers –  it is in Victoria, Australia.  The boundaries are not rigid but basically cover an arc from the Otways up to a little south of Ballarat, across to Werribee and all points to the south east of that area.  Many of the web sites, databases and indexes cover this area, others are more focussed on specific areas, and some are relevant to all of Victoria.

  1. Research Requests – the traditional research option
    A Research Request enables you to identify the type of information you are looking for.  Geelong Family History Group Research Officers have extensive research experience and have access to an incredible range of local family history resources including those previously available at our former library and research centre.  READ FULL DETAILS
  2. GFHG Research Files – the exciting new option
    The GFHG Research Files enable you to search 953 documents / manuscripts  books containing more than 121,000 scanned pages for a SURNAME or PLACE NAME or SUBJECT and you choose the TEN PAGES you want.  READ FULL DETAILS

Users should also check the Geelong and District Database.  This free to search database contains more than 1.7 million records, many of which came from the numerous indexes created by the Geelong Family History Group since 1981.

The GFHG Research Files Catalogue List gives information about the documents included in Option 2 – the GFHG Research Files.

The GFHG Research Files option has taken a full year to prepare – I had a vision of what it could provide but even I was overwhelmed with how well the whole project worked!

At some stages during the year my lounge / dining room floor was covered with boxes of documents – 3 tiers high.  I created a tunnel between the armchair and the television so I could actually sit down to watch it!  The main image is just a small quantity (perhaps 10%) of the documents scanned to create this project.

ENJOY!  It results are really amazing.

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GFHG Members’ Surnames of Interest

Members of the Geelong Family History Group have submitted their Surnames of Interest.

People who may be researching the same families can contact GFHG Members – read the details.

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NSW Research Seminar – Sunday 27th October 2019

The Geelong Family History Group are holding a NSW Research Seminar:

When: Sunday 27th October 2019, 10.00 – 4.00 pm

Where: Meeting Room, Waurn Ponds Library, 230 Pioneer Rd, Waurn Ponds. [NOTE: correct street number]

Cost: $15.00 per person ($10.00 GFHG Members)

Bookings are essential – GFHG A5 folded brochure.

IMPORTANT: New South Wales originally included the areas we now know as Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and New Zealand – what you will learn in this seminar can also help you with your research in these States, Territories and Country.


  • Susie Zada, Secretary Geelong Family History Group, Researcher and Historian
  • Heather Garnsey, Executive Officer, Society of Australian Genealogists
  • Danielle Lautrec, Education Officer and Archives Officer, Society of Australian Genealogists
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