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 665 documents containing more than 56,000 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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Don’t miss this!

Happy National Family History Month!  The Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria has just announced a terrific gift for ALL family history researchers for NFHM!

Click on the image at the right to find out more!

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Reminder – important news

Just a reminder to all Geelong Family History Group members and followers – here are two blogs that you really need to read and absorb!

These are both REALLY important:

If you decide to go to the Victorian Archives Centre on Friday 2nd August – or any other time – one of the easiest methods is to catch the train from Geelong to Footscray and then jump on the 402 bus outside Footscray Station – takes you to North Melbourne – a very easy trip!

Make sure you subscribe to both Blogs and keep up-to-date with important information:

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VAFHO – Frances Brown Award

At the VAFHO Expo in Hamilton on Saturday, Susie Zada, from the Geelong Family History Group, was presented with the Association’s Frances Brown Award.

The Award is made by VAFHO to an individual who has made a significant contribution to Family History in Victoria.  The Award is named in recognition of the work of Frances Brown as Genealogy Librarian at the State Library of Victoria, and also in founding VAFHO.

The Geelong Family History Group was pleased to make the nomination in view of Susie’s outstanding contribution to Family History over many years, not only in the Geelong region, but to Victoria generally.  Susie was also nominated by the Genealogical Society of Victoria.

Congratulations Susie!

David Wilson
President, Geelong Family History Group.

The Frances Brown Award

The Frances Brown Award Winners

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Important news from Vic Registry of BDMs

We now have direct contact with senior management at the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

To keep abreast of the current and changing status of the Vic BDM website and searches, follow the VAFHO (Victorian Association of Family History Organisations) Blog site at:


Simply search for BDM to locate current and previous blogs on this subject.

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Update your diaries for 2019

2019 is shaping up to be a great year for family history researchers – both in Geelong and further afield.

Pull out your diaries (and for those relying on their phone or computer diary, open up your diaries) and make sure you’ve got these dates in there – PLAN AHEAD!

Some key 2019 dates:

Some of the websites may not yet have all the details on the events but:

  • ADD them to your diary
  • BOOKMARK and FOLLOW the above links to keep up-do-date with details as they are released
  • We look forward to seeing you at some of these great events around Victoria.
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Can’t find your ancestor arriving?

The more I looked at the latest Emigration records out of the UK from TheGenealogist™ the more useful bits I found – not surprisingly this blog has grown considerably since it was first started but persevere and hopefully you’ll find lots of useful tips and links to help you find that elusive ancestor arriving in Victoria, or other Australian colonies, or other places.  Some are specific to the Geelong region, more are applicable to Victoria, and even more are applicable to anywhere.  And the amount of information and detail can be VERY rewarding.  I’ve added heaps of links to sites that you may find really useful for passengers to ‘here’ as well as things like EOGN – the Newsletter that EVERY researcher should subscribe to!  In some places I’ve also used bitly to create shorter URL addresses – another useful tool!

Firstly – why emigration (leaving a place) instead of immigration (arriving at a place)?  There is a lot of information on various immigration passenger lists – arriving in Victoria, arriving in New South Wales, etc. etc.  Often we just can’t find our ancestors in these lists – lumped in steerage or really bad writing or passenger list missing?  There are many reasons but you might find your ancestors by looking for their DEPARTURE (emigration) records or other obscure records.

This exercise really began with the announcement on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter (EOGN – subscribe to the free edition) about 4 million BT27 (The National Archives UK) Outbound Passenger List Records for the 1950s.

From the Blog for TheGenealogist™ it appears that this release covers the decade of the 1950s.  (Another Blog worth subscribing to / following).  These appear to be a new release of indexed records that complement the range of emigration records from the other major subscription databases.

I confess to being a fan of TheGenealogist.  A couple of reasons:

Hopefully our Public Libraries will look at a subscription for the Library Edition of TheGenealogist – similar to current access to Ancestry™ and Findmypast™.  All of these databases have Library Editions which give you most but not all options.

The Library Edition option of TheGenealogist™ for the Geelong Family History Group is out of the range of our funds however researchers might consider a trip to the Genealogical Society of Victoria.  If you’re a member, there is no charge, but as a non-member if you do your homework and prepare a Day Pass costs $20.o0 and might be a good option.  At the GSV library in Melbourne you can access Ancestry™, findmypast™, TheGenealogist™, British Newspaper Archive™, MyHeritage™ and ScotlandsPlaces™.

I haven’t been able to confirm the exact number and range records in TheGenealogist™ database however they appear to be similar to the 1890-1960 records which have also been on Ancestry™ and Findmypast™ for about six years.  NONE of these contains a complete range of emigration records – you can select a departure port and then from a couple of years that may be covered.  VERY selective!  You can also search The National Archives (TNA) where some are available for free.  And of course Family Search also has various emigration records.  The bottom line – search them all!

Here are some links worth trying:

Of course emigration records aren’t the only other source for finding out the name of the ship and the date of arrival in a new colony / country.  Try some of these:

  • NATURALISATION records show ship and date of arrival as well as date and place of birth.  Some of these are at State (Colony) level and others at Federal.  Victorian 19th & 20th century records on searchable and downloadable from the National Archives of Australia.  Check local state archives and other references for Naturalisation records.
  • Alien Registration records – search as above where you will find some entries or read the background information to follow up on these records.
  • Hospital Records – particularly 19th century records – often recorded the Ship and date of arrival.  See the Geelong Hospital records at the Geelong Heritage Centre.

And a bit closer to home!  Make sure you check the Geelong and District database which includes relevant records:

  • Geelong District: Assisted Immigrants – extracted from the PROV indexes and records
  • Geelong District: Unassisted Immigrants – extracted from the PROV indexes and records
  • Geelong District: Geelong and Portland Bay Immigration Society (1845-1846)
  • Geelong District: Orphan Immigrants – extracted from Barefoot and Pregnant?
  • Geelong: Assisted Immigrants Remittances 1856-1858 [VPRS 22]
  • Geelong: Geelong Advertiser – Passengers arriving on ship Travencore in 1849
  • Geelong: Immigration Depot Funerals 1853-1857 [VPRS 22]
  • Geelong: Immigration Depot Returns 1851 [VPRS 116]
  • Geelong: Register of Seamen Engaged 1856-1890 [VPRS 22] – in progress
  • Melbourne: Ineligible Immigrants on ship Joshua in 1852
  • Victoria: Exiles and others on Pentolvillain ships 1844-1849
  • Victoria: Geelong Advertiser – Ayrshire immigrants in 1854

You can read more about these Indexes in the Geelong and District database.

Don’t forget that records are added to this database so always check back regularly for your ancestors!

Happy researching.

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