Friday, May 28, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Challenge #21 - State Archives - Public Record Office Victoria

I have decided to take on one of the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy weekly challenges. (See the GeneaBloggers group on Facebook or We Tree for further information about 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy.)
The challenge this week is:

Week 21: Examine the website of your state or provincial archives. Take some time to push all the buttons and click all the links. What did you find? Bloggers can write about the site’s high points and share the information with their readers.

My state archives is the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) ( Their web site is very useful for genealogists researching their families in the state of Victoria, Australia.

On their homepage (above) the main menu is visible on the left hand side of the page. When you hover your mouse over each main link, relevant sub-menus become visible. About Us leads to pages describing who PROV are, what they hold in their collection and the services they provide. Access the Collection leads to Research Pathways, Research Guides and collection searching and ordering.

Useful Research Pathways, gateways of links to other areas of the PROV web site, include Getting Started and Family and Local History.

There are 56 useful Research Guides, including Guide 51- Family History Research at PROV.

Another great starting place for online research at PROV is Guide 23 - Online Catalogue - PROV's Digitised Records and Online Indexes which includes links to records and indexes related to ships passengers, Wills and probate, education and teachers, Koorie heritage, building plans, prisoners and convicts, divorce, insolvency, court records and mental health records, for example.
Some of the indexes which I find particularly useful are the ships passenger indexes:

Did I mention these are all free to access? Thanks to the wonderful work of the many volunteers who have spent time and effort creating these indexes over the years - thank you all very much!!

Another extremely useful index on the PROV web site is the Index to Wills, Probate and Administration Records 1841-1925. Most entries on this index are linked to digitised copies of Wills, Probate and Administration Files. Through this index I found the Will of Edmond Colbert who died in Richmond, Victoria in 1885. By accessing the digitised copy of his Will, I was able to confirm that he was the uncle of my great great grandmother Bridget Gilmore (nee Colbert) (he gave her a bequest). This enabled me to take my Colbert family tree back another generation in County Cork, Ireland!!

Why not search some of PROV's online indexes and digitised records today. Don't have any family connections in Australia? Are you sure? I recommend you try anyway, searching for several of your more unusual family surnames to begin with. Who knows, maybe some of your distant relatives emigrated down under? Good luck!

Links to other Australian State Archives are available at Cora Num's Web Sites For Genealogists.

Happy researching!

Copyright © 2010 A. O'Brien.

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