Monday, October 17, 2011

Trove uncovers a treasure

It is always a great idea to 're-search' the National Library of Australia's Trove search portal for your ancestors' names in digitised newspapers. As more titles are added to those already digitised, and as more text corrections are made, new search matches are appearing all the time. I can see I need to set up a few more RSS feeds for search terms related to my ancestors if I don't want to miss new search results!

Here is a treasure from the Sydney newspaper Empire, 27 March 1855,  which I uncovered on Trove over the weekend. 
1855 'Advertising.', Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), 27 March, p. 1, viewed 15 October, 2011,

SUSAN HEHIR.- If this should meet the eye of Susan Hehir, of Killoo, County Clare, Ireland, who left Ireland for Melbourne, per Ship Honora, February 1854, she will hear of her sister Bridget Hehir, by addressing a Letter to J. N. MORCOM, Bohrarra, near Maitland, New South Wales.
Until now we did not know on which ship my Great Great Grandmother (Susan Ellis nee Hehir) arrived in Australia. But now the question is, what was the ship Honora which "left Ireland for Melbourne...February 1854"? So far I can't find any information about a ship called the Honora online via PROV Passenger Lists or through Trove or a Google search. I have tried spelling variations of the name Honora, without success. I have also searched the PROV Passenger Lists index for all ships beginning with H which arrived in Melbourne (with passengers) in the first six months of 1854. Any suggestions where I could look next? I can see some offline research at the library might be necessary here. 

Thanks to all the people who help to digitise these newspapers, and to all the volunteers who help with text correction. Trove is an invaluable resource!

Here is an idea I just came up with today. Please let me know your thoughts.

There are certain types of articles in the digitised newspapers on Trove that potentially have value to genealogists - Birth, Death and Marriage Notices, Missing Friends, Ships Passenger Lists etc. (I have personally also found stock reports useful for finding references to my cattle droving ancestors!) However, many genealogically significant articles are still not searchable as they need text correction. I have a couple of Trove accounts and have been contributing text corrections every so often since 2008, but I would like to contribute more and I'm looking for a structured way of achieving this. 

A little while ago I created the 'Genealogy Bloggers' group on Trove forums. I am ashamed to admit I actually did not get to look at the group again until today. Thank you very much to six fellow Genealogy bloggers for joining the group! 

So this is my idea:  
  • If, while searching Trove for our own ancestors, we come across a genealogically significant newspaper article (ie. an article with lots of names) which needs text correction, and we don't have time to correct the text at that moment, we could add the article to a particular public list or tag it with a particular public tag
  • When we genealogy bloggers have a few spare minutes we could select an article from the list/tag that has not yet been corrected and correct it.
  • Alternatively, we could add the article URL to a discussion on the Genealogy Bloggers group on Trove forum, or we could tweet a link to the article with a particular Twitter hash tag. Or perhaps we could use features of another social bookmarking site such as a collaborative group on Diigo? Or perhaps we could create a circle on Google+ for this purpose? It's a matter of finding the best way to share this information with fellow genealogy bloggers so we can collaborate. Which way is it?
I'd love to know what others think of these ideas. Maybe someone is already doing this somewhere else? Please share your thoughts. Thanks.
Copyright © 2011 Australian Genealogy Journeys.


  1. Hi,

    I use Trove all the time. It is one of the most fantastic resources we have here in Australia, especially as many of us do not live close to State or National Libraries to see the originals or fiche of papers we are interested in.

    Sometimes I login with my username, sometimes just as a "guest", when I can't remember my login details. But I always correct more text than the pieces that relate to my own research. I can't help myself - sometimes hours go by and I'm still at it. When I realize my eyes are watering and can go on no longer, I add tags - usually all the names of the people, sometimes place names, listed in the sections I have been working on. It has just become habit and I think that there are many of us out there with bleary eyes, correcting OCR mistakes for the good of all.

    There is one blogger I especially admire, Gordon Smith, who is interested in the area of Armidale in NSW, and is constantly correcting text, and then adding the stories to his blog, "Old News from Armidale and New England" It gives a fabulous overview and insight into life in that area over the past 150 years.

    Regards from Linda

  2. Thanks Linda. The voluntary work all the text correctors do is amazing! I'm hoping I can contribute much more than I have and help other genealogists and historians. You just never know when the piece you correct might be just the thing someone is looking for. Thanks again.

  3. I've just joined your 'Genealogy Bloggers' group on Trove. I like your idea: "If we come across a newspaper article (with lots of names) that needs text correction, and we don't have time to correct it, we could add the article to a particular public list or tag it with a particular public tag. When we genealogy bloggers have a few spare minutes we could select an article from the list/tag that has not yet been corrected and correct it." Let us know if you set up a public list/tag for this.

  4. Thanks Judy, I will make another blog post when I create the list. Thanks again.

  5. Great post Aillin and what a wonderful find. It occurred to me to wonder if the Honora was just the ship that took her across to England? I had a look in my database for Susan but no joy. I have a Bridget but she says she comes from Ennis.

    My great-great grandmother's sister, Bridget O'Brien (from Broadford, Co Clare) later Bridget Widdup lived in Urana and some of her family in Narrandera. When you go back to those days people seem to trip over each other.
    I will have to get over to the Trove forums and take your comments on board. Well done Linda, and Gordon Smith, for all their hard work.

  6. Hi Aillin
    I would like to help out, correcting more Trove articles. I think it's a great idea.



Your comments are appreciated. Thanks.

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