An electronic newsletter for family historians from the
Society of Australian Genealogists

120 Kent St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Website -
Tel: (02) 9247 3953 Fax: (02) 9241 4872 

February 2014

SAG coat of arms

  • Part-time Position at SAG now available!
  • UK Manorial Documents at The National Archives
  • Working harbour images unearthed


  • What's on in March


  • Savill Index of The Advertiser Funeral Notices
  • Kensal Green cemetery records



Browse SAGs online bookshop for a great collection of family history books, CDs and software.

  • The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable
  • Writing Interesting Family Histories
  • Tracing Your Merchant Navy Ancestors
  • Scottish Genealogy


  • Subscribe or alter your subscription to these newsletters

Part-time Position at SAG now available!

The Society is now recruiting for a part-time Education & Operations Officer, a permanent position based at Richmond Villa. Final hours and duties will be negotiated with the successful applicant and we anticipate this role will be 2-3 days per week. It is essential you can commit to work two Saturdays per month. The main duties involve developing and organising our education programs and the position will suit someone with strong organisational skills and a background in administration. This is an immediate appointment and applications close on 7 March. Further details can be obtained from the Executive Officer by emailing

UK Manorial Documents at The National Archives

An entry on The National Archives blog from earlier this month provides an excellent overview of the Manorial Documents projects being undertaken by The National Archives.

The manorial system of landholding and administration covered large parts of England & Wales for many centuries until its abolition in 1922. Manorial courts dealt with minor offences and duties owed by tenants as well as recording changes of land tenure. The Manorial Documents Register is the official register of manorial documents and is maintained by The National Archives on behalf of the Master of the Rolls. The Register is being progressively digitised and 18 English counties as well as the whole of Wales are available online. Note that the Register is an index to the availability of manorial documents and does not provide online access to the records themselves.

For more information see the blog entry on the Archives website.

Working harbour images unearthed

Thousands of never-before-published photographs depicting Sydney's working harbour since the 1850s have been donated to the City of Sydney's Archives by Graeme Andrews OAM. Mr Andrews took photographs himself but also amassed a collection of over 100,000 photographs. The Working Harbour collection features about 10,000 photographs from his collection dating back up to 160 years and covering an area from Lake Macquarie in the north, south to Port Kembla and west to the Nepean River. The collection also features images by other photographers such as Ron Montgomery, Fred Saxon and the Dufty family of ship photographers.

Over 3,000 images from Mr Andrews collection are available to view on the Archives Pix website. To view these photos visit and search for 'Graeme Andrews'.


A chronological list of all activities is now available for online viewing and bookings here. You can also phone Monday to Saturday during office hours on 9247 3953 or book over the desk during library hours Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday.

All activities are held at Richmond Villa, 120 Kent Street unless otherwise specified.

  • Saturday 8 March (9.00am - 10.00am) - Orientation Tour
    Held in the Library at 2/379 Kent St. from 9.00am-10.00am. Members only. Bookings essential. Join us for a tour of the SAG library - learn about its layout and the services offered. The Library opens at 10am so you can stay on and do research. Free.
  • Saturday 8 March (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Making the Most of the British Census 1801-1911
    These census records are the mainstay of 19th century British research, they may even uncover ancestry to the mid 1700s. This session will focus on English & Irish census records. It will help you develop your census research & interpretation skills to find and trace those once elusive ancestors, their families and their places of origin. Presenter: Sylvia Murphy. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Monday 10 March (8.00pm - 9.00pm AEST) - Webinar - English Basic BDMs - Getting the Bookends Right
    Births, deaths and marriages are the foundation of a good family tree – skimp on getting them right at your own peril. This webinar will look at English & Welsh BDM (post 1837) records and explore the many online resources now available. Presenter - Heather Garnsey. Bookings essential and limited to SAG members only. Price $10.00.
  • Thursday 13 March (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Writing Discussion Group - BOOKED OUT!
  • Saturday 15 March (10.30am - 12.30pm) - 'Elusive Ancestors' - breaking down those brick walls using NSW State Records
    Do you have gaps in your knowledge of the lives your ancestors lived or did they just disappear? We will look at sources for `missing persons', children in care, convict & gaol records. Hear tips and tactics for those arrivals or deaths you cannot find. Presenter: Gail Davis, State Records NSW. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Saturday 15 March (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Archives, Archives, Everywhere
    Join us as we look at how to successfully find the NSW State archives material for your research. We will look at using the State Records’ website, catalogues and reading room to make the most of your precious research time! Presenter: Martyn Killion. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Friday 21 March (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Hands On - SAG Library Electronic Resources & catalogue tips - BOOKED OUT!
  • Saturday 22 March (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Me...use a map! Why?
    Maps record the world in which our forebears lived. Did they live in, near to, or far from a village or town? What facilities did they enjoy, such as water, food and travel possibilities? What was the neighbourhood like - close to seaside, forests, mountains, or even a border with another country? What records are there of land ownership or leasing? The Society has a substantial and varied collection of maps, and the talk will dwell on their usefulness for family history as well as their cultural and artistic qualities.Maps record the world in which our forebears lived. Did they live in, near to, or far from a village or town? What facilities did they enjoy, such as water, food and travel possibilities? What was the neighbourhood like - close to seaside, forests, mountains, or even a border with another country? What records are there of land ownership or leasing? The Society has a substantial and varied collection of maps, and the talk will dwell on their usefulness for family history as well as their cultural and artistic qualities. Presenter - Alan Day. Bookings essential. $20 ($30 non-members).
  • Thursday 27 March (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Getting Started on Your Family History - Members Only
    For new members with no family history research experience. Learn the basics of how to start researching, what to do, and where to find and ask for help. Members Only. Bookings Essential and limited to 10. Cost $10.00.
  • Thursday 27 March (8.00pm - 9.00pm AEST) - Webinar - NSW Probate Packets & Deceased Estate Files
    Presenter: Christine Yeats. Join us for an in-depth look at these records, which can give wonderful insights into your ancestor’s belongings and property. Bookings essential and limited to SAG members only. Price $10.00.

Savill Index of The Advertiser Funeral Notices

The Savill Index of The Advertiser Funeral Notices is an index of South Australian funeral notices from 1971 to 1990 and from 1997 to 2013. From 2013 the index includes private funeral services, many of which did not appear in the Funeral Notices column of the newspaper. The index is hosted by the State Library of South Australia and are a series of alphabetical lists by surname. Note that the index does not have a search facility but you can use the Find (Ctrl + F) feature on each page to quickly locate an entry on that page.

Kensal Green cemetery records

Deceased Online have added records to its site for one of the UK's most historic cemeteries, Kensal Green. This cemetery is the second of London's 'Magnificent Seven' cemeteries to go online. Kensal Green was opened in 1833 in the Royal BOrough of Kensington and Chelsea and is the earliest of the capital's major cemeteries. The records of Kensal Green join those of Brompton Cemetery which were made available earlier in 2013.

All of Kensal Green Cemetery's records from 1833 until 1901 are available on the website together with all records for West London Crematorium, 1939-2010 which is located at the same site. The remaining records post 1901 will be added to during early 2014.


Visit our bookshop at 379 Kent Street, where we're open 10am to 4pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Our great collection of family history book titles is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week online, where you'll find local histories, CD-ROMs, charts and genealogical software - all at competitive prices!

When you place your order online, the Australia Post Calculator on our new bookshop website will calculate the correct postage fees according to the weight of your order.

The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable - $30.00

The electrifying story of a criminal quaker, a poisoned mistress, and the dawn of the information age. John Tawell was a sincere Quaker but a sinning one. Convicted of forgery, he was transported to Sydney, where he opened Australia’s first retail pharmacy and made a fortune. When he returned home to England after fifteen years, he thought he would be welcomed; instead he was shunned. Then on New Year’s Day 1845 Tawell boarded the 7:42 pm train to London Paddington. Soon, men arrived chasing a suspected murderer – but the 7:42 had departed. The Great Western Railway was experimenting with a new-fangled device, the electric telegraph, so a message was sent: a ‘KWAKER’ man was on the run. The trail became a sensation, involving no apparent weapon, much innuendo, and a pious man desperate to save his reputation – and would usher in the modern communication age.

Told with narrative verve and rich in historical research, this is a delicious true tale of murder and scientific revolution in Victorian England. Softcover book, 22 cm, 391 pages, Carol Baxter, Oneworld Publications 2013, [more detail]

Writing Interesting Family Histories - $22.00

Keen to write an engaging family history? Stuck with little more than names and dates? Uncertain how to begin? Writing Interesting Family Histories is a must-read. With advice ranging from how you can structure a simple family history and begin writing, through to how you can use simple words and sentences to evoke drama and tension, this book will help turn your dusty piles of notes and photocopies into a riveting family history.

It will challenge you to rethink what "facts" truly are. It will show you how to extract "dialogue" from original records. It will help release your creative writing spirit. There is no need to fictionalize history to make it interesting? After reading this book, you too will be able to turn dry facts into exciting narrative. Illustrated by Laura Wingrove, Softcover, A5, 95 pages, Carol Baxter, 2009, [more detail]

Tracing Your Merchant Navy Ancestors - $35.00

What was a merchant seaman's life like in the past, what experiences would he have had, what were the ships like that he sailed in, and what risks did he run? Was he shipwrecked, rewarded for bravery, or punished? And how can you find out about an ancestor who was a member of the long British maritime tradition? Simon Wills' concise and informative historical guide takes the reader and researcher through the fascinating story of Britain’s merchant service, and he shows you how to trace individual men and women and gain an insight into their lives.

Simon Wills's practical handbook will be essential reading and reference for anyone who is keen to discover for themselves the secrets of our maritime past and of the crew members and ships that were part of it. Softcover book, 23cm, 192 pages, Simon Wills, Pen & Sword 2012, [more detail]

Scottish Genealogy - $42.00

This fully revised and updated third edition of 'Scottish Genealogy' is a comprehensive guide to tracing your family history in Scotland. Written by one of the most authoritative figures on the subject, the work is based on established genealogical practice and is designed to exploit the rich resources that Scotland has to offer. After all, this country has possibly the most complete and best-kept set of records and other documents in the world.

Addressing the questions of DNA, palaeography and the vexed issues of Clans, families and tartans, with a new chapter on heraldry, Bruce Durie presents a fascinating insight into discovering Scottish ancestors. He covers both physical and electronic sources, and explains how to get beyond the standard 'births, marriages and deaths plus census' research, and reminds the reader that there are more tools than just the internet. Softcover, 366 pages, Bruce Durie, The History Press 2012, [more detail]


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© Society of Australian Genealogists 2014 - all rights reserved
Any feedback or enquiries regarding this newsletter should be directed to the editor: Lisa Watson. Items for inclusion are also welcome.