Society of Australian Genealogists


January 2017

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 

  • Last chance for Season Webinar tickets
  • General Register Officer UK PDF Pilot Project
  • Highgate, London cemetery records


  • What's on in February


  • Victoria Petty Sessions records



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

  • Stories from the Sandstone
  • Organize Your Genealogy
  • Tracing Your British and Irish Ancestors
  • A New Tapestry: Australian Huguenot Families
  • Arrivals in Australia from 1788
  • Genetic Genealogy in Practice


  • Subscribe or alter your subscription to these newsletters

Last chance for Season Webinar tickets

Our Webinar Season Ticket is proving far more popular with members than we’d hoped, which is terrific. There’s still time to register for the February-April quarter and as we’ve added another webinar to this quarter you now get 6 for the price of 4! See here for details.

General Register Officer UK PDF Pilot Project

In the November 2016 issue of SAGe we wrote about the updated birth & death indexes now available on the General Register Office’s website ( which can help researchers identify English and Welsh BDMs they couldn’t previously locate. This is part of the pilot project being conducted by the GRO to test the delivery of civil registration certificates by email for online orders.

Stage 2 of the pilot project is currently underway (testing a premium 3 hour turnaround service) but probably doesn’t have much appeal to genealogists as each certificate is £48. However Stage 3 will test email delivery of certificates for births 1935 – 2006 and deaths 1958 – 2006 as well as marriages for the extended period 1837 - 2010. Each will cost £8 and the GRO index reference must be quoted. No date for the start of Stage 3 has been given but it will be after Stage 2 closes in early February. Find out more by visiting and following the link to About the PDF Pilot. There is no charge to use the new GRO online indexes but you must register on the website first.

Highgate, London cemetery records

Highgate Cemetery in north London is reckoned to be the most prestigious urban cemetery in the UK. The cemetery holds 160,000 burials from 1839 to 2010 with records now available exclusively on Deceased Online. The cemetery contains the graves of notable Londoners including the writers George Eliot and Douglas Adams. The cemetery features some of the most unusual and creative memorials and architecture found in any cemetery.

The records availabe include digital scans of original registers, grave details indicating all those buried in each grave and location maps for most graves. Note that the records for 1863 to 1865 are limited to names only.

CALENDAR - February

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.

  • Available from Thursday 1 December - Webinar Season Ticket - February-April 2017
    New in 2017! Only available until 9 February 2017. By booking a Webinar Season Ticket you will be able to view every standard webinar we hold between February-April, either live or by watching the recording later. You book and pay once. We'll set you up in each webinar and send you the confirmation link. And in addition you'll get one webinar free - so this quarter you get 5 for the price of 4. The webinars covered by the Season Ticket this quarter are: Genealogy research treasures inside the "Internet Archive", 9 February; Aboriginal people in BDMs, 18 February; Find out what's online and how to locate records on the NSW State Records website, 8 March (matinee); Jersey Archives (UK), 21 March; and London history and resources, 3 April.
  • Saturday 4 February (2.00pm - 4.30pm) - Family history trivia
    Come for a mildly competitive but lots of fun afternoon filled with family history trivia. No teams required. Everyone can participate and have a chance at the prizes. Afternoon tea is included. Come for the fun, the boasting privileges, and the prizes or just to support SAG raise funds for Congress 2018. Friends and family of members can also attend, if the booking is made by a member. Bookings essential. $20, Members only.
  • Thursday 9 February (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Writing Discussion Group - Introductory pages, Headers and Footers
    Learn how to set up Word documents to create a book with professional-looking introductory pages and also headers and footers for each chapter or section. Presenter: Alison Meldrum. Bookings essential. $10 ($15 non-members).
  • Thursday 9 February (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - Genealogy research treasures inside the "Internet Archive"
    Join Michelle Patient as she shows us around the family history books and other resources stored within this source which contains nearly 500 billion archived websites, books, audio and video files. Presenter: Michelle Patient. Bookings essential. $12 members only.
  • Friday 10 February (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Hands On @ 379 - PRONI - BOOKED OUT!
  • Saturday 11 February (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Family Tree Maker Group - AM session
    Join other users of this popular family history software program for insights, ideas and opportunities to share tips and ask questions. Convenor: Larry Czarnik. Bookings essential. $10 ($15 non-members).
  • Saturday 11 February (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Family Tree Maker Group - PM session
    Join other users of this popular family history software program for insights, ideas and opportunities to share tips and ask questions. Convenor: Larry Czarnik. Bookings essential. $10 ($15 non-members).
  • Thursday 16 February (10.00am - 3.00pm) - An in-depth look at FamilySearch
    FamilySearch is a massive resource for your family history. This Focus Day will examine the family tree and open editing philosophy, films and ordering, indexing, the wiki and of course, searching tips. Presenters: Paul Parton (FamilySearch), Sylvia Murphy and Vicki Eldridge. Bookings essential. $45 ($70 non-members).
  • Saturday 18 February (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - TMG User Group
    Users of TMG software show how they use the program to record their family history and preserve that information for the future. Convenor: Sue Dobson. Bookings essential. $10 ($15 non-members).
  • Saturday 18 February (8.00pm - 9.00pm) - Webinar - Aboriginal people in BDMs
    Many Aboriginal people were not registered with their correct name and many people were not registered at all. However missionaries, the Aborigines Welfare Board and pastoral stations often kept these records, which may be the only records of births, deaths or marriages of Aboriginal people. This session will cover the types of records created and how to access them. Presenter: Kim Katon. Bookings essential. $12 members only.
  • Thursday 23 February (10.30am - 12.30pm) - Problem solving for family historians
    Got a brick wall or two in your family history? Learn how to organise and analyse your information to help solve those tricky research problems. Presenter: Danielle Lautrec. Bookings essential. $22 ($35 non-members).
  • Saturday 25 February (9.00am - 10.00am) - Free Library Tour - Where Do I Start at the SAG Library? - BOOKED OUT!
  • Saturday 25 February (10.30am - 12.30pm) - English Research Group - Food shopkeepers and shop workers of the 19th century
    In addition to the traditional markets the retail outlets were fast developing in the major cities. Thousands were employed in the food retail area, but which area and what type of food did they sell and what was their life like? Uncovering some of these mysteries may well give us food for thought! Convenor: Pauline Kettle. Bookings essential. $10 ($15 non-members).
  • Saturday 25 February (1.30pm - 3.30pm) - Sydney cemetery adventures
    How many cemeteries do you think there are in Sydney? Over the course of 8 months Dr Lisa Murray visited 120 cemeteries and gravesites in order to compile her field guide to Sydney's cemeteries. Join Lisa as she shares some of her discoveries and top tips for visiting cemeteries. Along the way you'll learn how to 'read' a cemetery and hear about some of the resources available for cemetery research.

    A permanent archive? Sydney’s quarantine inscriptions: Unlike most archives, Sydney’s former Quarantine Station displays an incredible array of genealogical resources at exactly the spot where they were created. From the 1830s until the 1980s, detainees carved messages into the North Head sandstone, leaving enduring traces of their origins, arrival, literacy and – sometimes – their mortality. In this presentation, Dr Peter Hobbins teases out some of these stories and their wider meanings. Convenor: Dr Lisa Murray and Dr Peter Hobbins. Bookings essential. $22 ($35 non-members).

Victoria Petty Sessions records

Over 3 million Victoria Petty Sessions records were added to FindMyPast last week. These records will help you find out if any Australian ancestors had a run in with the law. The petty sessions court heard minor criminal cases such as those involving drunkeness, criminal damage and theft. The records cover the period 1854 to 1985 but only cover around 74 courts out of over 200 that were operating in the late 1800s. If you do find a match, the result will provide a transcript and an image of the original court register.


Visit our bookshop at 2/379 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 will calculate the correct postage fees according to the weight of your order.

Stories from the Sandstone - $45.00
Quarantine inscriptions from Australia's immigrant past. Combining intensive archaeological investigation and historical research, Stories from the Sandstone illuminates Australia’s past through the portal of these intriguing and often evocative inscriptions, as well as North Head’s numerous headstones. Drawing upon historical records, diaries and other writings, the book highlights the dramatic personal and social effects of diseases – such as bubonic plague, typhus fever, ‘Spanish’ flu and smallpox – that once terrified the community. We learn where the authors of the inscriptions came from, why they left their homeland and what became of them.

With well-researched text and fascinating contemporary and historical images, Stories from the Sandstone conveys the compelling personal stories of lives lived not just in despair, but also in hope for the future. The result is a captivating and intensely felt picture of the making of our society. Hardcover, 304 pages, 23cm, 200+ colour throughout. Peter Hobbins, Ursula K Frederick and Annie Clarke, Arbon Publishing, 2016. [More detail]

Organize Your Genealogy - $42.00
Get Your Research in Order! Stop struggling to manage all your genealogy facts, files, and data - make a plan of attack to maximize your progress. Organize Your Genealogy will show you how to use tried-and-true methods and the latest tech tools and genealogy software to organize your research plan, workspace, and family history finds. In this book, you'll learn how to organize your time and resources, including how to set goals and objectives, determine workable research questions, sort paper and digital documents, keep track of physical and online correspondence, prepare for a research trip, and follow a skill-building plan. Whether you're a newbie seeking best practices to get started or a seasoned researcher looking for new and better ways of getting organized, this guide will help you manage every facet of your research. Softcover, 23cm, 240 pages, Drew Smith, F & W Publications Inc, USA, 2016. [More detail]

Tracing Your British and Irish Ancestors - $39.00
Finding a way into the sources for British and Irish family history can be a daunting task if you live overseas. That is why this introductory book will be so valuable for anyone who is trying to trace their British and Irish ancestors and gain an understanding of their lives and the world they knew. In a clear and easily accessible fashion Jonathan Scott takes the reader through the key stages of research. He describes the principal sources and gives advice on how best to explore them. His handbook provides the building blocks for anyone who is entering this fascinating and rewarding field.

He guides the newcomer through the first steps of research, then focuses on the national, regional and local archives and other sources in Britain and Ireland. He outlines their history, giving advice on how to get precise and revealing information from them. Parish records and the records left by nonconformists, Jews and Catholics are covered as well as wills and probate, migration, working lives, poverty, crime, debt, divorce and adoption. Softcover, 23cm, 192 pages, Jonathan Scott, Pen & Sword 2016. [More detail]

A New Tapestry: Australian Huguenot Families - $40.00
This book provides stories of 30 Australian families of Huguenot (French Protestant) origin. Each story has been written or co-written by a family member. Apart from tracing the local evolution of families it outlines Huguenot origins, journeys of refuge, and arrivals in Australia. Each account magnifies the comparative and contrasting ways families managed, dealing with adversity and opportunity and overcoming personal and private difficulties. Readers may conclude that the Huguenot spirit of industry, ingenuity and civic duty is apparent in these stories of Huguenot descendants. Each family account gives a picture of a family weaving together a life, shaping and being shaped by an Australia defining itself within its indigenous roots, layered with European settlement and renewed by waves of refugees and migrants. And in a way this accords with the broader history of the Huguenots and their descendants, whose lives, through the refugee and migration experience, became ultimately woven in new societies, including Australia. Softcover, 23cm, 409 pages. Edited by Robert Nash and published by the Huguenot Society of Australia Inc. with the assistance of the Royal Australian Historical Society, 2015. [More detail]

Arrivals in Australia from 1788 - $32.00
This book introduces the history and records of migration to Australia from 1788. Migrating to a new country was one of the most dramatic life changes anyone undertook and it certainly affected the lives of their descendants. Investigating their journey is a key part of your family history research. However immigration records in Australia are not all held in one place - when, where and how they arrived affect where (and whether) records of their arrival can be found. Understanding categories of arrivals and the immigration schemes in place as well as the general principles of where documents are held, will give you confidence that you have looked in all the right places. Softcover, A5, 140 pages, Kerry Farmer, Unlock The Past Series, 2015. [More detail]

Genetic Genealogy in Practice - $45.00
This very popular book is back in stock. The first workbook on genetic genealogy, the book provides family historians and genealogists who have just begun to explore genetic genealogy practical, easy to understand information that they can apply to their research. Readers learn the basic concepts of genetic genealogy. They then build on that knowledge as they study the testing, analysis, and application of Y-DNA, X-DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and autosomal DNA (atDNA) to reach and support genealogical conclusions. Each chapter includes exercises with answer keys for hands-on practice. Softcover, 196 pages, Blaine T Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne, National Genealogical Society, USA 2016. [More detail]


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© Society of Australian Genealogists 2017 - all rights reserved
Any feedback or enquiries regarding this newsletter should be directed to the editor: Lisa Watson. Items for inclusion are also welcome.