SAG-E Newsletter 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
March 2006
SAG coat of arms

happy family history hunting!

Libraries Australia

Libraries Australia search page screenshotFor many years now librarians have been able to search the national database provided by the National Library of Australia, to discover which books are held by which library.

In late February a public version, accessible to all, became available at This takes you to a search screen for the new service.

The national database (the Australian National Bibliographic Database) lists over 40 million books, maps, pictures, microfilm, newspapers and more, in over 800 Australian libraries. Where the libraries know about a free online version of an item, you'll be able to click through from the catalogue record to the item. In other cases there's a list of libraries which hold the item, and you can click on the library name to find out more about that library and the terms upon which you can access the item. There are also links to online bookshops, and to loan and copy services. Visit for more information about Libraries Australia.

We've previously featured the National Library's PictureAustralia ( but it's worth mentioning that this is now harvesting images from the Flickr site, to which anyone can add images. Go to to learn more about how you can upload images of people, places and events which can then be selected for PictureAustralia. Since this facility was made available a few months ago over 2000 images have been loaded by members of the public, on subjects as diverse as an old tobacco farm at Myrtleford in Victoria, Australia Day celebrations, a surf carnival at Cronulla, as well as some scans of old photos of historic interest.

These two new NLA services are valuable additions to the tools available to researchers trying to track down relevant books and pictures to flesh out their family histories, or who would like to share some of their historic photos.

What's in this issue!
• Easter closure
• 1851 Census now available on ScotlandsPeople site
• Did your ancestor work on a Government farm?
• Situations vacant
• Australian Family Histories
• Starting your family history on the internet
COURSES etc • NSW Sources weekend
• Trip to historic Joadja
• The Three Rs
• Tracing Your English Ancestors
• Destitute and Deserted
• Tracing your Origins
• Getting to know us
• Revising the Ground Rules of Family History
WEB TIPSNew or interesting sites to help you:
• Australian Cemeteries Index
• Scotlands Family
• English and Welsh research
• Worst jobs in history
SHOPCheck these out:
• The Genealogist's Internet
• My Ancestor was a Bastard
• My Ancestor Worked in the Theatre
• A Drift of Derwent Ducks
SUBSCRIBESubscribe or alter your subscription to these newsletters

More news, from our web site More news, from our web site

SAG's Showcase 2006 brochureOur annual two day family history event is on again this year - on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 May from 10:00am - 4:00pm on both days. Like last year Showcase will be spread over four buildings, and you'll have the opportunity to get expert guidance and assistance from representatives of the National Archives of Australia and the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (both Principal Sponsors) and State Records NSW. In addition the three NSW BDM transcription agents (Joy Murrin, Marilyn Rowan and Laurie Turtle), Gould Genealogy, Archive CD Books Australia (Principal Sponsor), Library of Australian History, Aardvark Books, Mini Publishing and Cremorne Self-Publishing will all have stalls. (Principal Sponsor) and will provide internet demonstrations.

Our terrific second hand and duplicate book stall will be back, and you'll find people who can help you with software programs such as Ezitree, Family Tree Maker, The Master Genealogist and Reunion, and also with Heraldry, One Name studies, Chinese research, Huguenot research and Lebanese research. In addition all our own interest groups and experts will be present to answer your questions on Australian, Irish, German, London, Scottish and South Asian research. There'll also be lots of lookups and research assistance on NSW Land & associated records, plus Publicans, Military and Mariner research as well as the Australasian Genealogical Computer Index (AGCI).

There's a two-day lecture programme, featuring both Australian and overseas topics for the beginner and more advanced researcher. Entry to each lecture will be by gold coin, in addition to holding a valid Showcase ticket for that day. The full lecture programme is in our Showcase brochure (see below).

And, to keep the body energized, there'll be our very popular Sausage Sizzzzle, plus sandwiches, cakes and hot and cold drinks!

Tickets for Showcase are now available online, costing $15 for two days or $10 for 1 day if purchased before 5pm on 17 May - or you can buy at the door, but that's $15 per day!

All SAG members should have received a Showcase brochure by now, with the March issue of our journal, Descent. Our Showcase brochure is also available here.

April closures
We'll be closing for Easter at 4pm on Thursday 13 April 2006 and will reopen for research at 10:30am on Tuesday 18 April. That is, we will not be open on Saturday 15 April.

We will also be closed for Anzac Day on Tuesday 25 April.

1851 Census now available on ScotlandsPeople site
The indexes and images for the 1851 Census for Scotland are now available online at, in addition to the 1861, '71, '81, '91 and 1901 census records.

Did your ancestor work on a Government farm?
Pat McCooey is researching the government farms in New South Wales from 1788 to 1830 at the Australian National University in Canberra. The farms included are Farm Cove, Rose Hill (Parramatta), Toongabbie, Castle Hill, the Hawkesbury (briefly), Grose Farm (Sydney), Longbottom (Concord), Rooty Hill, Bathurst, Emu Plains, Mulgoa Forest, Cawdor, the Cowpastures (Camden) and Wellington Valley, as well as some smaller outstations for grazing the government cattle.

Any information about any of these establishments and the people who worked on them would be welcome. Contributions will be acknowledged. Please contact:

Situations vacant
Can you help with the Australasian Genealogical Computer Index (AGCI)? AGCI - the index which so many people find useful - is the result of much work by many volunteers over twenty years. Amongst them, a small team at SAG has been working away transcribing shipping arrivals into Sydney in the 1800s and recently two of their long term members have "retired" and so we're now seeking two or three new SAG members to join this group.

What's involved? Working at Rumsey Hall for about half a day a week, and copying the names from the archive shipping films into a computer file. You don't need to be a computer expert, but some familiarity with computers is useful. And there's even an editing/checking role with no computer involved.

Times available are mornings on Tuesday or Wednesday; or any afternoon Monday to Thursday. For more information, please provide your contact details to SAG's Executive Officer, Heather Garnsey, at

Australian Family Histories
In last month's newsletter our bookshop included a CD that lists and indexes the personal names in 5,637 Australian family histories. Unfortunately, the newsletter version emailed to our subscribers named the CD's compiler as Richard Reid. It was in fact Ralph Reid's work and we apologise to all - and particularly Ralph! - for our poor proof-reading!

Starting your family history on the internet
Graham Lewis, SAG's webmaster, will be introducing this subject at the Ku-ring-gai Neighbourhood Centre, St Ives Shopping Village (near the Woolworths entrance), Mona Vale Road, at 10:30am Thursday 13 April. $2 donation. Bookings essential - Tel: 9988 4966.

Click here to go to our full range of courses, lectures and other activities! Courses

Our full activity programme for the first half of 2006 is online here. Bookings for most activities can be made and paid for online. Here's a few coming up that still have places left:

NSW Sources Weekend - Sat/Sun 1/2 April, 10:30am-3:30pm
You'll need to book by Wednesday if you wish to attend this one! Join members of our Education Committee as they reveal some of the many sources available for your NSW research. If you are only beginning, or have hit a brick wall, then this weekend could be what you need to make some startling discoveries. Morning & afternoon teas provided but BYO lunch both days.
$100 ($85 SAG members)

Trip to historic Joadja - Thursday 6 April, 8:00am-5:30pm
An abandoned mining town in the Southern Highlands, built by the Australian Kerosene Oil & Mineral Company in the late 1870s to mine the huge deposits of rich shale held in the valley walls. Miners' cottages, shale ovens, the whisky distillery & cemetery are some of the things to see on the visit. Includes morning tea , BBQ sausage sizzle lunch and guided tour of historic Joadja. Itinerary available on request.
$85 ($75 SAG members)

The Three Rs - Friday 7 April, 10:00am-3:30pm
Join us for a walking tour of three of the most useful genealogical repositories in Sydney – Royal Australian Historical Society, State Records & Society of Australian Genealogists. Meet at the RAHS's History House, Macquarie Street, at 10:00am. Morning & afternoon tea provided. BYO lunch.
$22 ($18 SAG members)

Tracing Your English Ancestors - Saturday 8 April, 10:00am-3:30pm
Catering to all those out West, come along for a full day introduction to the main sources for tracing the English branches of your family tree – BDMs, probate, census and other sources. Presenter: Martyn Killion. At Western Sydney Records Centre, O'Connell Street, Kingswood. Morning & afternoon tea provided. BYO lunch.
$50 ($40 SAG members)

Destitute and Deserted - Saturday 22 April, 10:00am-12:30pm
If your ancestor was poor, pregnant and/or deserted in Sydney in the 1800s chances are they spent some time in the Sydney Benevolent Asylum - and this is sometimes where you'll find named the father of that illegitimate child you are trying to trace. Join Heather Garnsey and Martyn Killion as they explore the Benevolent Society of NSW and the valuable records it created on our 19th century ancestors.
$22 ($18 SAG members)

Tracing your Origins - Saturday 22 April, 1:30pm-3:00pm
Interested in the network of databases? Presenter Martyn Killion will reveal what's available and demonstrate the use of this website of UK and Irish resources.
$22 ($18 SAG members)

Getting to know us - Wednesday 26 April, 10:00am-12:00noon
An introductory session for new members on how to undertake research in our libraries, use our catalogues and make the most of your membership. Free for those who joined after 1 January 2005, $5 donation for others (members only).

Revising the Ground Rules of Family History - Saturday 29 April, 10:30am-3:30pm
Join members of the Education committee as they go 'back to basics'. Some of the topics covered will be charting, resources within the family, assessing the value of information gathered, logging research and storing research.
$50 ($40 SAG members)

Bookings are ESSENTIAL for all these activities other than the Interest and User Groups! Payment required with bookings. Click here to book and pay! Or telephone us at (02) 9247 3953. Or visit our website for details of all our courses and other activities, refund rules etc. All sessions held at Rumsey Hall, 24 Kent St, Sydney, unless otherwise indicated.

If you've got a tip you think is worth sharing, email us about it - click here! If you've got a tip you think is worth sharing, please let us know!!

Check out these spots on the web!

Australian Cemeteries Index
An increasing number of cemetery transcriptions are becoming available online and it's often easy to track down transcriptions for a cemetery of interest simply by Googling for it. As a result we don't often mention particular cemetery sites. However, we had one drawn to our attention by Jane Watson recently that we think deserves mention.

The Australian Cemeteries Index, at, provides monumental transcriptions from 127 little cemeteries, clustered in central New South Wales. The site is well designed and easy to navigate. There's a description of each cemetery, plus a range of photographs that give a good idea of the cemetery's general appearance and condition.

It's not necessary to search each cemetery individually for a name of interest - all cemeteries can be searched at once. This will give a "hit list", with links to not only the relevant transcriptions but often also to photographs of the headstones. Indeed, to photographs of all the headstones, in some cemeteries. The photographs are large and clear, though not generally of print quality. Better resolution photographs are sometimes available from the site owner, Reg McDonell, who's done a great job.

Scotlands Family
Scotlands Family, ( is a new genealogy portal for Scotland which offers everyone doing their own Scottish family tree research an impressive number of free on-line sources of data and information. Launched this year, it's complementary to the on-line BDM, census etc records on the ScotlandsPeople site.

The range of material linked from the site is very broad - databases, books, images, maps, gazetteers, directories, etc. This is a site that's well organised and easy to navigate - it deserves a deal of exploration and bookmarking by anyone with Scots ancestry.

English and Welsh research should be particularly useful to anyone planning to visit England or Wales to trace their ancestors. It describes each main source of information and how and where to access it.

For each area of England and Wales it shows which Record Office is the relevant one to visit. Although generally these follow historic county boundaries, there are numerous exceptions - in Yorkshire, for example, there are no less than seventeen to choose from!

For each Record Office listed, the web site provides contact details, opening hours, research fee charges and an indication of how helpful or not the Record Office’s web site is. In the case of Greater London it provides links to the archive services of each of the metropolitan boroughs.

In addition to its information on Record Offices, the web site provides details on the national repositories (National Archives, Probate Registry, National Library of Wales, etc.) and provides links to genealogical societies in England and Wales.

Worst jobs in history is a little different to those that explain the wide range of old occupations and odd occupational terms that might otherwise be found only in a very large dictionary. It concentrates instead on less than 60 jobs, drawn from across the Anglo-Saxon, Medieval, Tudor, Stuart, Georgian and Victorian eras, and provides a "situation vacant" type of description of each. Not the most useful of sites, but interesting and sometimes amusing!

Click here if you want to visit the shop at Rumsey Hall! Shop

Check out these items from our shop!
But don't forget that they're only a small part of a great collection of family history book titles available on-line, as well as local histories, CD-ROMs, charts and genealogical software - all at competitive prices!

The Genealogist's Internet by Peter Christian - just $39.95 plus p&p
A clear, authoritative guide to the wealth of family history material online. Covers major sources of primary data; discussion groups and mailing lists; ways to find others who share your surname or ancestors; comparisons of the main commercial data services; etc. Illustrated, 340 pages, softback, 15½x23½cm. [more detail]

My Ancestor was a Bastard by Ruth Paley - just $18.90 plus p&p
A family historian's guide to sources for illegitimacy in England and Wales. Provides the legal and cultural context to illegitimacy, describes a wide range of helpful sources, plus a useful section on devising a search strategy. 89 pages, softback, A5. [more detail]

My Ancestor Worked in the Theatre by Alan Ruston - just $17.45 plus p&p
A guide to tracing theatrical ancestors. Provides a brief history of the English theatre, descriptions of key sources, as well as chapters on music hall, circus, etc. Lists specialist archives and repositories. 78 pages, softback, A5. [more detail]

A Drift of Derwent Ducks by Trudy Mae Cowley - just $48.00 plus p&p
Tells the stories of the 200 Irish women transported to Van Diemen's Land on the Australasia in 1849, to serve terms of seven years to life. Reveals their heartaches, families, friendships, relationships, crimes and deaths. Includes a CD with each of the 200 biographies in PDF format. 396 pages, softback, A5. [more detail]

All the above items available on-line, or by mailing, calling or faxing us with your name and credit card details - contact details at top.

Or visit us at 24 Kent Street and see our whole range.

Charges for postage and packing vary with destination and weight, starting at $1.50. For detail, see here.

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© Society of Australian Genealogists 2006 - all rights reserved

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