The range of records available for family history research in state and national archives is extraordinary! Talks from different government archives during this years Family History Feast provided a terrific insight into their collections.
Joan Hunt from the Ballarat Archives Centre of the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) outlined the records useful for researching ancestors on the gold fields. The records held at the Ballarat Archive Centre are those created by government agencies from Ballarat, the western district and central highlands and consist mainly of local court and council records. A series of parish and township plans (VPRS 16171) was particularly interesting. Joan explained that they have recently been digitised and are now available from the PROV website. These plans include the names of the first freehold land owner and are described in more detail in PROV Guide 30.
Kim Burrell from the National Archives of Australia (NAA) introduced the audience to the NAA’s new website and interface for the catalogue called RecordSearch. While the NAA’s role is to collect preserve and provide access to Commonwealth Government records from 1901, it does hold some earlier records in its collections including those relating to the Victorian Colonial Defence Force and the Boer War. Kim described some a number of different kinds for records from World War beyond the very popular solider service records. These includes records of prisoners of war, internees, surveillance operations as well as the Alien Registration forms which are now freely available online via RecordSearch.