This year’s Family History Feast was dedicated to the memory of Don Grant (1932–2011), a former staff member of the State Library of Victoria and Public Record Office Victoria and a significant contributor to Australian genealogy.  A tribute to Don Grant was held in the afternoon, where Shane Carmody (SLV), Pat Eade (AIGS) and Jenny Harkness (VAFHO) shared their experiences working with Don. He was referred to as a kind soul and forever a gentleman. It was lovely to see Don’s wife and daughter at the event, as well as friends and ex work colleagues of Don. Don will be sadly missed by the genealogy community.

Following on from the tribute, was the annual Don Grant Lecture. This year’s lecture “Storming the barricades – the family history revolution” was presented by Dr Andrew Lemon, President of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

Dr Lemon was an incredibly engaging speaker. Revolution, he described was an apt description of the changes brought about by the study of family history. The 1970s saw the beginning of this revolution. Prior to this, records were much harder to access.  Like the industrial revolution, technology played a huge part in this change. Even before the Internet, tape recorders, microfiche/film and cheaper publishing options, helped drive access to records. He described family historians as a guerilla army, waging their revolution with militia groups known as the GSV and AIGS. The indexing of records became a priority for repositories, if only as means of defence against enthusiastic family historians.

Power has shifted into the hands of the people. The power to take history into our own hands.  But with Power comes responsibility. The responsibility to accurately record the past, to not blur important distinctions or be careless with detail.

To shine light on the dark places of history.

Well done to Dr Andrew Lemon, for a fantastic talk to end the 2011 Family History Feast.  A video of Andrew’s lecture will be made available on our website at a later stage.

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