Jenny Higgins (National Library of Australia), Tim Hogan and Anne Burrows (State Library of Victoria) at the Mulwala Conference

Jenny Higgins (National Library of Australia), Anne Burrows and Tim Hogan (State Library of Victoria) at the Mulwala Conference

Two and a half days of family history by the Lake albeit a cold and rainy Mulwala! An excellent range of speakers and very well organised by the Victorian Association of Family History Organisations (VAFHO) and Yarrawonga Family History Group. The theme The border and beyond most fitting as it was held just over the river from Yarrawonga in Victoria.

More than 150 people attended including representatives from a number of states (Victoria, New South Wales, ACT, South Australia and Queensland). There were also staff from a few Victorian and New South Wales public libraries, agencies including Public Record Office Victoria and State Tustees as well as the State Library of Victoria and National Library of Australia.

Some highlights :

Jenny Higgins ” Plug into the National Library of Australia” gave us an insight into the uses of Trove ( for family historians.

Paul Parton “What’s new at FamilySearch” (  Paul outlined some new initiatives, such as  free training classes available on the website on subjects ranging from European research to US military records.

Jenny Carter “Were they pushed or were they pulled”  A thought provoking account of the many reasons motivating our ancestors to move around –  for example the lure of gold, family problems and looking for work in the 1930s. Jenny emphasised the importance of  this historical context in family history research.

Dr Val Noone “Life and progress in Victoria’s border regions, 1895 : Michael Davitt’s views”  Dr Noone, a University of Melbourne academic continued on this theme with a case study of Davitt’s visit to country Victoria from May to November 1895. Davitt was famous in the English trade union movement and Irish home rule. Dr Noone’s paper highlighted the intersection of family history with public events.

Shauna Hicks “Family history on the cheap – Tips and tricks” In the last address of the Conference  on Sunday 30 May, Shauna gave us a number of time (and in some cases money) saving hints, beginning with the use of family sources, such as bibles and the importance of not ‘reinventing the wheel’, that is checking what has already been researched.   For more ideas you could check out Shauna’s publication with the same title as this talk  which is on order for our Genealogy Centre collection.

The CD-ROM Conference proceedings will soon be available in the Centre as well if you would like to read any or all of the papers.

Stay tuned for the next major family history conference in Australia to be held in my home town Adelaide  in March 2012  Your ancestors in their social context (


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  1. Pingback: New resources in Genealogy Centre « Family Matters | State Library of Vicotria

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