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:No: 34
December 2008

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SA contributors
A number of new biographies have been added to this section of the web site.

Australian Joint Copying Project

The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) was the longest-running project of its kind in the world. It located, described and filmed thousands of classes and collections of Australian, New Zealand and Pacific records held in hundreds of locations.

The AJCP started in 1945 with the National Library of Australia (NLA) and the State Library of New South Wales (SLNSW) deciding to copy material relating to Australia and the Pacific held in the Public Record Office (PRO) now known as The National Archives (TNA) in Kew, London. This group of records is known as the PRO Series. The NLA has published a series of guides on this series in a range of seven booklets linked to the appropriate government agency—Colonial Office, Home Office, War Office, Foreign Office, Board of Trade and Treasury, Exchequer and Audit Department, Privy Council, Board of Longitude, Admiralty Records and Dominions Office

From 1960 onwards coverage was extended to include archives and manuscripts held in the British Library, the National Libraries of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, university libraries, museums, learned societies, business archives, county and city record offices, missionary societies and private homes. These microfilms formed the Miscellaneous Series or M Series.

In 1988 for a further five years the AJCP continued under the direction of the NLA, supported by the State Library of Victoria, the National Library of New Zealand, the National Archives of New Zealand and several university libraries. The AJCP Office in London was closed in June 1993 and the last reel was received in 1997. These final five years are outlined in a booklet published by the NLA.
In this issue:
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Feature article
Australian Joint Copying Project


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This collection is grossly under used by family historians trying to make the link between settlement in Australia and the former life in the British Isles. There are a number of issues relating to poor use:
    • unawareness of the AJCP
    • limited access opportunities
    • navigational difficulties.

Unawareness of the AJCP
The material is divided into two series: the PRO Series and the Miscellaneous Series. There are 7314 reels in the PRO Series and 3105 reels in the M Series. The PRO Series is organised by the department or agency of the British Government that created and assembled the records, such as the Colonial Office, Home Office, Treasury or Admiralty. The M Series reels are grouped either under the person or body that created the records, such as Sir Joseph Banks or the London Missionary Society, or the repository that currently holds the records, such as the British Library, National Library of Ireland, or Buckinghamshire Record Office.

Limited access opportunities
The cost to purchase such a huge collection puts much of the material out of the reach of many libraries and all family history societies. You will find individual reels and films of specific interest to a region in many locations. In South Australia, a bequest enabled the Flinders University to purchase the whole collection. All university libraries received government funding conditional on allowing the general public to access their collections. Apart from the Flinders University, the author knows that the SA Genealogy Society, the State Library and State Records Reading Rooms hold films PRO 874 and 875 from the Colonial Office set: CO 386/149-151 Register of Emigrant Labourers Applying for a Free Passage to South Australia 1836-1841 as these are of particular interest to South Australian researchers. Apart from the Flinders University, the complete series is held only by the State Library of NSW, the National LIbrary of Australia and the State Library of Victoria. Quite a number of other institutions hold almost complete sets and these are listed in the AJCP handbook, Part 1. If a library near you does not have the film you require they may be able to obtain it from the National LIbrary of Australia by purchase or via an interlibrary loan.

Navigational difficulites.
You can buy the AJCP handbooks from the NLA online. These are an essential element to gaining an understanding of the collection and its content. While organisations may not be in a position to fund the purchase of much of the collection, the handbooks should be more readily available.
    Part 1: General Introduction and Shelf List
    Part 2: Colonial Office — statistical returns, reports of officials, letters and petitions from private individuals
    Part 3: Home Office — Old Bailey sessions, convict transportation registers, returns, musters, censuses, pardons
    Part 4: War Office — troops in Australia including the NSW Corps
    Part 5: Foreign Office — Pacific Islands’ trade and commerce, employment of local labour, missionary activity, petitions from native rulers, copies of treaties, proclamations
    Part 6: Board of Trade, Treasury, Exchequer and Audit Department, Privy Council, Board of Longitude — trade legislation, land grants, convicts, banking, telegraph, whaling, fisheries, salaries, the Australian Flying Corp
    Part 7: Admiralty Records — ships, freight, log books, convicts, payment of marines, voyages of James Cook, establishment of the settlement of NSW
    Part 8: Miscellaneous Series — maritime records, emigrant diaries and letters, convict records, archives of missionary societies, scientific records, papers of politicians and officials; imperial relations, migration, trade, public finance, business, defence, scientific research
    Part 9: Public Records Office, Personal Collections — British settlement in Australia, Pacific whale fishery, convicts, appointments of governors, British interests in New Guinea and the Pacific
    Part 10: Dominions Office — 1924-1951 politics, constitutional crises, public administration, defence, World War II, trade, economic affairs, communications, migration, foreign relations and race relations
    Part 11: Public Records Office, Classes filmed in the final five years of the Project

You can search the details of each filmed series via the Flinders University Library online catalogue.
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