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Proformat News
No: 45
November 2009
November Seminars
9: Coming to grips with FamilySearch WEA Centre Adelaide 10:00 to 1:00pm

December Seminars
6: Coming to grips with FamilySearch WEA Centre Adelaide 10:00 to 1:00pm

See the seminar program for more details.

S&N and The Genealogist
Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine published by the BBC ran an independent review of all the genealogy subscription services in their October issue. was the top rated web site and also voted Best Value out of all the services. If you decide to subscribe to The Genealogist then please consider doing so via this newsletter.
New material on the site includes:
• PCC Wills & Probate Records additional records bringing the total number of records to 460,000+ searchable by name, year of will, year of probate, area and profession.
• Dorset and Devon Parish Record transcripts added for Dorset (now 60,000+ individuals from 1658–1839. Devon (now nearly 40,000 individuals) from 1538–1837.
• Overseas Marine/Maritime Deaths aboard British registered vessels
have 25,000+ additional records, with images bringing the total number to over 210,000.

New on ScotlandsPeople
Catholic Parish Registers – baptisms
Marriage Index 1934–2006

Occupational records
Knowing an ancestor’s occupation can often reveal much about the life style of their family and explain many of the major decisions, such as migration, taken during their lifetime. Determining an occupation is not always as easy as it may seem and although we think an occupation may cover a working life, in fact many men and women changed occupations during their life. The majority may have been closely related but this is not necessarily so. There are examples of emigrants stating a false occupation to gain assisted passage to South Australia. In my own family background, a farm labourer was in a position to purchase land to the value of £1000 within months of arrival in the colony as an assisted passenger. Possibly the easiest way to determine a male person’s occupation during their earlier years of marriage is to locate their marriage certificate and then follow though looking at each child’s birth certificate. We have to accept that very few women took on paid occupation and the overwhelming majority of those who did gave it up at marriage to raise a family or because their employer did not employ married women. In the UK we can pursue occupations throughout a person’s life via the census records.

In this issue:
November Seminars
December Seminars
S&N and The Genealogist
New on ScotlandsPeople

Feature article
Occupational records


Graham Jaunay
Adelaide Proformat

Glandore SA 5037

Tel: +61 8 8371 4465

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In South Australia there are a number of repositories holding occupational records. For government employees, the researcher needs to attend the Reading Room at State Records of SA, while the State Library may hold records of people employed by private businesses. Both institutions have online catalogues that can assist this process, however, these catalogues are unlikely to name the employees and the best you can expect is the name of the employer. The researcher will have to trawl through the records themselves. This is a case where the researcher has to have some previous idea of the trade or profession of the target person. For example if you already know that a person was a teacher in SA before 1961 then the online index of teachers maintained by the University of South Australia [Ed: since closed] would be the starting point although apart from naming the school, the index has no value in that it provides no more information about the individual.

The records held by State Records vary in the level of disclosure from department to department. Use the search engine to see whether a department ‘s employee records are available. One cannot expect to locate recent records as many are embargoed. For example a search using the terms as pictured: railway AND employee. brought up the SAR employee files 1941 to 1986, Series GRS/8161. Clicking on the ID on the results page reveals that the public cannot access this material. However, GRS/115: Chronological lists of agreements concerning apprenticeships, retirements, leases, leases of railway cottages, memoranda of transfer, etc is available for public perusal, and that strengthens the need to undertake comprehensive searches. On the other hand GRG42/131: Staff Register South Australian Railways 1853–1913 is open for public inspection.

Look for employee records from the Post and Telegraph Department, the Government Printer, Port Augusta Hospital, Engineering and Water Supply Department, the former District Council of Blanchetown, later Swan Reach, Department of Mines, Railway employees’ record of war service, etc.

For government employees in the earliest days of the colony, the records of the Chief Secretary’s Office may hold the record as with GRG24/80: Pay list for labourers employed on survey of SA 1839–1840.

Government records also contain personal information about the citizenry. Consider the circumstances of your target family and what contacts they may have had with the bureaucracy that required them to give personal information—for example, were they admitted to an institution, did their children attend a state school? Look for personal information in hospital, asylum and gaol records, seek out school admission registers.

The private sector employee records are held by the State Library, but unlike the government collection where departments are required by law to deposit records it relies on businesses voluntarily depositing their records and that makes finding records rather hit and miss. Larger businesses are more likely to deposit records whereas Mr Jones, the corner butcher is very unlikely to deposit any records anywhere! In the catalogue search the Archival & manuscript collections. Using the term employee will reveal SA Gas Company employee records 1909–1984. Perry Engineering, Penfolds Wines, Balfours, GMH, and Coldstream are among the companies depositing their records with the State Library. If the business concerned is known then a name search is the more effective way to produce a result.

The State Library also holds a collection of Parliamentary Papers and there are many entries relating to public servants. The material, on open shelves, is not indexed and the researcher needs to trawl through the books. Start by looking at Parliamentary Paper No 2 each year as this issue normally listed the public servants of the day. Shelved nearby are the SA Government Gazettes and many appointments of public servants are listed. For teachers and police, locate those departments’ gazettes but do not overlook the records held in the State records collection. The library also holds a good collection of commercial directories and some listings include the business or occupation. Directories are increasingly becoming more accessible as ArchiveCD Books produce searchable CD scans of these (and other) publications.
Whilst in the State Library one should check for published employee records, businesses and biographies such as JL Hoad, Hotels and publicans of South Australia 1836–1984, South Australian land owners 1835–1841 [CD]: official returns of the ownership of country sections within Adelaide and the immediate region compiled by Graham Jaunay, GJ Drew, Burra miners 1860–1865, etc.

Pictured: Government Gazette 1849, Police Gazettes of the 1860s and Boorthby's 1870 Directory.

The National Archives of Australia hold records pertaining to employees of the Commonwealth. The collection also includes good records relating to crews of shipping into Australian ports
The Commonwealth of Australia Gazette contains appointments in all departments including the armed forces. For employees in the first half of the 20th century, the annual publication, List of permanent officers of the Commonwealth Public Service is a useful resource.

Do not ignore specialist and regional archives, museums and libraries. Many are listed on Adelaide Proformat's web site.

For a comprehensive listing of some specific employment records held in major collections, the reader is referred to AG Peake, Sources for South Australian History [2nd Ed].

While this newsletter concentrates on South Australian records, it would be remiss not to look at sourcing occupational records in the UK as many of us eventually turn our research to this part of the world. A good place to start is with the link list supplied by GENUKI and of course the Census returns are a useful resource. Gareth Hicks also provides a comprehensive occupations list to assist research, and some links to other useful sites. [Ed: Hicks site no longer available.]

Many different occupations and trades have made provision for archiving employment records, some of which can be viewed online, like the British Telecom archives and the Mills archive for Millers and Milling.The Guildhall library manuscripts section has published information leaflets as a guide to records held including those for many occupations, and this can be viewed online. The National Archives also provides online leaflets regarding some occupations, for example Nursing Services and Armed Forces.
For a wider perspective look at Cyndi’s List. It is well worth browsing through the list for the individual occupation of interest.
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