14: Family History on the Web WEA Centre
Adelaide 10:00am to 1:00pm
17: Tracing your Irish ancestors Mt Barker Community
Library 1:30 to 4:30pm
20: Coming to grips with FamilySearch WEA
Centre Adelaide 10:00am to 1:00pm
26: Tracing your English ancestors WEA Centre
Adelaide 6:30pm to 9:30pm
8: Burnside Library FH Group 6:30pm
10: Tracing your English ancestors Huguenot Society
25: Genealogy on the Web West Torrens Public
Library 1:30 to 3:00pm
See the seminar program
for more details and bookings.
Defence records seminar
The NAA Adelaide Office will host a free seminar on accessing
defence records 9 Mar 2010 10:00 to 11:00am. Bookings: (08) 8409 8400.
I read with interest your latest newsletter and wanted to let you
know that here in Berri we were not aware of the closure of the NAA
offices in Adelaide. I am involved in the library and researching
and I had heard there were to be cutbacks but I was not aware of the
closure. There must be many others here in the Riverland and elsewhere
in SA who are also unaware of the proposed closure.
Riverland history researchers use the NAA and State Records quite
a bit, often staying in the city overnight to allow time to sit and
research. It is enough that we need to travel to Adelaide, there are
going to be a lot of sad people once they know they may need to travel
to Sydney to obtain SA records!
How else can we assist in getting this ridiculous decision overturned?
Graham Jaunay responds: Clearly the political leaders think
it is a done deal and so the time has come to look to your local Federal
MP. With an election in the wind before the closure in 2011, that
person may be keen to retain their seat! Write a personal letter,
send a deputation to air your concerns and/or consider a petition
at the local level. On the national level, the politicians can comfortably
ignore petitions containing tens of thousands of names but can the
local member afford to ignore a couple of hundred? What was their
winning margin last election? See special newsletters 48a,
48c and 48d.
A record number of responses was received as a result of the newsletter
article on the closure of the Adelaide Office of the NAA.
Royal Naval service records
The National Archives
reports that the final batch of Admiralty files from ADM139 have now
been digitised. This means over 680,000 Royal Navy seamen records
are now available to search and download online.
Ordering LDS films
A number of people have advised that their local LDS Centre no longer
accepts orders for films and clients are told to order online without
giving specific instructions on how to do this. You can order online
Defence records seminar
Royal Naval service records
Ordering LDS films
Archives closure update
Glandore SA 5037
Tel: +61 8 8371 4465
• Drafting charts
• Locating documents
• Seminar presentations
• Writing & publishing
• SA lookup service
• Ship paintings
Adelaide Proformat uses
Genealogist - for UK census, BMD indexes and more online simply because it contains quality data checked by experts.
Proformat News acknowledges the support by
nineteenth century saw an explosion of a publication genre we could
loosely describe as information guides. Their popularity matched the
growing literacy of the community but in fact such publications have
a much longer history. This article is restricted to directories some
of which are better described as almanacs, gazetteers and directories.
To be included in this topic the publication must have some listing
of a section of the population.
The Roger L'estrange's 1677 London Directory, A collection of
the names of the Merchants living in and about the City of London,
is the earliest known publication while the Sydney's 1832 New
South Wales calendar and general post office directory was the
first in Australia.
As Roger L'estrange states on the cover of his publication—very
useful and necessary. Directories were an essential tool in the
daily lives of middle class people seeking products, services and
locating friends and associates.
As the concept developed, the simple listings were embellished with
all types of information ranging from the very useful right through
to useless. Very specialised directories were also developed and for
the family historian probably one of the more useful English publications
in this niche has to be Crockford's Clerical Directories
relating to the Church of England.
Family history is often all about tracing where people lived because
until you hold this information it can be very difficult to locate
their records and one of the most effective ways of tracing members
of a family is through searching directories.
The value of a directory to a researcher is very much dependent upon
the compilation process used. Prior to the mid 1880s users cannot
expect to find a full listing due to a number of problems faced by
the publishers. This means that an omission in a directory should
be considered to be just that and no more. It is dangerous to assume
that the lack of an entry means that the person sought was not resident!
When one considers the compilation issues faced at the time, the researcher
can come to a better understanding an may even be in a position to
formulate some theories as to why a particular person was not listed.
The primary problem confronted by publishers in the mid part of the
nineteenth century revolved around the process of obtaining information.
Often there was not local precedent provided by an earlier publication
and so potential entrants were not aware of such a project. Clearly
citizens knowing of the existence of a directory may keep an eye out
for the process to get their name in the publication. The data for
early directories was gathered up by a multitude of agents and how
these people acted had an obvious result on the level of accuracy
of the material published. The scattered nature of early communities
would also contribute to the coverage of the directory. Street numbering
in Australian towns and cities was uncommon until the latter part
of the nineteenth century and this could scarcely have aided the compilation
The other significant problem faced was one of time. Most publishers
attempted to have their edition circulating early in the year and
as such the data collection had to take place in the prior year. Thus
finding a listing in a directory can only be considered as appropriate
for the previous year. Here one has to be quite careful as often short
cuts were taken and names were just carried over from the previous
edition if the agent had not managed to confirm the information.
Some directories proclaim a level of official recognition with terms
like post office and/or official in their titles.
They can be found with royal coats of arms emblazoned on their covers
whereas in reality these efforts were just marketing ploys and there
is little evidence of such support in the earlier issues although
it seems likely that much of the detailed information came from government
departments and other organisations no doubt through their official
publications such as the Government Gazette. When we examine
Australia directories there is much evidence, often found in the directories
themselves that later publications were given significant assistance
by the various colonial post offices and their staff including letter-carriers.
A researcher can use the Adelaide
Proformat web site to locate Australian directories by year
of issue and colony/state by colony/state.
Before using a resource, a wise researcher needs to ascertain the
reliability of the resource and thus determine a the veracity of the
material. Information from a source of poor reliability needs good
supporting evidence before it is considered factual. In the previous
paragraphs the reliability of directories has been questioned. This
doubt about accuracy should not be taken lightly. Directories were
hastily compiled, only revised periodically, restricted in their coverage
and scope and often relied on other publications for their content.
The entries were not cross-checked and time constraints meant minimal,
if any, proof reading. Mistakes are common and range from simple typos,
missed household to whole pages of misinformation. The time lag between
collection of data and publication is significant in those socio-economic
suburbs that experience considerable mobility. Even the author's middle
class families did not always own their homes and so frequently shifted
address. The nature of society of the time means there is an under
representation of certain classes of people and trades and occupations.
Since directories only name the head of a household, servants and
the like living on the premises are never included. In some sections
of the community, the fear of authority, may have resulted in the
provision of false names or the withholding of a name to the directory
agent at the door. In Gareth Shaw's 1984 study, Directories as
sources in urban history: a review of British and Canadian material,
he compared the Exeter directory 1889–90 coverage with the 1891
Census to discover a 51 to 65% directory coverage (pp 40–1).
Apart from errors and commissions ensure that your searching has been
thorough. Consider all possible name variants and potential errors.
Determine suburb name, street name, house number may have changed
over time. Check that the boundaries of suburbs have not changed or
that the listing may also be under broader areas such South Adelaide.
As suggested elsewhere, the failure to find a listing may not be the
fault of the directory. Individuals are not listed for a range of
• did not wish to be listed
• was not the head of the household
• could not afford the listing fee
• did not meet the publication deadline
• outside the prerequisites of the directory
In Australia we do not have the luxury of censuses to fall back on
and so we are rather more reliant on the directory. Within South Australia
we cannot even expect to find an Electoral Roll our best alternative
being a local government rate book and therefore directories, in spite
of their limitations, are an essential resource for researchers seeking
information about specific people, places and institutions at a particular
Directories can also allow us to follow the movement of a particular
family and this has been much enhanced recently by Archival Digital
Books (Gould) development of searchable
Australian directories published on CD/DVDs.
for example, Jules Gilmour Jaunay moves about the eastern seaboard
of Australia and we can follow his movements with the use of directories:
1883—Somerset Place 32 Docker Street Richmond
1884—Somerset Place 32 Docker Street Richmond
VIC (Sands & McDougall pp 585)
1884—74 George Street East Melbourne VIC (Sands
& McDougall pp 125; 585)
1886—New Street Brighton VIC
1891—22 Fitzgerald Street South Yarra VIC
1899—Bookseller 556 Erskine Street Sydney
1900-01—Ivanhoe Street Marrickville NSW
1902—28 Belmore Street Sydney NSW (Sands
pp 55; 480; 1139)
1904—121 Elizabeth Street Ashfield NSW (Wise
pp 124; 190; 223)
1913—Seymour Street Enfield NSW (Sands
1924—Rhyde Street Toowoomba QLD
1925-33—James Street Toowoomba QLD
1934—1935 Margaret Street Toowoomba QLD
Those publications with street numbering and/or sequences lend themselves
to identifying individual properties using modern street directories
and the likes of Google Maps. Taking an above example, 28
Belmore Street Sydney NSW (Sands pp 55), the directory tells
us that this property is located on the east side of the street between
Albion and little Belmore Streets and twelve doors down from Albion
Street. (see image) We can pinpoint these premises using Google
We can also use these publications to develop a snapshot of lifestyle,
activities and values by examining the advertisements. Those publications
with street sequences lend themselves to this type of study as neighbouring
properties and the occupations of the household heads are disclosed.
Archives closure update
A small group of protesters gathered outside the Adelaide Office of
the National Archives on Tuesday 23 Feb 2010. The size of the group
typified the problems of the campaign to prevent the closure of this
office and those in Hobart and Darwin. The number of concerned people
are just not significant to worry any politician looking to be re-elected.
The only media present was a crew from the ABC's 7:30 Report.
The group was somewhat mollified with a media release form the Minister
Government listens on National Archives. The paper says that
greater efforts will be made to establish a co-location with a similar
repository. Of course this has been canvassed before and previously
failed. Let's hope that the new initiative bears fruit. On 23 Feb
2010, the Minister made a statement
to the Senate which can be viewed here.
The protesters also received a handout from a Legislative Council
Independent candidate in the approaching State Election, outlining
the approaching demise of the services offered and loss of records
by the SA State Library as the heritage Mortlock Wing is turned into
a function centre!
The 7:30 Report segment was broadcast on Tuesday, 23 Feb
can view the clip here but caution it is a large 34mB file.
English parish records and how to access them
from afar is the subject of the next newsletter.
In the meantime watch the adjacent video to get a taste of what
to expect. Just click on the image. You may have to wait for
your browser software to open.
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