13 July 2012

J is for Java

This week's 'Family History Through the Alphabet' challenge focuses on the letter 'J'.

J is for... Java

Monumental Inscriptions from Selected European Graves in Burial Grounds in Java 1700-1939, by Rhonda Kerr, has inscriptions in European languages other than Dutch. Dutch inscriptions are included only if the person was born outside Java or Holland.

This information is from my book Specialist Indexes in Australia: a Genealogist's Guide.

There is another 'J is for...' post in my Queensland Genealogy blog. More tips for family history are in my other articles in this A-Z series. If the information and advice is useful, have a look at this page.

04 July 2012

F is for Fires

Here is my contribution to 'F' in the 'Family History Through the Alphabet' series.

F is for... Fires.
  • Fires are usually reported in newspapers. For Australia, start by checking the National Library's digitised newspapers on Trove. Similar sites exist for other countries. Some of the overseas pay-to-view sites can be used free of charge at State Libraries, local Council libraries or family history society libraries.

  • A fire often resulted in financial difficulty for the business or individuals involved. There may be references to insolvency in newspapers or Government Gazettes, but the best information for family history purposes would be in insolvency files held by State Government archives.

  • The Australasian Insurance and Banking Record Fire Index 1886-1921 (at the John Oxley Library, Brisbane, Queensland) gives town, year, brief details of the fire, and the volume, year and page reference for the Australasian Insurance and Banking Record.

  • State Archives in Queensland, and presumably elsewhere, hold files for 'fire inquests', which are indexed by the name of the town. These files are about enquiries into fires that caused damage to a home, business, woolshed, barn, haystack etc. Hotels seem to have been particularly at risk. Fire inquest files usually give the place, date and supposed cause of the fire; details of damage (and injuries, if any); names of any suspected persons; and witness statements about the circumstances of the fire. Perhaps your ancestor was a neighbour or bystander who gave evidence at the enquiry!

  • The book Brisbane on Fire: a History of Firefighting 1860-1925 is a hardcover publication of 239 pages, with an index, bibliography, photographs and appendices. At a Lifeline Bookfest I bought a copy signed by the author (Ken Capell). I no longer need it, so I am willing to sell it and donate the proceeds to charity.

You will find more tips for family history in my other articles in this series. If the information and advice is useful, have a look at this page.

01 July 2012

B is for Birth Place

Continuing with the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge...

B is for Birth Place.

Sources from which I have discovered an exact place of birth (a town or parish) include:
  1. census records
  2. names of family houses or farms
  3. death certificates
  4. marriage certificates in Queensland, NSW or Victoria
  5. birth certificates of the subject's children born in Queensland, NSW or Victoria
  6. hospital admission registers
  7. benevolent asylum records
  8. mental asylum records (insanity files)
  9. military service records
  10. inquest files
  11. documents in Supreme Court probate files
  12. newspaper notices (marriage, death, obituary etc.)
  13. newsletters / magazines published by clubs, churches, societies or occupational groups
  14. headstones
  15. memorial plaques in churches
  16. cemetery burial records
  17. church registers of baptism, marriage and burial
  18. Police Gazettes
  19. Police Station and Police Department records
  20. naturalisation records
  21. registers of teachers
  22. police staff files
  23. files on dentists who had difficulty being recognised by the Board
  24. immigration records (especially 20th century)
  25. personal family papers, diaries, letters, bibles etc
  26. any of the above records for the subject's brothers or sisters.

These are just the sources that I can think of right now. Some of these sources are online at (for example) FindMyPast (Australia) and FindMyPast (UK).

Where else have you found a reference to the exact town or parish in which a person was born?

You will find more tips for family history in my other articles in this series. If the information and advice is useful, have a look at this page.

A is for Asylums, Arndell Index and Ashton

I'm sure Alona will forgive me for being late in joining the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge.

A is for...
  • Asylums.  If someone in your family tree 'vanished', look in mental asylum records. Causes of depression and other forms of mental illness included childbirth, epilepsy, head injury, alcohol, syphilis, congenital defect, jealousy, bereavement and 'domestic troubles'. Many patients (and their relatives) had been in asylums in other States and/or other countries. My Web site lists thousands of names from my indexes to mental asylum records. Start by reading the article about asylum case books.

  • Arndell Index.  Originally on 48,000 cards, this index was compiled mainly from early parish registers for the Hawkesbury region of New South Wales, Australia. It is thought to contain complete indexes (1811-1971) for St. Matthew's, Windsor; St. John's, Wilberforce; St. James's, Pitt Town; St. Peter's, Richmond; and the Presbyterian Church, Ebenezer. The index is held by the Society of Australian Genealogists. (This information is from the book Specialist Indexes in Australia: a Genealogist's Guide, which is described on my Web site.)

  • ASHTON.  Catherine ('Kitty') ASHTON of Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire, England, married Peter MATTHEW or MATHEW of Crambe, North Yorkshire, in 1803. Census records imply that Kitty was born about 1777 at Swinton, Yorkshire. Was she related to James ASHTON and Thomas ASHTON who witnessed marriages at Kirby Misperton 1804-1807? If you are researching ASHTON of Swinton or Kirby Misperton, please contact me.

You may find some useful tips in my other articles in this series.
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