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Liz Pidgeon
  • Melbourne, Victoria
  • Australia
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Yarra Plenty Genealogy

Researchers giving back this Christmas

There has never been a better time to undertake a local or family history research project. Increased online accessibility to digitised records, many of which have been indexed through the genealogy giants FamilySearchAncestryFind My Past and My Heritage and archives and libraries around the world.
The Summer period is a good time to delve into these records as we avail ourselves of holidays from employment, education and usual routines. But have you thought about giving back this Christmas? There are online projects available in transcription and indexing in particular but also tagging, content curation through list making and more.
Have a look at these suggestions for your down time this summer. You will have to register first with the site before you can make your contribution.
Criminal Characters Transcribe prison records of the Pubic Records Office Victoria
The Real Face of White Australia Transcribing records that document the lives of ordinary people living under the restrictions of the White Australia Policy during the first half of the 20th century.
Transcribing the collection from the State Library of New South Wales
Trove Correct text, add tags and comments, categorise newspaper articles, create lists and more on this premier research site from the National Library for your Australian research.
Transcribe National Archives of Australia
Family Search Indexing. A guided tour shows you step-by-step how to index with over 100 projects to choose from
Billiongraves Take photos and transcribe information found on headstones.
Crowd Sourcing Indexing Pick a project. Perhaps the City of Adelaide 1840's assessment books
Library of Congress (USA)
National Archives (USA)
Edwardian Postcard Project
Tag out of copyright images from the British Library on Flickr (includes images from and about Australia)
Smithsonian Digital Volunteer 

POWs in post war Australia

The next meeting of the Heidelberg Historical Society presents Christina Twomey (Professor of History and Head of the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies at Monash University) who will present her talk:

The Battle Within- POWs in post war Australia.

During World War Two over 30,000 Australians were captured by enemy forces and became prisoners of war.
Almost 22,000 returned home at the end of the war.  Most studies of POWs end at the point of liberation, but in this talk Christina will focus on what happened to former POWs after the camp gates were thrown open.
The talk will outline why the Government and the community found it difficult to respond to former POWs with empathy and understanding.
This talk is free and will be held at the Uniting Church Community Centre, Seddon Street, Ivanhoe Tuesday 13 August at 8pm.
To read more about Prisoners of War and the Second World War check out this reading list:
Prisoners of War

Family History Month 2019

Have you uncovered a secret in your family? A convict, a wartime hero or perhaps the immigration of pioneer ancestor who left their birthplace behind for a new life in Australia?

Winter is the perfect time to discover your own unique family story. August is National Family History Month and Yarra Plenty Regional Library is delivering a program of speakers and workshops to help you connect with your past.  From tips for researching, preserving and sharing your family stories to inspiring stories of the past.

The library is a great place to start your research journey with free access to subscription websites such as Ancestry and Find My past and the opportunity to join a genealogy group or get advice from other researchers.

It is important to gather stories from family members, especially from Grandparents, gather family records and identify heritage photos. You will soon be on a path to discover more and with increased digitised and indexed records online, online trees and the DNA revolution there has never been a better time to start your family history journey.

Look for these upcoming events  (note, some events require bookings) and more via National Family History Month

Preserving Letters

Caring for Family Archives often become the responsibility of the family historian. Personal letters, especially written by hand with first-hand accounts of a life and experiences can invoke a time and place and connect the family history researcher very much to their personal past.
Robert recently inquired at the library about binding his Uncle’s letters which he had recently inherited. We asked him if the letters were in good condition. Potential damage to look out for include: biological infestations, structural damage and adhesive damage and surface damage. Read more about this in this article on Paper Restoration from  If this is the case a professional conservators services may be needed.
I suggested to Robert that in fact binding his letters may not be a good idea. Professional Conservators talk about any treatment to materials should be done so that it can also be undone.
He should digitise his collection and transcribe the letters. Perhaps there is information that would help him understand any heritage photographs that his Uncle may have also left behind.
Each page should be stored in a protective sleeve. These sleeves can then be placed in order in an archive folder with slip case. Use the digital copies as access copies and these can also be freely shared with other family members.
Finally I suggested that Robert attend one of our upcoming events upcoming events at YPRL next month as part of our Family History Month Program.
Preserving your Family  History

Are you a descendant of an immigrant on the David Clark?

Ship David Clark Caming [sic] into the Harbour of Malta 1820" courtesy of Lance Pymple

The David Clark was the first ship to bring assisted immigrants direct to Port Phillip in October 1839.  All were Scots and many settled in the Kangaroo Ground and Heidelberg districts including the Bell family.
To mark the 180th anniversary, descendants of those passengers are invited to attend a reunion on Sunday 27 October 2019 at Gulf Station, Yarra Glen.
Gulf Station is an historic farm, now managed by the National Trust, once owned by William Bell, who was one of the passengers.
To receive information as plans are confirmed, email Irene at :

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Profile Information

What surnames are you interested in researching?
ALBINS/ALBANS 1822 + Lincoln, England
ALBINS/ALBANS 1852+ Timor, Vic.
BYRNE 1880 Vic.
CAMM Tas & Vic.
COMANS, 1850+ Bylands, Vic.
FREEMAN, 1780+ Kent, England
GOOD 1835+ MLN, Scotland
GOOD 1886+ New Zealand
GROSE Pre 1873 Cornwall, England
GROSE 1873+ Qld & Vic.
HOLMES 1903 + Birchip, Casterton, Vic.
HUMPHRIES 1915+ Casterton, Vic.
JAMES 1827+ CON, England
KEANE 1830 + Limerick, Ireland
KENNEDY, 1852+ Bylands, Vic.
KENNEDY 1942 Lockhart, NSW
KOEHLER 1790 + Ireland
LEES, 1787+ Stafford, England
McANDREW 1865+ Tourello, Vic
NEWBORN 1924 Northcote, Vic.
NORRIS 1818+ Kent, England
O'BRIEN 1854+ Kilmore, Shepparton, Vic.
O'GRADY 1793+ Dublin, Ireland
O'MEARA 1860+ Geelong, Vic.
OVER 1906 England and India
PARSONS 1776+ Surrey, England
PIDGEON 1770+ Wicklow, Ireland
PIDGEON, 1841 + Australia
POPE 1820+ Devon, England
ROBERTS, 1788+ YKS, England
ROBERTS 1855 + Castlemaine, Vic.
RYAN 1860+ Geelong & Donald, Vic
RYAN 1862+ Pyalong, Birchip, Mildura, Vic. Some unconnected families
SCOTT 1780+ Hull, Yorkshire, England
SIM 1887+ Corack & Geelong, Vic.
SQUIRES Bef 1809 Surrey, England
SQUIRES, 1830 + Tas & Vic.
STEVENS, 1898+ Dunedin NZ
STEVENS 1857+ Fryerstown, Vic
WEBBER, 1802+ DEV, England
WHITE, 1800-1850, East Looe, Cornwall 1800 - 1850
WHITE, 1852+ Te Aroha & Hawera, NZ
What countries and other locations are you interested in researching?
Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand
What is your level of genealogy knowledge?
Intermediate Family History Researcher
Do you have a genealogy website or blog?
I have been researching my family history for ten years. I have been a family and local history librarian for three years and enjoy helping people with their research. I maintain a blog "Yarra Plenty Genealogy" which is on RSS feed on the left of my page.

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Unrelated people buried together at Beechworth Cemetery, Vic.

I have a relative Mary Ryan who is buried at Beechworth Vic. She is buried with unknown people, presumably also residents of the Beechworth Mental Asylum where Mary also resided and died. The grave has been marked in recent years and I am happy to forward a photo to anyone interested. Edward Kelly d 1908 age 73 & John McDonald d 1922 age 57. Are they yours?

Posted on October 6, 2010 at 2:38am

Research success

I recently planned (and have since taken) a trip to Mildura, Victoria, which was going to include some family history research. I recently purchased the death certificate for Maria GROSE, my 3 x Great Grandmother, whose death was registered at Mildura in 1945. (This is a line for various reasons I have not done a lot of research on). I was going to visit the cemetery and visit her final resting place. Never presume. The prompt arrival of the certificate revealed she was in fact buried at… Continue

Posted on October 20, 2009 at 1:11am

Earliest Ancestor to Australia

I recently filled out the Who are the Genealogists of Australia survey and had to check my database for my earliest ancestor.

Convict Thomas Squires earns that nod in my family arriving in Tasmania in 1830.

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 1:14am

My first foray into personal blogging

I maintain two blogs in my role as a Local and Family history Librarian, one for genealogy and one for local history - although it is surprising how the two can interact so much. I have RSS feeds to these blogs on my page.

I have thought for a while about starting a blog to document my own family history research, as well as talk about new resources and resourcs I like etc. So perhaps this is a good place to start for now.

I recently learned that the… Continue

Posted on August 22, 2009 at 12:15am

Comment Wall (7 comments)

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At 4:07am on March 13, 2010, Ken Toll said…
Hi Liz,
Just a quick update...
...I've now launched my TOLL website:
The initial Tree is my own, but have just finished entering the Germoe TOLLs into FamilyHistorian. Just a few more entries to check, and will upload to the website in a couple of days.
Kind Regards,
At 10:24pm on August 21, 2009, Geniaus said…
Thanks - you're a legend.I will go to the group page and edit the permissions right now.
At 7:29pm on August 20, 2009, Geniaus said…
Liz, Would you be happy to be a Group Administrator for the Australian Genealogists group. I think it is wise to have more than one person with administrative privileges and you appear to fit the bill perfectly.

It's not an arduous task - I think we just need to post a general snippet occassionally and try to encourage members to use discussion forums rather than clog up the general comments area.

Cheers, Jill
At 5:10am on August 9, 2009, Ken Toll said…
Hi Liz, great to hear from you. I'm currently working on a website to showcase much of my research...
...comeback occasionally to see if there's an announcement.
Meanwhile, if there's anything you think I might have on your line - just ask (as a personal meesage).
At 4:07am on July 23, 2009, Louise Clayton said…
Hi Liz
Glad I found you too
Will have to catch up to get the info again and see what I find
At 2:30am on July 14, 2009, Geniaus said…
Did an advanced search for people from Australia. BTW My daughter has married into a family with Australian Pidgeons. Love your website.
At 11:44pm on July 13, 2009, Geniaus said…
Please join us at The Australian Genealogists Group on Genealogy Wise




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