Sunday, 26 September 2010

Gympie police charge bench books (Sources Sunday)

Queensland State Archives item ID 324223 (previous system B/3056) is an index to Court of Petty Sessions (Gympie) police charge bench books, 14 Jan 1890 - 27 Jul 1931. It is alphabetical only by first letter of surname. Entries usually give date, name, offence and how disposed of.

Two letters inside the front cover are about James Edward MADDEN and J. HOLT (probably Joseph James HOLT). HOLT committed suicide on 21 Oct 1893. He had asked that two people in NSW be notified, and the document gives their addresses.

This departmental index for 1890-1931 makes it easier to find entries in the actual bench books, which are much more informative. I myself have indexed persons arrested and victims of crime from Gympie bench books for an earlier period (1884-1886).

(From time to time I use my 'Sources Sunday' theme to discuss a non-Internet source such as a specific item or series in a record office, a book, or a library, museum etc as a source in the broader sense. Sometimes 'Sources Sunday' is in one of my other blogs, which are listed in the sidebar.)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Discontinuing Web pages

(Updated 26 Sep 2010) After seeing the votes and private feedback, I have made a decision about what alternatives to provide when I discontinue Queensland Newsflash and Updates Newsletter in their current format. I think you will like the new arrangement. More details will be released soon.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Qld State Archives web address change

Queensland State Archives have changed Web addresses. The main search page is now and opens an image search screen.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Free certificates in Archives files (Thrifty Thursday)

I have introduced the theme 'Thrifty Thursday' to share hints on how to save money while doing family history research. Each hint will appear in whichever locality-based blog is most appropriate (see the list in the sidebar).

The sources mentioned below are in Queensland, but similar records exist in some interstate and overseas repositories.

Before buying a certificate from the Queensland Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, check whether that certificate is included in a file at Queensland State Archives. If it is, you can usually either take a digital photograph or save an image to a USB memory stick free of charge. A photocopy on paper currently costs about one dollar.

At the Archives you can often see certificates that you cannot buy from the Registry (because of differences in access restrictions). Certificates in archival files are often more accurate than typed copies issued by the Registry now.

I have seen birth, death and marriage certificates (including some from overseas) in many series of records. They include (but are not limited to) Supreme Court probate files ('wills' and 'intestacies'), divorce files and equity files; Public Curator insanity files and Supreme Court insanity files;  Lands Department selection files; and Court of Petty Sessions maintenance records. For more information about those sources see my book Tips for Queensland Research.

From about the mid-1890s onwards, most Queensland Supreme Court 'will' files, and some 'intestacy' files, contain the death certificate. There are also probate files in Queensland for many people who died in other States and countries.

(Postscript dated Nov 2010 - For the rest of Australia, see Kerry Farmer's suggestions re certificates.)

In which record series / repositories have you seen certificates that can be copied at little or no cost?

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Supreme Court equity files

I chose this week's topic, Queensland Supreme Court equity files, in honour of Marianne Eastgate, who passed away on 5th September. Marianne was the driving force behind the Pre-Separation project that indexed virtually all records of the Moreton Bay District of New South Wales before it became Queensland in 1859.

Marianne's many other contributions to family history include an index to Queensland's Supreme Court equity cases 1857-1895. The cases include gold miners' disputes; rights of minors, incapacitated persons, lunatics and inmates of asylums; disputes over wills; liquidation of companies; and people with money in a bank. The files contain many birth, death and marriage certificates (including some from overseas), land records, powers of attorney etc. The index, which includes names of most plaintiffs, defendants and witnesses mentioned in the files, is in the Public Search Room at Queensland State Archives.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Hospital admission registers

My new blogging theme is 'Sources Sunday'. I will talk about a source that I have used for genealogy, such as a specific source or series in a record office, a book, or a library, museum etc as a source in the broader sense.

If you only follow some of my blogs (which are listed in the sidebar), you won't see 'Sources Sunday' every week. For example, sometimes I will use my UK/Australia Genealogy blog to talk about a source in London or NSW or whatever. Remember that information about Queenslanders may be in record offices in other States and countries (and vice versa, as per the example in Genealogy Leftovers).

This week I want to emphasise the value of hospital admission registers, which have provided a solution to many genealogical dead ends and brick walls. Registers survive for only a few towns, but we live in hope that more may be discovered and deposited at Queensland State Archives. Many people spent time in a hospital far from their home. This applies especially to Brisbane (a large hospital capable of handling difficult cases), Cooktown (many miners and sailors from ships in port) and Croydon (people came from everywhere during the local gold rush).

The registers for Brisbane, Burketown, Cooktown, Croydon, Ingham and Muttaburra are printed volumes with space for these details: name; date admitted; age; birthplace (town, State/county, country); occupation; religion; ship of arrival; how long in the colony; place of residence; marital status; place of marriage, at what age, and name of spouse; names and ages of children living; number and sex of children deceased; father's name and occupation; father's present residence if living (or 'father dead'); mother's maiden name; disease or reason for admission; date of discharge or date and cause of death; and remarks (which may include medical history, social circumstances etc.) Some Brisbane registers also give details of employment, wages, other sources of income, other wage-earners in the family, property, membership of clubs or benefit societies, and name and address of relatives or friends.

Dates of surviving registers, and thousands of names from my indexes to hospital records for those six towns, are on a series of Web pages accessible via my Hospitals page.

Indexes to hospital records for other States are listed in Specialist Indexes in Australia: a genealogist's guide (1998 edition and 2006 supplement), which is available in many libraries.

P.S. - Some of my hospital indexes are now on FindMyPast.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

GSQ Southern Suburbs

(This is an updated notice, with details received on 7 Sep 2010.) The new Facebook page for the Southern Suburbs Branch of the Genealogical Society of Queensland has details of their library, meetings, guest speakers etc. The page is open to everyone (not just GSQ members). Click 'Like' near the page title if you are interested in the branch's activities.
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