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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: family history (4)

What was life like for my ancestors?

Author
by Jo
Publish date
12 January 2014
Comments
Comments (2)

I am working on my family history and I want to know what my ancestors did when they arrived.

One of the questions we are frequently asked by family history researchers in the Immigration Discovery Centre is 'what did they do?' Researchers often know how and when their ancestors arrived into Victoria, but they are hoping to paint the picture of what they were doing and get an idea of the social, economic and cultural context of a period in time. To fill in these gaps, there are a number of great online resources that can help us to paint that picture.

Of course the Museum Victoria collection holds objects and images that can get you started with your research. The History and Technology Collections Online is a great source for online research. There are almost 80 000 records available online for you to explore, including many images and objects. You can also search the Biggest Family Album Collection for images of Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, either by suburb name or era.

Italian Community Gathering, Wonthaggi, Victoria, circa 1929: The Biggest Family Album in Australia Members of the Wonthaggi Italian community. They are standing in front of a wooden building. A man at the back has his arm raised holding a what appears to be a large flower like an arum liliy over the head of a woman in front of him.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Trove is the National Library of Australia’s online digital repository. It is free to access and equally easy to navigate. You can search newspapers, journals, images, maps, diaries, and in some cases, organisations. A search can be as simple as a family name, or suburb, or district, to more complex searches including exact date searches or phrase searches. 

The State Library of Victoria also holds a lot of useful information to help with this picture. They have put together a list of resources under their Victoria’s early history, 1803 – 1851 guide online. 

Lebanese ID Card, Lebanese migrant, 1975 Lebanese ID Card for taxi driver Youssef Eid, 1975
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Of course, the Public Records Office Victoria can also shed some light on what was happening at the time your ancestors arrives through their many and varied records. If you wanted to know if your ancestor owned, leased or rented a house or land, PROV can help! The PROV Land Records Guide can help, as can The Parish and Township Working Plans.

For more contemporary records, try searching the National Archives of Australia.  The NAA is responsible for caring for Australian Government records. The ten million items they hold cover everything from migration to transport and military service, as well as much more. 

Local historical societies can also be a great source of information. Many of them will hold records relating to people or events in the history of an area that you may not be able to find elsewhere. Australian Heritage Online is a good place to start.

Man Leaning on Luggage Trunk, Awaiting Detention as Enemy Alien, 1939: Melbourne's Biggest Family Album Man in suit and hat, leaning on his luggage trunk, with other cases around him. He is in a park.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

And finally, as well as all of these great online resources, sometimes nothing beats sitting down with a book, or walking through a neighbourhood, or asking a local about what things were like when they were children, or if they remember when...

Links

Destination Australia

Sands and MacDougall Melbourne Directories

Talkin' 'bout my generation

Author
by Max
Publish date
14 July 2012
Comments
Comments (3)

Your Question: First generation Australians?

I was wondering (well I’ve been wondering for a while now)... if my parents brought my family over to Australia, who are classed as “first generation Australian”? Is it my children or both my parents and my brother, sister and I being the first generation? Thanks, Vera

Until you asked that question, I thought I was a first generation Australian because my Mum and Dad were born in Holland and I was born here. I liked being a first generation Australian, there's something 'fresh' and 'new', almost 'original' about it.

  Gin family Citizenship ceremony Vera (second on the right) and her first generation family at their citizenship ceremony in 1993
Image: Godfrey Gin
Source: Godfrey Gin
 

But no, now I find I've been relegated to second place by people like you and your family!

Family photo Two first and three second generation Australians. Mum and Dad with their boys.Traralgon,1963.
Source: Max Strating
 

That's right, if you were born overseas but now live in Australia, you are a first generation Australian. If you have children, they will become the second generation (like me). But don't just take my word for it; here is what the Australian Bureau of Statistics says on their Population characteristics: Ancestry of Australia's population webpage;

  • First generation Australians are people living in Australia who were born overseas.
  • Second generation Australians are Australian-born people living in Australia, with at least one overseas-born parent.

First generation Australians enjoying the great “Aussie” outdoors First generation Australians enjoying the great “Aussie” outdoors
Image: Godfrey Gin
Source: Godfrey Gin
 

So there you have it, you are one of life's winners coming first – generationally at least.

Got a question? Ask us!

Shake your family tree

Author
by Nicole D
Publish date
2 March 2011
Comments
Comments (0)

On Friday 25 February Immigration Discovery Centre participated in the annual Shake Your Family Tree. Organised by the National Archives of Australia (NAA), this is a national event that brings together family history experts in one location for an entire day.

Along with six other institutions, including State Library of Victoria, Public Record Office of Victoria, and Genealogical Society of Victoria, we set up our stand in the foyer of the VAC in North Melbourne and helped many enthusiastic visitors with questions about doing their family history research.

Advising a visitor at Shake Your Family Tree. Advising a visitor at Shake Your Family Tree.
Image: Anna Koh
Source: National Archives of Australia
 

A number of seminars were presented on the day and I did a talk on Revealing objects & stories from Museum Victoria's Migration Collection. In this, I discussed the power of objects to tell a story and the way museums use them in their exhibitions, programs and online resources. As an example, I told the story of one particular migrant through the medium of some objects related to her life that are part of the Migration Collection. Lastly, I encouraged my audience to see if they could utilise any objects in their own homes to further enrich their family history research.

Nicole speaking on the MV Migration Collection. Nicole speaking on the MV Migration Collection.
Image: Anna Koh
Source: National Archives of Australia
 

Museum Victoria also participated in a Conservation Clinic, where members of the public could bring in their precious documents or objects for advice on how to protect and conserve them.

All in all it was a great day and we are already looking forward to next year!

 

Links:

Museum Victoria Migration Collection

SLV Family Matters blog: Shake Your Family Tree 2011 style

National Archives of Victoria

Public Record Office of Victoria

Genealogical Society of Victoria

Authentico Leggos

Author
by Jo
Publish date
8 February 2011
Comments
Comments (3)

Jo is one of the friendly staff at MV's Discovery Centres. Despite protestations that she does not blog, she couldn't resist writing about this recent coincidence...

Weekends in the Immigration Discovery Centre are normally filled with lots of folks looking for their names, or the names of ancestors, on the various websites we can easily access. But this weekend proved a little more interesting...

I was helping a lady who was here on holidays from Florida find some information about her long-lost ancestors whom she believed arrived at Melbourne in the 1870s. This in itself is not out of the ordinary, but the woman’s maiden name was: it was Leggo. She had heard that her ancestors had come to Australia and started a food business. I asked her if she had made it into a supermarket yet and wandered down the pasta aisle, since their little food business was considerably bigger than she realised. (Leggo's is now a major brand of pasta and sauces. According to the company history on the Leggo's website, Henry Leggo began selling his mother's bottled sauces and pickles to Bendigo goldminers in the 1880s).

While she and I were chatting about this, another woman came up to the desk and excused herself for interrupting. She asked if we were talking about the the name Leggo, because that that was her name, too – and yes, it was spelt the same. She was on holidays from Cornwall in the United Kingdom. The two women exchanged the details of their respective family history as they each knew it and it seems that they are distantly related. They have since exchanged email addresses and will say in contact when they return home to Florida and Cornwall.

Elizabeth and Joyce Joyce Taylor (left) and Elizabeth Leggo in the Immigration Discovery Centre.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Links:

Immigration Discovery Centre

Researching Italian Migration

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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

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