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Expert Q&A :: Family history resources at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV)

Q. From Christine: Dumb question from an interstater – where is the RHSV?
A. Joan: I love that question, Christine, so here’s the answer: It is in a lovely Art Deco building on the corner of A’Beckett and William Streets, opposite the Flagstaff Gardens, just near the Flagstaff station. Car parking in the Viccy Market carpark, or a carpark just a few doors down, or catch the train and loop. Open Monday to Friday from 9.00am till 5.00pm. Best to ring before visiting on 03 9326 9288
A. IHM: And the web link ::
A. Denise: Lol Christine I was just going to google that

Q. From Denise: Came in late so sorry if this has been asked. It any chance the Vic Gov will put birth, death and marriage certs on line?
A. Joan: Thanks, Denise. I know someone who has close contacts with BDMs and there is definitely talk of at least the indexes being prepared to go online, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. The problem with the CDs, as you probably know, is that the system they run under is so old (1997) that you need an old computer to use them. It definitely is time for the whole process to be improved. Fingers crossed!
A. Denise: Thank you.

Q. From Linda: One thing I was wondering (well, one of many), do you accept original and reproduction photographs into your collection still? Having recently attended a meeting at a holdings where they now say they will only scan photographs and return them – they do not wish to accept in original or copy photographs on paper?
A. Joan: Yes, Linda, original anythings that fit in with the collection policy are definitely welcome (and that certainly includes photographs). Keep the questions coming, please.
A. Linda: So you would you also accept copies of people’s family photographs, or would you prefer, for example, streetscapes, “life and times” etc?
A. Joan: To be honest, photographs/images are so valuable that all of those categories are really important, and I can’t see any photograph (as long as it relates to Victoria) not fitting in with the collections policy, Linda.
A. Carmel: I think I can open my own gallery with all the photos I have.
Q(b): Linda: And, since I am here (never let a chance go by) – since I know you are just back from serious tertiary study of local history in England, are there trends you can see there that may appear here, where the line between genealogists and local/regional historians may blur a little more in the future? Or any other insights from “over there” about trends likely here?
A. Joan: Thanks, Linda. This is a favourite theme of mine. Unfortunately, the population size here compared with England means that the income (via taxes) is inadequate for Australia/Victoria to be able to do some of the fabulous things that are being done there. That includes the wonderful 12 month course (Advanced Diploma in Local History) which I undertook through Oxford University. But…..the good news is that it can be done on-line anywhere in the world, and is really worthwhile if you are mad on history. I shall think more about your question and see if I can add more later.
A. IHM: Hi Joan, love the sound of that Oxford Diploma in Local History! Here’s the link for everyone else here ::

Q. From IHM: Please join me in thanking Joan for all her help tonight but before you go, can you give us any hints about what’s in the RHSV pipeline that we should be excited about?
A. Joan: RHSV Affiliated Societies Database The RHSV has a really helpful free, on-line database to more than 300 historical societies in Victoria. The database provides access to every RHSV-affiliated historical society across the State. I am sure you all realize just how very useful local historical societies are with local family history research. Just type the place (town or district) you are interested in, and the name or names of historical societies which cover that place, with contact details to help further, will be the result. For instance, if you search for Piggoreet (a goldfields township 30km south-west of Ballarat which no longer exists but where many hundreds of births and deaths are registered in the mid to late 1800s), you will get a surprising result of four local historical societies that have information about that place in their collection. (That’s Linton, Cape Clear, Woady Yaloak and Happy Valley School Restoration Group).
A. Linda: Thanks Joan – most chuffed to find it was you on here! Learned heaps!
A. Carmel: Thankyou Joan, always a pleasure.
A. Maureen: What an interesting discussion to come home too on a very wet night! Thanks Joan and Inside History for all the useful information and links.
PS: I checked the Affiliated Societies link for Morrisons and found the Ballan society listed. The group in Meredith only came up when I searched for Morrison. Haven’t tried Morrison’s yet!

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