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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Planning a research trip

I’ve found a time that works with work… Mr Twigs has agreed to go solo with the twiglets… I’m going on a research trip!!

I’ll be heading back to my ancestral homeland.  Sadly my time and budget don’t allow for a global research research so I’ll have to be satisfied with just a few days in the homeland of my ancestors over the last 150 or so years. Melbourne, here I come!

I’ve been poring over the Public Record Office of Victoria website, which has an excellent collection of indexes (and quite a few digitised records, but I’ve already got them).

To get organised, I need to:

  • Make a list of probate files to view. They will be the “low hanging fruit” of this research trip. I’ve already got the probate files for most of my ancestors so the high priority probate files will be my spinster great-aunts. 
  • Review my database for people who were the subject of an inquest.
  • Review my database for land records I could look up.
  • Look over the other indexes on PROV for other record types.
  • Find out what microfiche are on open access at PROV, and be prepared with details of lookups to do (with a view to ordering the records).

There are also a few “off the beaten track” records I would like to see. Or in this case it’s more of an on the beaten track record. I want to look at tender documents and contracts for timber supplied to maintain the the road from Ballarat to the Goldfields. I believe I’ve found the right file in the catalogue. I hope it will tell me if the person who won the contract is my great-great-great grandfather, as I suspect.

I also wonder if there are any records around the demolition of several houses (including one of my ancestors) due to the putrid public health conditions caused by a lack of drainage. I have a bit more background work to do on that one.

Oh, and I mustn’t forget to book my flights and accommodation!

If you tips on making best use of your time on a research trip, or tips specific to the PROV, I’d love to hear them.

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