Categories
Baulch DNA

DNA – More than just matches

Next time you log in to your FamilyTreeDNA test check your Family Finder matches. There are now four tabs under the Family Finder – Matches screen.
Just as I haven’t stopped purchasing birth, marriage and death certificates I am sure that I am far from finished purchasing DNA kits. Particularly when I am excited about Family Tree’s DNA new phased Family Matches analysis. But not just now. I need to plan and budget first.
DNA tests for family history purposes only work when my DNA test matches with someone else’s DNA test.

Categories
Uncategorized

Gunner Holmes Part 1

 

On 15 August 1914 the 1st Division was initially formed as the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).
In the August offensive a year later the 1st Division’s role was to hold the front line and conduct a diversion at Lone Pine.
A further year on in August 1916 Gunner Holmes, recovered from injuries incurred at Lone Pine, embarked for France.

In these two years Louis Aaron Holmes (1886-1960) saw less than two month’s active service. I remember my great uncle Lou as quiet and a man to be respected in the way great uncles should be. Comments by repatriation doctors paint a different picture. And when I look at the record of his military service I begin to understand why.

Louis Aaron Holmes enlisted on 1 October 1914 having emigrated to Victoria from Woolwich, Kent just a year beforehand. He was taken on with the 1st Division Ammunition Column Reinforcements and was to become a gunner in the 4th Battery of the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade.

There is a glimpse of his service and the possible effects in his military personnel records. What Uncle Lou did in the war and afterwards is better understood on reading his repatriation records as well as exploring relevant World War I unit diaries.

Uncle Lou sailed from Melbourne on 22 December 1914 and arrived in Egypt two months later. Here the Divisional Ammunition Column Reinforcements underwent further training in Egypt. Some were taken on strength for the Anzac campaign but Uncle Lou did not get to Gallipoli Peninsula until the middle of July 1915. And perhaps I would never have known just precisely where he was if it weren’t for mention of his first misadventure to the repatriation medical staff.

In establishing that his injuries were war related Uncle Lou mentioned to Repatriation that his hernias were due to placing the two three pounder Hotchkiss guns. These guns were taken over by his battery on 29 August 1915 and placed on Russell’s Top. It seemed from Uncle Lou’s recollection that a horse took fright or some part of the gun carriage snapped leaving Uncle Lou taking the full weight of a Hotchkiss gun.

A few days later 15 effective rounds were fired from one of the Hotchkiss guns before its sights were damaged and the gun pit badly damaged. The Lieutenant and seven other ranks were evacuated by the Medical Officer. I believe that Lou Holmes was one of those other ranks. While his most severe injuries were received in placing the guns he also received some shrapnel wounds when when the gun pit was damaged.

That period from the middle of July 1915 to the beginning of September was the total of Uncle Lou’s active war service until he joined his unit a year later on the Western Front.

He was evacuated from Gallipoli Peninsula by the Hospital Ship Nile to Malta where he was recorded as having dysentery, piles and rupture. The more badly injured men were returned to Australia from Malta but Uncle Lou was transferred by the Hospital Ship Hunslet bound for England. Here started his journey to recover from his wounds, to get fit, train and join his unit preparing for the war on the Western Front. His journey included seven months in London hospitals and periods at the Monte Video Camp at Weymouth Dorset, Perham Downs near Salisbury, Wiltshire and finally Bulford Cam, also on the Salisbury Plains, before undergoing further training in France in August 1916.

Selected Bibliography:
National Archives of Australia, NAA B2455 Louis Aaron Holmes Service Number 3434
National Archives of Australia, NAA B73 H34661 and M34661 Repatriation personal hospital medical case files, World War I Louis Aaron Holmes Service Number 3434 4th Battery, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade
Australian War Memorial AWM4 Australian Imperial Force unit war diaries, 1914-1918 War including Subclass 13/10 Headquarters 1st Australian Division Artillery, Subclass 13/30 Headquarters 2nd Australian Field Artillery Brigade and Subclass 13/66 4th Battery Australian Field Artillery diaries.

Image courtesy Australian War Memorial www.awm.gov.au/collection/C01635 A driver guides his pair of mules and AT (artillery transport) cart up a slope near Anzac Cove.

Categories
Baulch Dunmore Learmonth

Wool staplers and wool classers

The 1891 shearers’ strike is just one consequence of the many pressures applied to the wool industry which has been in decline since Hargreave’s invention of the spinning jenny. some of these pressures include:

  • the mechanisation of weaving through the use of power looms,
  • the mechanisation of shearing through the introduction of powered hand pieces and the introduction of wide combs,
  • the decline in the demand for wool to cloth armies against severe winters,
  • the introduction of alternative clothes made of cotton and synthetic fibres and
  • the periodic government regulations applicable to the selling of wool.
Categories
Baulch DNA

Census records – one of my gateway sources


I call some of the sources I use my gateway sources. I find them critical to breaking down brick walls. Do I stand at the gateway afraid to go any further? Do I stand in the open gateway thinking about how to approach a completely new set of sources that may contain family stories?
Passenger lists are one of my gateway sources. Before a family member embarks on their journey to Australia I focus on British sources. Once a family member arrives in Australia I search for my family stories here in Australia.
Census records, particularly those that form part of the 1841 English census collection, are one of my favourite gateway sources. They set a point in time for setting aside Australian collections and turning to English collections. Furthermore, information contained in an 1841 England census record may confirm information I already have or may give some clues about which other English collections I should look at.
For example, the 1841 England census records are pivotal in telling the story of my paternal two greats grandfather Francis Baulch and his wife Ann Bowles. The census records establish that the family was still living in Pitney, Somerset at census time. The census records also contain hints as to why the family emigrated to Tasmania with other Pitney, Somerset families not long afterwards.
There is no doubt that Francis’s family was in dire straits by 1841. As were many such families following the enclosures in the area several years beforehand. The Pitney churchwardens were concerned about the debt owed to them by Francis’s mother. Francis couldn’t help. He had a young and growing family to provide for. And Francis had difficulty getting sufficient work to sustain his own family let alone help his mother in her difficulties. One year he did manage to win the contract for hauling stone for the roads but was unable to retain the contract. Francis’s brother, Enoch, in common with many other young agricultural laborers, also had difficulty in obtaining work. And when he did have work Enoch was paid a pittance.
The 1841 England census was held on the 6th of June. It was summer harvest time and may well have been one of those times that Enoch Baulch had work. It’s likely that Enoch was one of the unnamed men recorded in the census as living in sheds.
The Baulch men, and other men like them, would have been receptive to Henry Dowling’s search for experience agricultural laborers in 1840/1841. Tasmanian farmers had appointed Dowling as their agent in the farmers search for workers to replace men who had left Tasmania for the opportunities in the new Port Phillip district.
In the autumn following the 1841 Census the Pitney churchwardens gave Francis Baulch and Charles Bartlett, both with young families to support, funds to purchase clothing and other necessities to help them emigrate. By late November 1841, the two men, their families and some closely connected families sailed for Tasmania. They were avoiding facing another bleak winter in Pitney.
But some family members didn’t come. The census records give clues as to why.
For example, Francis’s brother William Baulch was living next door to his mother at the time. No doubt to help his mother when needed. His mother remarried in 1845 so William and his family was then free to emigrate. There is a clue there in the 1841 census records that helped find William’s new home. In 1841 William Baulch and Martha Cook had a ten-year-old boy, Edward or Edmond Perrin, staying with them. There they all are emigrating to the United States in 1850 and can be followed in the US censuses from thereafter.
Others weren’t of the right age or otherwise not qualified for assistance to emigrate. Some of the children later emigrated with many of Henry Baulch’s descendants emigrating to Queensland.
Charles Edgar, one of Ann Bowles’ younger half brothers, went to Ontario, Canada.
Frances-Fletcher-TreeWhich brings me to a source that I think may become another of my gateway sources. I have a DNA autosomal match with a Canadian cousin. On my side of our family tree the match comes about because I am a descendant of Henry Bowles and Frances Fletcher, Ann Bowles’s parents. On the other side of our family tree the match comes about because my Canadian cousin is a descendant of William Edgar and Frances Fletcher, Charles Edgar’s parents. The ancestor we have in common is Frances Fletcher. The chromosome segments where we match, therefore, must have been passed down from Frances Fletcher. But which segments on which chromosomes?

Selected Bibliography:
The National Archives (TNA): HO 107/955 f4 p1 Census Returns: 1841
Canada Census 1851 -1861 [database ] www.familysearch.org
United States Census, 1860 – 1870, [database & images] www.familysearch.org
St John the Baptist Church of England (Pitney, Somerset, England). Parish chest material.
AncestryDNA [database]. www.ancestry.com.au.

Categories
Snakey Creek Squattleseamere

Trove Tuesday: Simpsons at Squattleseamere

Outside the Squattleseamere dining room door
Outside the Squattleseamere dining room door

My first home was on a Squattleseamere Closer Settlement block. Squattleseamere had initially been taken up by Thomas Browne but the second owners of the licence, George Simpson and his younger brother Crawford, are the subject of this article.
Although the Crawfords’ purchase of the pastoral licence and their sale later on are not officially recorded in the surviving pastoral run archives I have known for many years that the Simpsons were definitely on Squattleseamere. This is because a story has been passed down of how Crawford was gored by the imported bull Exhibition and subsequently died of his injuries.
Charles Macknight, one of the partners on Dunmore, regarded the Simpsons as proprietors of Squattleseamere. Furthermore, whenever Macknight writes of the Simpsons he writes of them as equals, as fellow squatters. Indeed whenever one of the Simpsons visited Dunmore it was generally in the company of other nearby squatters as such Medley (formerly of Snakey Creek), McGregor (of Ardonachie) or Phillips (of Tarrone).
When Dunmore mustered cattle for market in March each year those belonging to neighbouring squatters, including the Simpsons, were drafted out. Later in the year mares were accepted from neighbours and Dunmore mares were sent to horses owned by other squatters, including the Simpsons at Squattleseamere.
George Simpson was born in Old Deer, Aberdeenshire in 1830. In 1853, five young men, including a George Simpson, emigrated from the nearby port of Peterhead to Port Phillip. Two years later, George’s younger brother, Crawford, arrived in Melbourne aboard the Marco Polo. It’s not only the official passenger lists that confirm these voyages but associated newspaper entries at the time.
It seems that the Crawford brothers initially worked on Cato’s run where Crawford’s misfortunes started. In 1858 Crawford fell from his horse but his foot was caught in a stirrup and he was dragged. One of Cato’s shepherds found him unconscious. Crawford was so severely injured he wasn’t expected to live.
So perhaps the brothers were taken in by the claim in the sale notice for Squattleseamere and Snakey Creek stations that the cattle were quiet. Thomas Brown had first advertised the sale of his runs in 1857 but it wasn’t until June 1859 that J H Clough and Co finally reported the sale. Unfortunately, the purchaser wasn’t mentioned.
In October 1859 George Simpson married Jane Lyell, a sister of John Cato’s wife Margaret. On the same day another sister, Alison, married a John Simpson.
Then tragedy struck. On 10 Nov 1859 Macknight recorded that Mr Simpson was nearly killed by the bull. George was also injured. George recovered but Crawford died of his injuries three days later.
The runs were sold in 1862, presumably by George Simpson although no mention of the vendor is reported. He had been on Squattleseamere and Snakey Creek runs for just over three years.

NEWSPAPER SOURCES ACCESSED FROM TROVE NEWSPAPERS INCLUDED:
The Age (Melbourne) 17 Nov 1859 p3
The Argus (Melbourne) 12 Jul 1855 p8
The Argus (Melbourne) 5 OCT 1858 p4 c3 Fearful Accident
The Argus (Melbourne) 30 July 1857 p8
Ballarat Star (Ballarat) 24 Jun 1859
OTHER SOURCES ACCESSED INCLUDED:
R V Billis and A S Kenyon, Pastoral Pioneers of Port Phillip, Second Edition (Melbourne, Victoria: Stockland Press, 1974)
Charles Hamilton Macknight, “Dunmore Journals” (MS, Melbourne, Victoria, 1840 – 1873); State Library of Victoria. (Copy of Macknight sisters transcript 1929 held privately).
FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org)
Find My Past (http://www.findmypast.com.au/)
Public Record Office of Victoria “Index to Unassisted Immigrants from the United Kingdom 1852-1923” (www.prov.vic.gov.au)
Scotlandspeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk)

Categories
Baulch DNA

Baulch Y DNA mutations

DNA ribbons
DNA ribbons

When did mutations occur in the Y DNA in our direct paternal line?
Perhaps the Colac branch can help in my new DNA search for when a change or mutation on an STR or short tandem repeat marker on the Y chromosome occurred in our Baulch branch.
I remember with great affection one of my very early visits to Baulch family members was to the late Clarrie Baulch of Colac who introduced me visit to his wife as his first cousin on the Warry side but his second cousin on the Mitchem side. Perhaps this visit foreshadowed the challenges that were to come as part of my family history research.
It’s not that long ago that it was believed that the DNA on the Y chromosome was just a lot of randomly repeated junk.
So why did I ask my brother to undertake a DNA test? And why did a second cousin as well as my brother agree to do so?
Because we have a brick wall on our paternal line. We descend from the Charles Baulch who married Ann Beddlecombe on 1 Apr 1799 at Muchelney. Charles was born to Roger Baulch and Betty Gaylard on 25 Jan 1767. But my sister that it is more than likely that Roger’s son died in infancy on 8 Mar 1767. No other mention has ever been found of another Charles Baulch. Yet it is telling that Henry Baulch, Roger Baulch’s elder son, was a witness at the wedding of Ann Beddlecombe and Charles Baulch.

Extract from Free Reg
from www.freekreg.org.uk

Yet even more telling is that my brother has an autosomal match with Hannah Baulch, a cousin of Henry and Charles Baulch.
Then again, the Y DNA results of my brother and our second cousin indicate that, at least, our Baulch line is another branch of Baulchs.

Baulch Y DNA mutations
Baulch Y DNA mutations

Our second cousin’s Y DNA results confirm a branch mutation on marker DYS710 as both he and my brother have a value of 31 on that marker.

STR Marker Mutations
STR Marker Mutations

No other Balch, Sims or Washburn men have that value and are all 32 or higher. This means that somewhere from our nearest common ancestor, our great grandfather Samuel Baulch on up, one of your Baulch ancestors mutated from 32 to 31, and that mutation was passed on to my brother and to our second cousin.

Categories
Baulch Land Research

Trove Tuesday: Old Roads

Old-TrackThis is a little family story about old roads. A couple of stories just for Trove Tuesday. I wouldn’t have remembered them if Inside History hadn’t organised the cloud funding of the earliest editions of the Hamilton Spectator. It was just a small entry in the Hamilton Spectator that reminded me of two stories my father told be about roads. A small entry that had been overlooked when I first searched the paper version of the Hamilton Spectator many, many years ago at their office. And which I had overlooked in searching microfilm at the State Library of Victoria. As part of the launch of the introduction of the Hamilton Spectator to Trove Newspapers I was invited to submit an initial search. A no brainer. Both my great grandfather Samuel Baulch and my two greats grandfather William Learmonth were in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the release of Crown Land in Victoria.
But it was a line about Samuel’s brother Alfred that caught my eye. G Payne and Alf Baulch of the parish of Macarthur were absent from the Local Land Board sitting in Portland on 15 September 1870.
Hamilton-Spectator

The Hamilton Spectator, 17 June 1870, p4, c2.

Now there may be many reasons as to why these two men didn’t go to the Land Board sitting.
One may have been the difficulty of actually making the journey for Macarthur parish sits in between Hamilton and Portland and between Hamilton and Port Fairy (or Belfast). So they had some distance to travel. But the roads weren’t same as they are today.
For example, my father told me the story of how he and his father drove the truck to Heywood to pick up or deliver a load. They decided to go by the direct route – following what is now the Woolsthorpe – Heywood road. Travelling directly west from Dunmore. But there was no road and the track beyond the gate into the Dunmore forest to Ettrick was so bad that they travelled north to Myamyn and came east to Macarthur before travelling south home to Dunmore. A lot further but apparently quicker.
So the track through the stones may have been so bad that Alf Baulch was unable to attend the Land Board meeting in Portland. Certainly his older brother James paid his rent in Belfast from time to time rather than travel to Portland to do so.
Of course the first tracks which later became roads went from one run to another. For example, there was a track from Harton Hills south through Dunmore to the crossing place at Orford. But it was the track out of the Dunmore Pre-emptive Right (PR) to Macarthur that is the source of my next story. When the Heywood – Woolsthorpe road was eventually proclaimed it not only went through the forest but it also passed through the Dunmore PR. This meant that some old roads were closed and others opened. That some land became part of my grandfather’s holding and some returned to the Crown.

 Government-Road

Certificate of Title Vol 5118 Folio 441

Years later it was discovered that the areas had been miscalculated with a consequent effect on the rates levied. My father visited the Shire Office for half a day. Without any resolution as far as I can remember. There was another consequence too. By financing the power to the Dunmore Woolshed my grandfather helped bring power to the Macarthur Butter Factory. With the changes due to the making of the Woolsthorpe – Heywood road there is now a title plan to show “transmission of electricity” across what was the old road but which is now private land.

SEC-Line

Title Plan TP 551Y

So even just one line in a Trove search can remind me of family stories that may have so easily been forgotten!

Categories
Dunmore Land Research

Land – Laverton

At the corner of Landers Lane
At the corner of Landers Lane

My methodology for researching land ownership is not necessarily the only way to do land research.
Where and when we start with our research depends on the information we have or don’t have.
For our current home that is easy. We have the date. We have a place.
There is always an element of truth in family stories but often the truth is sufficiently different to make research difficult. Have I said that with enough feeling? For example, there is a story in our family that my great grandfather Samuel Baulch owned a hotel in Cavendish – some distance from his home in Kirkstall. A visit last year to the Hamilton History Centre confirmed Samuel was indeed a publican in Cavendish for a short while after the previous publican, his brother-in-law, had died. I found extra information recently when some of the Hamilton Spectator was added to Trove. Information I had missed when I visited the Spec office some thirty years ago!
If your family was here in Victoria very early on then another place to start may be at the Registrar of Titles General Law Library at Cherry Lane, Laverton. Susie Zada has written an excellent blog about using this resource. You will note, as I didn’t, that the indexes to the first series of vendor books are at the END of those books. Down the bottom.
Also, if you are going out to Laverton, think about taking the opportunity to look at aerial photographs. It may be worth looking at the University of Melbourne Map Collection first though.
I haven’t personally looked at aerial photographs. Because, until the hot rock geothermal pilot went in nearby, there was nothing to indicate that Landers’ block was hotly disputed over by the occupying squatter and the family of selectors when it was opened for selection under the 1869 Land Act.

Categories
Land Research

Melbourne’s laneways

Image courtesy State Library of Victoria
Image courtesy State Library of Victoria
This is not a story of my family home but of my volunteer home – the Genealogical Society of Victoria. This is a story about the GSV’s home in the lower basement, or cellar, of 257 Collins Street in Melbourne.
Sometimes I am so engrossed in searching for stories amongst the books and memorials of various archives and family history societies that I neglect to look at the family history around me.
So it was a year or so ago I was in one of Melbourne’s small laneways off Flinders Lane. That day Flinders Lane was closed to vehicle traffic. As I had my coffee I watched a very large crane load an equally large and heavy duty truck close by with several combination safes.
I never thought more about it at the time. Should I have? Yes.
Should I be viewing my surroundings with a family history frame of mind? Yes.
I had never given much thought as to why there was cellar beneath the car park at 257 Collins Place before. If questioned I may have replied that the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney added it when they redeveloped the block in the early 1970s. But 257 Collins Street has been a bank premises for a very long time – from the 1840s and right through the Victorian gold rushes.
257 Collins Street
257 Collins Street

This summer the Carlton Clydesdales will again be delivering kegs to Melbourne’s hotels. Will this be more a show than an imitation of how beer was delivered in the early days of Melbourne’s settlement?
I grew up on a farm where the front door was rarely used. All the action on the farm went on out the back. It wasn’t until I looked at the parish plan for Melbourne that I paused to think. City businesses operate the same way.
Parish of Melbourne map
Parish of Melbourne map

There were no laneways as I know them. Just allotments facing Collins Street but also running right the way through to Flinders Lane. Next time I walked out the back door of the GSV I crossed Flinders Lane and turned around. The rear view of 257 Collins Street is quite different to the front view. Firstly, there is access to the carpark, not directly from Flinders Lane but from a laneway off Flinders Lane.
Lassi map
Lassi map

What had Governor Bourke intended when he visited Port Phillip with surveyor Robert Hoddle in 1837?
Bourke and Hoddle laid out Melbourne with wide streets and wide footpaths.
Image courtesy State Library of Victoria
Image courtesy State Library of Victoria

However, Governor Bourke recognized that if there was to be no encroachment onto the footpaths then lanes were required behind the buildings facing these wide streets and footpaths. So he requested that there be lanes between the streets. Flinders Lane between Flinders Street and Collins Street for example.
Even so, the blocks were quite deep and at just under half an acre quite large.
With an ever increasing population outstripping the ability to provide accommodation for them. For those fortunate enough to acquire land in one of the early Melbourne sales there was the opportunity to lease portions requesting the lease payment up front. Then the purchaser had the balance of the purchase price to be paid to the government by the due date.
So it was that Michael Carr leased portion of Allotment 15 Section 4 – the allotment on which the GSV is located.
Michael Carr had arrived in Port Phillip in November 1835 and operated the Governor Bourke Hotel in Little Flinders Street half way between Market and Queen Streets – on land he also purchased in the first Melbourne land sales.
It is interesting to note that the first person who leased part of the block from Michael Carr was the brewer Oliver Adams. He didn’t stay long before moving to the fledgling Geelong.
So how did a brewer and a publican get their supplies delivered to each in Flinders Lane? Not from carts coming down Collins Street but from carts coming down Flinders Lane as Governor Bourke had intended.
However, Michael Carr had a problem accessing Flinders Lane. Having leased the rear of his block he had no access to Flinders Lane for supplies. So he retained a carriage access or laneway which remains today as Flinders Way.
Furthermore, the two sub allotments became separated over time – the one part facing Collins Street and the one part facing Flinders Lane. The divisions can be seen quite clearly across Flinders Lane.
Carriage-Access
It was not until the CBC acquired the two in the late 1960s that Michael Carr’s allotment became one again. Well almost. The laneway is now the property of the Lord Mayor of Melbourne. What is interesting to me is that the laneway hints at how deliveries were made to Oliver Adams’ brewery and other businesses in Flinders Lane.
Often when I am walking about in Carlton and Fitzroy I come across a grate in the footpath. These grates can be lifted to give access to the cellar in the adjoining hotel. The grates also give light to these hotel cellars.
Where were the supplies to a publican, or a brewer, kept? Not at street level as this was valuable retail area. But in a cellar. The MMBW maps of Melbourne (accessible online from the State Library of Victoria) indicate that most of Flinders Lane had cellars, including the rear, at least, of 257 Collins Street.
MMBW-Sewerage (State Library of Victoria)
MMBW-Sewerage (State Library of Victoria)

But were they cellars in the manner I think of modern day cellars? Were they entirely below street level?
When I look at the building on the Swanston Street side of the GSV carriage access, or laneway, it seems to me that there is a foundation of bluestone underneath what would have been the bluestone walls of the cellar. This cellar has windows above the ground. Certainly to give light.
Window in Bluestone Wall
Window in Bluestone Wall

But the windows aren’t all that far above the level of Flinders Lane. Just far enough that the cellar ceiling would be high enough, or low enough depending upon your perspective, to have a loading dock above at the level of a cart or wagon used delivering or loading supplies. Probably not says my brother. It was more likely to have been done manually.
Window in Bluestone Wall
Window in Bluestone Wall

Nevertheless, it seems that Governor Bourke’s intention to keep the streets and footpaths wide and uncluttered is still the case. The purpose of Flinders Lane as a delivery access remains. Possibly with the same difficulties for complex deliveries. And our laneways seem to be a consequence of Governor Bourke’s recognition that to keep a clear front entrance requires more a complex network of landways to service all the buildings facing the main streets.

Categories
Baulch Dunmore Land Research

Victoria Land Titles – Introduction

An old Broadwater home
An old Broadwater home

Almost always I have found family stories in Victorian land titles.
So where should one start looking?
Certainly not by searching current online databases for family historians. Most of the interesting family stories remain buried in files, memorials and research notes in either the Registrar General of Titles’ General Law Library of land titles at Laverton or at the Public Record Office of Victoria (PROV) in North Melbourne or maps at the State Library of Victoria.
In this blog I outline my personal methodology to search Victorian land titles for my family stories.

I generally start by purchasing the current land titles for the parcel of land I am researching. But before that I start finding what the current title may be with a Google search. But before I go further the following is a brief outline of my methodology:

  • Search for the address of the land on Google Maps (I am currently boycotting Bing Maps as they include Fitzroy North in their database but not the more important and relevant Fitzroy)
  • Using the Google Maps information, search for the address of the land on Landata’s Lassi map
  • Search the original parish map
  • Purchase the current computer title online
  • Purchase earlier computer titles back to the first computerised title
  • Search for earlier cancelled Torrens titles at the Public Record Office of Victoria
  • Search for the Application Note relating to the conversion of the old title to the Torrens Title at the General Law Library
  • Search for when and how the Crown Grant was acquired (remembering for some very early grants this information will be in NSW records)
  • Having started with the current title and worked backwards to the Crown Grant, start with the Crown Grant and work to the current title
  • Confirm information found by searching other sources alluded to in the land records. These may include probates, insolvencies and BMD information but may also include less common sources such as those for divorces, neighbouring landholders and dowers.

Now this methodology hasn’t been applicable for each piece of land I have ever searched but it is where I start out. Nevertheless, I shall use two parcels of land to illustrate how my methodology works.

GOOGLE MAPS

Not all land information is offline. Indeed the best place to start a Victorian land search is online with a Google search for the location of the property I am researching.
For example, one of my homes was at Broadwater in South West Victoria. Now, but not for a long time, I can see a Google Earth view of my old home.

Satellite View My Old Home
Satellite View My Old Home

A property in a town or city is a little simpler to locate on Google Maps. For example, the Genealogical Society of Victoria (GSV) is at 257 Collins Street, Melbourne.

Satellite GSV
Satellite GSV

LASSI MAPS

Finding my parcels land on Google Maps often makes it easier to find them on Landata’s Land & Survey Spatial Info (Lassi) map. This map can be accessed directly http://maps.land.vic.gov.au/lassi/ or from the link under Other Access at the bottom of Landata’s home page at https://www.landata.vic.gov.au/.
Now, be warned, this map pre existed Google Maps so behaves in its own manner and for its own peculiar requirements. That is, the Lassi map doesn’t always work in the same way as Google Maps do.
For my old home I first searched for Dunmore Lane, Broadwater and then refined this to 503 Dunmore Lane. By building, refining and refreshing the map I can display the parishes and allotments that are relevant to the parcel of land. The current title covers several allotments across three parishes

Lassi My Old Home
Lassi My Old Home

Similarly, I searched Lassi for 257 Collins Street, Melbourne. This time I built the map to include the Application Note numbers as well.

Lassi GSV
Lassi GSV

PARISH MAPS

There is another map collection that is always useful in my land research. This is a map of the parish that shows the parcel of land at the time the Crown Grant was granted. In this case I was able to download the parish maps from PROV by searching within VPRS 16171 for the name of the parishes concerned.

Search within VPRS 16171
Search within VPRS 16171

For my old home I downloaded Banangal, Broadwater and Clonleigh parishes.

Parish Plan My Old Home
Parish Plan My Old Home

For the GSV I downloaded Melbourne South parish.

Parish GSV
Parish GSV

Parish plans are also generally available online from the State Library of Victoria.
I now have two parcels of land for which I can order the current titles. How I do this I shall describe this is a further blog.