Discovering Links: 27 FREE Links for Victorian Genealogy and History

It’s been a while since I last did a “Discovering Links” post, so it’s way past time for one.

These posts are lists of links that I’ve discovered. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive list, but it is simply ones, (and generally the not-so-commonly-known ones) that I’ve come across in my research, from magazines, or from seeing mentioned on social media.

No matter where I discovered them, I noted them, have been to them, and have found them interesting – so thought I’d share them with you. For this post I have a a bunch relating to Victoria  in Australia.


Ballarat Revealed
Learn more about Ballarat’s historic stories, secrets and spaces via your smartphone, tablet or computer with their walking tours. Along the way you’ll learn about the history and ghost stories of the area.

Boyle’s Football Photos
This website is the work of two independent researchers whose objective is to share their “passion for history and provide a friendly resource for family historians, football buffs and others who have an interest in the Charles Boyles photos and more generally in football photography from the 1920’s to 1960’s”. This site has since grown to cover more than just football photos. There’s articles, as well as pages on players, grounds, teams and more. I’ve categorised this link as Victoria – though it could easily be Australia as a whole – but as it started off with Victorian clubs and players there is a dominance of those records listed.

Cemeteries of South West Victoria
This is an impressive collection of cemetery records from Victoria’s South West region – almost 150 of them. So if you’re looking for people from this area, check this website to see which cemetery they’re buried at.

The Darragh Index (Germans in Melbourne 1861-1924)
The Darragh index is an invaluable resource to help you locate Germans living in Melbourne between 1861 and 1924. Listing over 1200 names, with a further 640 names of wives, children and parents appearing within most entries, the index was compiled using the Melbourne German Sick and Relief Society’s archival records held at State Library Victoria. This collection consists of minute books, membership records, financial records, published histories of the Society, photographs and various documents concerning friendly societies.

As the name suggests, this is pretty much the site to go to for anything and everything about Eureka Rebellion.

Geelong and District Family History Group
I don’t expect to generally list genealogy groups and societies, but this one is worth mentioning. The volunteers at the Geelong and District Family History Group are to be commended for their indexing efforts. So far their database has over 1.7 million entries. So for anyone with connections to this region of Victoria, their site is a must.

Historical Maps of Victoria
The University of Melbourne holds about 15,000 maps. Of these they have around 500 that are digitised and are online. The greater proportion of these are Melbourne and Victoria related, although there are some covering other regions.

Index to Victorian Probate Registers, 1841-1989
FamilySearch has images of the probate record indexes from Victoria, Australia online, and free. Listing over 1 million names this is a valuable resource as even though it’s an index, it contains the following information: Name of deceased, Late of [address], Occupation, Date of death, Nature of grant, Date of grant, and To whom committed.

Letterheads from Melbourne Businesses
If your ancestor had a business in Melbourne, they may well have had letterheads. While the various Victorian archives have over 10,000 letterheads in their collections, 250 of these were chosen to display on the emelbourne website.

Melbourne Directories 1857-1880
The University of Melbourne’s Baillieu Library holds copies of Melbourne directories published first as Sands & Kenny’s directory (1857-59), then Sands, Kenny & Co.’s directory (1860-61) and finally as the Sands & McDougall’s directory. Those covering 1857-1880 have now been digitised and are online on the emelbourne website.

Melbourne Publicans Index c1841-1949 (Cole-Tetlow Index)
Compiled by Eric Tetlow, this index contains over 21,000 names of hotel licencees taken from the Melbourne city and metropolitan volumes of the Robert K. Cole collection of hotel records held at State Library Victoria. The index entries contain the name of the licencee or owner, location of the hotel, dates when the licence was held, and volume and page numbers, which can be used to locate an entry in the Robert K Cole Collection of hotel records, and covers the years c1841 to 1949.

My Marvellous Melbourne Podcast
If you’re interested in stories of Victoria’s history, take a listen to the My Marvellous Melbourne podcast. A production of the Melbourne History Workshop, their segments combine stories, interviews, personal reflections and memories that interest and inspire them about the social history of the city and suburbs.

Outward Passenger Lists from Victoria 1852-1924
Listing over 1.6 million entries, this collection consists of outward passenger lists of those leaving Victoria, Australia, 1852 to 1924. The original records are located in the Public Record Office of Victoria., but this index is online (and free) on FamilySearch. The entries include people not only going overseas from Victoria, but also those to different Australian states.

Picture Victoria
Similar to what PictureAustralia was, PictureVictoria is a portal site for libraries in Victoria to upload photos to, so they can be all searched from a single site. While the Trove photograph collection is good, if you have Victorian interests, you may wish to check this out as well just in case they have something different.

Public Record Office Victoria (PROV)
The PROV is Victoria’s major archive, and holds over 100km of government records related to all facets of Victorian Government activity from the 1830s onward. Some of the popular records, including photos, maps, and documents relating to family history, have been digitised and are available to view online.

Royal Women’s Hospital Staff Biographies and Book of Remembrance
In 1953, Dr Colin Macdonald, the hospital’s Clinical Radiologist and Honorary Historian set about researching the lives of the medical staff who had served the hospital in its first 100 years. Volume 1 featured biographies of honorary medical and surgical staff who had died prior to 1956. After Dr Macdonald’s death, several colleagues continued to record biographies in a second volume. None have been added since 1975. The two volumes were manually typed, with photographs of most subjects having a photograph together with their biography.

Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages 1853-1988
The Victorian Registrar of BDMs has a index of the Births up to 1917, Marriages up to 1957, Deaths up to 1988, Church baptisms, marriages and burials in Victoria from 1836 to 1853, and BDM at sea on ships that were bound for Victoria from 1853-1920. Note: the index is free to sear, but if you want an actual certificate, there is a cost for that.

Victorian Collections
Think of the Victorian Collections as an online museum that you can wander and browse through. Currently they have over 128,000 items in their “digital museum” which continues to grow. It is a free, web-based collections management system, which hundreds of groups have already contributed to, and then creates a central portal to Victoria’s rich cultural heritage and diverse history.

Victorian Government Gazettes 1836-1997
The State Library of Victoria have digitised the Victorian (and very early New South Wales) Government Gazettes, and have made over 160 years of them available online. Free. You can view images of individual gazette pages by browsing through, or you can search the index.

Victorian Heritage Database
For all who are researching family or places in Victoria, this is one for you to bookmark.  The Victorian Heritage Database is a “fully searchable online database containing information about Victorian Heritage Places and Precincts, including statements of significance, physical descriptions, historical information, builder, architectural style, photographs and heritage overlay number”. Type in a place, and everything with that name in it, streets, rives, anything in that suburb will come up.

Victorian Historical Journal (1911-2012)
The Journal is the official publication of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. It provides articles related to Victoria’s history, spanning Aboriginal heritage to European settlement as well as research articles, book reviews, obituaries and reminiscences.

Victorian Law Reports 1874-1976
The Victorian Law Resources website isn’t one I’d particularly think of visiting for research, but it sure has a heap of useful stuff for the genealogist. They have digitised old (1874-1976) law reports, so you can see them online.

Victorian Places
Victorian Places is essentially an online gazetteer listing over 1600 destinations throughout Victoria (Australia). Search or browse for places, and you’ll discover the history of every town, city, suburb, village and settlement in Victoria that had a population of over 200 people.

Victoria’s Anzac Centenary 1914-1918
The Victorian Government have created this site to commemorate the Victorians who took part in the First World War. Useful for students, community groups, historical societies, cultural institutions, ex-service organisations and family historians – this site helps delve deep into Victoria’s history to learn more about our WWI service men and women. You can search or browse all the stories online (click here), but not only that, if you have ancestors who took part, you can add details online too.

Western District Families
Merron grew up in Victoria’s districts and has a passion for sharing it’s history. Her site it subtitled “Stories of Pioneering Families From the Western District of Victoria” With many obituaries, military heroes from the region, and even more general history, Western District Families is a definitely a place to visit if you have any connection to the region at all … or if you simply love learning about Victoria’s history.

WikiNorthia is a wiki that is “all about documenting life in Melbourne’s north”. This project began as a collaboration between Darebin Libraries, the Yarra Plenty Regional Library and the Moreland City Libraries. These three libraries cover five council areas, and have a goal to create an online encyclopedia of the northern suburbs of Melbourne.

WWI Soldier Settlement in Victoria
On this site you can access the individual records of thousands of  World War One returned soldiers who leased farming land across Victoria between 1919 and 1935.

7 Responses to “Discovering Links: 27 FREE Links for Victorian Genealogy and History”

  1. Crissouli says:

    Thanks, Alona.. very helpful.

  2. Lilian Magill says:

    Thank you they will be very useful.

  3. Thanks for the shout out Alona

  4. Thanks Alona, lots to explore in this list and some to add to my pinterest too.

  5. Barb says:

    I almost wish I had research to do there!

    • Alona says:

      Barb, I can understand that. I have next to no Victorian research, but there’s some great sites for those who do.

  6. june robinson says:

    I missed you when you stopped pleased to have you back

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