I've gotten numerous requests for guidance in researching ancestors in
Victoria. The following list is where I'd begin my research:
Talk to everyone in your family about what they know about the ancestors, keeping
in mind that memories can fade and that some of their information is inaccurate. Write down what you've found out.
Buy or download a free genealogy program to organize your information. Brother's Keeper is shareware and can be downloaded for free. This way all of your
information is organized and can be emailed to someone easily.
Use ALL types of spellings when you look for records. Many times the spelling changed (Hawley to Holley) or the person writing down the information had
trouble deciphering the script. Sometimes names are spelled so "screwy" that your best bet is just to go through all the pages. The "s" looks like "f" in some old script, so Smith could look like Fmith to a beginning transcriber.
Use search engines to locate surnames.
Post queries on query boards. There are a number of different query boards. Join the email list and ask questions about your ancestors there. Advice on writing an effective query is given below.
Check the cemetery records. There are quite a few in Victoria.
Check the undertaker / funeral director listings. Many times people did not have money to buy a tombstone, but their remains were handled by an undertaker.
Check the State Library of Victoria or local libraries to see if they have any biographical information on the family you are searching for.
Check the birth, death and marriage records. Those may list parents names, etc. Get copies of these records by ordering them from the appropriate source.
Check the old newspapers.
Don't take every piece of information someone sends you as gospel! Ask for sources! Verify information! Have an open mind! YOU could be mistaken!
How to write an effective query...
Write surname in bold letters or in all CAPITAL letters.
Give dates or approximate dates of events, along with locations.
Use upper and lower case letters in your query. Using all CAPS distracts from the important parts you want people to read and screams at
Keep your query brief! No one wants to read the entire family tree, they just want to see the part that interests them.