Genealogists to share tips on detective work

Warrnambool Family History Group president Judy Miller and military historian Doug Heazlewood.
Warrnambool Family History Group president Judy Miller and military historian Doug Heazlewood.

TRACING your roots can be a hard task but a family history seminar this weekend could find those last names for the family tree.

The Warrnambol Family History Group has four guest speakers making presentations at the Warrnambool College Auditorium on Saturday.

Warrnambool speaker Doug Heazlewood will present Your Australian Military Ancestors, while other topics at the seminar will be The Anglo-Scottish Border: its history and records, Hunting for Irish Gold, and The Scots in Geelong and District to 1860.

Mr Heazlewood said those interested in completing family trees should consider looking into military service records.

"If you look up the births, deaths and marriage records registry, you won't find record of a death of a soldier killed in action overseas," he said.

"But if you have an ancestor who was in prison or in the police service or military, you can easily find descriptions of their height, weight, colour of eyes and hair."

He said this Saturday he would also speak on finding records of lesser known military campaigns of the 19th century, including the Maori Wars in the 1860s.

"There were Australians who fought in wars in which the details aren't widely or publicly known.

"About 3000 Australians volunteered to go to New Zealand and joined militia units... but it's a difficult place to trace records because they aren't Australian records.

"Australia went to the Sedan in 1885 as well and the details are sketchy on that too.

"Certainly in the south-west of Victoria there's a very good collection of information about who did serve in the military and who enlisted here."

Seminar manager Ray Welsford said each of the topics related to the south-west.

"Geelong was the entry point for the Scots in 1860 and then they spread right across the western plains.

"A lot of them were farm labourers so they were really right across the area and some of them built the blue stone homes north of our area, at Camperdown, Mortlake and Caramut.

"Many Irish immigrants came into this area, especially at Killarney and Koroit., and the person speaking about that is going to tell us how to find our Irish ancestors back in Ireland in the early 1800s."

Event registration begins at 9.15am.

Admission is $25 and includes morning and afternoon teas and lunch.