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Victorian Archives Centre public opening hours

Monday to Friday: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
(excl. public holidays)
The second and last Saturday of every month

We will be closing the Reading Room at 1pm on Fri 19 Dec, reopening Mon 22nd at 10:00 am

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Pathway 2: Family and Local History

Family and Local History

  • Starting Your Family or Local History Research

  • Ordering Wills and Probate Records

  • Ordering Inquest Records

  • More Resources for Family and Local History

  • Publications

  • Useful Links

Starting Your Family or Local History Research

There are many rich sources for family or local history that you can find through Public Record Office Victoria.  PROV holds records such as wills and probate, inquests, records about education, immigration, land, homes, and court proceedings.  Victorian government departments and institutions have created records about individuals, communities, regions, towns and cities. 

You can discover more about the places and people of Victoria through maps, plans, correspondence, photographs, registers, files, rate books, and lots of other types of State archives.

Learn about some of the most popular records you can access through PROV for Family History Research and Koorie Family History Research.

Find out about Births, Deaths and Marriages Indexes that you can use in PROV’s Reading Rooms.

The PROV publication Private Lives, Public Records, is a valuable introduction and guide to family and local history research.  It is available for use in our Reading Rooms at no charge, and can also be purchased through PROV. 

Explore PROV’s Digitised Records and Online Indexes that you can access from this website.

Browse our PROVguides for more detailed information about some of the records available for your research.

For more information about researching at PROV explore the Getting Started research pathway.

Ordering Wills and Probate Records

To help you plan your research the 4 main steps in ordering Wills and Probate records are:

1.      Obtain the record’s reference number from the Victorian Probate Index.  The Index is located in PROV’s Reading Rooms, the Probate Office of the Victorian Supreme Court, the State Library of Victoria, genealogical research centres and some local libraries (see Useful Links).  To search the Index you will need to know the surname of the person and have a general idea of the year they died. 

2.      Login to the PROV website, through the Access the Collection page.

3.      Enter the number from the Probate Index into PROV’s Wills and Probate Search under the Ordering menu.  All wills and probate documents held by PROV for the number you have entered will be displayed and can be ordered if they are available.

4.      Visit PROV’s North Melbourne Reading Room to view the wills and probate documents you’ve ordered.  (Carrals are available for researchers who wish to view the records in privacy – just ask our reference staff.)

Download PROVguide 68 Ordering Wills and Probate Records, for detailed instructions.

For more information about probate documents created by Victoria’s Probate Office you can read PROVguide 70 Wills and Probate Records

Ordering Inquest Records

To help you plan your research the 4 main steps in ordering Inquest records are:

1.      Obtain the inquest number and the year that the inquest was undertaken, from the Victorian Inquest Index, located in PROV’s Reading Rooms, Coronial Services, the State Library of Victoria or genealogical research centres (see Useful Links).

2.      Login to the PROV website, through the Access the Collection page.

3.      Enter the number and year from the Inquest Index into PROV’s Inquest Search under the Ordering menu.  If the inquest is held by PROV an entry for it will be displayed and the inquest can be ordered.

4.      Visit PROV’s North Melbourne Reading Room to view the inquest records you have ordered.  (Carrals are available for researchers who wish to view the records in privacy – just ask our reference staff.)

Download PROVguide 8 Ordering Inquest Records, for detailed instructions.

For more information about inquests and other documents created by Victoria’s State Coroners Office you can download PROVguide 71 Inquest Records.

More Resources for Family and Local History

Learn more about using Victorian public records for your research at one of PROV’s Research Seminars.

Find out about other places for family and local history research:

PROVguide 16 Melbourne Record Centres for Family History Research

PROVguide 17 State and Territory Archives, Libraries and BDM Registrars

And PROV’s research pathway: Further Research Resources

You may wish to develop your family history skills and learn more about useful resources by joining a family history organisation or a genealogical society.

Local history and heritage organisations can offer advice and information about resources relevant to your local history research.

Publications

Private Lives Public Records: Family History Resources at Public Record Office Victoria.

Cost: $19.95

My Heart Is Breaking: A joint guide to records about Aboriginal people in the Public Record Office and the National Archives, Victorian Regional Office.

Cost: $15.35

Coming South: Victorian Archives of Immigration 1839-1923. A Guide

Cost: $9.85

Finding Your Story

Cost: $34.95

Finding Your Story is also available through the Koorie Heritage Trust and Information Victoria.  Members of the Stolen Generations can receive a copy at no cost by contacting the Koorie Family History Service at the Koorie Heritage Trust, or Link Up Victoria.

Ten Victorian Women

Cost: $10.95

These publications are available for use in PROV’s Reading Rooms, at no charge.  Find out more about Publications available through PROV.

Useful Links

Places

Geoscience Australia Place Name Index

http://www.ga.gov.au/map/names/

Heritage Victoria

http://www.heritage.vic.gov.au/index1.asp

Qasco Aerial Photography

http://www.qasco.com.au

Royal Historical Society of Victoria

http://www.historyvictoria.org.au/

Victorian Government Land Channel for information on Aerial Photography, Title documents, Maps and Plans

People

Adoption and Family Records Service (Department of Human Services)

http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/commcare and navigate to the Adoption and Family Records Service.

Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies

http://www.aigs.org.au/

Australian War Memorial

http://www.awm.gov.au/

Births, Deaths and Marriages

http://www.bdm.vic.gov.au/

Koorie Heritage Trust

http://www.Koorieheritagetrust.com/

Genealogical Society of Victoria Inc

http://www.gsv.org.au

Immigration Museum

http://immigration.museum.vic.gov.au/

Link Up Victoria

http://www.vacca.org/link_up/index.html

More Resources

Archives, Libraries and Museums of Australia

http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/website/category/ZXBA~Archives,+Libraries+and+Museums

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

http://www.aiatsis.gov.au/

National Archives of Australia

http://www.naa.gov.au/

National Library of Australia

http://www.nla.gov.au/

Picture Australia

http://www.pictureaustralia.org/

State Library Victoria

http://www.slv.vic.gov.au

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