Archive for November, 2008

Electoral Rolls, Police Gazettes, and Unclaimed Letters From Australia

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

This week’s major collection at includes Australian content from three different databases.

  • Queensland Australia Electoral Rolls 1934 & 1949
  • Queensland Police Gazette 1864 – 1874
  • Queensland Australia Unclaimed Letters

As stated last week, an electoral roll contains a list of the names of all people registered to vote in a particular area. The earliest electoral rolls in Australia begin in the 1840s, for the states of New South Wales and Victoria.

TheQueensland Police Gazette 1864-1874 contains 31,196 records. Each result contains the name, the topic (reason the warrant was issued), the volume and page number, and the date.

The Queensland Unclaimed Letters Index 1864-1874 was compiled by the Queensland Family History Society between 1997 and 2003, along with the Queensland Police Gazette 1864-1874. The Queensland Unclaimed Letters database provides an index to the names in the monthly lists of Unclaimed Letters published in the Queensland Government Gazette between 1864 and 1874. Currently this database contains 202,473 records.

The index is a valuable aid for locating early colonists in Queensland. Knowing where your ancestors were is often not easy to determine, particularly if no significant event occurred which let a paper trail. Many of them moved frequently, either seeking employment or chasing gold. As a result letters were often not able to be delivered – the last address was no longer applicable. The addresses given in this index will assist tracing just where that ancestor was, even it he or she was no longer there by the time these letters were due for delivery!

New Podcast For Genealogists

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

A new podcast was recently launched for genealogists called Family History: Genealogy Made Easy. The podcast is geared to beginning genealogists, and yet includes motivational interviews for the more experienced researchers.

Lisa Louise Cooke is the author of the podcast, and her hope is that this podcast will reach out to the non-genealogist and show them that discovering their family history is possible and easier than ever with all the Internet advances.

Getting started is the hardest part, and following along with this weekly serial podcast will make it easier than ever to get started and reap rewards.The audio player can be downloaded here: Genealogy Gems News Blog.

Just click the GET button on the player. It not only plays the new show, but also The Genealogy Gems Podcast, The Family Tree Magazine Podcast, The Family History Expos Podcast and Digital Photography Life. You can also subscribe free to the show in iTunes.

What Was Voting Like For Your Ancestors???

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

By Whitney Ransom McGowan,
Election time is coming up on November 4 in the United States. Although voting may seem commonplace to you, what was voting like for your ancestors? Did they vote? How did they vote? Did any of your ancestors run for office? Lets take a look at voting throughout a variety of countries and centuries.

Did you know that in Ancient Greece individuals had a negative election? This meant that male landowners were asked to vote for the individual they most wanted to exile for ten years. If any politician received more than 6,000 of these votes, the one with the largest number was actually exiled! If there wasn’t a politician who received 6,000 votes, then all of the politicians were safe.

In the late 1860s, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were passed, extending voting rights to former slaves. Although these amendments were passed, many blacks could not actually vote until the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1960.

If your ancestors lived up until the mid-1800s, voting was done quite differently. First, it was not secret. Voters would be sworn in and voice their opinions. The secret ballot box was useful because it was said to increase voter participation; however, there were some problems with fraud because there was no direct verification that what the voter intended to vote was actually followed.

If your ancestors were born in 1971, a new amendment was passed lowering the voting age from 21 to 18. At this time the Vietnam War was in process. This was a time when 18-year-olds were drafted to the war and were unable to vote.

How was voting for your female ancestors? In 1920, the 19th Amendment was passed in the United States, giving women the right to vote. Women born in New Zealand could vote in 1893. Women born in Australia could vote in 1902. Female citizens living in Switzerland received the right to vote in the 1970s. Women could vote in Finland in 1906, in Norway in 1913, in the Soviet Union in 1917, in Poland in 1918, in Germany and Sweden in 1919, and in Ireland in 1922.

Today the voting age in many countries throughout the world is age 18 (Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (note this is not a comprehensive list). However, in some countries the ages are different for voting. For example, if you are 15 you can vote in Iran. If you are 16 years of age, you are eligible for voting in Brazil. You can also vote in Japan at age 20.

Have you ever tried to learn more about voting and your ancestors at A keyword search for the word “voting” at yields 184,581 matches in 2,982 indexes and 797,649 matches in 5,474 indexes for the keyword “vote.” Check out today and see what voting was like for your ancestors.