Thursday, 30 July 2009

Narre Warren and District Family History Group

National Family History Week takes place from Saturday, August 1st until Sunday, August 9th 2009. We have our own Family History Group based in Casey Cardinia, the Narre Warren and District Family History Group. The Group has just celebrated their 20th anniversary and are still going strong.

The members of the 20th anniversary sub-committee, cutting the birthday cake. Left to right - Faye McCoubrie, Pam Lowther, Lorraine Taylor, Wendy Goodwin, Lynne Bradley and Eileen Durdin.

The first meetings of the Group were held in Lorraine Taylor’s living room at her house in Sweeney Drive in Narre Warren on May 10th 1989. Resources were owned personally by the members and shared with others at each meeting. In June 1989 the Group affiliated with the Genealogical Society of Victoria and in July they produced their first newsletter, Spreading Branches. The Group fund-raised to purchase resources, and from October 1990 the meetings moved to the Presbyterian Church meeting room in Narre Warren. When the Narre Warren Library opened on November 21st 1992 they moved into a room there, and have been with the Library ever since.

The Family History Group has a well resourced Research Room staffed with knowledgeable, helpful and friendly volunteers. The Group also produces valuable research about the Casey Cardinia area – they have transcribed registers and created Indexes to the burials at Harkaway, Berwick and Pakenham cemeteries. Another great and on-going project is their Casey Cardinia Index, a combined index of every local history book written on a town, organisation or person in the Casey Cardinia area.

They have also produced a history of their first 20 years, called
Kindred Spirits, which is available for loan at Narre Warren Library or for
purchase from the Group. It is an interesting account of the Group from the first meeting in May 1989 to the successful group they are today, with over 100 members.

If you have been involved in Family History research you will know how much change there has been in genealogical resources over the past twenty years - index cards have been replaced by microfiche which in turn have been replaced by on-line resources, such as Ancestry database. In fact, it has got to the stage now where people expect to find their whole family tree complete and sitting there on the Internet waiting for them. One of the early projects which the Group undertook was transcribing the Shire of Berwick Rate books, by hand, onto individual index cards. The City of Berwick and the Cardinia Shire have since microfilmed the Rate books and they are available on CD-ROM.
The Shire of Berwick Rate Cards. Each rate-payer had their own Index card. It was a labour of love and dedication to produce these cards.

If you want to help in researching your family tree then visit the Research Room at the Narre Warren Library. The room is open Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11.00am until 3.00pm and from June to October on Sundays 2.00pm until 5.00pm. There is a small charge for non-members to use the Research Room resources.
To celebrate National Family History Week, the Narre Warren & District Family History Group will be holding an Open Day at the Narre Warren Library on Thursday August 6th from 11.00am until 3.00pm. Come along to check out their resources, get some advice and find out for yourself what a supportive friendly group they are.

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