Tuesday, 10 January 2017



Mention 'Government Gazettes' and watch the eyes roll... 
but not by family historians.

Even the most obscure of the Gazettes, and yes, they do come in a variety of categories, can elicit some very interesting information.

Police Gazettes seem to be among the best known. They have been a godsend to me, especially when researching my in laws. I have found everything from missing persons, to court cases, to lost items, unclaimed letters, public service positions, appointments, transfers, etc. Through these, I have been able to create timelines for many of them.

However, looking beyond these, to other Gazettes, can also be productive. Take for instance, this one..

Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), Friday 16 October 1953  - Lands Department Notices

You can click to enlarge..

 You might notice that only 'undermentioned gentlemen and bodies' are mentioned as trustees 'of portions of land hereinafter particularised.'

No women mentioned.. and what could be at all interesting about these notices. Firstly any dated list of names and places can help create a timeline if you are fortunate enough to have an interest in any of the names mentioned. 

If you scroll down to the third image, you will notice one entry marked with a red line..

So, what was my interest there... 

* Urunga was my home town...

* The date is 29th May, 1953... just 10 days after my beloved grandfather had died.

* One of the above mentioned 'gentlemen' was my Uncle David Catsoulis, appointed as trustee of the War Memorial (Hall), which was the hub of the community. The Hall was used for dances, meetings, CWA functions, movies, town meetings, all the uses you would expect in a small country town. However, this refers to the War Memorial which was to feature in the hall for many years. I must check to see if it still there. 

Was my uncle chosen as an ex serviceman? Checking the other names...  TUCKER, also a WWII veteran, as is SHAW, also MITCHELL and AITKEN.  Appropriate choices.. and it seems to be the obvious reason these men were chosen. All these names are familiar to me as long time residents of Urunga and also as friends of my family.

If you read through some of these pages, (or all if you wish, as you just might find familiar names or places...) you will find trustees of cemeteries, setting aside of specified areas for various religions, changes of trustees, etc. 

Public recreation areas feature often... they may tell you when your local park was planned.
Muswellbrook's showground was planned back in 1932, so if you have an ancestor involved in a local show in Muswellbrook in 1930, you know that it must have been in a different area.  Were there houses there before, how big was the town, was that show held in a paddock? 

Whatever we find, there are always  more questions to be asked.

Now for something different... 

Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), Friday 7 June 1935 


 As this is a 12 page document, I won't post the lot, just a couple of pages. You can find the full gazette with the details above...

Page. 1
Page. 6
This identifies what particular format is registered, 
in this case, Letters and Signs.. the last category.

Page 13. 
A familiar name... my grandfather, 
Theodore Catsoulis..
 but this brings up another question of course, why Isabella as the name for the stock brand? I don't know of any Isabellas in the family, the property never had a name that I have heard of... and sadly, there is no one left to ask. How I wish that I had found this when Dad was still with us. The answer may be in one of the many notebooks that my grandfather kept, and which were passed on to my father. Now that is a challenge. It could be quite some time before they can be found. 

 The only vague reason I can come up with is a play on Bellingen, another town prominent in my family's history. 

As stated before, there is always more to learn..and more to unearth. What is the most unusual or unexpected resource you have used? What did you find, did you understand it all?
Please leave a comment so we can also learn.


  1. Really interesting thanks Chris. Sadly I also often find myself saying "I wish I'd found this when my mum was still here"

    1. Thanks, Kerryn.. I have found so much on TROVE, that I would have loved to have shared with my parents... Dad saw some, as he only passed two and a half years ago, but Mum died over 34 years ago, no TROVE then.
      I could spend all day on TROVE... if only...


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