23 January 2014

Internal Migration (52 weeks of genealogical records: week 2)

Week 2 in the series '52 Weeks of Genealogical Records' is about internal migration (movement from place to place within one country). You may not realise it yet, but many of your ancestors probably did this (maybe only for a short time). In Australia it is especially important to be aware of such movement because each State and Territory has separate records for births, deaths, marriages, wills, electoral rolls etc.

Shauna Hicks recommends timelines to reveal gaps in your information, and certificates to find out about internal migration. Other sources that I use include:

  • British censuses:  To quote an example from my own family tree... George WEBSTER married Sarah GIBLETT in 1829, and various sources indicated that they lived in the Greater London area until they died in 1881. I was surprised when I discovered (from census returns) that two of their eight children were born elsewhere in England (Leeds, Yorkshire, c.1833, and Manchester, Lancashire, c.1843).

  • Hospital admission registers:  These are often better than death certificates; and they include biographical details for hundreds of people who went interstate (or overseas) during gold rushes and other mining booms. Many returned to their home State, and you may have no idea that they had moved temporarily. Some name indexes are online.

  • Wallangarra quarantine registers:  These give details of people crossing the Queensland / NSW border during the 1918-1919 influenza epidemic. The index is online.

  • Australian electoral rolls:  There are online indexes for at least two different series of 19th and 20th century rolls (and some rolls are more informative than others).

  • Strays Collection Australasia:  A 'stray' is someone who married, lived or died away from his/her place of birth. This index, compiled from many different sources, has details of thousands of interstate and international strays with a connection to Australia or New Zealand.

Examples (abbreviated, without the source citations) from the Strays Index:
  • ELLIOT Jeanie, widow of Max HEBDEN... late of Brisbane QLD, formerly of Rabaul PNG, Tenterfield NSW and Bangalow NSW...
  • GUNN Ian Morriss, late of Clontarf QLD, formerly of Uganda and South Africa...
  • JONES Gladys Ruebene (formerly HALLAM), born 1894 Texas QLD; married... Inverell NSW; died... Grafton NSW...

Tips on using the Strays Index:
  1. In FindMyPast's records for Australia/NZ, narrow your search results to Category='Directories and Social History', and Record set='Strays Collection Australasia'. 
  2. Enter a surname only; then click 'Search'.  In the results, ignore the event year/location. They have nothing to do with the person, and refer only to an index's publication date/place.
  3. Click on the icon beside the entry to view the document (a typed page on which the surname appears, perhaps multiple times - as shown below). 
  4. As you can see, beside the image of the page there is a section with details of the publication. Note the page number and dataset, which refer to one of several Strays Indexes published by the Queensland Family History Society. Those publications may perhaps give a better explanation of abbreviated source citations.

To find Strays Indexes for the United Kingdom (with references from census records, headstones, parish registers etc), go to GENUKI and search for the word 'strays'.

For more research tips, see my other posts in '52 Weeks of Genealogical Records':
A full list of topics in this series is on www.shaunahicks.com.au.
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  1. More great suggestions Judy. I've added the link to my Week 2 post. Thanks

    1. Thanks Shauna. I am enjoying your '52 Weeks of Genealogical Records' series. I can think of several different ways to respond to the Week 3 challenge re probates (wills and administrations), so I am still trying to make a decision.


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