This personal genealogy blog challenge is to stimulate my own genealogy blogging efforts in 2014 – 2015 by focusing on a different kind of genealogical record each week. I wanted a challenge that reflected my own archival background as well as my own genealogy interests and there are probably lots of other records that I could have included. The challenge has an Australian focus but most of these records will be found just about anywhere in the genealogy world.
The 52 different types of genealogical records I finally decided on are listed in no particular order (each week will be a random surprise). Originally I planned to do this over 52 weeks in 2014 but soon realised that I have to factor in travel and illness so it is continuing into 2015 from Week 26.
Anyone is welcome to do all or part of this blogging challenge. Let me know if you are participating and I will put a link to your post under each week’s challenge.
Links to Weeks 1-25 are here. Week 26 School Records Week 27 Census Records Week 28 Tombstones Week 29 Military Records Week 30 Postcards Week 31 Photographs Week 32 Asylum Records Week 33 Church Records Week 34 Maps Week 35 Sporting Records Week 36 Hospital Records Week 37 Military Histories and Unit War Diaries, Week 38 Trade Union Records Week 39 Old Age Pension Records
Week 40 Company Records
Chances are that we do not know if an ancestor was involved with a company as there is no central index to simply look up. I have stumbled over family connections through local histories, company histories and digitised newspapers. Original company registration files are held by the relevant state archives but there is no overall index of people associated with companies. You really need to know the name of the company and an approximate date range. Look to see if the archives has written a brief guide or fact sheet to assist with researching companies.
My Potter and Atkinson families in Gympie were associated with a number of mines in the area and I had discovered this from reading local histories of Gympie. You may even be lucky and find photographs of your ancestors in these publications. I found a number of photos of John Barrow Atkinson as he was a director of a number of Gympie mines.
Once I had the names of the companies. I was then able to look for company files at Queensland State Archives. Company files usually have documents relating to the registration of the company, information on company directors and sometimes even lists of shareholders.
If you do not know a company name then sometimes a search for a person in Trove may discover that the person was involved with a company or had shares in a company. The obituary for George Alfred Potter in the Brisbane Courier listed him as a director of numerous Gympie gold mining companies.
Trove is fantastic for this with its keyword searches and filters to narrow down to specific places and times. Search for a person’s name or a company name and a place. You can also select a decade or even a specific year. Remember to also search for an initial as shareholders are often listed just by an initial and a surname as this example from the Leader (Orange, NSW) in 1915 illustrates.
There are all kinds of companies, not just mining companies. It is unlikely that you will find biographical information on your ancestors but they might reveal more about their occupation and involvement in the community. Mining company records certainly added more information to what I already knew about my mining ancestors. Why not take a look at company records?