DEVOTEES and enthusiastic members of the Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest Family Research group were treated to a very special guest speaker at the weekend.
Gail Davis, a leading archivist with the NSW State Records Department came to town, to give a talk and impart some of her 30 years of experience.
“I adore history, I love archives and I love making records more available to the public,” Gail told the News Of The Area.
Her talk focussed on divorce, probate and school records, areas which many people were unaware were open to the public.
When referring to divorce and probate papers, Gail warned, “Don’t start if you’re likely to be shocked, as some long hidden family secrets may finally come to light.”
School records are another great source for those hunting for long lost family members or just curious to find out more about their heritage.
Gail revealed how New South Wales school archives, include such gems as punishment books, dating back to the good old days when students were caned or whipped and the reason why.
Other tips included searching police gazettes and estate files.
Enthusiast Janice Taylor summed up her 30 years of tracing her family history as an “addiction”, and many others at the meeting were in agreement.
For more information go to www.records.nsw.gov.au or visit the NSW State Records Authority in Kingswood, near Penrith, open to the public Monday to Saturday.
By Margie TIERNEY