Amy Johnson Crow has just started a series 31 Days to Better Genealogy. Day 5 suggested using the FamilySearch Wiki. I have used the Family Search Wiki a fair bit in the past, as it often comes up when I am googling for suggestions on where to find more records for a particular location.
I decided that since my ancestors have lived in Victoria, Australia since between 1841 and 1863, and I have been researching my family history for 25 years now, I would check the Family Search Wiki to see if there were any resources listed that I didn’t know about.
In the past, I have concentrated my research in records that tend to be held centrally, such as at the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, State Library of Victoria or Public Record Office, but the Wiki reminded me that there be may be more resources for my family at some of the local historical and genealogical societies. There was also one resource I hadn’t noticed before, which was the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre. This website mentioned they have the Bendigo Historic Rates Index, and District Court Records.
Although I have been aware of the Rate Books, I haven’t actually done any research in them, partly because I wasn’t sure where to find them, and partly because I have been using directories and electoral rolls, and I wasn’t sure whether the rate books would provide me with any information I couldn’t find on the directories or electoral rolls.
Yesterday, I saw the new Victoria, Australia, Rate Books, 1855-1963 collection at ancestry, and so I finally decided to have a look and see what information was shown and found that not only is the owner of the property listed, but the occupier as well. The collection at ancestry focused on a few of the inner Melbourne suburbs (Fitzroy, Collingwood were two I noticed), but there are a lot of other suburbs and towns around Victoria that aren’t covered. I now know there some of the ones from around Bendigo can be found.
With the list of the local historical societies, and the local councils, I can now start looking for the rate books for the areas where my ancestors have lived.