A trip to State Records.

Yesterday a group, from the Bankstown Family History Group. met at Kingswood for a day of research and a tour behind the scenes.

Once our visitors passes were issued, (I had organised this in advance), we were able to start our research. I had ordered three probate packets, before hand and they were waiting for me.

The first one I looked at was for Elsie Minnie Sigrist, Paul's grandmother. Elsie had died in April 1934 but probate wasn't sort until 1944. I was puzzled by this as it was a long time. Reading all the affidavits I found the reason. The executors hadn't thought that the estate was worth much and only when the bank contacted them and said that the cottage had gone up in value, did they then apply. The will was sad as Elsie had made it in hospital, most likely when she knew that she wasn't going to make it.  The poignant words,' to be guardian of my infant children' brought tears to my eyes. Edna, (Mum) wasn't 14 and Violet was just 5. Elsie had been widowed in 1930.

I asked Paul about this and he said he remembers Mum mentioning that she had to pay the mortgage, when she started work at 14. Such a responsibility at that age.

The next two probate packets, whilst Vaughans, while weren't mine they made very interesting reading.

Another I did find was for Leslie John Abberton, my uncle who died in WW1. I had his will and know who he left it to but hadn't thought about probate.  On the documents I noticed that the will was 'annexed',  this was apparently because it was under 65pounds. There was an interesting affidavit was about confirming his signature on the will. A friend stated that she had known him before he enlisted and had continued to correspond with him, when he embarked and that it was his signature.

Probate packets make for very interesting reading.

A gem I found was documents relating to an oyster lease and the Hawkesbury River, for Frederick Charles Sigrist and John Cavers. John, in November 1934, was trying to get the lease into his and his son's name and the 'Sigrist had been deceased for some years and I'm unable to locate a next-of-kin.'  Fred was Elsie's husband.

Our tour was fantastic. We were taken behind the scenes and walked a long way. Gail explained about how things are stored, took us to the conservation area, into section 6, the furthest building from the main entrance, showed us map drawers containing the original parish maps and so much more. The statics are amazing, with the amount of archives being stated in kilometres!

If you are able to go and research, at State Archives, do so, the staff are very helpful and there is plenty to discover. You need a readers ticket but that can be ordered online.

I also caught up with friends, who were researching too.

To top the day off, I came home and discovered that I'd won a RootsTech pass, from Jill Ball's competition!

Bye for now,


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