Spent my first afternoon as a volunteer at the Public Records Office of Victoria in North Melbourne. It is the most amazing place, the archive for all government and semi-government records going back to the 1830’s. I found out about the program when doing some family history research there at the beginning of the year.
While new volunteers were offered a choice of projects, the volunteer coordinator was keen that I worked on the Inquest files. This is a new project, indexing all the records so they can be searched online. It involved some basic entry in a spreadsheet; file box number, file number, name, date and place of inquest – all easy to find on the back sheet. Then came the tricky bit, the cause of death was generally added to the typed pro forma by hand. Sometimes very curly hand even though it was 1938. And I was suppose to put it in plain English. Fortunately there was no need to go into the file and read all the witness statements, although I did have to sometimes to make sense of the coroners’ finding.
Obviously this is the sort of stuff I like doing, as time flew and I was kicked out by the last staff member to leave!