Trove – the wonder

3 Jun

So I had the best time this evening surfing around in Trove.

I discovered 18th century florid prose about how children bore a stigma of illegitimacy that ruined the rest of their life when they were born out of wedlock.

I hadn’t realized that early in Australia’s history fathers were not allowed to put their names on a child’s birth certificate unless they were married to the mother.

I discovered that the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages Act was first ammended so that a father’s name could be included if the parents married within 6 months of a child’s birth. Then passionate advocates changed it further to allow both parents names on your birth certificate regardless of marriage.

I registered as a text editor and typed in corrections for several news articles. I remember hearing NLA staff talk about crowdsourcing this work, and meaning to help out … And then promptly forgot. Today as I read through old history I was happy to. Talk about connecting the task at the point of use; perfect.

From our discovery layer I learnt about the man who set up the Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Victoria (and later went on to influence other states). How he had been inspired by London statisticians to use statistics from the Register to identify improvements for maternal health rates, identify infant death causes etc

From our library catalogue I learnt that even today some people, mainly First Australians, lead difficult lives as their births were not registered; subsequent standard documentation for payment of work is hard.

And from Google Scholar I learnt that in contemporary times transsexuals are battling birth certificate data to ensure they can build new lives.

I didn’t actually find the answer to the question about extracts … However I had a great evening web surf and skipped my usual Facebook fodder.

Indications are that extracts were available in Australia from at least 1904 – so next week I’ll go look up the original Act for the final answer.

Happy weekend everyone


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