Catalogue Updates - November 2014

Michele Keogh Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - 11:14

 There’s always something new in SRO’s online catalogue. Called AEON and soon to become AtoM, we are continuously uploading digitised archives, item dates, new agencies, series, consignments, corrections, checking restricted access, new admin history, etc.; it’s enough to keep you up all night.

Although SRO is not able to take in regular transfers of State archives from government agencies due to a lack of storage space, the State Archive collection requires plenty of work to describe the 15 kilometres of State archives we already hold.  As well as work undertaken by SRO staff, we were fortunate to have six re-deployees from BOCS Ticketing from late 2012 until early 2014 and we recently started a new work experience project through Centrelink and an employment agency. These additions to our description effort has increased the number of amendments to items, uploads and accurate descriptive details we can provide to you.

The main focus for SRO staff is to ensure significant older collections are described at each individual item level, so that every file, plan, register, etc., is accessible via our online catalogue. We are currently working on Series 675 - Correspondence files from the Colonial Secretary’s Office and smaller agencies such as police stations that were only accessible via the Archive Notes in the search room. All police stations are now described on our catalogue with the series and item level descriptions planned for 2015. An alphabetical index of divorces working back from 1976 is also being compiled to help SRO staff with enquiries.

Selections of all the above activities will be expanded on in future blogs, but there are a few that we are pretty excited about.

Among the records now described on AEON are large collections of contributor record cards and files from the Coal Industry Superannuation Board previously known as the Coal Mine Workers’ Pensions Tribunal.  Apart from the obvious value to family history research, these documents provide some social detail, such as the notable influx of non-British European names following WWII, and the eventual inclusion of women. They are also an interesting record of the vagaries of employment with retrenchments and other such details recorded. The files are restricted from 100 years from date of birth, due to possible inclusion of medical and other very personal information, but the cards are ‘Open Access’. Permission to access files can be sought through SRO. By November 2014, almost 2000 files and 1800 cards have been added to the catalogue.

 Bankruptcy files (Series 165), from the W.A. Supreme Court have, until recently, only been recorded on the catalogue by surname. This has made searching for surnames such as Smith, Brown, or Thomas almost impossible. Starting from 1892, we are working through the collection to add first names and other appropriate identifying data, with nearly 1,400 file records enhanced. This is a fascinating collection including bankrupted Afghan cameleers, Goldfields boarding house and restaurant keepers, farmers, hoteliers, drapers, and greengrocers from all over the state. The life and work or business history detail in many files is extraordinary and so much thematic research could be undertaken in the collection.

 David Whiteford and Michele Keogh