Untimely Ends: Using Inquests for Family and Local History (2019)

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The MHW team is developing resources on Victorian Inquests (VPRS 24) held at Public Record Office Victoria (PROV).

Inquest records from 1840-1985 are some of the most popular records in the Victorian Archives. While their main purpose is to inquire into the causes and circumstances surrounding premature death—whether through natural causes, accidents or felonious means—the information in inquest files can reveal as much about how our ancestors lived as how they died. Depositions of evidence given by witnesses can provide a unique and rich source of family and local history.

As part of National Family History Month, MHW is running a workshop on inquests in collaboration with PROV. This session will provide guidance into using inquests as sources of social history, and explore the ways in which inquest records can inform us about individual life stories, social networks, working conditions and industrial technology, transport, diet and dress, personal habits and possessions, cultural and religious mores, and many other aspects of everyday domestic life. Inquests open a window onto family trauma, violence and tragedy, and we will also reflect on the ethics of using this type of source material.


Fri., 23 August 2019, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm AEST

Victorian Archives Centre, Conference Room, 99 Shiel Street, North Melbourne, Victoria 3051

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This initiative is being supported by a University of Melbourne Engagement Grant (GLAM and creative industries funding).

Click on the link below to view the presentation slides.

InquestsWebVersion