Trove Tues. Tip - Where is the AWW?

I thought that the Australian Women's Weekly Magazine would be found under "Magazines", No it's not!

The AWW was published from 1933 and TROVE has copies online from then until 1982.  They are fascinating to browse and contain a lot of social history. So why is social history important in family history research?

Once you have gained some basic facts about your ancestors you will want to expand your research and explore what life was like during the time period they lived, and in the town/country they lived in.  Social History is the study of ordinary people’s everyday lives. This type of history does not focus only on the elite or famous. Social history helps us to look at historical events and how they collectively affected and shaped groups, not just exceptional people individually.  


This type of history can be particularly useful when researching women as women's lives were documented less and less the further back in history I seem to go.  For instance, women in the 1600's women are referred to as: "Name, daughter or wife of Name" (eg. Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Ball)  Not even referred to under their full name, and this applies even on legal documents.

TROVE has some valuable insights into the social history of Australia, and the Australian Women's Weekly is a treasure.  You will find it listed under the Newspapers and Gazettes category when you do an advanced search.

In the Magazines and Newsletters category there are publications that go back well before 1933.  There are professional journals like the "Glass: the Official Journal of the Glass Industry", and another great publication aimed at women: "the Australian Woman's Mirror".   the Mirror published 1924-1961 by the Bulletin.  The magazine's contents included the standard recipes, knitting patterns, along with articles about fashion, holiday destinations and household tips. On the literary front it included, on a regular basis, short stories, poems, and serialised novels.  

Suggestions for searching these publications:

  1. Use the advanced search options to narrow searching to one or two publications
  2. Try searching for a name (but be warned you may get nothing) to see if an ancestor was mentioned.  This is particularly useful if searching professional journals.
  3. Search for a town or city and you may find some interesting information.
  4. Browse a spceific year of one publication to find out just what was going on in your ancestor's lifetime.
  5. Search for a specific event, (eg. Toowoomba Tornado) if you are lucky enough to have one in your timeline.
  6. Try searching for a significant date, eg. wedding or birth - see what was topical in Australia at the time.

Be warned, once you start looking at these magazines and journals you will be tempted to keep reading.  The advertising is particularly fascinating.




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