Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Mutch Index

Thomas Davies Mutch (1885 - 1958), by unknown photographer, courtesy of State Library of New South Wales

This useful genealogy resource, especially for the early years of the Colony, is the Thomas Davies Mutch Card index to births, deaths and marriages, 1787-1957 (known as the Mutch Index). State Records holds a microfilm copy (Reels 2125-2129) of the original index which is held by the Mitchell Library.

The Index is believed to cover all relevant extant records relating to New South Wales from 1788-1828, except for the Newcastle Register and the Methodist Church records, and selected records to 1957. Later entries are from tombstone inscriptions and the most recent from news-cuttings and relate only to comparatively few families. A list of the records included is at the beginning of the index, and further information is available from the Mitchell Library.

MUTCH, THOMAS DAVIES (1885-1958), journalist, politician and historian, was born on 17 October 1885 at Lambeth, London, eldest child of William Mutch, Scottish omnibus driver, and his second wife Sarah, née Davies. He arrived in Sydney on 24 March 1887 with his parents and four half-brothers. Educated at Double Bay Public School, he left home and school after his mother died in 1899 and worked for four years in outback shearing-sheds. An enthusiastic reader, he absorbed socialist literature and the bush tradition.

A professional genealogist, Mutch was a council-member of the Society of Australian Genealogists in 1945-46 and was elected fellow in 1946. He compiled a comprehensive index to the early settlers of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land from parish registers, convict indents, musters and land records; the 'Mutch Index' is now in the Mitchell Library. A trustee of the Public Library of New South Wales (1916-58) and a member of the Mitchell Library committee (1924-58), he secured Jansz's original charts for the library, successfully lobbied for establishment of the State Archives in 1942, and in 1945 persuaded the National Library of Australia to co-operate in a joint copying project of documents relating to Australia in the Public Records Office, London.

He died of cancer at his Clovelly home on 4 June 1958 and was buried in the Anglican section of Waverley cemetery after a service in St James' Church. The Society of Australian Genealogists established the T. D. Mutch memorial lecture in his honour.

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