Series VPRS 3993
Register of Inward Correspondence II
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1864 - 1883
  Series in Custody 1864 - 1883
  Contents 1864 - 1883
Public Access: Open
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1864 - 1883 Chief Secretary's Department VA 475
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1979 - 1992 Ministry for Police and Emergency Services VA 421
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    Researchers with a specific subject or searching for correspondence from a particular official or person should first consult the Index to Inwards Registered Correspondence (see VPRS 1411) for the appropriate year to identify the registration number of the correspondence. Letters from "persons" ie. members of the public were indexed alphabetically by surname and were grouped together at the end of the appropriate alphabetic section within the index. Letters from rural officials will be listed under the name of the locality. Letters from other government officials will be listed under the name of the department or the position ie. Auditor-General or Penal and Goals. Remember that the subject classifications used reflect 19th century ideas, values and attitudes and will not necessarily be analogous with current terminology.

    Having identified a relevant entry in the index note the correspondence registration number given eg. 65M/943. Refer to the registers of inward correspondence (in this series). The reference 65M/943 would refer to the 943rd letter (and entry) in register M for the year 1865.

    Once the entry for that letter has been located in the register the final filing location (and therefore the registration number to search for in the consignment details of VPRS 3991 Inward Registered Correspondence) should be identified by tracing any links to subsequent correspondence usually marked in the far right hand column of the registers. Any subject classification noted against a relevant entry should also be noted. A list of the subject classifications used is given below.

    It is important to follow the chain of correspondence till no higher registration number is listed against the entry as correspondence was filed under its final or last registration number. Having followed the chain of correspondence and identified the last registration number and the subject classification under which it was filed researcher should identify the unit in the consignment details which corresponds with that subject classification and the registration number of the last letter within a top-numbered sequence.

    Remember to check VPRS 1226 Supplementary Inward Registered Correspondence, VPRS 1192 Petitions and also VPRS 4723 Inward Registered Correspondence IV for any correspondence which cannot be located in this series.

    If the research topic is fairly broad eg. Prisons 1865-1875 it may be more appropriate (and less time consuming) to consult the consignment details for VPRS 3991 as the correspondence is listed under the subject classifications used in the original registry system. Though the subject classifications used during this period are much broader than those for the 1851-1863 period a Guide to the Office Records was prepared in 1864 which shows under which broad subject classifications more specific subjects were to be filed. Researchers should consult this guide, reproduced in the series text for VPRS 3991, to identify the broad heading, eg. Public and Religious Bodies, under which their more specific research topic might be filed eg. Banks, and then call up the correspondence for those years.

  • Function / Content
    This series consists of registers of inward correspondence received by the Chief Secretary's Department. For more information regarding the registry system these registers are a part of refer to the series description for VPRS 3991 Inward Registered Correspondence II.

    These registers were used to record summary details and allocate unique identification numbers (registration numbers) to each letter received. Each inward letter was, on receipt and registration, allocated a number from the registers for identification. This consisted of an annual single number, that is a sequential number prefixed by the last two figures of the year, with the numbering sequence recommencing at 1 at the start of each year.

    eg. the one-hundred and twenty-third letter received in 1872 was given the number 72/123.

    The inward correspondence appears to have been filed in annual single number order in pigeon-hole cabinets / presses.

    The registers record in a column format:

    * the registration number,
    * "previous folio", the registration number of any related previous correspondence
    * the day and month received
    * the name / position and address of sender,
    * the date sent
    * nature of application and representation
    * the registration number of related outward correspondence.
    * "action taken, to whom referred and when", ie. to which official the letter was referred to action, date referred to official and when returned.
    * "Result of Application", or "How Disposed Of". This records the registration number of any related subsequent correspondence received on the same matter, or PA (put away), or a subject classification which indicate that the letter has been filed and its location.

    Top Numbering

    A later registration number written in the right-hand column means the letter has been top-numbered. This involved the practice of grouping together items of inward correspondence which referred to the same transaction to create files. The method adopted was that of placing earlier correspondence under later ones. Thus if there were a later letter registered 65/725 on the same transaction as 65/123, that earlier letter would be filed with the later one and there would in fact be no correspondence filed under 65/123.

    Filing by Subject Classification

    With the introduction of subject classifications for filing of correspondence the subject classification will be written in this column indicating where this letter has been filed. Within each subject classification letters were filed in registration number order.

    After 1864 the use of subject classifications to arrange correspondence became more streamlined, broader classifications were introduced and variations / discrepancies reduced through the use of a "Guide to the Office Records" which listed individual subjects against the broader groups they were to be filed under. The broader subject classifications now to be used were:

    - Agent General (after 1872)
    - Electoral
    - Government Departments
    - Internal Administration
    - Lunatic Asylums / Lunacy
    - Other Governments
    - Parliament
    - Pastoral
    - Personal
    - Police
    - Prisons
    - Public and Religious / Related Bodies.

    See the series description for VPRS 3991 for a reproduction of the "Guide to Office Records" which lists each subject classification and defines how each is to be used.

  • Recordkeeping System
    Each register was identified by the year of use. Alternate registers were used, sometimes up to four per year, identified within the year by an alphabetical symbol. It would seem that a register would be used for one day, and then indexed on the next while another register was in use. The registration number of the letter included the alpha symbol of the register, eg. 72 A/786 meaning the seven-hundred and eighty-sixth letter registered in volume A for 1872.

    Entries for each letter were made chronologically by date of receipt, being allocated a sequential registration number in this order.

    Related Records

    The correspondence was indexed alphabetically by general subject and by surname of "persons", the index also recording a precis of the letter, date received, and the registration number, see VPRS 1411.

    All outward correspondence was registered and a copy retained, see VPRS 1187.

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Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
Controlled SeriesControlled Series
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
1864 - 1883 Petitions VPRS 1192
1864 - 1883 Supplementary Inward Registered Correspondence VPRS 1226
1864 - 1883 Inward Registered Correspondence II VPRS 3991
1874 - 1883 Inward Registered Correspondence IV VPRS 4723
Previous SeriesPrevious Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
- 1864 Register of Inward Correspondence I VPRS 1186
Subsequent SeriesSubsequent Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
- 1884 Register of Inward Correspondence III VPRS 3994
List/s of records in this seriesList/s of records in this series
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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0000 1864 - 1883 Open 46
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
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