Meet Phoebe Wilkens – Genealogist & Record Agent

My own family history has always fascinated me. It is abundant with stories of Victoria’s Western District, raising sheep, extraordinary horsemanship, Aussie battlers and wonderful women. Growing up, as a family we would sit around the dinner table and Mum and Dad would regale us with stories of wonderful and quirky ancestors, family myths and legends. I loved (and still do) leafing through old photos and documents that told stories about my family and took me to a place I could only imagine.

When I finished school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. It was a number of years later, I was reading the newspaper when I had an epiphany! I was reading an article about a gentleman who had died alone in the bush leaving behind a small fortune, a legacy and no known next of kin. It mentioned the work of a genealogist to try and find out more about this man. It was then that I decided that historical research and genealogy was what I had to do.

I went on to study history and also volunteered at a number of historical societies. Shortly after finishing my first degree I started working at the Geelong Heritage Centre and then went on to work at the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) – the state government archives. This really helped to whet my appetite when it came to perusing historical records of all shapes, sizes and depths.

It was when I was working at PROV that I decided I wanted to pursue history on my own time and in my own capacity and thus my professional historical research business ‘Born & Bred Historical Research’ was established.

The business encompasses my passion for genealogy, discovering a love of researching families, their origins and finding skeletons in the closest. I love being able to uncover family mysteries and find missing ancestors as well as research and write about historical events and relish in discovering treasures in the archives.

My main inspiration and drive to uncover historical mysteries has been because of my own family and my paternal grandfather in particular. He migrated to Australia in the 1950s during the post-World War II mass migration from Europe. He was Dutch and had spent his formative years living with his family in the Dutch East Indies, whereby they had all lived for several generations. He had lived a fascinating life and died when I was very young. No one thought to ask him many questions when he was alive, so I have been filling in the gaps for the last decade. Being able to tell his story, now that he no longer can has been a big driving force.

I hold my Advanced Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History and my Bachelor of Historical Inquiry and Research from the University of New England, Armidale, NSW.

I am an accredited Record Agent and Genealogist with AAGRA and a member of the Professional Historians Association (Victoria & Tasmania).

Research Enquiries
Email: [email protected]

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