AFLUA HERITAGE BIOGRAPHY PROJECT
Over it’s history the VFL/AFL and the Umpires’ Association has kept little biographical information about its umpires and members.
With the approach of the AFLUA’s 2009 centenary year the Information and Research team began collecting basic biographical and umpiring career related information about all living umpires who have been a member of the VFLUA/AFLUA.
While the Association has a list of everyone who has been a member since 1909 based on Association Membership registers, Annual Reports, directories and published appointments we held little information about those umpires’ careers other than years of service. Most of the information we hold is for those umpires who umpired senior football. In the case of field umpires this amounts to less than 10% of members.
The project aims to collect umpiring career information from every living member and have that information available for researchers and the association.
We made an assumption that members who began umpiring in 1950 and beyond make up the largest percentage of those still alive. Of the 2300 plus Association members 1477 umpires began their membership after 1950. Work began in November 2005.
At this stage of the project we have completed the years 1950-2006. 977 questionnaires have been sent out, 625 have been returned. More than 300 former umpires who we had lost contact with have been located.
Current and new members are asked to fill in the questionnaire on joining the Association.
The information being received is what was asked for and is being recorded on each umpires biographical record. A good database of those who have photographs, scrapbooks, memorabilia etc is being built up and will be of use once the first part of this project is complete.
A number of former members have also been of use in locating ‘missing’ umpires either by directly providing addresses or clues that can be followed up.
Sadly many former members have passed away in that period but we have been able to contact families and descendants to confirm identities and some missing details.
The first time through the list there were a number of members who we could not trace. New genealogical research resources have become available and we are now going through the list again with new clues and have identified quite a few who we missed. At the same time we are sending reminders to those who offered to fill in the survey the first time but failed to do so.
The period prior to 1950 is being researched by Lloyd Fisk with a view to at least finding birth and death dates for those who began their VFL careers from 1897-1949. A big undertaking given the lack of available records but in most cases Lloyd has been able to trace the members from available information and build up a good biographical picture. Future work will be to contact descendent of those who have passed away to glean more information or a photo.
Recently we created a Facebook page with a view to contacting those more recent members with who the AFLUA has lost touch – AFLUA Historian-Statistician. Through Facebook we can send a link to an on-line version of the questionnaire which may prove easier to fill in and return for those who are used to the WWW
This Facebook page will also feature a ‘Missing member of the week’ in the hope that someone in the Facebook fraternity may be able to assist in the location of the former member.
Are you ‘Missing’
Here is a list of those who we have not been able to trace, or who we have tried to contact without success.