|Regardless of where your family came from, it
to find records of your ancestors and discover how they lived. Join us
a fascinating and enthralling voyage of discovery.
How Do I Begin?
- Always begin with yourself
- Draw a Family Tree with yourself at the bottom
- Fill in all the dates of births, deaths &
marriages that you can
- Add the places where these events took place
- Collect all the family documents you can
- Work systematically.
These can include letters, diaries, papers, photographs, birthday books
or, with luck, a family Bible.
Analyse your findings, placing items in a logical order.
Look for clues as to ages and possible locations.
Visit your Family
- Think carefully about what you want to ask and how
you will approach relatives. Remember some will not want to talk about
- Have possible questions prepared
- Let people talk freely
- Avoid any topic which may be sensitive
- Take any old photographs you may have
- Where it seems feasible, use a tape recorder
- Maiden Aunts could well have nursed their parents
and be a mine
Carefully copy each document and put the originals safely away.
Which branch of the family do I begin
Choose one branch of the family to begin with. Maybe the one with an
unusual name; maybe one holds a particular fascination for you.
try to start on several lines.
Primary sources are original records created at the time of the event.
They have NOT been copied or transcribed.
Always try to work with
primary source material.
Mistakes will always be made in copying from
old documents and can lead to a waste in both time and money.
Prove each new fact by cross referencing with at least two prime
All indexes are liable to contain mistakes.
They are there to help you
access prime source records and should NEVER be used as proof of any
Family History Societies
Family History Societies such as the AIGS are usually run by the
members to help anyone interested in family history research.
them friendly and always willing to help those beginning their
Most societies have:
- Large reference libraries.
- Courses on various aspects of research including
starting your research.
- A variety of services to assist their members to
obtain overseas records.
- Regular talks on various aspects of Family History.
- A magazine providing background to research.
Putting Flesh on the Bones!
- Find out about the area in the period you are
- Check newspapers and other publications.
- Find out about occupations and pastimes.
Birth, Death & Marriage
Civil registration began at different times in each of the Australian
States and in the U.K. Indexes to most of these
are available at the AIGS Library. The Index references enable you
to order the certificates.
Civil Registration began in:
|New South Wales
|1st March 1856
||24th August 1870
||1st March 1856
||1st June 1842
||1st December 1838
||1st July 1853
||1st September 1847
|England & Wales
||1st July 1837
||1st April 1845
|Ireland Births & deaths
||1st January 1864
||1st January 1855
Most people leave a Will.
Indexes to these Wills are known as Probate Calendars. Most of
these are available at the AIGS Library.
Any possible Will of an
should never be ignored as this can provide you with a unique
insight into your ancestors' lives and family relationships.
Australian Census, with a couple of early exceptions, have not
survived, but the ones of the U.K. often have.
Library has a unique collection of these as well as most of the
Census records can give you details of your families
including their birthplace and occupations.
There are many computer programs for Family Historians, some free.
Always make sure any program you choose has the 'Gedcom’
facility. This enables you to exchange data between programs.
Keeping Records by Hand
Computer programs may not be available or suitable for your purposes; or perhaps you just prefer the comfort of paper records.
If that's the case, you might consider beginning to capture your family's information on our Family Data Sheet, a PDF which you can download and print double-sided if you wish, and/or
recording individual family members' pedigrees on our Pedigree Chart, which is also a PDF.
The Internet can provide information on:
- The location of records
- Others researching the same name.