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Starting Out in Genealogy

Home > Melbourne > Rainy Day | Hobbies | Fun Things To Do | Family
by Janice Heath (subscribe)
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Published May 21st 2014
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Should you be interested in tracing the history of your family, you're not alone. Finding out where your ancestors came from, how they lived and what they got up to is a fascinating journey and a very engaging hobby.

While there are an overwhelming amount of resources available to research your family history, the following are a few good places to start.


The National Archives of Australia offer a number of suggestions for starting your research into your family history including a step by step guide to researching and how you might begin your family search. They have reading rooms around the country, a national calendar of events including talks, research workshops and conferences and a listing of relevant websites.

Particularly useful is the listing of national and state institutions which hold relevant records including State Record Offices and State Libraries. These may vary somewhat in the periods of time they cover, what's available online and what can be viewed in their reading rooms. See each individual website for more information of what they can offer as there are usually online guides to researching as well as an events calendar featuring talks on history and genealogy, tours of the facilities and various forms of assistance and education for researchers.

The National Library of Australia's Trove has more than three hundred and seventy million Australian and online resources including books, historic newspapers and magazines, maps, images, music and more. One search will produce results from all categories.

Other Organisations

Unlock the Past is "about promoting history, genealogy and heritage in Australia and New Zealand". They have a good listing of relevant resources in their Directory Category Index and should you wish for some like-minded company on your research journey, they have an extensive directory of family history societies and organisations. Their events calendar lists a wide range of history, genealogy and heritage events including talks, festivals and cruises.

Cindi's List offers categorized and cross-referenced list of links to genealogical research sites online. It's a very useful resource for finding genealogy websites worldwide by category such as by country or by the specific type of record.

Then there are multiple organizations such as FamilySearch (mainly free) and findmypast and (these are subscription sites and some of their offerings are only available via subscription or through pay as you go fees - see their sites for specific information).

Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are literally thousands of resources available worldwide. A couple of the "best of" listings are GenealogyInTime Magazine's Top 100 Genealogy Websites for 2014 and Australia and New Zealand Inside History Magazine's 50 genealogy blogs you need to read in 2013. You might also like to browse reviews of genealogy software and the ever growing list of genealogy apps.

If you have already started exploring your family history and found useful resources we'd love to hear about it in the comments section.

Happy researching!
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