Resources and Where to Start Your Family History Research

Since I began sharing my story in this Blog a few of you have asked, where do you start and what sites do you use? Of course this is one of those no right or wrong answer scenario’s. I think if there is something that you know of about your family and it stirs your interest that is the best spot to start digging. What I can share are the amazing tools that I have stumbled across or have had shared with me by some very generous people.

Now wait, I can hear some of you scoffing and saying about the fact that it is an ongoing payment, I hear you, if that doesn’t work for you that is fine but you can use it to start you off. Sign up for the 2 week free trial. Start inputting your info beginning with yourself, Siblings, Parents, Grandparents and Great Grandparents. Once you commence building up that information you will be surprised at how quickly you will start to generate hints.

Courtesy of

See the little leaf on the right of Henry John Blackwood’s name? These are gold. Click on this and it can lead you to information that might already be stored on your ancestor from someone else’s tree or from some government body that holds certified information on a life event. You do need to be aware that what is being shared especially if it is from another person’s tree might not be correct. Check the source and the information that is being shared and try to verify with what you already know.

The amazing thing with Ancestry is that there are so many people out there willing to share information that they might have, like photos or original source documents that can instantly add to your story. Nothing more generous in family history terms, than someone willing to make their tree and research public.

The other benefit with Ancestry is that it will potentially put you in contact with other’s who have an interest in some shared branch of your tree which is phenomenal. A number of the family photo’s I have came to me in this generous manner.

Courtesy of

Having said all that if you still don’t want to pay an ongoing cost, download the information from your tree to a ged file, (Ancestry will even walk you through this) to your computer and you can then upload that to any genealogy software program you might have available. Any photos or documents will not be in that file but you can save that from the tree directly to your hard drive. Cancel your subscription to Ancestry and then go back to it when and if you are ready for a paid subscription.

Full disclosure: I love and am a fully paid up card carrying member. It has been invaluable to me and my search for my family story.

Now on to the free tools. My absolute favourite:

I have been banging on about Trove for ages. What a resource, what a treasure Trove of information….(see what I did then? skills people, skills) It is phenomenal. Put in your names and start searching. Refine your results with dates, states and places. Set up a login and you can save any articles or information you find on your family into lists that you can then share with others. Example of a couple of mine below.

The Ryerson Index, a free death index appearing in Australian Newspapers. The really handy thing with this index is that it will list death and funeral notices, their dates and publications they appeared in . You can then take this back to Trove and drill down to the exact notice without having to wade through miles of information.

The Ryerson Index

The following are fairly self evident, put your names in and search.

NSW Birth Deaths and Marriages
NSW State Archives & Records
National Archives of Australia
State Library of NSW
National Library of Australia

Don’t forget your Local Council’s Archive’s and Local Library and Historical Society.

Good luck and if you need any help, just drop me a message here in the blog on the Contact page and I will get back to you as soon as I can.