Convict record of Rebecca Jackson
Convict record of Rebecca Jackson

One of the most important things to do when finding out about your family history is to research thoroughly.

Don’t believe everything you see online.

If it is a digitized copy of the original document that you can decipher on your own, then that is OK. But many people add their family tree to online websites without having first verified the data. This can then be added to other people’s trees and so the problem or inaccurate data is passed on.

Always check and double check from original or primary sources as historians call them.

What can primary sources include:

  • digitized documents like newspapers, convict records, diaries, ships logs that were written at the time of the event
  • photos, videos taken at the time of the event
  • government records such as census, immigration records taken at the time of the event
  • quilts, paintings, sculptures etc made at the time of the event
  • interviews with locals at the time of the event

So in general, anything written, taken or made by an eyewitness or participant in the actual event.

Where to find primary sources:

  • local libraries
  • family history centres
  • online digitized documents
  • microfilms of documents – many now being digitized
  • parish or county record centres

You will find links on my sidebar to some of the places I use when researching my family history. Many relate to Tasmania, UK and Ireland as these are the places my ancestors came from or lived in.

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