Researching in Tasmania

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My family have been in Tasmania since the 1830’s when my ancestors arrived as either free settlers or convicts. This means I have used a lot of  family history resources from this state of Australia. This post is going to be about the sites I have used the most to help tell the stories of my ancestors in Tasmania.

Libraries Tasmania

This is my number one site. It includes the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (TAHO) resources as well as the Tasmanian Names Index. There is also a guide to all records found on both TAHO and the family history page. You can also use the how to search page for the Tasmanian Archive records. The library has a blog showing the newly digitized items and it has a great list of categories to help filter the records.

There are also some digitized indexes found online that are not part of TAHO records or TNI. Libraries Tasmania also has their own YouTube channel with some videos on particular topics relating to history.

But if researching a person and their family then the Tasmanian Names Index (TNI) is the best place to start. There have been some recent improvements on this site so a librarian has written a blog post explaining ten ways to boost your searching of the TNI.

Convicts in Van Diemens Land

Again first place is the convict records as part of the TNI at Libraries Tasmania, where you search by the convict’s name or the ship they arrived in. Their convict portal page also includes links to other websites within Australia and the rest of the world.

Female convicts in VDL also have another database which has recently been updated. But there is also lots of information about the convict institutions, ships used as well as freedoms etc in the other tabs on the website.

If convicts brought children with them on the ships, many would be put in the orphan schools. Search by child’s name or mother’s name.

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Trove newspapers

Once I have found the basics of birth, marriage, death and family I try to begin adding to their stories. This is where Trove newspapers website comes in very handy. Tasmanian newspapers on Trove are available from about 1803 through to mid 1950s at the moment. There are many newspapers specific to certain areas of Tasmania but they might cover only certain years. Make sure you check out their help page as there is more than just newspapers on Trove.

The List

If looking for information on land grants and properties, the go to place is the List and the tab LISTMap. This is run by the Tasmanian Government and allows you to overlap maps to look at where land grants might be at present time. There are many other things on the database so check out all the tabs.

Online newspapers not Trove

The library have also digitized some newspapers for Tasmania that are not available on Trove. Takes more to search these as they are not indexed. TO find them go to main page for Libraries Tasmania, and in search area put Tasmanian newspapers, then when they appear, filter on left to online.

BDMs in Tasmania

First step is the Tasmanian Names Index where these are available free of charge up to about 1900. Family search has more up to about 1912. The Tasmanian Federation Index found at the main library in Hobart has records up to about 1930. To check the index, go to Libraries Tasmania website, then family history portal and on right hand side is “Need help, ask us” where you can ask for help with specific requests for information from the Tasmanian Federation CDROM.

If you want to order a more recent certificate then you do this through the Justice Department website and here are the fees charged.

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My first place to go for cemetery information is Millingtons which covers many of the large cemeteries in the Hobart area. If looking for cemeteries from other places around Tasmania, I then check out the Libraries Tasmania cemetery page to check which records are online. Many Tasmanian councils have records for their local cemeteries.

Readers: What are other important websites you use to gather information when researching Tasmanian ancestors?

Please read the comments as other family historians have added more websites to use.

4 thoughts on “Researching in Tasmania

  1. Hi Sue,

    I have also found the Carr Villa Cemetery Launceston search facility helpful;

    While not specific to Tasmania, I have also located a number of burials and cremations from Find A Grave;

    and Billion Graves

    I have found many articles and notices relating to Tasmanian people in the newspapers and gazettes of other colonies / states via TROVE, so sometimes depending on the name and time period it is best not to restrict the search to Tasmanian publications only.


    Ray Hayes

  2. What a wonderful post. My mother’s mother’s family were born in England, but her father’s side came from Tasmania. All my father’s side emigrated to Tasmania – some convict and some free settlers. During a somewhat quieter period of my life, I did some of the Tasmania University’s courses – but then life got busier. I have been researching my family in Tasmania since 1980 and I have seen amazing changes in that time. Although recently retired, we have been called back to our business to tide the new owners over tough personal times, but I can’t wait to resume our retirement. To-day my sisters and I finalised a trip to Tassie to celebrate a much younger sister’s 60th birthday. This time I hope to find where Anthony Fletcher’s grant of land was at New Norfolk. Not sure how I will find it although I have seen the map – but I am looking forward to it. I just loved your story. My early research could only be undertaken on brief holidays to Hobart. I am so pleased that has changed and I can now sit at my desk in my home. Your article was fantastic. Thank you for sharing. Well done and so kind and thoughtful. Kind regards, Janine Reed

  3. A cursory review of my bookmarked sites suggests the following additions to Sue’s Blog on TAS online resources. Hope these are of help to many!

    Cheers, Elaine – TAS Descendant in Reno, Nevada

    Gravesites of Tasmania – headstones & family genealogy — – TAS cemetery records —

    TAS – the Great War 1914-1918 – facebook group —

    Family Search – Records held by LDS Church –

    e.g.: AUS TAS Civil Registration 1803-1933 —

  4. These from Jodie Lee
    I tried to comment on the post directly a few times without luck. For Launceston burials; Carr Villa has records from 1905. There are a few older headstones there that have been relocated from cemeteries that were built over.

    Also, something nifty I came across by accident is that QVMAG have online collections which includes historic photographs. Very handy when researching places, buildings etc. They often have photos that aren’t available through Libraries Tas.

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