I am writing a post for each state of Australia with a list of great resources for researching ancestors in that particular state. Tasmanian records are held mainly at Libraries Tasmania where both archive and library resources are on the one website.
Even though most of my relatives stayed within Tasmania since the 1830s, there were a few who travelled out of the state.
Many ex convicts left Tasmania and headed to Victoria especially to the gold fields around Ballarat. But part of the problem in following up these people is that some of the Tasmanian shipping records are not available and those that are found, often only have Mr Smith or Mrs Smith + 2 children – no first names. So how do you know it is your ancestor departing Tasmania and visiting Victoria?
The following websites are where I go to find more information about ancestors and their whereabouts in Victoria.
If you have a family that remained in a particular area of Victoria, then contacting a local family history society might be a good idea. Often they will have folders of information on families and businesses in the district. There are also historical societies for groups and institutions like ambulance, fire brigade etc.
Readers: What are other important websites you use to gather information when researching ancestors in Victoria?
Please read the comments as other family historians have added more websites to use.
There is a ton of info on Judy Webster’s site, indexed from Qld State Archives.
I can’t join #ANZAncestryTime live, but on the topic ‘Queensland’ see bit.ly/3ovRIB9 for advice + 70,000 names from my indexes to historical records here. The names include many interstate/overseas folk with links to Qld.
Full disclosure as a member of the Qld Family History Society I am naturally biased but if you’d like to check out our website tonight you can do so here qfhs.org.au you can do a global keyword search here qfhs.org.au/online-access/…
More QFHS stuff..you can see how many databases we have here – the ones with the green asterixis anyone can drill right down. qfhs.org.au/online-access/…
They have a good deal of info esp Council records. Maps also available at Qld State Archives (QSA)
QFHS created a little presentation to show you what resources we have on our website
Hint – google “local studies” as well as “local history” or “family history” when looking for libraries to help.
QLd has some great record sets. School records, electoral rolls, ship immigrant lists, Gaol & court records, naturalisation, inquests, land selection, maps, insolvency. All held at Qld State Archives
Qld State Archives, SLQ, Local Libraries Family and Local History Societies, Church Archives, Trove, Local Museums
I have made some great discoveries in Church Archives. Baptisms and marriages may include additional info. Also more general information about places where relatives lived.
Queensland State Archives is a must visit place with so many records for family history. I also found the State Library of Queensland useful. These days one would have to say Trove.
Teachers Records were most useful to me at the Qld State Archives – lots of rich detail about where they came from and lived before they came to Australia. Electoral rolls, cemeteries and good old Trove too. And wonderful cousins who I found along the way !!
We are really fortunate in Queensland to have access to so many great record sets, one of my favourites being Qld B,D,M index. which you can access here familyhistory.bdm.qld.gov.au
Council records: Cemetery burial registers (many inline now); Council sewerage and other maps; Council rate books may reveal unknown properties.
Brisbane City Council Archives was hard to find but very much worthwhile visiting
Queensland BDM’s Trove Australian War Memorial & NAA service records McCosker Tribal Pages website – receiving comments from relatives at my Adams Family blog where I’ve been documenting Dad’s various ancestral lines
Family history/genealogy societies cemetery transcripts are really useful. They often have other area specific resources not always online so a visit is a good idea if you can.
QSA – just about my favourite place. Don’t forget to book though if you want to visit.
Q4. Just back from a long weekend at Winton, QLD and surrounds. At the Waltzing Matilda Centre they have a room with loads of family history research. If you have family from this area a visit might be worthwhile.#ANZAncestryTimepic.twitter.com/qPYEuu3UT5
Ipswich was first point of settlement for many of my immigrants: Kunkel, Kent, Partridge, Melvin. McCorkindales came to Brisbane and stayed there. Gavin family was on the Darling Downs. McSherry families to Rockhampton.
My Qld ancestors came from Scotland, Ireland, England, Switzerland and Germany. German settled on the Darling Down, Swiss and English in Maryborough, Scottish and Irish and Northern Irish in Brisbane
My GGG grandparents John and Helen Carnegie arrived in Brisbane in 1865 on the Sunda. They were from Montrose, Scotland and came out with their children. They moved to Grafton before returning to Queensland to live at Toorbul. Just across from Bribie Island!
I just love that you’ve ended up so close to where they were originally. This happens so often in Family History.
Hi everyone 🙂 My ancestors sailed from London in 1885 on the Duke of Buckingham arriving first in Rockhampton. They were teachers, so moved around a bit: Cometville near Emerald, Bustard Head, Readville near Beaudesert, then Monkland.
Great grandfather Herbert William White was from Wiltshire and he arrived on the Chyebassa. He married Dorcas Trevaskis whose parents married in Moonta, South Australia before moving to Charters Towers where she met Herbert.
I have only one known family in Queensland – they migrated there from Victoria, so have done no research. None of my ancestors were in Queensland. One part of the family moved from Victoria to Queensland last century. I have a cousin by marriage living there, and my husband has a child and family living there.
BUT I have quite a number of people who are in Queensland in my Legacy tree. Some of them are from DNA matches that I haven’t managed to link to me yet.
G-GF William Andrew arrived in Brisbane from Scotland on RMS Roma in 1888. He worked in Bundaberg before marrying & moving to Broken Hill 1894. His wife Minnie O’Shaughnessy immigrated from Ireland around the same time but her records are elusive
John and Sarah Finn married in Rathdrum, Wicklow and came out to Brisbane on the Mairi Bhan with their first child. They had land at Nambour, spent time in northern NSW but ended up back in Brisbane. South Brisbane cemetery to be exact.
They went to Grafton after he did some gaol time. They changed their surname for about 10 years before moving back to Queensland and claiming their land orders in their Carnegie name. Skeletons everywhere in my family.
Thomas and Elizabeth Price married in Staffordshire and then came out to Sydney on the Samuel Plimsoll. They wandered all over until they ended up in Charters Towers with 10 children
Wow! That’s so great. My husband’s family were mostly Queenslanders and some pre-sep but I have only the Conners who came out after 1854.
Haberling Switzerland 1871, Nerger Germany 1852, Siegler Germany 1862, Morrison England and Scotland 1868, Weston Maryborough 1870, White Kaimkillenbun to 17 Mile Rocks 1912, McDade Scotland 1923
Robert’s ancestors settled around Walloon and I really want to spend a bit of time at Ipswich Library service looking at maps and getting a sense of the area
My g g grandparents (Morrison) settled first in Victoria then NSW then Ipswich Qld and later ended up in Cooroy
My Adams Brown Weatherstone Dougherty Waters McDonald Robinson Barden Easton McCosker Power Byrne family moved to Goondiwindi after they had lived elsewhere in NSW – with their ancestors having arrived from England Scotland Ireland and America
I just checked – there are Sinnamon’s in the McCosker Tribal Pages site – the late John McCosker who set up the site did an amazing amount of sleuthing to track down McCosker’s
I have not found any Queensland ancestors on my sides. One of MrTG’s uncles came from QLD however I restrict my tree branches to ones closer so I have not investigated him beyond the basics.
My Goondiwindi – Warwick Queensland ancestors were on Dad’s side – and in the last few years I found some Newlands relatives on Mum’s side who were up there too – I found in #Trove that back in 1870’s they all played on the same cricket team
Many people know me as a Queenslander, but most of my ancestors lived in NSW, or VIC (and eventually settled in NSW). One ancestor did arrive in Moreton Bay first, then found Ipswich too hot and moved south to Newcastle (where I was born).
MyKent and Partridge families didn’t move from Ipswich. The McSherry families were the most peripatetic being railwaymen. Kunkels moved from Ipswich to Murphys Creek below Toowoomba. Melvins: Ipswich to Charters Towers for 20+ years then Sydney.
What reasons might your ancestors have had for settling in Qld? ie assisted migration, family connections?
Was the Qld government actively looking for emigrants in Germany? I know it was in Scotland.
The Australian Govt was actively recruiting emigrants from Germany Brooke. They had German agents in Qld to find people
Yes it was though some was during the pre-Sep phase with vinedressers scheme from NSW. Also don’t believe they were all Lutherans! There were many Catholics among them.
Theoretically anyone with experience working in vineyards – many were casual seasonal labour in Germany. Sadly some were then employed as shepherds in isolated places – very different from village life.
selection criteria for German vinedressers had rules Re size of family to get assisted passage, ages and marital status.
i think there were better employment opportunities for my ancestors out here. Although I also think they were trying to escape their past lives and difficult family situations.
None of my families had any other family here. They were mostly miners which is why Copperfield and Charters Towers are where they moved to.
William Andrew was an assisted migrant. I’ve looked at the passenger records (although I always forget where they are, is it Qld Archives or Library?)
Reasons for migration are often unknown. Assisted passages were a big incentive. Some followed earlier family (Melvin, McCorkindale). Railway construction for the McSherry families. Bankruptcy in England possibly for the Kent’s who came with adult family
I know my great grandparents left Scotland after a scandal and settled in Brisbane because relatives were there. My other g grandparents left Northern Ireland because of health problems but also had family on the Darling Downs
oral history for George Kunkel says he left to avoid military service. Possibly also because he wasn’t the eldest son to inherit the family inn or attracted by gold rushes. As a swimmer who’s eluded my searches for 35 years it’s hard to be sure.
My ancestors in Goondiwindi had been shearers drovers and graziers – so they lived there because of employment & agricultural opportunities – they had moved from Hunter Valley, Grafton, Collanebri
why did the ancestors of my Goondiwindi ancestors come to Australia ? assisted immigration from poor agricultural and urban areas and convicts – ps A1 – I forgot about the Tulloch Anderson ancestors of my Barden’s who were in Goondiwindi
Assisted immigrants (Germany) definitely came for employment opportunities. Shepherds were needed on the Darling Downs and everyone on the ship claimed to be a shepherd.
My g grandfather left NZ for Qld to desert a wife and become an opera singer
He sounds like a colourful character Sharn
He was Annie. he deserted the second wife in Qld and ‘drowned’ in his best suit then was arrested travelling to Sydney first class by train with no ticket
One Qld ancestor (Frayne) came unwillingly as a convict. He remained in Qld after being sent to Moreton Bay
I think the Irish, esp soon after the Famine, came for employment & hoping for land. Others had same employment here as “at home”. Others had more opportunities to build businesses. Adult family groups came for the younger ones to have opportunitie
Some Bavarians came to have the chance to own land and be independent. Also complex rules Re marriage made it possible for them to marry en route and have families here.
Apparently my ancestor worked at a brick works company in or near Ipswich, however, I don’t know much at all about this period of this life. It’s one of the gaps in my research! He was a coal miner by trade, and later owned an orchard in Newcastle.
Did your Qld ancestors have the same occupations before and after migration? Do you think employment was a reason for settling in Qld?
John Finn was an agricultural labourer in Wicklow Ireland and the idea of having his own land was the attraction. Sadly they lost the Nambour farm after John had a bad accident,
My Scottish g grandfather was a coal miner and in Brisbane worked as a labourer for the council. My g grandfather from England was a builder there and here he became a well known rail carriage builder and built churches
Thomas Price was from a family of coal miners in Staffordshire and spent time gold mining in Charters Towers. He died at the Wee McGregor mine (out near Cloncurry) in 1918.
My Northern Ireland Whites were flax farmers in Co Tyrone and Dairy farmer at Seventeen Mile Rocks.
My Swiss g g grandfather was a boot maker in Zurich and a bootmaker in Maryborough.
John Carnegie was a sailor back in Scotland and his love of boats probably led him to settle on the Clarence River and then the final move to Pumicestone Passage where he was an oyster farmer.
My German ancestors came for employment and went on to own land on the Darling Downs
land availability out Goondiwindi way & across the border at Boggabilla. The families would have come for agricultural related opportunities – droving shearing graziers – back in the UK and Ireland their ancestors would have been in agriculture and gardening
I think he did work in the same occupation eventually (coal miner), but I think his first job in Queensland was something to do with bricks. I’m keen to learn more about him, because some say his mother was a professional actress.
My g g grandmother from Zurich was a housewife before migrating but a court translator in Maryborough as she spoke many languages
My Cornish ancestor James Henry Trevaskis was a tin miner which is why he went to Moonta copper mines and then Copperfield in Queensland.
I’ve looked for newspaper reports on the death of my gt gdmother Matilda Adams nee Waters without luck – she was thrown out of a sulky when the horse bolted and died in Goondiwindi hospital a week later in 1924 – any help would be appreciated
#ANZAncestryTime A3 Yes they did have the same occupations. The women tended to stay at the same level but one sister’s husband’s was promoted to School Inspector.He was so proud of his BA he put it on his gravestone at Toowong Cemetery. His eldest daughter became a Doctor. pic.twitter.com/74rU5x4Ict
Comments from the chat regarding immigration, census and societies:
For German immigration to Australia in 19th century you must look at Jenny Paterson’s articles in Burwood FHS’s journal Ances-Tree. Combined with Kopittke indexes they’re gold.
My top tip is check passenger lists at departure AND arrival ports. I know that it’s often said that only arrival ports kept records, but this is not universal. I’ve find out outgoing passenger lists on FindMyPast & matching incoming lists for Fremantle at NAA
I agree Brooke. Depending on the years, lists for ports stopped at en route back to Oz. I also use the PROV records for inbound & outbound unassisted pax to compare it’s assisted immigration lists. Board Immigrant Lists have more detail than Agent Immigrant Lists which are what’s online.
Good tip Brooke @BrookeWooldy I found immigration records from point of departure for Scotland and with more info than we would have here
I found them on Scotlands People Brooke. They have some for those escaping the highland clearances
Land records in Victoria include a huge amount of information incl letters and personal info
I think land administration records come in useful here too….land was often granted as part of the migration package.
a lot of cemetery records have been indexed by societies, so check out the source when you’re looking at the Big Genies and see where the records came from.
I think not having census records encourages us to move beyond just one record set and learn more ways of discovering information.
I think we all just accepted that we had no census records Pauleen and when we got back to England or Scotland where they do it was a bonus!
What about the information found in Australian Wills? They can give a huge amount of information.
And sometimes property deeds eg those available on the List in Tas. I was thrilled to find a trust deed which listed all the children in birth order including my ggf for whom there is no birth/baptism record
And I was only trying to find out when he had to sell his land!
Some Wills are amazing Jennifer. But others are just plain boring unfortunately. I love the Will writers who wrote pages and pages and listed everything and everyone!
Electoral rolls are Australia’s answer to the Census. Of course its not as good as the census but beggars can’t be choosers. Post Office Directories can be very helpful too.
as frustrating as it is to have very limited availability of early census data, we have the benefit of electoral rolls which occurred more regularly and with women able to vote earlier. Also post office directories can be a help.
When I visit the reading room in Hobart Library to do research, I always ask have they got a file out the back on the family I want. Files contain replies from archivists to questions from their clients often prior to digitization.
naturalisation records can help with learning where your ancestors came from. An important difference from USA is that they only apply to non-British immigrants, so you won’t find Irish there.
Many societies are help people doing research in Australia especially when you see the records, books, index’s and loads available though I would add that the personal touch of someone that knows the resources, Australian research, etc is a fairy godmother.
societies have helped me with archives that contain other people’s research. It often has to be checked, but it contains clues.
Check for indexes on local societies where ancestors lived, read the newsletters/magazines issued by local societies
I don’t have any First Nations ancestry so all my Australian ancestors had to come from somewhere else, so my no.1 resource is shipping records: free & convict.
Remember the days when we would write to a person who had researched our family and include a self addressed envelope with a stamp? Seems so long ago now
Consider checking the crew list and not just the passenger records when looking for people.
Great tip Fran I’ve found a few on the crew list including an absconder when they arrived in Australia
I’ve had quite a lot of success with Biographical Database of Australia with my pre 1840’s arrivals – a lot more records added in recent years
Some of the early hospital records have all sorts of fascinating info like the ship they came on, who is their “next of kin” etc. Of course Murphy has his say and the one you want might not have survived.
I found a troubling statement in a Children’s Home Index, and followed up on Trove. Horrific abuse was all retold from a courtcase in the newspaper. I haven’t shared the info with many.
Sometimes it is OK to share hardship and horrible events so that we can better understand our ancestors social context and lives. You could leave out names so it is about the history and not the person. Mind you depends on what exactly happened.
Knowing about the event did help understand the person- but leaving out names wouldn’t be an option in explaining it really. I have got the info on file but am so wary of sharing it.
I can understand your reluctance to #Share. Once something is said it’s not possible to ‘unsaid’ it. Alternatively, knowing information about our #ancestors even when extremely difficult to process can help us understand our own place in the world.
I have found Family History Societies to be invaluable. I visit them whenever I am travelling to an ancestral place. Local History Societies are equally valuable resources along with libraries
Fran has mentioned that Trove also has references to people who moved across the Ditch to NZ or back. Worth the NZers looking at Trove as we should with Papers Past.
many indexes were developed by volunteers from societies and archives. In my research I’ve always found interesting things to learn about immigration by attending classes. Listening to and learning from others is a big help. Academic books are helpful too.
military, war service;, churches attended and donations made; hospital, asylum and orphanage records; court & jail records; govt and police gazettes; petitions.
Yes don’t forget our wonderful military records. The Australian War Memorial even has battalion diaries online
I have also found local history societies great too. I have paid for some research particularly when newspapers haven’t been digitised on Trove. Local libraries often have great local history rooms too and volunteers to help.
@FamilySearch is one of the main sources I use for passenger records. Although a google search for records groups or individuals have indexed can help find some travellers.
Libraries and especially their Local Studies sections are such an important resource Alex! One I use frequently (when they are not in Lockdown)
I am interested in the answer to Q2 because I am yet to pin down immigration records for some of my husband’s Australian immigrants
Have you checked the immigration records at PROV for entry to Australia? prov.vic.gov.au
Found loads of information on Trove, NSW State Archives, Ancestry.com.au, Archives NZ and more recently the British Newspaper Archive. Also death certificate transcriptions were helpful as they often give the “years in the colony”.
My great aunt died in an asylum. There was a report in the paper. Even stranger, another woman with the same name also died in the same asylum. Difficult working out which one was which.
most of my ancestry is from England, however some distant relatives did move to Australia, after finding B/M/D records the first place I check is @TroveAustralia Trove is just so valuable esp for Family Notices and other unexpected articles
I’ve found that most of my families inquests have been reported in the newspaper so def check Trove
Trove, Ancestry.com.au, NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, local libraries, state libraries of QLD and NSW, NSW State Archives, British Newspaper Archive, NZ Archives, family history certificate transcribers, pers. comm. with family members
Immigration. Inquest files, Land records, Trove, Victoria birth deaths & Marriages, Linc Tasmania, Wills, PROV (Vic archives), Ancestry, FindaGrave, just to start with a few
Worth nothing that for deaths where there was an inquest, the person’s name may not have been registered in the civil death registers.
That’s interesting. For any particular state or the whole country? I was told by NSW that they did not keep the inquest documents so I was unable to research my great grand fathers brothers death in NSW via the inquest. I have the death date from announcements.
Trying to remember but I think that’s correct Fran. Each state archive can have different types of documents preserved, News stories are generally fairly reliable when it comes to legal cases.
thanks for mentioning libraries and personal communication – both very important.
Tasmanian Names Index TNI includes BMD up to 1900, convict records, wills, arrivals, departures, health and welfare, some employment records
most of my immigrants were convicts or free settlers in the 1840s or thereabouts. info found on the TNI online
I was lucky to find my ancestor in an Equity Case in which the defendant referred to him by name, gave his occupation, and said they’d known each other in Bavaria.
ooh immigration records – yes quite a few. Mostly in Queensland through State Archives. My father did very well finding some down in Victoria too. From memory convict records or death certificates might record the ship they came out on. Gravestones too.
I have found all but 1. George Kunkel was a swimmer it seems. Immigration records NSW and Qld, PROV immig for comparison, Immig Deposit Journals (IDJs), Board lists show more detail. Disposal lists, Trove and diaries for the journey.
I discovered a great aunt had died on the Ryerson Index. No one had told me!
Ryerson is fabulous for pinning down those who’ve died in more recent years! And then the notices themselves will give descendants and married names for daughters.
I use electoral rolls, immigration records, directories, church archives, convict records, newspapers, telephone books among others. Some I find online and others are at archives and libraries
Readers: What are some of your favourite Australian sites to use for research?