Using Find My Past for Aussie and NZ research

As a lot of Aussie and NZ research relates to our ancestors from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, a great database to use is Find My Past. But there are also lots of Aussie/NZ records on the database.

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What Australian and NZ records have you found helpful on Find My Past?

Reasons why I like the site, + ways in which it’s better than the opposition: I’ve had a subscription for over 10yrs & I use it constantly.

Ooh so many records to choose from. I probably have found the electoral rolls the most useful (our Census substitute) but there are lots of others e.g. school records and railway records. Check out QFHS datasets on FMP here…

Being busy at work my FMP membership lapsed so have to use library versions when I need it. Checked my saved images and winners are AUS and NZ results are passenger records.

When using FMP I found it useful to help locate NZ BDM information or Electoral Rolls. From what I remember they have a large variety of the less usual databases / lists so a check of the catalogue confirmed this. Thinking I better join up again.

Haven’t used @findmypast very much but now I have dad’s family there from early 20th century, I will certainly look at their records more carefully.

I have found FMP invaluable for both Australian and NZ research – Birth, death, marriage, Qld Schools, NSW Govt Gazettes, Wills, Military Records, Convicts, Pioneer records and more.

I’ve had a FMP subscription for ages but haven’t used it as much as I could have until recently. I’ve found a huge amount of information there. Electoral rolls and QFHS records

I have tended to use FMP more for English research until recently Jennifer but I have been exploring the Australia/ NZ records more recently. Having a tree on FMP helps and hints are fairly accurate

Sometimes a bit freaky when you get an email saying ” we know you were searching for Mr X, you might be interested in this” LOL

It just means that the records come to you so to speak via hints which I find more accurate than on other sites

I get those all the time after I have found a record on the 1881 Census, usually one of the other Census records. Their cookies must be rather good.

I haven’t yet had a sub to FindMyPast. I use it mainly for the 1881 Census (which is free) for my @WikiTreers profiles. Once I finish my projects, I plan to take a sub for a time to see what I find.

I have been a bit more focused on UK records on FMP lately but am interested to hear what others have found useful for Aus and NZ

The birth, marriage and death indexes are great, plus the electoral rolls and military records – these are my go-to record sets. The sheep returns are another fab resource, and @findmypast has a few more than Ancestry. Pays to check who has what.

I haven’t seen the sheep returns Maggie but with quite a few sheep farmers in NZ in the past (South Island) I will now have a look

For NZ records I use BDM Online, Ancestry for Electoral Rolls, Wilson Collection, Papers Past, Archway, etc. I don’t know what they have that I can’t access elsewhere.

I spent all weekend diving into FMP They have many more records than I realised and some more unusual records. I found lots of information I hadn’t previously come across

Queensland Licences, Qld Land Records and Qld Early Pioneers has been really helpful for my Qld research

I’ve just discovered a Queenslander in the family. He bought up many pastoral leases so I’ve been looking into FMP land records. So much info there

I sometimes find if you cannot find something another site might help. Especially when indexing/ transcription errors have occurred. With electoral rolls different sites index different dates and other years are image view only so multiple sites can help.

I just dial up the Electoral Rolls and go looking. Amazing who I find. I am looking at the originals, so no transcription errors.

There’s a few niche record sets there, good to have a look through.

FMP has 340 AUS and NZ record sets.…

I have found the Queensland school pupil indexes really helpful in tracing families that moved around

I discovered my grandparents knew each other as young children through Qld school records

Cemetery transcriptions on FMP are a bonus!

More SA records on FMP than the others, in particular I like the search for the electoral rolls and SA Govt Gazettes, also has emigrants applying for free passage to SA not available elsewhere

I’ve found convict/prisoner records on FMP helpful. It’s always good to remember that convict admin made multiple copies of prison, court, shipping records. Look at them all. There are slight differences ie more information.

I think the first time I used FMP I found the 1928 passenger list for my grandmother’s migration to Australia.

I discovered NZ jury records on FMP this weekend past. I found the NZ Women’s Suffrage records fascinating.

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Do you have a family tree on Find My Past? Are the hints useful and accurate?

Helen Smith has written a great article on using @findmypast for Australian research:…

No I don’t. I mainly use it for searching

Yes but only a teeny weeny one. Because it is so tiny and the info so thin there aren’t many hints. I need to work on this area. Sigh. So many trees to maintain…..

That is the problem isn’t it Alex. I tend to update more my Ancestry tree then if it gets much larger than the FMP tree and I don’t have time to tend to those and family Tree Maker

No, too much else on my to-do list which I want to finish this year (not only genealogy). Then I hope to do so

I have a tree on FMP and so far the hints I get are really accurate. I like how they put the % of accuracy and you can start with those that are most accurate.

Not really, but I accessed FMP for free thru my local library for last 18 months (thanks covid) & find the search results much easier to scan than Ancestry. Miss it. Time to take out my own sub

Yes I have an old tree. Never had problems with the hints that I can remember although I try to focus on what I am researching and often leave hints.

I have several trees on Findmypast. This weekend I uploaded my Living DNA results to FMP as well

I have found the hints on Findmypast to be far more accurate than on other sites. But a tedious process saving them

Yes, I have 2 trees on FMP. Generally the hints are fairly accurate (not always) except in the case of hints from other people’s tree which can be ‘hit and miss’

I have a couple of family trees on Findmypast – at the moment they’re mostly for fishing on brickwalls, and the hints have generally pretty good. I need to build the trees up more to take better advantage.

Passing on to our England & Wales Interest Group that are talking about the 1921 Census tomorrow. With regard charges of £2.50 for every record transcript and £3.50 for every original record image. Does this mean if you want both it is £6?

Feeling a right geneabunny at the moment. I uploaded a tree to FMP in March of this year and completely forgot about it. Just looked and there are hints and hints and hints

I have just realised you can filter your hints so you only get census or BDM – makes it easier to add to just one person

I find it time-consuming to go through them, but occasionally there are hidden gems! I don’t mind them, just ignore till I have time to review them

I have family trees on FMP – I like the idea of fishing in all ponds and hence FMP is not necessarily as my starting point but it is an essential element and I like all the record sets on FMP – I’ve been learning about Scottish records in particular this year

Fishing in all the ponds is a good idea. I think that’s why I added my tree to FMP. Just don’t know why I completely forgot about it,

I like searching across as many sites as possible when I can’t find someone. Found my 3x ggrandfather in 1841 census on FamilySearch, not on the other sites.

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Which other countries on FMP are especially useful when researching? Why? What is unique to FMP?

Tbh my research is very UK focussed so I’d probably use English and Welsh records the most. Census and bdm records would be my focus. I think the 1939 Register is unique to FMP yes?

They had it first, but now available on Ancestry as well. FMP have the address search which is very useful.

I have found FMP very useful for most of my ancestors as many come from Essex, London and Cornwall. From memory Census and BDM for these areas are good.

Ireland is my other country apart from Australia. Occasionally England and I like the digitised newspapers.

Thinking that the British Newspaper collection means I do need to rejoin. I never seem to have time to get to the library.

I LOVE the English records on Findmypast. They are wonderful. Image quality for census records is superior too in my opinion and fewer transcription errors

Over the last few months I have been all over those Catholic registers – Diocese of Southwark, and Scotland. Such a huge help in tackling some brickwalls, absolutely love love love them!

Plus great for Irish records, and the British newspaper collection.

I have also used the 1939 register to trace descendants from common ancestors in England to sort out DNA matches. That has been most useful.

I find 1939 useful for this purpose also. Having a household, even if they are hidden does help.

I use for English #FamilyHistory research a lot. Sometimes for US records too but limited compared to Ancestry

I think the other records on FMP would be more useful so the newspapers is a bonus. I just worry I am missing out on learning about their lives by sticking to BDM, dry facts and dates.

The 1939 Register on FMP has my g uncle listed as Rex Hoyes correctly while Ancestry has him transcribed as Rose Hayes. transcription is important for finding things

One of my best Irish newspaper finds was the death notice for my GGG grandfather Robert Fagan. It also said American papers please copy. Explains some of those DNA matches

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What functionality on the Findmypast website have you found helpful when researching? What would be on your wishlist for the future?

I like the advanced searching where you can list another person’s name in the census. Useful for common name families.

hmmm I suspect it is easier to do a broader search on census documents on FMP rather than Ancestry i.e. I think you can search by address rather than just name but I may be barking up the wrong tree here.

I seem to remember that when you searched I documents you had already reviewed were marked. It saves rechecking the same record. If this is not available then it is the improvement I would like to see. Icons for downloaded and attached to a person.

I have FMP open and there are features I haven’t used or didn’t know were there. I tend to be focused on searching and have not been using FMP as effectively as I could. #ANZAncestryTime More on the to do list!

I think that because we have used the archives and local FHS here in Australia we tend to forget about online records Shauna

I love the address search on the censuses and the 1939 register. Also that every search field is optional – was great to search on just occupation when I was looking for a missing jeweller!

For house history research the address search on the censuses is invaluable #ANZAncestryTime (taking into consideration that street numbers can change)

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Great comments:

Worth signing up to Findmypast’s newsletter – they always publish new or updated record sets on Fridays. Sometimes there’ll be nothing applicable to your family research, but sometimes there is!

I find these types of updates useful for my society FB posts. It means I can quickly see new AUS or NZ records.

Thanks for this great discussion about FMP tonight. I’ve learnt lots and am looking forward to trying out all your hints and tips into action

Readers: Have you used FindMyPast for your Aussie or New Zealand research? Did you find something unusual?


Griffiths Valuations Ireland

This week’s chat was run by those very knowledgeable about Irish land records particularly the Griffith Valuations. I have not used them yet, but now I am finding more Irish on my father’s line maybe the following will come in useful for future research.

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What are the Griffith’s Primary Valuations (GV)? How and why have you used them to find your Irish families?

For those looking for some background to Griffith’s Valuation – this and the related articles are useful:…

Why is GV important? Read this article by Ask About Ireland.…

For those who have not used GV or need some free tutorials, there are some excellent ones on YouTube and some specific to several Counties too

Griffith’s Valuations are/were a multilayered response to determine the rateable value of land and property to share the cost of the poor law support. It involved calculating the size, productivity and estimated rates on any property.

Critically, GV offers us an alternate insight into possible ancestral families during the mid 19th century especially given the absence of census records for that period. We will have to work a bit harder than we would with census data.

the key thing about GV from a #familyhistory POV is that it lists most land-occupying residents of the island of Ireland between 1847 to 1864…tenants and owners. It does not include whole families.

What I most want to know about Griffiths Valuations is whether the owner or renter of the property is named?

The occupier (renter) is named, and the person who rents the property to him/her is named, not always the owner

The immediate lessor is mentioned and then the person they rent to. The lessor may not be the absolute owner because they in turn may lease from higher up the chain. If you follow the overall links, and other sites, you can usually work it out.

For me Griffiths has been invaluable, it’s basically a mid-19th-century, head of household census, covering 70% of the population.

I found my 2xgreat grandfather on them and have used them to try and work out my rather unknown Ulster family, the one where I started with one person born in Castleblayney.

Griffith’s Primary Valuation of Ireland is the major part of a comprehensive land and property survey, for the purpose of levying taxes. I’ve found it indispensable in tracing my Irish families.

When I worked out my Riordan townland I used the mapping feature with Griffiths. I could go from the property number on an old map, to slide and work out where it fitted on a new map.

Exactly! Although it also works in reverse if you’re not too familiar with the geography.

It took quite a while with enlarging the map etc but eventually I could find it quickly with the curve on the roads.

There’s so much more to GV than a list of names: there’s revision lists (the amended valuations over time), maps, field and quarto books, tenure and house books (how I wish for these!).…

a crucial thing for me is that they are limited for urban ancestors. I have found none of mine in it.

But you should still check it out, some of my Dublin city ancestors are listed, just not the ones who live it tenement houses.

Possibly because if they lived in tenements they were sub-tenants not the primary renter? I have had more luck with villages

I agree with @Rosiemonstre about GV’s limited used for urban areas, although occasionally this has been useful as it can demonstrate somewhere that has been urban for years wasn’t when the records started!

I watched a really informative webinar at ‘Ireland Reaching Out’ about Griffiths Valuations and Cancellation books … some time ago now. I think the link I posted may be a follow up article to that webinar

My top tip for researching GV for your families is to learn your locations in depth. Where the townland is on a map, what parish or barony it is in. Look it up on a current map or on John Grenham’s website or on

Field books are like Swahili to me. I haven’t a clue what they mean in terms of agricultural productivity though the assessable value suggests they weren’t great. Why couldn’t I have had tenure books instead?

I have found GV useful seeing families living near each other, hence helping explaining the subsequent marriages

And witnesses to events, or perhaps a joint inheritance of land due to sharing an ancestor. Proving it is of course another problem!

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How have you verified that you’ve found the right family on the GV? Do you compare and consult other record sources as well as the GV?

Try to accumulate as much information on your family before you turn to Ireland eg parents’ names, and maybe siblings’ names. This helps to “triangulate” your data and narrow down the options. An unusual name helps too 😉

Cities can be a pain in which to research in many ways. I never trusted the 1851 Dublin census was my bloke until I matched it up with church records.

There are revision lists for the GV currently only online for Nth Ireland through PRONI or for the whole country via Family Search. Latter is in black and white. You need to search by keyword not place. Fingers crossed the digital images are coming!

I believe there is a plan to put the revision books online eventually. They have been slowly computerising them

Always need to cross reference with other records and FAN network, and follow the land holdings through the Cancelled Land/Revision books, to verify you have the right family.

Hopefully the parish registers may overlap with the timeline for the GV – this will help you confirm the correct townland and lead you to the right person on the GV.

Beware! when I started genealogy, I knew where our ancestral home was (we lived there) but the map did not correspond with my ancestor on Griffiths. Properties were renumbered over time, and the attached map was from a later date than the published valuation

That’s a great tip Dara! I’ve been looking at FMP maps and Ask About Ireland maps today – it gets confusing and you really need to understand the geography and location, don’t you.

My understanding is that the numbers and boundaries drawn on the attached maps date to the 1880s and will correspond to the Valuation Revisions of that date, though the maps used are earlier OS ones, so mightn’t include recent buildings. Can anyone confirm?

I thought it was the maps and numbers corresponding to later revisions than the primary valuation.

My reading of the @findmypast GV maps suggests no tenancy numbers. I need to re-read my Reilly.

My understanding (may or not be correct) is that the maps on @findmypast are the originals used by the surveyors. Happy to be corrected if wrong.

Yes, I think so too. The ones on askaboutireland don’t match.

One of my first stops in Dublin is usually to the Valuation Office to follow up more info from the Revision lists…they’re gold!

The marriage record for my great grandma gave her father’s name and occupation. Also found him in Slater’s Directory. Then we found her brother, same name and occupation. Gradually got six siblings.

That’s really cool Margaret. I had the parents + siblings which helped confirm I was on the right track. #Irishfamilyhistory requires mental gymnastics and perseverance.

Mine seem to go to and from Scotland – and every generation some seem to emigrate to the USA. Thousands of DNA matches back to Ulster. Well before GV.

I think there was more seasonal migration than we anticipate as well as permanent. And international migration was a constant among those with enough cash to fund it. They then supported those at home. Fascinating!

Ulster migrants went every year to Scotland for work & then came home – up to relatively recent times.

A2: Maps for GV can be confusing and challenging. This is why you need to be familiar with the location and use the slider for modern to historical map image on Ask about Ireland. The @findmypast are supposed to be the earliest – but can be the most confusing. #ANZAncestryTime

— Pauleen Cass (@cassmob) June 22, 2021

When using the Valuation prep books, be aware that they often measured in Irish acres and then converted to standard for the published results.

I had planned to visit Ireland last year and a volunteer from @IrelandXO was going to take me to where the land was

We were really lucky when the relieving parish priest took us to meet a relative as he had a different surname but the priest was right. We’d bonded over lives in a missionary country. The GV revisions, and a chat with the bloke confirmed it.


What websites are available to search the GV? What are their benefits or weaknesses?

The most commonly used one is probably Ask About Ireland.… Downside is it can be temperamental and clunky and for the maps you need to know where you’re looking. Upside: use the books option and the slider for variations.

For Northern Ireland explore the GV and revision books through this site.…

I love the AskAboutIreland website… – their map facility is the best!! Their maps date later than GV, around 1880s, so for contemporary maps go to @findmypast…

You do need to know what you’re looking for though Maggie, to narrow down to the correct townland. Best to do some homework first 😉

It can be very buggy & it is not maintained well. #ANZAncestryTime I still use it and FMP mainly.

The only complete version of Griffith’s Valuation with the ORIGINAL MAPS marked to identify the corresponding holdings, is on” (my capitalisation) ref.…

Worth pointing out that the maps are listed as a separate record to the valuation on findmypast.…

Ancestry also has search capabilities

Revision lists enable you to follow the inheritance pattern for a property and lead you perhaps to a cousin today, give clues to approx dates of deaths of ancestors, or who inherited the land – possibly not the eldest son as you might think.

Ah, I only use the ‘askaboutrieland’ ones as FindMyPast doesn’t include maps for the six counties in Northern Ireland, and that’s what I was referring to. So you could well be correct!

Ask about Ireland.

I don’t use Roots Ireland except when I need to. You need to be sure you check what they have compared to others. Grenham’s site is good for this sort of comparison.


Can you recommend any books/blogs/websites to learn more about the GV and associated records?

The Ireland Reaching Out (@IrelandXO ) Website is one of my ‘go to’ places for things Irish … Here is a link…

this site is useful to learn more about the landed estates in Connacht and Munster, c. 1700-1914

I highly recommend Frances McGee’s book on the Valuation Office for those who want more detail.…

Claire Santry’s Irish Genealogy Toolkit website is a fantastic resource to understand Griffith’s Valuation and associated records: Land and property records including GV

My absolute favourite book for GV research is James Reilly’s book which can be found via Googling.”Richard Griffith and his valuations of Ireland”… If you can’t beg, borrow or steal it, read this pdf file.…

Another useful website which offers further links is:…

And a shameless plug for a talk I’m doing on Griffith’s Valuation and related records with @IHGS in October:…

Don’t forget valuation and other books @NARIreland

Blog posts about using GV

Maggie – also used other Irish resources to help in her search

Margaret – mention of ancestor in the GV

Margy Rose – first success with GV

Pauleen – using GV and and quarto books, Valuation office, Household returns,

Alex – evaluating GV, part 2

Alex – on Irish research

Readers: Have you used Griffiths Valuations or other Irish records?