Where do I begin searching?

I am so lucky that my family history has mainly been in Tasmania since the early 1830’s. I began my researching by asking questions of my mother who seemed to know everything about the family or at least her side of it. My father knows very little about his side and is amazed at what I am finding out for him. Unluckily, we haven’t had any heirloom bibles or notebooks handed down in the family, so I am having to start from scratch.

My number 1 spot

The LINC webpages which has just been updated this week. These are resources related to Tasmania but they do have other links to visit outside our clean, green state. Type in the name of your relative in the search bar at the top.

This search will include

  • births RGD 33
  • deaths RGD 35
  • marriages RGD 37
  • convicts
  • wills and more

Then visit the record, remembering to take note of the source of the record. How much did you find that was useful?

My number 2 spot

The National Archives of Australia – this is for information after 1900 when Australia became one federated country rather than separate colonies. I do a record search and will find war records as well as naturalization records, some passenger lists – both boat and plane. Part of the NAA this year is the Discovering ANZACs website – joint project with National Archives of New Zealand – where all World War I service men and women have their records open to the public. See another post I have written telling you where to find more war records.

My number 3 spot

This is Trove which is part of the National Library of Australia. It has a section of digitized newspapers from all states of Australia. These are being updated all the time. What is also great is they include a citation button in top left corner where you can copy the source of the record very easily. I use the Harvard/Australian version all the time to keep things consistent in the family tree software programme I use.

Readers: What are your three favourite repositories or places to find information for your family history? Do you have some for places outside Australia?

My research plan

Mapping with Hyde
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Brian Moore via Compfight

So we are now over halfway through the family history course and we have had to put together a research plan. This is interesting because I usually just go to the archives, search through things I want to and go off on tangents if needed. But having listened to Dianne, it is important to have a plan that you can follow. So here it is:

My Research Aim:

To create historical timeline of Captain William SMITH’s life as a whaler. To do this

  • find out the names of the ships he was on and the dates (PS 1,2 and 4)
  • where the ships voyages were (PS1)
  • his role on each ship (PS1)
  • life on board the ships (PS3) (SS1 and 2)

Hopefully  find out his Samoan name by finding out when he was given the name William SMITH.

Primary Sources:

  1. Marine board records of ship’s voyages – government record
  2. Application for master of foreign vessel certificate – government record
  3. Newspapers of the times – shipping news and articles about voyages – newspaper record
  4. Images of ships he served on

Secondary sources (if any):

  1. Susan Chamberlain thesis about early whaling in Hobart Town – public record
  2. Books about whaling around Tasmania from the 1850′s to the 1890′s – public record
  3. My relatives including Glenn (who I will be interviewing) and Kim – great grandsons of William
  4. I am wondering if there might be records at the Australian Maritime Museum?

Repositories and Records that I plan to use:

LINC Family History

Marine board – Application for Master Mariner’s certificate

Trove newspapers of the time

Maritime Museum – Susan Chamberlain thesis

Readers: How could I have improved this research plan?

What is a repository?

Photo Credit: Anders Sandberg via Compfight

We are now into week 3 of the family history course and we are about to start planning our major research. As I listened to Dianne Snowden’s lecture about repositories and records, I made some notes and here they are.

What is a repository?

Library, archives, museums, family history society

Cora Num’s website has lots of links to different repositories and record sites globally and locally

Some examples of Australian repositories

National Library of Australia –includes online catalogue to search,  eResources and link to Trove – digitized newspapers

National Archives of Australia – Commonwealth government records from 1901, defence records, photo search, name search

State archives – state Government departments

Repositories including other countries

Australian Joint Copying Project – material from Australia, NZ and Pacific from 1560 to 1984

Family Search – put together by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

List of family history societies in Australia from Cora Num website

Federation of Family history societies in UK

Ancestry – where we will get a one month access soon

 Other record sources

  • To make the most of your research time, you need to know what is kept where.  Always do your homework – what are you looking for and where will you find it
  • Reminder that an index is only a guide – find copy of original record
  • Information only as accurate as the informant gives eg relative better than funeral director

BDM records and indexes – start with yourself and work backwards

FreeBMD – UK site

Graham Jaunay has a guide to what you will find on BDM certificates in each state of Australia

Cora Num – lots of links for Australia BDM records

Electoral Rolls and census records in Australia

Photographs – Jane Shrimpton blog on dating photos

To my readers:

What other record sources have you used especially if it is for countries other than Australia?