Researching in Tasmania

Clker-Free-Vector-Images / Pixabay

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.

Skitterphoto / Pixabay

Cemeteries

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.

At the library

I had planned to write this post last Friday while I was volunteering at my local library. But I got sidetracked when a person arrived wanting help with their family history. After an hour talking to them, getting them organized with some pedigree charts and family group sheets and giving them some homework (once a teacher, always a teacher), I sat down at the library computer and began doing some research for them. Time sped by and I didn’t get to write this post. Then this morning I received the next prompt and thought – wow I need to get myself together and get this post written.

So who in my family has had a relationship with the library?  Me, Sue Wyatt born in 1956 in Tasmania, Australia.

As a child I loved reading books and the rare times I got into trouble and was sent to my room, it wasn’t really a punishment. Instead lying on my bed, reading a book and my imagination took me to other places. We always had lots of books in the house as dad was also a keen reader, mainly history of Tasmania and biographies of others around the world.

Part of home library 2019

We moved house my second year of high school and being a child who didn’t make friends easily, I quickly gravitated to the library during lunch hours. The librarian made me a monitor there so I stacked shelves, took books out for students and helped with the card catalogue (pre computers). It was there and then I decided I wanted to be a librarian.

But by the time I got to years 11/12 in college, I found that part of librarianship was pulling apart books – not literally but themes, reasons for doing certain actions etc. I didn’t like this – reading for me was a pleasurable activity – it wasn’t dissecting the book and the reason the author wrote the way they did. So goodbye librarian – hello teacher.

In my 35 years as a teacher, I always had a class library in my classroom – many books I had purchased myself. They were there for students to read during silent reading – but I didn’t mind if they took them home to share with family. Very few were ever lost as the students appreciated having a variety of books in the classroom. I also made sure they visited the school library and used the encyclopedias for research.

It is only since I have retired that I have started going back to the library and just before Christmas 2018 I decided to volunteer one afternoon a week at the local library. My specialty will of course be family history. We are extremely lucky here in Tasmania, that most of our family history resources like BDMs pre 1930 are digitized and available online.

Libraries Tasmania (previously LINC) have great resources including BDMs, convicts, wills, arrivals and departures all available at the press of a button and part of my volunteer role will be making sure library visitors wanting help with family history know how to use these resources. They have also created a video about using the family history resources.