Beginning to use the internet for family history research
The rapid expansion of genealogy as an absorbing interest is a worldwide phenomenon. To help those who would like to take up this pastime via the internet there are some good introductory websites.
If you don't have an internet connection at home or at work visit your local library or telecommunity centre and some kind person will help you with the technology.
Read online how to get started with family history
State Library of Victoria online genealogy manual for beginners
The 'I haven't been here before - I want to trace my family history, but I don't know how' manual is at
This is the best of the websites I have found for beginners. Their list of Important Points to Remember includes, Do not : 'assume that because you are literate, honourable, truthful, legitimate, have no criminal convictions and pay for your travel, that your ancestors were the same.' There is more wry humour to be found throughout the manual and the section on Problems in Research is not only for beginners.
Here are two other Australian sites:
Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies : Beginning your family history at
Launceston Branch Tasmanian Family History Society Inc. : Getting Started at
Get family history forms from the internet
You can usually choose to download forms in two ways, either as a pdf to print and handwrite into, or as a Word template for computer use.
The basic forms to get you started are a Family Group Sheet and an Ancestral/Pedigree Chart.
Family Group Record from LDS Family Search (2 pages, portrait) at
Link from first page 'Family history forms'
Family Group Record from Ancestry.com (1 page, landscape) at
Ancestral Chart at
Start record keeping with yourself
- Full name
- Date and place of birth
- Marriage date and place
- Spouse details and names of parents including mother's maiden surname
- Children - full names, date and place of birth
- Other information such as schooling, education, occupations, residences.
Work backwards in time
Fill in family group record sheets for your brothers and sisters, parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents and their siblings.
At the Dead Persons Society, Melbourne there is a sample questionnaire to send to family members at home.vicnet.net.au/~dpsoc/question.htm
Be accurate in recording your information and sources
Keep a book for family history research and record exact details including reference numbers and page numbers. The importance of this will become evident as you go.
Search BDM indexes for the registration number to reduce the cost then apply to the Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages. For Victoria follow the links from this website
Out into the big wide world of the internet
Be sure to browse the Ballarat & District Genealogical Society Inc. website at
I would also recommend this site which has quite an extensive and attractively set out list of useful jumping off points.
Seniors Hobbies and Interests : Genealogy at
Of course you do not have to be a Senior Citizen but having a lot of leisure time (and a broadband connection) would be a big help to join the ranks of the millions of others who are searching their family history online.
Jennifer Burrell: firstname.lastname@example.org