Hints and tips

Q. Can someone do my family history for me?

A. Although State Library of Queensland staff cannot complete your family history research for you, State Library does provide a statewide information service for Queenslanders who need help with their family history.  State Library offers two hours of free research per enquiry, up to a maximum of six enquiries per calendar year per client.  To access this service, contact us by any method listed on our Ask us page.

You can locate useful resources for family history research in the State Library catalogue, One Search.

Q. Does the Library offer courses and seminars on family history?

A. Occasionally the Library conducts seminars on various family history related topics. View the Learning programs and workshops sessions under What's On or subscribe to slqnews, our e-newsletter, for more information.

Q. I need a birth, death or marriage certificate. What do I do?

A. State Library of Queensland holds indexes to births, deaths and marriages for the Australian states for various periods of time. Please check Family History Info Guide Births, deaths and marriages: Australia, New Zealand, England and Wales. Each entry on the index provides a special certificate number. With this number purchase the certificate from the relevant state's Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry Office.

Q. I can't find my ancestor's surname in various records and indexes.

A. Occasionally names are incorrectly recorded or transcribed. This can be caused by numerous factors such as illiteracy, strong accents and incorrect transcription of writing. Try thinking of the different variants of your ancestor's surname e.g. Byrne, Burn, Beirne, O'Byrne, Byrnes. Also recheck the information you have already found such as dates and places. Don't rely on family rumour as it can sometimes prove to be inaccurate or wrong.

Q. How can old newspapers be useful in tracing my family tree?

A. Apart from local news articles, old newspapers may contain funeral/death notices, obituaries and other social news items. Obituaries can be extremely useful providing personal background information you wouldn't normally find on a death certificate. Newspapers are also useful for information regarding accidents, inquests and court cases. For more information check Family History Info Guide Newspapers.

Q. How do I locate where my ancestor was living?

A. Electoral rolls can be a good tool for tracing the movements of ancestors. Some electoral rolls will list a person's occupation or trade. Post Office Directories can also be useful. Most directories (usually published regularly) contained an alphabetic listing of names as well as a trades directory. For more information check Family History Info Guide Electoral rolls and Family History Info Guide Directories, almanacs and gazetteers.

Q. How can I find information on my World War One and Two ancestors?

A. Consult the Australian War Memorial website. This site contains a number of searchable databases including the roll of honour and nominal rolls for World War One and Two. Consult the National Archives of Australia website for access to service records. For World War One you may also want to check the State Library World War One Resources.

Q. How can I find my ancestor on nineteenth century Queensland census records?

A. Unfortunately only the statistical data has been kept. The names have been destroyed. The best alternative is the electoral rolls. For more information check Family History Info Guide Electoral rolls.

Q. How can I access Ancestry?

A. State Library holds a subscription to the Ancestry database. It is the Library edition. It is only accessible onsite at State Library or onsite at your local public library.

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