Connecting family history resources

When researching family history, you can hit a so-called brick wall and can’t seem to go any further. What do I do now? Where do I look? Sometimes it’s just a matter of being able to recognise what a piece of information means, and that can lead you to another resource. Here are some interesting examples received and answered by State Library of Queensland staff that show how this works.

Example One

Front-of-house desk enquiry: A client came in with a reference to an Irish death in 1895 taken from Ancestry that included a film number and wanted to know if State Library had the microfilm.

By looking at the information it looked like a civil registration record for Ireland as it referred to “Date of registration” as a three-month period, and gave a volume and page number, just like the England and Wales civil registration records. The next step was to check Ancestry Library Edition (available to use onsite only at State Library) to see the information as it appeared.

To find the record in Ancestry click on “New Collections” in the menu bar. This takes you to the “Card Catalogue”. Use the key words ‘Ireland’, ‘deaths’ and ‘registration’. This brings up a long list but within this was the “Ireland Civil Registration Deaths Index 1864-1958”. A search of this index found the entry we were looking for. 

The film number refers to material held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. State Library doesn’t have access to these. The record also refers to the ‘General Register Office Republic of Ireland’, which is where civil birth, death and marriage records are held. That was the clue.

Entry for Michael Nolan 1895 from Ireland Civil Registration Deaths Index 1864-1958, Ancestry Library Edition

You can access Republic of Ireland civil registration records through the website Irish Genealogy for free. The online civil records were searched and the death registration record for the person, Michael Nolan, listed in the Ancestry record, was found.

Entry from General Register Office, Republic of Ireland, death register, 1895

Example Two

Extended enquiry: I am interested in finding the Passenger Entry indexes to the port of Brisbane between about 1881-1889, 1848-1915 Index: assisted immigrants to Qld. I am looking for the entry, and any details. Joseph Domenique Arida or Youssef Lahoud Arida or Joseph Lahoud Arida and for Richard Arida or Rachid Arida.

The research began with a search of the Queensland State Archives (QSA) online index “Assisted Immigration 1848-1912” [Search the records < Indexes < Immigration]. When this was unsuccessful, the “Card index to immigrants” was searched. This is a part of the QSA microfilm set of Queensland immigration records from 1848 to 1915 held at State Library. Also searched was the Queensland Customs House Shipping 1886-1899 : passengers and crew CD-ROM index. These searches were also unsuccessful. So, where to go from there?

The next step was to search for naturalisation records as these may provide information such as the ship arrival. You can search for naturalisation records at QSA [Search the records < Indexes < Courts < Naturalisations 1851-1908] and at National Archives of Australia (NAA) [Explore the collection < RecordSearch < Name search < Immigration and naturalisation records]. The naturalisation record for Joseph Dominik Arida, held at QSA, states that he is from Syria but gives no clues as to when he arrived or on what vessel. Meanwhile, the naturalisation record for Richard Arida 1905, held at NAA, provides us with a date of arrival, 10 August 1886, and some vessel names, “Bengalo[r]” and “Airlie”. Further in the record it gives a place of birth as Adrianople, Turkey

Richard Dominique ARIDA - Naturalization, NAA: A1, 1905/8109. From the collection of the National Archives of Australia.

A search of Trove digitised newspapers for shipping reports showed that the steamship "Airlie" travelled from Hong Kong and arrived at Port Darwin on 10 August 1886. It then travelled around the coast to arrive at Brisbane on 21 August 1886. In a shipping report in the Brisbane Courier on Monday 23 August 1886 it lists that seven Assyrians aboard the vessel got off at Brisbane. As Assyria is now part of northern Iraq, south-eastern Turkey, north-western Iran and north-eastern Syria; it is quite likely that this is when Joseph and Richard Arida entered Australia.

The National Archives of Australia has digitised the following series of records: J715 series, Ships passengers lists - Brisbane – inwards. The best way to find this series is to do an ‘Advanced item’ search, type J715 into the Series box and enter a date range. On Roll 4 (13 January 1881 to 23 December 1891) of the J715 series there is a shipping list for the vessel “S.S. Airlie” (pp.790-791), with crew names listed, plus 56 passengers in steerage. Although Joseph and Richard Arida are not listed on the list, they were probably among the unnamed passengers in steerage.

Passenger list for the vessel "The Airlie", NAA: J715, ROLL 4 (pp790-791). From the collection of the National Archives of Australia.

So, if you are struggling to get past some family history research roadblocks why not contact State Library through our Ask Us service (phone us or fill in our online enquiry form), and let our researchers have a go. Or why not make a day of it and come in to talk to our friendly staff on Level 3. You never know what you might find out.

Upcoming webinar

Finding female ancestors, Thursday 2 June 2022, 10-10.30 am

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