Finding your family history in photographs, objects, maps and documents: Share your stories with us!
A dramatic influence on the uncovering of family history for some researchers has been the digitisation of so much vivid original material and the awareness that there is so much more yet to reach the wider public view. State Library would like to hear your stories of discovery and share them as an inspiration for others during Family History Month 2022.
Below are some examples of stories uncovered from our collections to get you started.
The weekend the Munro family arrived on the Torilla in 1911 the parents drowned in an unfortunate accident. Money was raised to return the children to their grandparents in Scotland. More than 80 years later, the young boy in the photo wrote to the family they were to join in Queensland and asked them to find the story of what happened. This photo poignantly showed the family on the cusp of their hopeful, pioneering passage to a new life.
William Smith and Richard Watt recorded their experiences on the Young Australia in 1864 in diaries with illustrations. Onboard they also produced Etches and sketches as a record of life on the Young Australia which Fairfax published in Brisbane as Sketches at Sea but without the pictures. The National Maritime Museum Greenwich has written about this publication in The Young Australia: Sketches at Sea. It was these pictures in Watt’s diary, of all these immigrant ships in Moreton Bay and the cottage in the very rough, tree stump-filled streets of Spring Hill, that peaked a researcher’s interest and caused her to pursue the story of the Blackball line with which the Queensland government had a contract in the 1860s. She discovered a few of her ancestors had come on this line of ships and had difficulties with accommodation in the early days of Queensland immigration.
Estate maps showing the land at the stage where it was being subdivided for residential development can mark a significant time for a family when they were part of the development of a suburb. The estate map (or lithograph) and newspaper advertising were significant promotional tools. Free transport to the site and lunch at the auction were added inducements to a celebratory atmosphere. The Christmas theme, sketch and colours build the attraction. The maps emphasised different aspects of an estate but chief among the attractions were proximity to transport when few had private means, and a breezy position. In the smarter suburbs the names of prominent people and their homes might generously decorate the map. They are a window into aspects of life at the time. These usually attractive maps have set at least one researcher on a quest to explore the changes in his suburb, along with newspaper articles and photographs, as he discovered his family were early pioneers.
How do I find real estate maps?
Search Real estate maps of Queensland which covers downloadable digitised maps Use State Library’s catalogue, OneSearch: select ‘advanced search’. In the search box put the name of the suburb and ‘estate’. In ‘material type’ select maps and search. Un-digitised estate maps will also be listed, but a hidden treasure of hundreds of digitised estate maps is [Estate maps : scrapbooks] Blocksidge & Ferguson. This allowed our researcher of the suburb of West End to pursue her research into the family’s spread in the area. There is an index of contents and 6 volumes of maps. The index is sometimes alphabetical by suburb but often alphabetical by estate name. The book and page number are provided in the index but as the cover and first few text pages have been digitised and appear before the map, in many cases the page reference is a few pages off. For example, the map for the West End Properties Estate is in Book (Volume) 2, on p.57, not p.54 as cited in the index. You can access the index and the individual scrapbooks online.