Peer into pioneer registers

What are pioneer registers?

A pioneer register contains information contributed to and collected by family, descendants of early settlers, and local history societies. It includes biographical information of descendants of settlers in particular districts.

These publications are an excellent resource for family historians, providing researchers with a useful way to pick up a web of family links. Some of the biographical detail included in pioneer registers are

  • dates of births, deaths and marriages
  • burial locations
  • date and ship of arrival
  • names of other family members

The date coverage for these registers is the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Importantly, because the information gathered is usually submitted by family members and relies on their personal recollection of people and events, some details may be inaccurate. So, you need to exercise good judgement, and as with any type of research, always cross-check findings with other resources.

Discover pioneer registers in State Library’s collection

Here is just a selection of pioneer registers available at State Library.

A selected of Pioneer Registers in State Library’s collection.

You may discover these resources in State Library’s collection as ‘biographical registers’, a reference used interchangeably with pioneer registers.

You can explore various pioneer registers in our collection, but if you are after a register for a particular district or region, the easiest way to find these will be a keyword search for the district name and the words genealogy register. This will capture the pioneer registers as well as the biographical registers.

Using content in these registers alongside other research material.

Below are pages relevant to a search in the Darling downs biographical register to 1900 (part 2, L-Z). This biographical register attempts to record, briefly, information on some of the families that settled in the Darling Downs in Queensland by 1900. The entries of the families have been submitted mainly by descendants of those families

An entry for Roger MacGinley appears on page 23-24 and reveals a long list of associated family members from 1877 to 1950 and includes a family photograph. The entry also provides a snapshot of Roger’s life in the Darling Downs, including his involvement in the Darling Downs Co-operative Bacon Association, and the Vigilance committee which was formed to prevent the spread of cattle tick to the Darling Downs.

A search of State Library’s online catalogue One Search brings up other useful material in relation to Roger MacGinley, his wife, family, and his life journey into the Darling Downs region.

We learn so much about Roger’s younger years back in Ireland in From Donegal to the Darling Downs : the story of Roger MacGinley and his wife Ellen Cannon, including his studies, employment and family life. The photographs in the book also add a wonderful visual layer.

There are numerous other useful resources to explore for more information about people, places and events. These will certainly complement and aid in cross-checking information located in pioneer and biographical registers.  Some examples are listed below:

  • Suburb histories
  • Photographs
  • Newspapers
  • Birth, Death and Marriage records
  • Family history databases, like Ancestry and Findmypast

Selected articles from Trove related to Roger MacGinley and his family.
(i) Obituary for Ellen MacGinley, in Toowoomba Chronicle and Darling Downs Gazette, 28 May 1932, page 5
(ii) Death of Roger MacGinley, in Worker (Brisbane), 14 Jan 1926, page 8
(iii) Wedding of Winston-Dalton – MacGinley, in The Catholic Advocate, 11 Sep 1930, page 37

Accessing collections at State Library

Access to pioneer registers at State Library is easy. The catalogue record will indicate the item’s location (level 3 or level 4) and whether the item is already on the shelf (open access) or needs to be requested from storage (request to access). For storage requests a short delivery time applies. You can find out more about how to request items from storage via the One Search catalogue.

For more information about our location and opening hours visit our website. And if you need help with your research, remember to Ask us.

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