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 register of pioneer families, by 1788-1820 Pioneer Association.
- Queenslanders: pioneer families 1859-1901, edited by Pauline Williams and Alison Williams.
- Queensland founding families: biographies of families living in Queensland prior to separation from New South Wales, by Queensland Family History Society.
- Central Queensland pioneer register, compiled by Central Queensland Family History Association Inc Rockhampton, Qld.
- Far North Queensland pioneer register to 1940, compiled by Cairns and District Family History Society.
- Ipswich and district pioneer register pre-1914, compiled and edited by the Ipswich Genealogical Society Inc.
- Charters Towers & Dalrymple Pioneer Register: pre-1900, by Robyn Neilson; Charters Towers and Dalrymple Family History Association.
- Bundaberg and district pioneers: a biographical index to 1901, compiled by Bundaberg Genealogical Association.
- Outback Queensland pioneer register pre-1950, compiled by Ailsa Bray & Desley Comerford.
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:
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.