Unlocking access to FamilySearch Affiliate records

State Library of Queensland, now a licenced FamilySearch affiliate library, can help you unlock access to millions of records held by FamilySearch.

Have you been frustrated by the key symbol on FamilySearch and wanted to unlock?

The key means that the particular FamilySearch material linked to the key can only be accessed by affiliate libraries. State Library, as a licenced affiliate library, can now help you access millions of extra records held by FamilySearch. Access to affiliate records is provided onsite only at State Library via a single dedicated computer located in the reading room on level 3.

Family History workstation, with FamilySearch Affiliate access, to unlock the records.

The process of unlocking what lies beyond the key: finding a passage to India

Finding British military embarking for India in the 19th Century is an area where an affiliate library search can turn up valuable information about a soldier.

I was trying to find the background of Charles Gordon Sebastian Hirst, an itinerant artist working in south-east Queensland, ‘about whom little is known’. State Library’s paper conservator wanted to know about the artist whose painting he was restoring. State Library holds the largest collection of Hirst's artwork.

Hirst, in letters to newspapers, frequently alluded to his background, his ‘career in the Far East, from a very early age’ and illustrious ancestors, one of whom, William Hirst, observed the transit of Venus in 1761 at Madras. Where did C.G.S. Hirst fit into this exotic picture? He was tantalising but evasive in his references. Discharge papers found on Findmypast indicated that before Charles Hirst was in the British Army, he had been in the British East India Company Army. He had embarked for India around 1846, it seemed from a letter he wrote to the ‘Secretary of War, India’ in 1861, held at the British Library.  He had travelled on the Bolton. I was keen to find this record of his travel to India to confirm details that the Charles Hirst of this letter, was C.G.S. Hirst, painter of the artwork held at State Library.

1. To reach the embarkation lists search by place, India.

2. Scroll to Catalog material. Choose All Catalog material.

3. Scroll to India – military records (86). Within the 86 records, scroll to and select Embarkation lists 1753-1861.

4. When I reached the embarkation lists, I selected from within this range – depot embarkation lists 1844-1855 – but when searching FamilySearch offsite encountered the key, blocked photographs and directions to use a Family History Center or an affiliate library.

5. When I searched on State Library’s designated computer, I was able to access the embarkation lists, Depot embarkation lists 1844-1855, by clicking on the camera icon, now without the key.

6. I checked the first few images, found a date and page for the Bolton then scrolled through the images to the page, using the icons, to the left of the screen, to move between browsing a page of images and viewing single images.

Image 8 Depot embarkation lists 1844-1855

Images 152, 154 Depot embarkation lists 1844-1855, Embarkation lists 1853-1861, India military records (86) images only, FamilySearch (accessed 14 July 2022)

The personal information on Charles Gibbons (actually Gordon) Hirst matched the details of C G S Hirst, I had found when I followed the trail of detail from the artist’s entry form to the Dunwich Benevolent Society.

What else can be found with affiliate status?

Often it is necessary to go to a selected country and explore catalog material to find less obvious material. Another example in English records is:

Agreements and crew lists of British merchant vessels, compiled at English sea ports, including names of ships and service records of crew members : with alphabetical and numerical index to ships, 1857-1860 Authors: Great Britain. Board of Trade. Mercantile Marine Department (Main Author)

  • Search by place, England.
  • Scroll to Catalog; see All Catalog material
  • Scroll to England – merchant marine (32) and explore!

Conditions of access to affiliate library records

  • You need your own personal free FamilySearch account. Library staff can assist you.
  • Affiliate access is available onsite at State Library on a single designated computer on level 3.
  • You cannot access affiliate records anywhere else in the library or on your own electronic device within the library or at home.
  • Conditions to access affiliate library records are determined by the original record holders. FamilySearch publishes copies of records in compliance with their conditions which may change. This may mean some records become inaccessible unexpectedly.
  • Other records are available as transcriptions and may link to pay sites e.g. Ancestry, Findmypast; which are free at State Library on all public computers. Search those sites separately.

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There are extensive wikis, guides and videos for many records and searches as well as a help centre. See Where can I get help with my genealogy?

Ask State Library staff in person, online or over the phone for further assistance.

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