Librarian, Genealogy Team
State Library of Victoria
Contact me via our online reference service citing my name and the title of this guide.
Family history guides
This guide will help you begin your family history research using the resources at the State Library of Victoria.
It provides a simple six-step guide to beginning your family history and lists the essential Victorian records and resources that may help you with your research.
The guide also includes a selection of resources for other Australian states and territories. For detailed research queries please talk to the staff in the Library's Family History and Newspaper Room, or research your topic further by using the library catalogue and eResources.
The six steps
- Start with yourself and work backwards
Move backwards one generation at a time to your parents, grandparents, etc. Remember that when you are doing your genealogy you are finding a person, in a specific place at a particular time.
- Obtain a blank pedigree chart
Use this chart to document your findings in the appropriate place to show relationships between family members. Free downloadable and printable charts are available from the FamilySearch and Ancestry Library Edition websites and books in the Library's Family History and Newspaper Room.
- Talk to your relatives
Ask them questions about your ancestors and relations. Collect together any family photographs, diaries, letters and other documents, such as birth, marriage and death certificates.
- Look at official documents
From your birth certificate you may learn your parents’ marriage and birth details. From your parents’ marriage and birth certificates you may obtain information about your grandparents’ marriage and births, etc. Each certificate may contain some piece of information that helps you find out more about your family.
- Get organised
Write down all the information you have gathered - birth dates, places, baptism dates, addresses, cemetery details etc. Always write down where you have found the information and make sure it's very specific so you can locate it again if required. Start a file on each person and family that you research. Include copies of charts and any other information you find.
- Consult resources in the Family History & Newspaper Room
Visit the Library's Family History & Newspaper Room to research your ancestors using the Genealogy Collection. The collection brings together key Australian and international genealogy resources that are available in print, microfilm, microfiche, CD-ROM and online.
State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
+61 3 8664 7000