Researching your ancestors from Great Britain and Ireland

A guide to researching your ancestors in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, using resources at State Library Victoria.


Newspapers can provide a wealth of information about your ancestors, including:

  • Family notices - details of births, engagements, marriages and deaths and possibly the names of relatives you might not know about.
  • Legal information - bankruptcies, court notices, crimes, arrests, inquests and probate notices.
  • Land and property - land sales, auctions, information on houses and previous residents.
  • Feature articles - military news, biographical sketches, business announcements, neighbourhood and local news.
  • Advertisements - businesses, entertainment, events etc.

A number of UK and Irish newspapers are available in the Library. They are available in print, microfilm and online through one of our online newspaper archives.
For further information on the State Library's newspaper collection please  consult one of the following research guides:



`The mail steam-ship for Australia'. The Times (London, England), Saturday,  May 20, 1854; pg. 1; Issue 21746 in The Times Digital Archive [online database], accessed 12 January 2015.

Online historical British newspapers

The following UK and Irish newspaper archives are available through the State Library of Victoria. You can access many of these resources from home if you are a Victorian resident and a registered State Library user.