Researching your Victorian ancestors

A guide to family history research using the major Victorian resources

Subject librarian

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Ann Copeland
Librarian, Family History Team
State Library Victoria

Contact me via our online reference service citing my name and the title of this guide.
Subjects: Family history

Family history guides

Getting started

Welcome to the State Library Victoria's guide to researching your Victorian ancestors.

This guide introduces you to the basic principles of family history research and lists the key resources and records available for researching your Victorian ancestors. The guide also includes a selection of resources for other Australian states and territories.

If you are interesting in researching ancestors who were born overseas, have a look at the following research guides:

On the next page Research steps, you will find a list of the key steps that you should follow when undertaking your family history research. Each of the following pages contains information on the many different resources you can use and indicates where and how you can access these collections.

For detailed research queries please use the Ask a Librarian service or talk to staff in the Family History & Newspaper Room.


Country family with city man. H2002.125/26.


Family History resources - handout

Whats on

  • Finding families In this introductory webinar, learn the principles of family history research and find out how to access family history resources through the State Library Victoria.
  • Researching your home This webinar will help to answer the questions and curiosities you may have about your family home, whether it’s the house you’re living in now or the scene of your childhood memories. In this session we will include ways to research your family home, finding previous occupants and uncovering  the social history of the area.
  • Newsworthy learn how to navigate the Library’s extensive newspaper collection in this live and interactive online session. You'll dive into the millions of words printed on both current and historical articles in our online databases, and discover how to find specific newspapers in hard copy, online and on microfilm.