Researching your Victorian ancestors

A guide to family history research using the major Victorian resources

Newspapers

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.

The Library’s newspaper collection comprises of Australian and overseas newspapers, including almost every issue of every newspaper in Victoria. Most newspapers are available in print or microfilm and a number of titles are available through online newspaper archives.

The following archive is particularly relevant to anyone reseaching historic Victorian material:

Trove - Historic Australian Newspapers 1803-1954
Includes over 1000 state and national newspapers, dating from 1803 to 1954. Over 300 Victorian newpapers are available and more are being added each year.

 

How to find newspapers

For further information consult one of the library's newspaper research guides.

Newspaper resources

Watch this introduction to the Newspaper Collection.

For the best view choose fullscreen and the highest resolution

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Family history indexes

Family history indexes can include a variety of records that are useful for genealogists. The most common type of family history indexes are birth, death and marriage notices (BDMs), and  personal notices such as memoriams, anniversaries, engagements, etc. There are also indexes that cover ships passengers lists, arrivals and departures of ships, missing friends notices, wills, inquests and probate notices.

Some useful online family history newspaper indexes are:

Ryerson Index
Death notices from current Australian newspapers

Herald Sun Tributes
Use the Publication drop down box to search through the Herald Sun and several other Australian titles, including the Geelong Advertiser, the Mercury, the Adelaide Advertiser and the Courier Mail.

The Age - Death & funeral notices 

See also - Newspapers Indexes Genealogy for an extensive list of newspaper indexes useful for family history researchers.

State Library Victoria

LIBRARY CLOSURE  

In line with the stage 3 restrictions announced by the Premier, State Library Victoria closed on Thursday 9 July.

We will advise when there is any update to this situation.

Our Ask A Librarian  reference service is still available to assist with your research inquiries.