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A guide to the resources available in the library to help you with researching the history of your family.
Last Updated: Mar 6, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Tracing your family tree and recording your family history is one of the world's most popular pass times. This is Moonee Valley Libraries' guide to some of the resources available through the library and online. You can use these tools to create an interesting, engaging family history.

This guide covers how to use Ancestry Library Edition and Find my Past, which are two online resources which can be accessed within any of Moonee Valley Libraries' five library branches. It also offers some tips about beginning and recording your research, and tells you about a number of other recommended resources to use when researching your family history.


Tips before you start

The following tips are guidelines for anyone beginning their research.

1. Start with yourself and work backwards.

2. Record what you know. Use one of the many free family history charts to record what you know about your family tree.

3. Talk to your relatives and collect copies of family photographs, diaries, letters and other documents.

4. Search Birth, Death and Marriage records (often known as "BDM's"). Ancestry Library Edition and Find my Past can help you find these.

5. Explore further. Search electorol rolls, directories, cemetries, Government Gazettes and Armed Services Records for further details. Ancestry Library Edition and Find my Past can help you find these too.

6. Record information and its sources so you or someone else can locate it again.

7. Make copies of original documents and take these with you when visiting libraries, Local History Societies or other venues. That way if you lose documents you will still have the originals.


Ancestry vs Find my Past

Much of this guide is about two important databases that you can can use for family history research, Ancestry Library Edition and Find my Past? So, what is the difference between these two resources?

They are similar, and a lot of records can be found in either database, but many records will only be in one or the other. Very generally, Ancestry Library Edition has broader coverage with records from all around the world while Find my Past seems to have better coverage of records from the Australia and the Pacific, and it is perhaps better than Ancestry when it comes to military records from the UK.

This information, as well as your own personal preference for which database you find easier to use, may determine where you search first. But remember if you don't find what you are after in one it is well worth trying the other.

Remember as well that the records in databases quite often change. This makes it extra important that you record what you find as you find it - sometimes when you come back a week later, that all important record is no longer there!


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Photographs help to make a Family History more interesting.

Collect original photographs or copies of photographs of various family members. Try to find out when and where the photographs were taken.

Group of people, c.1910, Essendon

A photograph from our collection

If your family lived in the Moonee Valley area, you could try searching in our catalogue for pictures, just in case we hold a photograph of one of your ancestors. Try searching with their names as well as the keyword picture, (eg. Maud Kelly picture). We don't have a lot of historical photographs of people, but you never know...


Further Reading

For more detailed advice on researching and creating interesting, engaging family histories, try one these books from our collection:

Cover Art
Discover Your Family History Online - Nancy Hendrickson
ISBN: 9781440318504
Publication Date: 2012-04-02
The internet has made millions of records available to search any time, anywhere. Start finding your ancestors with just a few strokes of a keyboard using the detailed instruction in this book.

Cover Art
The Genealogist's Internet - Peter Christian
ISBN: 9781408159576
Publication Date: 2012-09-15
There is a wealth of data on the Web for those researching a family tree. However, the sheer volume of information and diversity of websites can make starting your search confusing and time-consuming. Help is at hand with this clear and authoritative guide from the National Archives.

Writing a non-boring family history - Hazel edwards
ISBN: 9780868067162
Publication Date: 2011.
Family history sleuthing is the biggest hobby worldwide. Most genealogy books and sites show how to research your family. TV programs like 'Who Do You Think You Are?' glamourise. But crafting your findings into a format others will want to read, is the real challenge. Why are you writing it? Who is your prospective reader? How can you craft the facts for them to access easily?


Search Library Catalogue

Use this box to search our catalogue for books and other resources to use in your family history research.


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