Keep it in the family

Burning the midnight oil on the computer has become an addiction. Television programs such as Who Do You Think You Are provide even more motivation.

Ancestry is a huge portal for information and now, with computers and the internet, there is no longer a need for a regular visit to the library or archive office.

It takes only minutes to access personal records of our ancestors with such things as birth, death and marriage records, a simple internet purchase and download.

There’s no longer a painful wait by the letterbox for a hard copy to arrive in the mail. All of this said, why do we do it? What is our motivation?  Many researchers stop once they have found out all they can about their ancestors.

The documents end up in a box or on the computer, with the satisfaction that all is now known about where our ancestors came from and who they were.
But this is without realising that there are probably other relatives doing the exact same research, along with the same expense and accumulation of those endless documents, photos and records.
So why not pool those valuable resources? If nothing more is done with our accumulated clutter, this information will end up in a bin or forgotten.

It would be sad to see precious heritage photos end up at the tip because our descendants didn’t know who was in the photos and what they represented.
With so many conducting the research, relatives can work together and combine their efforts as a group, saving themselves money and time.

By working with other like-minded family members, information can be shared easily. Save documentation to the cloud, create a family Facebook page, make a family webpage or compile a book that all family members can put on their coffee table or file with memorabilia.

All our hard work can be shared and handed down to descendants and can be retained in the national or state libraries for the future.  While researching my family, I have found so many relatives interested in knowing their history.

By arranging a family reunion I could introduce myself, which aided in acquiring copies of heritage family photos and those little anecdotes which in a lot of cases, confirmed stories that my grandparents would tell. Many could then be taken as fact and no longer family legend.

I have been combining my research, photos, and documents into a beautiful coffee table book. I write a periodical family newsletter to keep family members informed of the family happenings, which is very popular among relatives.I also set up a Facebook page. There are many websites now available.
To get started, try:
Australian cemeteries –australiancemeteries.com
Trove – trove.nla.gov.au
Australian War Memorial awm.gov.au
Convicts to Australia – convictcentral.com
Coraweb – coraweb.com.au
Family Search – familysearch.org
Heritage Australia –heritageaustralia.com.au
National Archives of Australia naa.gov.au
Ryerson Index – ryersonindex.org
Picture Australia – pictureaustralia.org
The Ships List  – theshipslist.com
Cemeteries Index – austcemindex.com

A great place for researchers is local societies such as the Queensland Family History Society (QFHS), in Mitchelton, or Caloundra Family History Research group.

The QFHS has a huge number of resources, a library, microfilm readers and computers with Ancestry and similar sites. Members and volunteers are at the ready to assist.  QFHS also a writing group that meets once a month which is a great help.

Good luck with your research and remember, do something with the information you gather, don’t let it go to waste – write a book and publish, it’s not hard. There are a lot of people out there who can and are willing to help.