Eliza Cusack

Research has shown that tracing your ancestry or family tree can have an overwhelming amount of benefits. Understanding your family roots can help to develop a greater sense of identity and pride. Knowing you are a part of a family with a rich story and history can provide a great amount of peace and contentment. One of the greatest perks, is the chance to be able to connect with long-lost relatives. Researching and discovering your family history can even become a new hobby in itself and can aid in your cognitive function, keeping your brain active and busy! 

Here are six things you can do to investigate your family history:

  • It is best to start out with establishing what you already know about your family. This may consist of drawing your family tree or listing your family members and grandparents. You may also wish to look for old photographs, certificates and anything else related to your extended family’s history. 
  • The next step is to go online. This can be very daunting at first and it may be a good idea to enlist a friend to help out. There are many resources, including the NSW registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Most councils will also have comprehensive lists of burials in local cemeteries. There are two great online websites; findmypast and ancestry.com which are constantly adding and updating records on the site. 
  • The next step may be to visit your local library and access old newspaper records where you may be lucky enough to find marriage and funeral announcements and photographs. Some libraries will offer free access to newspaper databases where you can search for your family’s surname and view the results. 
  • One of the most effective ways you can build your family tree or uncover your family’s history is to reach out to another family member and work together. This can be highly effective in terms of piecing together bits of information or gaps in time that are missing. 
  • Join a genealogical society, such as the Society of Australian Genealogists. The society was founded in 1932 and is currently the oldest family history in society in the country!
  • An emerging tool used when conducting ancestry research involves having your DNA tested. This can then link you to others who share some of your genetic material!