Covid-19 update: Seven YPRL branches and the Hatch at Ivanhoe are now open for Click & Collect services. However, the Mill Park and Ivanhoe branches remain closed for building works.

Family History

Family History

Family History Festival: Family History Month

Now is the time to research your family history! Uncover family stories, dive into online resources and organise family archives.
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Family History Services at the Library

Getting Started

There has never been a better time to start your family history.  Write down what you know, gather records around the house and talk to relatives.  Dig out those old photos, identify them with dates and names of people and places, relationships and other stories.

Get organised with a free software program to record all your research and start an online tree and/or a blog.  There is nothing like a bit of cousin bait to start collaborating with long lost relatives.

Remember to start with yourself and work backwards.  Follow the unusual name or the line with the most stories or the elderly relative with all the stories.  Do as much research in Australia as possible before you "go" overseas.  Historical birth, marriage and death certificates will help confirm family stories and grow your family tree.

Explore our tip sheet to get started.

Melbourne DPS

The Melbourne Dead Persons Society meet once a month at Watsonia Library.  This genealogy group has monthly guest speakers and provides an opportunity to discuss your family history research with fellow genealogists. Learn more via their Facebook page where they often share links of interest.

Ancestry Library Edition

Good news! For a limited time, you can now use your YPRL membership number to access Ancestry Library Edition from home. Visit our E-Library, then scroll down and click on the Ancestry link. You will need your library card number and PIN to log in.

Ancestry® is the world's leading resource for online family history and genealogy among the genealogy giants along with the free website FamilySearch.

Get started by choosing the Search link, then the Card Catalog to search record collections specifically related to your research.  You can filter your search by category, location and dates.

You can also sort the catalog by Database title, date added, date updated and record count. It is always worth a look as new content is added regularly.

Don't know where to start? Review what you know or what you want to confirm and try these popular record sets:

Australia. Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980

Australia and New Zealand.  Find A Grave Index,   1800s - current

Australia. Birth, marriage and death indexs (separate collections, various time frames)



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Recommended Resources

Check out these specially curated lists on a variety of subjects curated by our Local and Family History Librarian from Reseaching your Australian military ancestor to Writing your Life Story.  Most lists include collection items and online resources.

Researching Chinese Family History

A list of resources to guide research in Australian Chinese Family History in Australia and in China.

Researching your convict ancestor

Between 1788 and 1868 about 162,000 convicts were transported from Britain and Ireland to various penal colonies in Australia. Explore more

Who Do You Think You Are?

Film and documentaries to explore with a family history theme from all over the world including "Lion" and "Who Do You Think You Are"
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Useful Sites

Explore these free websites for your family history research and more listed in our e-library

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New Biographies for Adults

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