The State Library’s collections are so vast and rich that there are always new items to discover that can help you with your family history research. Here are five gems from our Genealogy collection that we know & use regularly and would like to share with you:

  1. Occupational records in Australia A comprehensive list of Australian resources to help you find out more about what your ancestors did for a living written by Cora Num. Covers everything from builders and miners to nurses and lacemakers even circus performers and lighthouse keepers! Includes a handy place index as well. Check out the author’s excellent website for some online starting points for jobs and trades.
  2. He must have swum!: tracing your ancestor’s arrival in Australia This book is a perennial favourite, helping genealogists track down those elusive ancestors whose arrival in Australia may be hard to find. It is full of essential background information and helpful troubleshooting tips. You can also check out our research guide on this topic that we blogged about a while ago.
  3. Victoria: institutions for children and young people, 1850-1980 If you have an ancestor who lived in an government or private institution as a child, then this book provides a terrific starting point for your research. The child may have been in orphanage, children’s home or foster care in Victoria. You can then check out the Pathways Victoria website to see who has the original records for that institution and access arrangements.
  4. Mining shareholders index: an index of shareholders in mining companies 1857 to 1886 Lists over 228,000 names and addresses of mining company shareholders from the Victorian Government Gazette. Broad in scope and easy to use, it is a useful source of information about nineteenth century Victorian ancestors. Also lists 9,000 Australian mining companies and the occupation of shareholders (after 1872).
  5. Chinese biographical archive This is a large collection of about 115,000 entries that draws on western and Chinese biographical sources published between 1898 and 1994. It is an easy way to make a start on researching Chinese ancestors or relatives who were not Chinese but lived in, and were influential, in China. All the original sources are available in the Genealogy Centre on microfiche.

What hidden treasures have you discovered that have helped you unearth your ancestors?

Please post your favorite as a comment to share it with our readers.

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