August is National Family History Month and  there’s no better time to delve into your family history research. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced researcher, State Library Victoria has a wealth of online resources that can help you with your research.

Rice family portrait. H83.94/153

Research guides

The Family History team have produced a series of research guides that will help you to navigate our collections. Guides include Researching your Victorian ancestors, Australians in World War 1, Aboriginal people and family history, Adoption and Forgotten Australians and Researching your ancestors from Great Britain and Ireland.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re pleased to be able to offer access to Ancestry Library Edition from home. This is a temporary offer for registered State Library members with a valid Victorian address. Log in using your library barcode and surname and explore the extensive collection of records on Ancestry including Victorian passenger lists, Australian electoral rolls 1903-1980, UK census records, directories, rate books and so much more.


Newspapers can provide a wealth of information about your ancestors, such as family notices, local news, legal information, feature articles and property information.

For Australian newspapers explore the new-look Trove for full access to over 1000 digitised Australian newspapers from 1803-1954.

For international newspaper research, explore our collection of historic newspaper databases including British Library Newspapers (1732–1950), The Times of India (1838–2010), Service Newspapers of World War Two and The Illustrated London News Historical Archive, 1842-2003. These can be accessed from home by logging in with your valid State Library membership (Victorian residential address required).

Family History FAQ’s

Watch our video where Family History Librarians share the five most frequently asked Family History questions (and answers!).

Family History eBooks

The State Library provides access to over 19,000 ebooks, include a great selection of Family History titles. Our Ebooks for Family Historians blog post lists some recent additions.

Need help?

If you need some advice on researching your family history please get in touch using our Ask a Librarian service.

This article has 4 comments

  1. I am trying to trace my ex husband, Thomas Edwin Barnett a retired judge of the the supreme court and P/NG He has an OBE. I understand he now lives in Perth, WA. Could you suggest how I can do this please?( We are good friends)

    • Thank you for your query. We have a page on one of our research guides which lists resources suitable for tracing living relatives. Apart from telephone directories, the most useful resource is the Australian Electoral Roll. An online version of the latest roll is available for public viewing at any Australian Electoral Commission Office. You can find a list of offices here. I hope this helps. Best wishes, Ann.

  2. Hi Ann. I have an old portrait ( in not so good shape) of my Great Grandmother and her sister and I noticed on the bottom right hand corner was the name Mendelssohn – copy. .
    My Grandmother was born in 1905 and this is her mother so if she was born say 1880 then my guess is the portrait might have been taken around 1930. Just a guess. Do you have anything of this persons photography in the library. They dressed up in old fashioned clothes if that helps. Thanks Kerri

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