Sunday, 11 December 2011

A List - Some of my Favourite FREE Websites

This post is just a little one showcasing some of my favourite FREE websites. They are of particular interest to Australian researchers, and some are relevant to New South Wales in particular. 


The owners and other contributors have compiled this index over a number of years. It is a very easily searchable database covering headstones from various cemeteries in rural and regional NSW, and now rapidly expanding Australia wide. There are photos with most records, they are usually excellent quality, and are free for individual genealogists to use in their research. Some of the cemeteries this database covers are on private property, and in remote locations, so this website is an invaluable resource for genealogists who had family in regional NSW. 


The National Archives obviously hold many records of interest to genealogists, especially if you have ancestors who served in the Australian Defence Forces or immigrated to Australia in the 20th century. I have also found some amazing naturalisation files on my ancestors who were considered possible enemy aliens during the World Wars. 


The State Records obviously hold even more records of interest to genealogists, and as New South Wales is Australia's oldest colony, there are many records of interest to Australian's elsewhere if their families arrived in the first 80-odd years of settlement. Personally, I think their best online resource is the "Online" Microfilm of Shipping Lists. I have found nearly ALL of my ancestors’ arrivals in these pages.


They have millions upon millions of pages of newspapers (amongst other very interesting things). Very good search function, that then allows you to narrow down your search by a whole range of refining titles, decades, years, months, type of article, etc. Excellent resource that is very easy to get lost in, reading about days gone by. I always love having a look through old editions of the Australian Women’s Weekly (available from the first edition in 1933 until 1982). Trove has really helped me add "colour" to my family tree. It isn’t just about finding Family Notices (although these are extremely helpful), but about adding to the story of our ancestor’s lives by using all of the sources available to us. 


The Registry now holds well over 18 million records of events registered in NSW, including the earliest records from 1788, right up until the present day. The Online Historical Indexes are all of the unrestricted records, and include births (>100 years ago), deaths (>30 years ago), and marriages (>50 years ago). January is just around the corner, and then we'll have access to 1911 births, 1981 deaths, and 1961 marriages.

So, those are some of my favourite free websites. What are yours?