Monday, July 23, 2012

where did I come from?

Ever since I was a little girl, I've been fascinated by the idea of ancestors. I was lucky enough to have known my maternal great-grandparents (though not as well as I would have liked) and very taken with the idea that they'd been born in Another Country.

I loved hearing stories from my nana about When She Was A Little Girl, it tickled me a little to think of my nana having been a little girl but it also gave me a sense of place in the world.... that I had come from a long line of people who were connected to me, however tenuously or however long ago.

I still feel that connection, to people who lived and died long before I was even born.

Both my cousin Jo and I have developed an interest in researching our family trees. She's far more together than I am, and has done a lot of work on our dads' side so I've been concentrating on my mothers' family.

I've learned a few things along the way. is a fantastic resource. And while the free version is good, it's worth paying for the upgrade, if you're serious.
You can connect to people who are researching the same people you are, and thus your tree will expand quickly, with all their photos and documents available to you.

Another invaluable resource is NAA -- the National Archives of Australia.
There are millions of records and photos held here. If someone else has already looked for the person you're interested in, you may be able to obtain the records free, but otherwise you will have to pay a fee, and it isn't cheap. (at the moment, abut $16 per item -- but that might be a single page or an entire file)
I've downloaded war records, naturalisation certificates, POW records, and many other documents that are very interesting to someone who's researching family history.

Just today, I received internment records for a great-great-great-uncle, who spent several years in a camp in Victoria, and in fact died there. There was a copy of the local police report, translations of letters he'd written to family in Germany, as well as camp records. Fascinating (and sad) stuff.

I don't have any famous ancestors. They are all ordinary people, living ordinary lives. But to me, their stories are quite extraordinary.


  1. I feel no connection to my ancestors. I wish I did. I have the family tree album my mother made for me, I look at it now and again and I'm pleased to know at least one side of where I came from, but I don't feel any sense of belonging.

  2. It's one of the great tragedies of life that so much of our history is lost to us because we don't realise its importance until it's too late! Good luck in your quest!!


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