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Browse our images of Fitzroy and Castlemaine from the s. Portrait of a family group of 11 people , Albert Jones photographer , c. Shipping research guides Find technical information, pictures, logs and histories of passenger and cargo ships. Victoria Government Gazette — Access official notifications from the Governor, Government authorities and departments, local councils, companies and individuals from to World War I unit histories Our digitised World War I unit histories contain descriptions of battles and operations; listings of officers and soldiers; personal letters; and maps and photographs.
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Read our blog posts. There is an overwhelming amount of information on the internet, and it's difficult to know which of the pay-for services are of value to you. It is fair to say that most genealogy sites for which you have to pay have some worth - it just depends whether they are going to be worthwhile for you. Here are some tips and guidelines to help make order out of the chaos so you can make the right choice when it comes to selecting your website.
The bottom line in genealogical research is that you are going to have to pay for it. You cannot manage without the basic building blocks of certificates and census returns, and money can be liberally spent in travelling to archives, paying online fees, hiring private researchers and whatever else you deem necessary as you continue your research.
But there are good reasons why more and more genealogists are going online. There is a wealth of material available on the web, and it is being added to every day.
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Databases and search engines make information accessible in a way in which it wasn't before: searches that used to take weeks or months now take only a few minutes. And sometimes it's cheaper and easier to do what you can online and in your own time than travelling to archives and bowing to time pressure there.
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You may find that you can use online resources for free or more cheaply at archives, but is it worth the time and expense of travelling there? And you will still have to pay for the photocopying! First of all, there are lots of excellent free resources used by genealogists - here is a small selection:. But none of these is guaranteed to hold all the records that you want.
So, to start from the very beginning, which sites do you absolutely need in order to build your family tree, and how can you tell where to put your money? There are some basic things that you might look out for when choosing your first genealogical websites:. Can you find details of all the records held, how they were created and how researchers can use them? You're not going to be able to do your genealogy without them.
Without this information, you might just end up groping in the dark. It is always better seeing the original document in digitised form that what someone else has copied or miscopied from it.
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Some sites just give indexes and you order copies of the original document from there, according to what you find - that's fine because you can see the information for yourself when your document arrives. If you like to look at everything on a site, it is better to have a subscription that lasts for a certain period of time, during which you may look at whatever you like as many times as you please.
If you simply want two or three records, and you have the option, you might be better off paying only for what you view. Hint: Often there is a free trial period for subscription sites so you can decide if it really is for you.
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Hint: Often when you look at a record on a subscription site, you can return to it for free for a period of time - but make sure you get a print out of the searches you have done, along with the results. When you have done your basic genealogy and built a skeleton family tree, it is time to investigate more specialised websites, for example, those containing military or employment records, parish records or wills. But you will need some basic information to make best use of what they have on offer: there is no point in paying to look for details of your great grandfather's military career if you don't know his full name, date of birth and the force in which he served.
Without this kind of background information, you will have trouble identifying your ancestor among the thousands of others. In other words, you need to use genealogical sites in the right order to ensure that you get the most out of them. Here are some features shared by many of the excellent sites - and some questions that you might like to ask:.
If your grandfather was a merchant seaman, for example, does this site contain seamen's records for the period during which he served? You shouldn't have to pay to find out whether or not you want to use a website, so it is a great help if there is an explanation of what records are available, what you need to know to identify your ancestor and what more you can hope to learn about them from the records you might find.
From the description accompanying the site, you need to be sure of what you've searched - or eliminated - by using the site. These can be very useful in understanding and interpreting whatever material you find relating to you ancestor.