ORIGINS ITALY Guest Blogger: Louise Coakley
Italian-Americans with relatives in Australia may have utilised the resources and tips in Italian Genealogy Research in Australia – Part 1 – which outlined two of Australia’s key national online information resources available – to help start their search for information on their extended families from Italy who migrated to Australia. In addition to these national resources, Australia’s state-based online information resources can provide vital records to help you grow your family tree or relocate lost relatives.
States & Territories
Australia consists of six states and two main territories, with each administering their own government information resources and providing different levels of coverage and online access to historical records. Some online offerings are very generous, and some quite limited. For early periods, note the evolution of the states and territories, as it may impact your research (eg. Victorian records prior to 1851 and Queensland records prior to 1859 may be included in NSW).
The timeframe for searching will be different for every family, and in every state, but the starting point for state-based family research in Australia is generally the state registries of births, deaths and marriages, and state archives/records offices and libraries.
To trace Italian-Australian families backwards, you will need to follow the BDM certificate trail combined with clues from other records, to locate the family’s place of origin in Italy. Utilise immigration records, naturalisation records, obituaries, wills and probate documents, cemetery and headstone records, land records, employment and education details, newspaper articles and family notices, children’s birth/marriage records, and photo collections online.
To locate your living Italian relatives or their descendants in Australia, start tracing forwards from clues in their immigration records. BDM certificates will most likely be restricted, although some states publish marriages indexes up to 1965, deaths indexes up to 1988, and will & probate records to more recent years. Electoral rolls are available online at Ancestry and FindMyPast for most states up to 1980, so Italian-Australian children born up to 1962 may be included, possibly even with their parents. The electoral rolls include full names and occupations, and addresses that can be cross-checked with current telephone directories to see if the family still resides at the same address.
Search online family trees (eg. Ancestry, WorldConnect, GenesReunited, FamilySearch) for clues and connections, combined with searches on Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and FriendsReunited. Ensure you use www.google.com.au to search for Australian information, as Google Australia gives preference to Australian results which may not be found using international Google sites.
- Historical birth, death and marriage images and certificates can be purchased online.
- Queensland State Archives (QSA) includes an online index of records for family historians, including immigration & shipping (some digitised), criminal, naturalisations, wills, inquests, hospital, land, some professions, and a variety of other records.
- ArchiveSearch & Image Queensland, The Italians and La Dolce Vita: Italians in Queensland are also on the QSA site.
- State Library of Queensland (SLQ) has published Family history info guides, Family history videos, Picture Queensland, SLQ Photos on Flickr as well as numerous records on OneSearch, which can be refined to include digitised collections only.
New South Wales
- NSW Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages includes indexes to births, deaths and marriages, and certificates can be purchased directly from the index results.
- NSW State Records hosts various searchable collections, including Indexes Online which comprises records on immigration & shipping, convicts, land, naturalisations, professions, education, census, and more.
- NSWSR also has a Keyword Search tool to search many indexes at once, Guides and Finding Aids, Research Topics, and Photo Investigator.
- NSW Migration Heritage Centre – includes an online exhibition Objects Through Time – Italian.
- Births Deaths Marriages Victoria Family History provides links to search Victoria’s historical BDM and Marine indexes, and you can purchase scanned certificates online for immediate viewing (NB: 99c fee to view up to 20 index search results per page, or alternatively you may find the relevant reference numbers on Ancestry, FindMyPast, FamilySearch or in library indexes).
- Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV)’s collection at PROV Digitised Records & Online Indexes includes passenger lists, wills & probate (digitised to 1925), records on education & teachers, convicts & prisoners, land, and health.
- State Library of Victoria also has a large digitised collection. Search on your keyword, and refine using the tabs at the top and categories at the side.
- Museum Victoria – History of immigration from Italy
- To order birth, death or marriage certificates from the SA Registry of BDM, you must use the indexes available at Genealogy SA or Family History SA and then order a transcript or lookup through those sites, or purchase an official certificate from the registry via the application form.
- State Library of South Australia hosts Quick Search which can be refined by format, type, year, place, photo, etc, and their Library Guide on Family History.
- State Records of South Australia links to SA family history sources.
- SA directories online 1864-1897 and Adelaide Proformat also provide some free family history information, indexes and links.
- Tasmania has combined its state library, archives, heritage and other community information services into one online service, LINC Tasmania.
- Linc Tasmania – Name indexes, including passenger & ship arrivals, early census indexes, inquests, naturalisations, wills, and more.
- Linc Tasmania – Digitised content available for free online, including convict records, wills, directories, and photos. Photos also on Flickr.
- Linc Tasmanian Heritage Online Guides
- Tasmanian Birth, Death and Marriage early indexes are now available to browse for free on FamilySearch, but are not indexed. Indexes are available at FamilySearch (Births & Baptisms , Marriages, Deaths & Burials). [See Gould Genealogy’s Blog for helpful instructions]. A link to forms and fee information for ordering certificates is also on the Tas BDM site.
Australian Capital Territory
Note that some of the indexes listed above are included in Ancestry, FindMyPast and FamilySearch, and also accessible at many libraries (online, CD or microfilm/fiche). If you can’t locate a record in one particular index, try another, as their different search criteria and algorithms can produce or prioritise different results.
Supplementary to the state-based government records are resources provided by genealogy, family history, local history and historical groups and societies. Genealogy portals such as Cyndi’s List Australia and Cora Num’s Websites for Genealogists provide further links to Local History Resources , Family History Societies & Groups, cemetery indexes (useful for monumental inscriptions), the Ryerson Index (death, funeral and obituaries index from recent newspapers), and numerous other useful sources.
Reconstruct & Connect
Every family history is unique, so there is no ‘one formula’ that works for everyone in tracing either their ancestors or their living relatives. Link all the information and clues found using the above state-based resources, together with the national resources, the non-government sources and subscription databases to reconstruct your families.
Strategic use of the above resources – particularly immigration, naturalisation, birth, death and marriage indexes and certificates, electoral rolls and newspaper announcements – can often rebuild the family tree enough to relocate and reconnect with living relatives, through the use of current telephone directories, online searches and current electoral roll searches.
About the ORIGINS ITALY Guest Blogger:
Louise Coakley is a genealogist from Cairns, Queensland, who specialises in Australian and UK family history research. Find Louise at www.genie1.com.au or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.
-From the collection of the State Library of Queensland, Australia via Flickr Commons.
-Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
-Link to photo on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/statelibraryqueensland/8755808041
-No known photo copyright restrictions.