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NSW Research Guides

Many repositories that are essential in the search for detailed information about your ancestors have research guides to help you find what you are looking for. Research guides contain general information about what to look for and how to find it. Here are the guides of three Sydney repositories to get you started.

State Library of New South Wales

The website of the State Library of NSW has a Family History Research Guide. This gives a brief overview of the parts of their massive collection relevant to family history and some significant examples; links to their fact sheets on Cemetery Records, Church Records, Electoral Rolls, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists and other topics; descriptions of their catalogues, including the Pictures and Manuscripts and Scanned Cards catalogues; links to Family History databases and websites; links to the highlights of the collections related to family history; and links to relevant exhibition.

State Records NSW

State Records New South Wales are the repository for a great many documents that are invaluable for family history research. Their online research guide For Family Historians is an excellent introduction to the records they hold. The Research Tips section has links to comprehensive :

State Records NSW also has a large number of fact sheets called Archives in Brief on specific topics, which are well worth printing out and keeping. You can also collect them from the reading rooms in the City and Kingswood.

Society of Australian Genealogists

The Society has a wealth of knowledge and experience in Australian family history research in their staff and volunteers, and this is reflected in their research guides on their website.

Here is their list of topics to get you started:

Other repositories have similar guides. Have a look!

Facebook???

I am a recent convert to Facebook. It’s a web application that I thought was used by teenagers but it seems I was wrong because when I asked my teenage nieces they didn’t know what I was talking about. They use MySpace.

Facebook seems to be used by young adults and older adults. It’s a networking site for keeping in contact with people and letting them know how you are and what you are doing. Your contacts are called friends and they have to agree to be your friend, so it keeps the spam out.

It’s a lot of fun, there are so many applications that you and your friends can play with. For example I use an application called “Where I’ve Been” – I can click on the countries I’ve been to on a map of the world and they turn blue. I can turn the countries I want to visit green. Others can see where I’ve been if I let them and I can see where they’ve been. I thought I was well-travelled but seeing it laid on a map like that I can see I have a long way to go. I’m ready!

There are genealogy applications too. One has been written by FamilyLink, the people who give us World Vital Records, called “We’re Related”. This is what they say about it:

….share basic family information with anybody you choose.
With this app you can:
- Find your relatives on Facebook
- Keep up with your family
- Build your family tree
- Share news and photos with your family

In the future we hope to allow you to share memories about ancestors with your family, compare your family tree with your friends on Facebook to see if you are related, and to search for your ancestors through the application.

Some of my friends are now my relatives. I can upload a gedcom to share with my relatives but I haven’t managed to do this yet. It expects my name in the gedcom file to be the same as my name in Facebook and it isn’t because I didn’t use my middle name in Facebook.

There are others which I haven’t tried yet but I plan to. One is FamilyBuilder. To quote them directly:

Familybuilder is a free fun tool for:

* Finding your relatives.
* Building your family tree.
* Preserving your family history.
* Scrapbooking the lives of you and your family.
* Remembering loved ones.
* Staying in touch with your family.

I’ve installed this and I’ll see how it goes.

There are others but these two seem to be the most popular. They are not full family tree applications. That’s not what Facebook is about. They allow communication and sharing of information between relatives. News, baby photos, funerals, research discoveries – you can share them all at once.

Try it. It’s quite addictive, and many of the applications are worth playing with.

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