On the immeasurable value of local historical expertise

As an undergraduate student in the early 2000s, one of my first original historical research projects involved documenting the history of a local war memorial. Being new to the idea of ‘archival research’, I approached my lecturer for advice, and they suggested that I start with the local historical society. As I stepped through the … Read on

Writing a non-boring family history

Here is your sneak peek to an upcoming article from Traces Edition 9. ‘Writing a non-boring family history’ written by Hazel Edwards dives into the world of uncovering your ancestor’s history and turning it into a piece of compelling writing. Have you discovered something captivating in your family history? Have you thought about sharing it? … Read on

The treasure in Trove

By Associate Professor Nathan Wise, Public and Applied History, University of New England (UNE). Over the past decade, Trove has risen to become one of the most valuable resources for Australian historians and genealogists. At face value it is an easy-to-use search engine that researchers can use to find resources relating to aspects of Australian … Read on

Ghost signs

Once you know where to look, it’s amazing how many clues about the past are hidden within plain sight, in seemingly everyday objects and locations.  Today, Melbourne’s laneways attract international attention for their trendy restaurants and cafés, but to the discerning visitor, they are also a treasure maze of hints about Melbourne’s history as a … Read on

Accessing Personal Service Records for family research

Twenty years ago, historians could travel to the National Archives of Australia (NAA), Canberra, where they could request the Personal Service Records of individuals who served in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) during the First World War. Today, those records are digitised and available online via the NAA website (naa.gov.au) under the B2455 series number; … Read on

Recaptured, by William Cotter

Port Arthur, Van Diemen’s Land, 1840 He has struggled through the surf of mist, Heard the wind trample the hills, The gullies drum like tambourines, Felt the cold, companionable earth beneath his feet And smelt, through the leaves of the eucalypts, The brief, disorientating drug of freedom. But, now, in the damp, stone walled darkness, … Read on

Expert tips on tracking your roots

Traces spoke with Ancestry.com for some expert tips on family history research. Here is their best advice: Talk to your relatives: It seems simple, but you might be surprised by how much information your grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles might have that they’ve never shared, only because they were never asked. Ask them what they … Read on

Finding your ancestor’s burial location

Finding and visiting the graves of your ancestors can be an essential step in your family history research, whether to pay your respects or to look for further information about your lineage. So, where do you start when it comes to finding the burial location of an ancestor? Death certificates A great place to begin … Read on

Prison hulks: Australia’s floating prisons

There is a classic narrative in Australia that convicts spent their days in penal colonies like Port Arthur and Norfolk Island, which struck fear into the hearts of convicts and settlers alike. But many convicts weren’t even lucky enough to end up there. With prisons overflowing and nowhere to put the convicts who were continually … Read on

Researching your convict ancestry

According to Ancestry, one in five Australians descends from convicts. The stories of penal colonies and their convicts are considered a fundamental part of the rich tapestry of the Australian story, and the history of individual families. Now, more people are eager to uncover their convict past than ever. For some, the stories of their … Read on

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