Family history

Do you want to find out more about your family, build your family tree or fill a gap in your family's history? If you need help with your research, our librarians can assist you either online or in person.

At our libraries you can access genealogy records and Ancestry and Findmypast are both accessible for free from our computers or wi-fi.

Access Ancestry Library

Access Findmypast

Book and magazine resources

Search our catalogue for our wide range of book resources and magazines to help you with your research. Some of the books are how-to manuals and others are more specific to a region, time or people group.

Sands and McDougall Melbourne directories

Sands and Kenny published directories of Melbourne from 1857 and regional Victoria from 1911. These directories are useful to find out when and where a person lived.

We own a large collection of Sands and McDougall directories. You can view them at Parkdale Library on request.

State Library Victoria has digitised versions of Sands and McDougall directories. 

Getting started

Step 1.Get tips on how to start

Visit Family Search for useful tips on how to get started on your research.

Step 2.Start with what you know

Do you know your parents' names, birthdates and birth places? What about your grandparents or great grandparents? Following one family line helps keep your research on track.

If you have older family members ask questions. They may have items like a family bible, letters, diaries, photographs, certificates and war medals which can be helpful in your research. 

Step 3.Begin from all the facts and work backwards

Make sure you check the accuracy of each source. Keep a record of all your research.

Step 4.Get a family tree

Sometimes known as a pedigree chart. You can use the chart to record family relationships. You can access free charts from:

A good place to start is checking Ancestry to see if anyone else has done any research on your family. Make sure they have supporting records for each ancestor.

Step 5.Visit your local library

Visit your local Kingston library to access family history resources and seek assistance from library staff.

Step 6.Remember less is more

Sometimes by entering a full name you can miss the right record. For example James may have been written as Ja, Jms or J. The name Thomas was often  written as Thos. Allow for spelling variants when searching, this may bring up records that sound like the name you are looking for.

Step 7.Be careful with original documents

Make copies and leave the originals in a safe place. Never lend your original copy.