I have always wanted to travel to Australia. I have a niece who lives outside of Perth and some of my own ancestors lived in Australia before immigrating to the United States. Places in Australia are sort-of the same as in Arizona; most of the settlement came in the mid- to late 1800s. I think there is a general assumption among genealogists that the records of any country, other than the exact one where your ancestors lived, are not much use. I probably do need to point out that the largest ethnic groups in Perth, Western Australia are English, Australian, Irish, Scottish, Italian and Chinese. See Wikipedia: Perth. It is entirely possible that an elusive ancestor that "disappeared" from England or Ireland, ended up in Australia.
I can only assume that Western Australia suffers from the same distorted impression that much of the world has of Arizona. That it is all a desert wasteland. True, both areas have a lot of desert, but both Perth and Phoenix are huge and diverse metropolitan areas and a very diverse topography. One thing Arizona is missing is the thousands of miles of beaches as well as kangaroos. But then the Australian desert is missing our saguaro cactus.
From my own experience, Australia, including Western Australia, has a very active genealogical community. Here are a few links to societies and other organizations in Wester Australia:
- Western Australian Genealogical Society Inc.
- Perth Dead Persons' Society
- Society of Australian Genealogists
- Albany Regional Family History Society
- Australind Family History Society
- Busselton Family History Society
- Carnamah Historical Society
- Eastern Goldfields Historical Society (Kalgoorlie-Boulder)
- Geraldton Family History Society
- Great Southern Family History Society
- Mandurah Family History Society
- Outback Family History
- Family History Society of Rockingham & Districts
- Rockingham District Historical Society
Looks to me to a very active area for genealogy. Australia as a whole is greatly benefited by the National Library of Australia with their huge online website; Trove.nla.au.gov. This site ranks among the very largest and most valuable websites on the Internet and is almost in a class by itself. However, Western Australia also has a State Library with valuable genealogical resources. See the State Library of Western Australia. The State Library has an extensive online section on Family History. Here is a link to a list from the Australian National Archives of the Australian archival institutions.
You should also be aware of resources of the National Archives of Australia and its Family History online webpage. There are several publications that assist genealogists in Australia:
- Finding Families: The Guide to the National Archives of Australia for Genealogists
- Family Journeys: Stories in the National Archives of Australia
- Footprints: The Journey of Lucy and Percy Pepper
- In the Interest of National Security: Civilian Internment in Australia during World War II
Here is a list of links to additional Australian resources:
- Migration and citizenship
- Records of defence administration, the forces, service personnel and more
- Tracing ancestors in the National Archives
- Family history sources held in Canberra
- Family history sources held in Adelaide
- Defence service records
- Making Australia Home
Another source of records is the online subscription database findmypast.au by brightsolid.com. The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages of the Department of the Attorney General of Australia offers free online historic index searching of births, deaths and marriages from 1841. Here are some more useful sites:
Obituaries Australia Hosted by the National Centre of Biography at the Australian National University, is a digital repository of obituaries published in newspapers, journals, magazines and bulletins. Here you will find the life stories of Australians from the earliest times to the present. There is also the opportunity to submit obituaries to this site.
Obits.com.au Australian death and funeral notices plus obituaries obtained from funeral directors or though contributions by members of the public. Notices are available from January 2006. The Obits Quick Search only searches recent notices so check the Archived Notices also.
The Last Post This site lists basic information about funerals as submitted by funeral directors on behalf of their clients.
Well, G'day and hope you have luck finding your Australian ancestry. See you on my next Travels on the Web.