The internet is a valuable aid to research into family history.

Australian websites contain a variety of information relating to family history and genealogy including guides, indexes and digitised images of documents. They also provide links to other informative sites both in Australia and overseas and pathways to make contact with other family historians via indexed family trees, mailing lists and bulletin boards.

A number of online resources for family history can be located via our eResources, however some of these are subscription resources which can only be accessed in the Library's reading rooms.

Our special subject research guides also provide links to relevant online and in-house resources.

Transcript - How-to: Starting your family history research (PDF, 88KB)

Before you visit

  • Spend time gathering all of your family information together. Talk to relatives, collect documents, photographs and records.
  • Organise the information into charts. The Library offers some charts that are freely available to download and print or to complete online:
  • Identify the gaps and decide what you want to look for first.
  • Visit the National Library's Newspapers and Family History zone to get started. You'll find lots of resources including microfilm and electronic resources.
  • Staff in the reading room can help you get started but cannot do your research for you.

Learning at the Library

The Library runs regular sessions for the community on various aspects of your family history needs. The following are some examples of the sessions provided and which can be booked online. These and other sessions can be found via our What's on webpage:

  • Getting started
  • Discover Trove
  • Maps for family history
  • World War One military ancestors
  • Newspapers for family history

Some sessions have been recorded as webinars and can be found via the Library's YouTube channel

Family History ACT

Family History ACT also provides education sessions for members and the community. These are held in their Education Room or their Library at 41 Templeton Street, Cook.

Woman bathing a young baby
Woman bathing a young baby, early 1900s, Family photograph album belonging to Ivy Deakin, nla.obj-140824658
Cover of book Family History for Beginners and Beyond 16th edition
Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra.  Family history for beginners and beyond Edition 16 2020
Tracing your family history online for dummies
Tracing your family history online for dummies / Society of Australian Genealogists and Matthew L. Helm and April Leigh Helm.  Wiley Publishing Australia Milton, Qld  2009.

Not sure where to start?