Family history services


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Family history services

A grandmother and granddaughter chatting about family stories

What's coming up?

In the previous activity, you learned about tools you can use on your computer to record and manage your family history.

In this activity, you'll learn about where and how to get the history itself, so you have some information to put into the tools.

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Compiling family information

The starting point for your family tree should be what you and your family already know.

Chat to your immediate family, then get in contact with more distant cousins. The bigger the family tree you can build at the beginning, the more lines of enquiry you'll have later on.

Talking to different members of your family will help you when you start to build your family tree
Different price options for paid family history research that are available on different websites

Paid family history searches

Plenty of tools on the internet offer a service that will research your family history for a fee.

Services range from hiring a genealogist to searching public databases.

The fee may be a large one-off cost, or a smaller ongoing fee you pay as long as you continue to use the service.

When to use paid search services

Paid searches can save a lot of time. You can enter what you know into your family history tool, then have its search feature check public records and databases for information related to your entries.

If the search finds a new connection, you can add that person to your family tree.

An illustration of a successful search for relatives using a paid service
The all-important export button to make sure you keep all the data you've created from your family history research online

Don't get locked in

Before you start using a paid search service, check that you can take your information out of the tool.

Services that use the GEDCOM format (GEDCOM stands for Genealogical Data Communication – it's a form of common program language that different genealogy software programs can understand) should allow you to export and use your entries in other tools, or in an app on your computer.

Australian family search services

Most online family research services tend to focus on the United States, but some provide international services too.

Some tools that include Australian family search services include:

A map of Australia
An illustration of a search for a serviceman on the National Archives website

Search Australian public databases

You can save money on paid searches by exploring Australian public records yourself.

Some government bodies provide historical information about Australians, as well as useful advice on how to use their records. Ancestral information is usually available, but not the personal data of people still living.

An icon of a padlock

eSafety Tip

Before you sign up for a paid service, you will need to give the service information about you and your family. You may want to consider if you should do that.

While your information will be used to find information about your family, it may also be shared to help others with their histories.

Well done

This is the end of the Family history services activity. You've learned about some of the places where you can find information to fill in your family history.

Next up, we'll consider costs in the activity Paying for family history.

A family history researcher spending some happy time in a library to help find more information on his ancestry