"Uncover Your Family's History"

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How do I research my family history?

Researching your family history can be a wonderful hobby but it is worth learning how to do it well, so that you don’t end up researching the wrong families!

The process of researching your family history involves collecting evidence from government and church records and other documents which demonstrate how people are related to each other. You start with yourself and find documents that demonstrate who your parents are, then you look for documents that demonstrate who their parents were – and you work backwards in time. As you do this, you also collect stories about your family and hopefully photos and other memorabilia.

Finding the right documents and evidence is the challenging part, because it varies by location and documents can sometimes be scarce. Interpreting the documents can also be a challenge.

The Society has been helping people trace their family history for over 85 years. We collect documents and other resources in the library and archives for you to use, and hold classes to teach you how to research. Check out our Events Calendar for what’s on.

While there are a lot of materials online through sites such as Ancestry, FamilySearch, Findmypast and government websites, not everything is available online. Libraries such as ours are still a very important place to visit if you are researching your family history.

To record your family history and the progress of your research, most people use family tree charts and some people find family history software is useful. We sell charts and workbooks, and we have software groups which meet regularly to provide support. Their meeting dates are in the events calendar.


If you would like to start researching your family history, visit our library and talk to one of our volunteers. They would be happy to help you get started. We also run courses for beginners, which you will find in our events calendar.

Image: Candelo Church of England, Candelo NSW, SAG Manuscript and Image Collection, Item 5/588

We recommend the following events if you are just starting out with your family history:

Upcoming events

    • 26 Feb 2020
    • 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
    • 2/379 Kent Street Sydney NSW
    • 3
    Register

    Get an overview of the services and resources at the Library. Explore highlights of the collections and take a guided tour. Why not stay on after the tour and do some research?

    Members only. Limit 10.



    Skill level: All, beginners welcome     Presenter: Lorraine Brothers

    Note: Members need to be logged in to the site to make an event booking.

    • 12 Mar 2020
    • 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
    • 120 Kent Street Sydney NSW
    • 6
    Register

    The SAG's archives have a wide range of records such as manuscripts, photos, diaries and family histories - many of which are not held anywhere else! Explore the highlights of the archives, take a guided tour and find out how to search the archives using the MIDAS catalogue. Members only. Limit 10.

    Skill level: All, beginners welcome     Presenter: Danielle Lautrec

    Note: Members need to be logged in to the site to make an event booking.

    • 19 Mar 2020
    • 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    • 120 Kent Street Sydney NSW
    • 32
    Register

    Family history involves reading a lot of handwritten documents. Reading older documents can often be difficult, as the words, their meanings, inks, the shapes of the letters have changed over time. Get tips from a professional transcription agent who specialises in birth death and marriage certificates and parish records in NSW.

    Skill level: All, beginners welcome     Presenter: Marilyn Rowan 

    Note: Members need to be logged in to the site to make an event booking.

    • 1 Apr 2020
    • 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Your place!
    • 91
    Register

    Putting your family history online is a great way to share your research with family and other researchers, and to utilise the tools provided by genealogy companies. What are some of the options available, how do you do it and what steps do you need to take to deal with copyright, privacy and good research practices?

    Skill level: All, beginners welcome     Presenter:  Danielle Lautrec

    Note: Members need to be logged in to the site to make an event booking.

    • 4 Apr 2020
    • 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
    • 2/379 Kent Street Sydney NSW
    • 10

    Get an overview of the services and resources at the Library. Explore highlights of the collections and take a guided tour. Why not stay on after the tour and do some research?

    Members only. Limit 10.

    THIS TOUR CAN NO LONGER TAKE PLACE ON THIS DATE AND WILL BE RESCHEDULED.  APOLOGIES FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE


    Skill level: All, beginners welcome     Presenter: Lorraine Brothers

    Note: Members need to be logged in to the site to make an event booking.

    • 4 Apr 2020
    • 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    • 120 Kent Street Sydney NSW
    • 33
    Register

    Learn the basic DNA concepts and the first steps of interpreting your DNA test results. This session covers all of the popular DNA testing companies. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.

    Skill level: Beginners     Presenter: Barbara McAlary    

    Note: Members need to be logged in to the site to make an event booking.

    • 18 Apr 2020
    • 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    • 120 Kent Street Sydney NSW
    • 38
    Register

    Legacy Software group meetings provide opportunities for you to extend your knowledge of Legacy features and to share your Legacy experiences. If you are undecided about which family history software program to purchase come along and see what Legacy can offer you.


    Skill level: All, beginners welcome     Convenor:  Beverley Hyssett   

    Note: Members need to be logged in to the site to make an event booking.

    • 30 Apr 2020
    • 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    • 120 Kent Street Sydney NSW
    • 37
    Register

    What records are available to research convict ancestors? How do you interpret these records? What’s the difference between an absolute and a conditional pardon? And much more…


    Skill level: All, beginners welcome     Presenter: NSW State Archives

    Note: Members need to be logged in to the site to make an event booking.

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LOCATIONS

Our Research Centre is at 2/379 Kent St, Sydney.

Our office is at Richmond Villa, 120 Kent St, Sydney.

Location map

See our hours of opening for each building.

CONTACT US

Call : +61 2 9247 3953

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