Facebook for Australian & New Zealand History and Genealogy

Since releasing my first big list of Australian history and genealogy links on Facebook in September 2016, I’ve continued to find more, and more, and periodically do updates.

So what started out as a list of a few hundred links, has grown to large list of 2085 links (as at 26 January 2023). That’s 77 pages worth of Australian and New Zealand history and genealogy links … just on Facebook.

I haven’t added any new categories with this update, but there are additions to nearly every category that’s listed.


This is an ongoing project which will be updated periodically, so if you have any links you’d like added, please either send an email to  alona @ lonetester.com (without the spaces), or message me on my Lonetester Facebook page.


And I can’t mention genealogy on Facebook without making reference to two other incredible lists:
– Katherine Willson’s worldwide Genealogy on Facebook list is enormous, and now has over 16,700 links.
– Gail Dever’s Facebook for Canadian Genealogy list of over 1000 links is a must for everyone with Canadian connections.

Introducing “Six Feet Under Downunder”- Australian Cemetery and Burial Records Online

In between trips, blogging and presentations, my geniemate GeniAus (aka Jill Ball) has managed to begin a new project (and website) …. “Six Feet Under Downunder“, which is a listing of Australian burial and cremation records online … and she’s asking for your help!

But first here’s her explanation of how it came about ….

While preparing for my Six Feet Under Downunder webinar over the past few days I realised that there is no one site that lists all the wonderful resources in Australia that index the names of the deceased resting in cemeteries and crematoria around Australia. It would have helped me no end in my preparation if there was a meta site that links to such resources.

Of course I decided to create such a site. I must be mad but I hope that the many generous genies around Australia who know of such indexes of  memorials, headstones and burial sites will share them with me so they can be loaded on the site. I will initially only link to free sites that are available online, sites that one can visit via the internet.

So Aussie geniefriends, please visit her website, click on the various state links. These link to Google Doc pages with lists of cemeteries. If you know of other FREE sites, that are not yet listed, please send her an email with details, 6feetunderdownunder@gmail.com, and she’ll get it added.

The more comprehensive this is, the more useful it is. And I can see this being an incredible resource for those searching for Australian cemeteries.

Discovering Links: 15 FREE Links for Australian Genealogy and History

Here’s another of my “Discovering Links” post. These posts consist of a collection of links that I have discovered, or found useful, and want to share with others. But rather than simply giving you a whole batch of random links each time, I am grouping them by Australian state, country or topic. You can see my previous Discovering Links posts here.

For this one I’ve decided to share my Australian (meaning Australia-wide) links. It is not intended to be an exhaustive collection (not by a long shot), but they are simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you may not have known about.

And while many people think that genealogy costs a lot of money, let me tell you that all of the links below are free. Personally I find that it’s often a matter of knowing where to look beyond the big-name websites, and hopefully this will help with that.


Containing almost 30,000 monuments so far, the Monument Australia website is a site which records the “public monuments and memorials in all Australian States and Territories under various themes”.  Divided into conflict, culture, disaster, government, landscape, people and technology, you can search this site, and find transcriptions and photographs of most of the monuments listed. The work of volunteers, they are to be commended for their efforts.

The Aus BDM Exhange site is a “free resource for genealogists to share information from Australian and New Zealand vital records”. If you have BDM records you can enter their details in so others can find them. And you can search to see if anyone has already entered details for those you are researching. Their stats show that currently the have about 38,000 Australian records, and 8000 New Zealand one.

The AMPI database provides biographical information on over 4500 doctors who lived in Australia or visited Australian shores in a medical capacity in colonial days (up to the year 1875). General practitioners and specialists are included, along with doctors in the army, the navy, and the colonial (civil) service. There are also records for doctors working in other (non-medical) occupations such as farming.

Created by the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Welcome Wall is one that is dedicated to “all those who have migrated from around the world to live in Australia.” If you, other family members, or even your ancestors further back were the first immigrant to Australia, you can add those details in short biographies and stories to the Welcome Wall. While the ANMM has an actual physical wall with thousands and thousands of names on it, they also have a ‘virtual’ one as well. At present the online one is currently being updated, so it cannot be searched, so be sure to check back later, as I’m sure that function will be back in due course.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography is Australia’s dictionary of biographies, and it contains the biographies of over 12,000 significant and representative persons in Australian history. Th men and women come from all walks of life — from prime ministers, governors-general and premiers, generals and bishops, artists, actors and authors, engineers and schoolteachers, to prostitutes, thieves and murderers — providing a cross-section of Australian society. Originally produced as an 18 volume book set, this important work is now all available online and free.

I can’t have a listing of free Australian genealogy-related websites without listing the Ryerson Index. This is a free index to death notices appearing in Australian newspapers. The date range covered extends from the Sydney Gazette of 1803 up to newspapers published within the last week or so. The Index also includes many funeral notices, and some probate notices and obituaries. Updated monthly this website currently has over 5.7 million entries listed, so be sure to check it out!

Obituaries Australia is a “digital repository of obituaries about Australians, and those who have made an impact on Australian history.” Reproducing obits from the earliest times right through to the present, you can help out by submitting details of obits of your Australian ancestors as long as it fits their criteria (ie. its been published in a newspaper, journal, magazine or bulletin).

I’m sure you’ve all come across places in your search that you’ve never heard of, and wonder where on earth they are. That’s where a good gazetteer comes in. Geoscience Australia has created a website to search for Australian places. Currently the single search option is currently unavailable, but they have provided links to each state so you will just have to search them individually at present. Details can include town, parish, county, mountain, river and more.

This site is nothing to do with Australia Post, or even the Australian military, rather it is a website to place death and funeral notices online for free, not to mention tributes for loved ones who’ve passed too. A recent site, the earliest date i found was 2009 – so it’s not old in the historical sense, but still useful if you’re looking for someone who died relatively recently.

If you have anyone remotely connected with football, or who is a total footy nut – this is one for them as it is totally choc-a-block with history of players, clubs, coaches, teams, stats, on this day in football history, photos, the leagues (state ones and Australia wide) and so much more!!

Created by ‘The Australian’ (newspaper), this is an interactive website which gets you to enter your birthdate (or any other date), and puts it in a timelime with numerous historical events that happened before and after. It does make for interesting viewing seeing it in that context.

“Masters, crew, a stowaway or two; passengers, cabin, saloon and steerage; births at sea, deaths at sea; deserters; vessels with one crew and one passenger and those with 70 crew and hundreds of passengers; simple single sail boats, barques, brigs, large steam ships; whaling voyages, regular coastal passenger trips, voyages from other Australian ports, London, San Francisco, China and other exotic ports – you will find them all here. ” The information on this site has been transcribed from records held at the State Records Authority of NSW, and records are updated weekly.

This website contains and alphabetical index of women who either became nuns in Australia, or who arrived in Australia as nuns. The index consists of approximately 14,000 entries and is the result of contributions from more than fifty Religious Orders or Congregations.

This is a new site, but certainly one to keep an eye on if you have German heritage. “Whether you are tracing your own family for the love of it, studying at school or university, undertaking academic research, or are just interested in German-Australian heritage and history, we hope to bring the combined knowledge and resources of our field together.”This is a collaborative effort between German and Australian archives, genealogy societies, and historical groups. i look forward to seeing more of this as it’s developed.

Women Australia is as you would expect a website all about the women of Australia. And initiative of the National Centre of Biography at the Australian National University, it contains biographical information on women that is published on the NCB’s websites: Australian Dictionary of Biography; Obituaries Australia; Labour Australia as well as biographical register entries. Compiled together on the one website, it makes it quicker and easier to search.

Happy researching 🙂


Discovering Links: 14 FREE Links for New South Wales Genealogy and History

From time to time I have been doing my “Discovering Links” posts. These consist of a collection of links that I have discovered, or found useful, and want to share with others. But rather than simply giving you a whole batch of random links each time, I am grouping them by Australian state, country or topic. You can see my previous Discovering Links posts here.

So New South Wales is the topic for this one. It’s not intended to be an exhaustive collection of links, but simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you may not have known about.

And while many people think that genealogy costs a lot of money, let me tell you that all of the links below are free. Personally I find that it’s often a matter of knowing where to look beyond the big-name websites, and hopefully this will help with that.


New South Wales Free Settler of Felon?
Jen Willett’s site allows users to search the Free Settler or Felon database to find people in the Newcastle and the Hunter Valley area of New South Wales. So fare she has over 170,000 references to Convicts, Settlers, Townsfolk, Bushrangers, Innkeepers, Soldiers and Land Owners, Medical Practitioners and Magistrates. Information about the voyages of approximately 350 convict ships and the Surgeon Superintendents who accompanied them can be accessed via the Convict Ship Index and Convict Ship Surgeon Superintendent Index links

Australian Railway Historical Society: New South Wales
If you have either an interest in trains and railway history, or you have ancestors who worked in there – the Railway Historical Society website is a good place to check out. While they don’t have databases of details online, they list research guides, together with details of the types of records they hold.

logo - Dictionary of SydneyThe Dictionary of Sydney
What’s not to like about this site. This website which started in 2009 is built to be an online encyclopedia of the history of Sydney. Containing articles and essays, entries on people, events, organisations, buildings artefacts and places, together with oral histories, photographs, sounds and moving images. As the website says … ‘it is an encyclopedia unlike any other in the world’.

City of Sydney Assessment Books 1845-1948
The Assessment Books record details of ownership, occupation, construction, and value for buildings in the City of Sydney between 1845 and 1948. They provide valuable information for family and property history which is not available from any other source. When you’re on this site, click on the Ward Maps button, and check out the gorgeous maps they have scanned and put online.

Sands Sydney Directories 1858-1933
The firm of John Sands Ltd (Printers and Stationers) published their directory each year from 1858 through until 1933 (with the exception of 1872, 1874, 1878 and 1881). The Sands Directories were household and business information books – the equivalent of today’s yellow and white pages. They have  become a fundamental source for research into Sydney history, especially family history. This series has been digitised from microfiche.

Glass plate negative: 31205 New South Wales. Police Dept. City of Shadows at the Justice & Police Museum, Sydney, November 2005-January 2007. 1928

Glass plate negative: 31205
New South Wales. Police Dept. 1928
 (Justice & Police Museum, Sydney)

New South Wales Police Forensic Archive
The Justice & Police Museum holds the NSW Police Forensic Archive, which consists of around 130,000 glass and flexible negatives of mugshot photos. This is an incredible collection, and some of these are now online for viewing.

University of Newcastle Flickr Collection
If you love history and Newcastle, you’ll be engrossed in this collection of over 46,000 photographs on the Uni of Newcastle’s Flickr page. There’s over 200 albums of topics, but here’s just a few: Anglican Churches and rectories, Coal mines and coal, Estate posters, Historical photographs of Newcastle, Maitland, Mayfield. Stockton, Toronto, Wallsend, Hotel photos, Newcastle teacher’s college (staff and students), 1871 Census of St John’s Parish Newcastle, Register Book of Christ Church Cathedral from the archives of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle (baptisms 1839-1861, marriages 1839-1855, burials 1839-1854), Royal Newcastle Hospital, University of Newcastle including staff and students … and obviously a whole heap more. Set aside a day or week and get lost looking through these photographs.

On the topic of photographs, the City of Sydney has scanned and uploaded over 75,000 old photos to their website. With a handy search box, this helps you find what you’re after. And they are also asking people if they can help identify people, place sand scenes to help with tagging.

New South Wales Law Almanacs 1886-2008
If you had anyone who was connected to the law (on the good side) in New South Wales, these Law Almanacs could be worth checking out. All scanned and viewable online from 1886, they list judges, lawyers, barristers, sheriffs, and so on. There is a site search engine which searches across the collection.

New South Wales Government Asylums for the Infirm and Destitute 1880-1896
State Records NSW has over 10,000 entries that relate to people who were admitted to Government Asylums in New South Wales in the last two decades of the 19th Century. The index is free to search, though if you are wanting a copy of the record there is a small administrative charge.

Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters
Masters, crew, stowaways, births and deaths at sea – you will find them all here. The lists on this site are being transcribed from the State Records NSW “Reels of the Shipping Master’s Office, Inwards Passengers Lists” with new records from the 1837 to 1925 period added weekly. This site allows you to browse or search by vessel, or name of the passenger or crew.

Death Records in New South Wales
State Records NSW is the primary place to go to NSW Inquests, Deceased Estate Files, Probate Packets (all of which are part of their “Dearh Reords” collection. They have indexes online to the following: Deceased estates 1880-1958, Probate Packets (Wills) 1817-1976 & 1989 includes the last will and testament, Intestate Files of those who died without leaving a will, Coroners Inquests 1796-1963 and Convict deaths 1828-1879.

Assisted (Bounty) Immigrants 1828-1842
This FamilySearch project gives viewers a digitised version of the Assisted (Bounty) Immigration index to search online – all 41,000 images of it!

Sydney Oral Histories
The collection showcases the voices of Sydney people past and present. In these interviews Sydney people talk about their history, their neighbourhoods, their beliefs, their work, their businesses, their relationship with the natural world, and their myriad experiences of daily life in this city. This is history from the people who were there.