FAQs about family history

I have heard the terms Genealogy and Family History. What is the difference?

Genealogy is just collecting names dates and places of your direct ancestors. Who were they, when and where were they born, married and died; that is identifying your pedigree. It can be likened to just showing the bare branches of your family tree.
Family history fills in the detail and helps you understand your ancestors and the lives they led; and the locations and times in which they lived. It helps put your family's history into context and may be likened to putting the leaves on the family tree.

Can I get GSQ to do my family history research for me?

We encourage people to do their own research as this adds real interest to your family history experience. However, GSQ does offer a limited research service. Non-Brisbane based members are entitled to 2 free hours research of the Society's resources per year. For non-members, GSQ charges an hourly rate for searching our resources. Select Research Services to find out more.

I have heard that I can do my family history research by accessing internet sites from home?

While the internet has provided access to a lot of family history information and documents, it cannot replace the accumulated experience of our volunteers, who can help newcomers to avoid the pitfalls, guide you to the records you need, and put you in touch with others with similar interests. You should use the internet with caution; not everything is on the internet or may not be accurate.

I'd like to learn more about genealogy and family history. How should I go about this?

Join a family history society, become involved with relevant special interest groups, volunteer to help as a library assistant or indexer. You'll make new friends, learn a lot and improve your research capabilities.

Does GSQ offer a suitable course to help me get started on family history?

GSQ offers an Introductory course, which can help you get started in a positive way. We conduct 'Saturday Events' each month, with guest speakers giving presentations on specific topics. We have Wednesday night Zoom sessions with research assistance and guest speakers. We also conduct a major seminar each year, and sometimes mini seminar's as well. See our Events page for more information.

Should I subscribe to pay-for-view genealogy sites?

This is an individual choice, but the Society has full subscriptions to Ancestry, FindmyPast, the British Newspaper Archive, The Genealogist, MyHeritage, RootsIreland and Irish Ancestors. You can also access other free-to-view sites using the Society's internet access.

I have Scottish research. Does the Society have the Scottish civil registration indexes?

No, but Scotland’s People offer a pay-for-view website where you can purchase copies of civil registration records, census records, parish records, kirk sessions and more by using credits. We also have a Great Scottish Group that can assist you in learning more about Scotland and the records available.

I’m having trouble with my Scandinavian research. Can you help me?

Yes, we have the country’s top Scandinavian researcher who coordinates our Scandinavian Interest Group, the only such group in Australia.

Why can’t I find the birth of my ancestor? I’ve looked in the obvious places without success?

Was he/she illegitimate?  Have you looked under their Mother's maiden name? Have you checked interstate indexes? Expand your search by a few years, maybe they were older or younger than you thought. Think also of different spellings the name may be recorded under. Often documents were written down as they were said or heard.

I want to find the births of my parent’s siblings, but the Queensland birth indexes on the internet stop at 1922? Why is this?

All Australian Registrar General’s Offices’ have a privacy restrictions policy therefore depending on the state, the indexes have a closure period which is usually 100 years for births.

I found the birth/death/marriage of my ancestor on the Queensland Registrar General’s website, what information does the index give without purchasing the certificate?

Birth: Registered name; date of birth; Mother's name; Father's name; Registration details - if event has a C eg. 1898/C/9689 it refers to a country registration. If a B it refers to Brisbane registration.

Death: Registered name; date of death; year of birth; Mother - if applicable; Father/parent; Registration details - refer to Birth information above.

Marriage: Registered name; date of marriage; name of spouse; and Registration details - refer to Birth information above.

What is the latest year available for the civil registration indexes in Queensland?

The births are available up to 1922, the marriages to 1947 and the deaths to 1992.  These  indexes can be accessed at the GSQ's resource centre or online at the Queensland Government Family History Research.

I’ve heard of Cyndis List. What is it?

It is a categorised and cross-referenced index to genealogical resources on the Internet with a list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online.