Council Library Talks 

Throughout the year, GSQ provides talks on a variety of topics for the Brisbane City Council. These are offered at libraries across the Council area. These presentations are free but you need to book at the library. The Council pays GSQ a fee for presentations so tell your friends about them as Council monitors the popularity of the presentations and decides how many will be offered. Talks are free but booking is essential. Please phone and book your place and check the council library website for further information.

Confirmed topics and locations 2024:

Dating old photos and caring for them
Bracken Ridge Library, Saturday June 22 2024, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Bookings: (07) 3667 6060

Introduction to Family History
Wynnum Library, Thursday June 27 2024, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon
Bookings: (07) 3403 2199

How did they get here? Immigration in Australia from 1788 onwards
Toowong Library, Saturday July 27 2024, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon
Bookings: 3403 2590

Digitising your family photographs, birth certificates, marriage certificates etc
Ashgrove Library, Saturday August 24 2024, 9:30 am to 11:30 am
Bookings: 3407 1940

Queensland Family History online
Annerley Library, Saturday September 14 2024, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon
Bookings: 3403 1735







Topics for 2024

Beginners guide to DNA for genealogy - One Hour

There is a lot of advertising for DNA testing, but did you know that it is for more than finding your ethnicity. With matching with others who share DNA with you, you can find more cousins who may be able to help with your family tree.


DNA for genealogy step 2

Leaving ethnicity aside, let’s look at how you can use DNA to find other family members who may help you build your family tree. This will look at DNA tests with Family Tree DNA, MyHeritage and


Did you discover your ancestors spent time in a workhouse? What was life like for them and why did they end up there?

Times were hard for poorer people and some were forced to live in a workhouse. Learn what life was like in a workhouse what they were expected to do and what opportunities, if any, were available to get out.


Family History in action   What do we know about the first mayor of the Brisbane Municipal Council 1859-1862, John Petrie and his family? How do we start researching?

Using him as an example, learn how to start researching- where to find records of shipping, births, deaths and marriages, occupations, possible land records, books and newspaper articles.


Introduction to family history

Don’t know where to start? Come along to see what you need to do to get your family history on track. Listen to a Specialist from the Genealogical Society of Queensland Inc


Using Newspapers for family history

Serving as daily (or weekly) diaries of local communities and their inhabitants, newspapers are excellent sources of family history. As such, they provide a wonderful, often untapped, resource for family historians, providing accounts of events not recorded elsewhere. The determined family history researcher can use newspapers to not only find the expected birth announcements and obituaries, but also announcements of anniversaries, legal notices, letters to the editor, and social columns filled with local news of a more personal nature. Whether daily or monthly, urban or rural, newspapers can open a new window into the lives of your ancestors.

Learn where to look, how to search and discover unknown gems about your family.


Enhancing your family tree with Google

Learn how to make the most of all the features offered by Google. Learn how to reduce the number of hits you receive so you can find the information you require. Find interesting facts about your ancestors. Learn searching techniques from an experienced researcher from the Genealogy Society of Queensland Inc.



Learn how to search the genealogical records and use family history tools available on, the world’s largest online family history resource  Ancestry is available in Council Libraries. Presented by the Genealogical Society of Queensland Inc.


The largest free family history site

Come to learn about the myriad of records, especially early records from the UK before 1837, in - a large free family history site with records from many corners of the world as well.  Presented by an experienced researcher from the Genealogical Society of Queensland Inc.


Choosing a family tree program

Are you ready to build your family tree but can't work out which program to use? See examples of what various available free and paid programs you can use. Presented by an experienced researcher from the Genealogical Society of Queensland Inc.


Exploring Find my Past Worldwide

Learn how to search for Australian, Irish, UK and US records on Findmypast that is available in the library. Presented by an experienced researcher from the Genealogical Society of Queensland Inc.


Queensland family history online

The development and spread of the internet has provided wonderful sites through which to research your family history.  This presentation will highlight some of the sites that are available to those with family in Queensland.


How did they get here? Immigration in Australia from 1788

Migrating to a new country was one of the most dramatic life changes anyone undertook and it certainly affected the lives of their descendants. Investigating their journey is a key part of your family history research.
However immigration records in Australia are not all held in one place – when, where and how they arrived affect where (and whether) records of their arrival can be found. Understanding categories of arrivals and the immigration schemes in place as well as the general principles of where documents are held, will give you confidence that you have looked in all the right places.


Irish Immigration – why they left Ireland and where they went

Find out why people left Ireland, particularly before the Famine. Where did they go, and why? What did they expect to find when they arrived in their new country? Explore immigration records and find what they contain to help you with your family history.


Finding your Irish Ancestor

Whether your ancestor hailed from the Antrim Glens or Dingle Bay, this short talk identifies the main sources that can be used to explore family history in Ireland, and gives several suggested steps that have the potential to lead you in the right direction. Presented by an experienced researcher from the Genealogical Society of Qld Inc.


Dating old photos and caring for them

Do you have shoeboxes full of old photos but no idea who the people are in them?  Find out what clues are in these images to help you identify them. Learn how to care for these family treasures - the correct storage, digitisation, handling, repair.


Families at War

Do you have a family ancestor who served as a soldier, sailor, nurse, or some other position in the defence forces in the First World War? Do you have an old family war diary or set of letters in the proverbial attic?
Families at War introduces you to researching online military records, and most importantly to contextualising diverse experiences of war, from those who went to the front to those who stayed behind. The focus is on Australia and Britain during the First World War; however, these skills may be used for all conflicts.
Discover more about your family's military past. Learn about putting your soldiers into the wider context of the military unit they served with by using unit diaries to follow them into their war.


Finding female convict voices: exploring their lives

Female convicts were predominantly young, single women who had been domestic servants and/or who had come from a semi-skilled background - such as an apprenticeship. Most female convicts were first-time offenders sentenced to transportation for minor theft. Among the thousands of women who stood in British courtrooms to hear
themselves sentenced to transportation ‘beyond the seas’, many were mothers. This personal information came from questioning the convict herself.
We will examine what sources are available, and how reliable is their information? The most systematic collection of relevant data comes from the ships’ indents, documents transferred on arrival from the surgeon superintendent to the colonial authorities. Indents included information about the prisoner’s crime, trial, and sentence, and from about 1828 included personal information about literacy, religion, marital status, number of children.
The emphasis on “voices” acknowledges the fragile, ephemeral nature of this knowledge and serves as a reminder of prisoners’ limited literacy, which, in most cases, prevented them from leaving a written record for posterity with their own pen.


Exploring Convict Ancestors

Convict, prison, and court records can provide rich, if sometimes disturbing evidence, of the lives led by past ancestors. Presented by an experienced researcher from the Genealogical Society of Queensland Inc it will draw upon the expertise of leading historians of crime, the law and convict transportation to help you navigate and piece together stories from the vast records of our criminal justice system.
It will include information on how to read and interpret convict records as well as a host of tips for making sense of trial records and information gleaned from other judicial and penal series. This talk is a must for anyone interested in the nation’s convict past.


How our ancestors earned their daily bread: exploring their occupations

What did our ancestors do to earn a living? You may have discovered a particular occupation listed on a certificate or other record – but what did this actually mean. Many specialised occupations of the 18th and 19th centuries often linked to a specific industry were made redundant through mechanisation and industrialisation and now no longer exist. Changes continue to this day as technological advances impact on the way that things are done. This presentation will highlight a range of resources for exploring our ancestors’ occupations and how you can discover the kind of work your ancestors may have undertaken.


Researching your family history in the UK

Explore online resources for researching your family history in the UK and discover the huge range of resources that are not online. Presented by an experienced researcher from the Genealogical Society of Queensland Inc


Finding Grandma

Researching your family's female line can be more challenging than tracing your male line; they are not always represented in government, business or other spheres. This presentation will share strategies to discover who they were and the vital role they played and continue to play in society.


Getting the best results using ScotlandsPeople

ScotlandsPeople is the repository for obtaining copies of Scotland’s Birth, Death, and Marriage certificates, plus also the Old Parochial Registers of Baptisms, Banns for Marriages and Burials before civil registration of 1855. Presentation covers details about the website, costs, how to search the records available, spelling and name variations, how to access and use the maps, census, valuation rolls, legal records, military records and using ScotlandsPlaces and the National Library of Scotland in conjunction with your search and results.
Also, information on what is also available to use via FamilySearch and Guides for the area of research that need to be checked so that you know what is available and then used to find the correct information on ScotlandsPeople.


Researching Scottish Records on the Internet

Covers the 33 counties of pre 1975 and goes through each one pointing out the places  where and how to obtain genealogical information only found in that county.
These are websites that are not on any of the subscription sites like Ancestry, FindmyPast or even FamilySearch etc even though those sites have lots and lots of records that you can use.
Note: Ancestry, FindmyPast, Familysearch and other common subscription sites are NOT covered in this talk.
Advantages of belonging to a Family History Centre even for just a year to ask for searches, obtain newsletters and contact others researching your family names in the same area. Many of these are at a very small cost to belong to.
Information that can be obtained from some of the sites include – photographs of headstones; photos of the churches and places; indexes relating to cemeteries, BDM’s, Probates; Workhouses; Farm records; publications that the societies have produced and are available to buy or may be in your local library or family history centre.
Full handout is available to cover all the sites talked about.


Uncovering the hidden gems in the Scottish Kirk Sessions

We all have gaps in our Scottish research in relation to Births, Marriages and Deaths in the pre-1855 civil registration time. You have looked and hunted through the Old Parish Registers without any luck, finding gaps of years or even just months and of course always in the spot you want.
The Kirk Sessions registers became available online in 2021 on both Scotlandspeople as well as FamilySearch. They are Not Indexed, but not that difficult to try and locate a record for around the time you are researching. There are still many that are missing just like the OPR’s but many have survived and are a must use for your Scottish research.
This presentation will explain to you exactly what and how to find records that you may never have dreamt of finding details about your ancestor in.


Contact:  Judy Lofthouse