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 may 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 several times a year, which can help you get started in a positive way. We also conduct 'Saturday Sessions' each month, with guest speakers giving presentations on specific topics. 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.com, FindmyPast.com.au, and findmypast.com.au, the British Newspaper Archive and The Genealogist. 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 you can purchase Scotland’s People vouchers through the Society’s Scottish Interest Group which will provide credits to access the official pay-for-view website where you can purchase copies of civil registration records, census records, and parish records.

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 mum’s maiden name? Have you checked interstate indexes? Expand your search by a few years, maybe they were older or younger than you thought.

I want to find the births of my parent’s siblings, but the Queensland birth indexes on the internet stop at 1916? 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. The fiche format of these indexes goes up to 1919. GSQ holds these indexes in microfiche.

I found the birth of my ancestor on the Queensland Registrar General’s website, but it doesn’t give a date. Can I find this out without purchasing the certificate?

Yes you can. On the QLD BDM site, once you have the year, you can keep putting in the day and searching by day until you reach the correct date. Time consuming but it can be done. The indexes are also available on microfiche or CD and provide the full date of the event. You can also find the exact date on Ancestry. This also applies to death and marriage registrations in this format.

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

The births are available up to 1919, the marriages to 1939 and the deaths to 1964. This applies to fiche and/or CD formats. The online indexes differ for births to1916, marriages to 1941 and deaths to 1986. These later 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.