Trace your family history

Delve deeper into your family's past

With the rise in popularity of at-home DNA kits, more people are looking into their family history. It is even the subject of TV shows, including Who Do You Think You Are? where celebrities discover secrets and surprises about their heritage.

Genealogy is a curiosity for most, a hobby for many and an obsession for others. Some enjoy the pleasure of the hunt for ancestors while others enjoy connecting to future generations through passing on traditions and stories. 

Family Search - What is an Ancestor?

Did you know that you can view Library Edition from a computer at your local library or from home with your free State Library of Queensland (SLQ) membership? Not a SLQ member? Join online to get instant access.

Here are eight top tips to get you started with exploring your family tree:

  • Gather what you already know about your family – collect your family records, old photos, letters, diaries and newspaper clippings.
  • Talk to your relatives – ask your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles about their memories. Get stories about their life growing up and the ancestors they remember.
  • Start your family tree chart. Download a form and fill in all of the information you have already collected.
  • Focus your search – fill in gaps from the most recent generation and work backwards.
  • Search the internet – has the largest collection of free genealogical records. subscribers can search the site’s billions of records (view Library edition with your SLQ membership).
  • Explore specific websites – locate websites specific to your ethnic heritage using Family Tree Magazine.
  • Contact your local family history centre.
  • Organise your information – enter your findings into family tree software or on paper charts (always note your sources).


Reserve these family history books and collect from your local library:


Browse these genealogical eMagazines:

  • Family Tree
  • The Essential Guide to Family History
  • Who Do You Think You Are?
  • Your Family Tree Presents: Discover your ancestor's occupation
  • Your Family Tree Presents: Get Started in Family History

To get started using free eMagazines, download the RBDigital app, select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your member number and password.


Stream these family history documentaries on Kanopy:

First time Kanopy customer? Select Add Library Card and enter your member number and password. Create a Kanopy account, then verify your email address.


Listen on the go with these podcasts:

  • Extreme Genes delivers weekly podcasts that highlight the emotional and sometimes literal journey each genealogist takes to find his or her family.
  • Family Tree Magazine Podcast features interviews with genealogy experts and Family Tree editors. It discusses how to use genealogy websites, records and resources, and provides sneak peeks at the latest tools available from Family Tree.
  • Genealogy Gems Podcast helps you make the most of your family history research time by providing quick and easy-to-use research techniques. 

Search for these free podcast titles and more via your preferred podcast provider.

More resources

  • Visit Sunshine Coast Libraries Family History page to search the entire genealogical collection and check out the links to great websites.
  • Trove by National Library of Australia offers an extensive range of searchable historic newspapers.
  • Interested in at-home DNA testing to start your journey into family history? PCMag has tested and reviewed five popular DNA services.
  • View the largest not-for-profit genealogical database with Family Search. Create a free account and build your own family tree.
  • Join the Genealogy Sunshine Coast or Caloundra Family History Facebook groups.

Episode of Who Do You Think You Are? (Jack Thompson)

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