Using Cyndi’s List for Australian Genealogy

April 13th, 2010

This is another instalment of the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy challenge.

Challenge 13 was to explore Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet and discover some new websites of use to my research. I have used Cyndi’s List for years and always go there when I am not sure what might be available for a place. I will confess that I rarely use it for Australia instead relying on my own existing knowledge or going to Cora Num’s Websites for Genealogists: An Australian gateway site for tracing your family history. So I was especially interested to see what I would learn in this challenge.

Australia

There are 1203 links for Australia with 21 categories. I will report my findings under each category as follows:

General Resource Sites

A wide ranging list of sites including the Australian Family History Compendium for each of the States and Directories with genealogy addresses and links, and some useful starting out sites. Definitely a category to spend some hours looking into what is available.

Directories

Links to telephone directories, trade directories in Ancestry.com.au and the Western Australian Post Office Directories which are freely available online.

Government & Cities

Only five links listed including the Australian Government website and a useful Court Web Sites.

History & Culture

This is an interesting category and has a wide ranging list of sites which includes sites relating to convicts, ANZACs, mining and of course Ned Kelly.

How To

A small category with four links to a diverse group of resources which is illustrated by The FamilySearch Research Outline for Australia which is very detailed to the very specific guide to Research Tips for Queensland by Judy Webster.

Libraries, Archives & Museums

Far too large to give details on but includes state and national libraries and archives, university archives, churches, historical societies, museums etc.

Locality Specific

Not a lot of links in this category but interesting if you do have ancestors from some of these localities.

Mailing Lists, Newsgroups & Chat

This category is simply huge and I am only going to recommend that everyone browse the list and select their own mailing list etc to join.

Maps, Gazetteers & Geographical Information

Researchers could spend a bit of time exploring some of the links in this category. I particularly like the Australian Towns Index, the History of Places in Australia and the Place Names Search within Geoscience Australia. Those three sites alone could occupy me for hours!

Military

There are lots of interesting and surprising links in this category and definitely worth a look. The sub-section on the Boer War was of particular interest to me but note that not all of the Boer War links were listed in the one area. You do need to browse the whole list in this category. I was also interested in all the links on the ANZACs.

While not a direct interest, I found the link to the Victorian Nurses in the Boer War site had some interesting photographs and was informative on a topic that is not often covered.

Newspapers

This category includes a range of links to various sites with transcripts, indexes or digitised copies of newspapers. Worth a browse but  I usually just go straight to the National Library of Australia’s wonderful Historic Newspapers 1803-1954 site.

Occupations

Only two links here with the first to Occupations in Australia which is Cora Num’s excellent site for all types of occupations in Australia.

The second link is to the Australian Society of Genealogists guide to The Basics on Occupations in Australia and Britain and includes a useful Bibliography.

People & Families

Only twelve links in this category but quite a wide variety from Aussie Schoolmates to Australia’s Red Coat Settlers to the History of Australian Theatre online to Women’s History. Also links to Cora Num’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, the Welsh in Patagonia/Australia and Australia & Jewish Genealogy.

Professional Researchers, Volunteers & Other Research Services

Long list of individuals and business/companies offering research and other services as well as volunteers and look up exchanges.

Publications, Software & Supplies

This is mostly a list of links to genealogy publishers, online genealogy bookshops or individual publications.

Queries, Message Boards & Surname Lists

This section has links to various message boards, forums and surname lists. One that I was not aware of is the Australian Family Tree Connections (AFTC) Surnames index which dates back to 1998 and includes over 40,000 names.

Records: Census, Cemeteries, Land, Obituaries, Personal, Taxes and Vital

There are lots of links here under Cemeteries, Census, Miscellaneous, Obituaries and Vital Records (BDMs). One example of useful links is What You Can Expect to See on an Australian Historical BDM Certificate which is on Graham Jaunay’s Adelaide Proformat website. Another useful example is the List of Institutions/Homes in Australia by Jenny Fawcett’s Genseek Genealogy.

Religion & Churches

Only two links in this category which was surprising. The first is Australasia Church Albums which aims to provide images of churches in Australia and New Zealand, past and present, and with a description or history of each. It was interesting browsing the individual states and seeing what places were already captured. Definitely worth a look.

The second is the Presbyterian Church of Australia which links to their national website with further links to state websites and other resources.

Ships: Convict Lists, Passenger Lists, Etc.

This is another long list of links that will be of interest to most researchers. It really is surprising how much is available on websites that you might not necessarily be aware of or find with a Google or other search. There are numerous links to individual ships and voyages and online indexes such as those at State Records NSW are also included.

Societies & Groups

This listed in alphabetical order a wide range of historical societies, family history and genealogy societies, and other specialist groups for the whole of Australia. An example of a group that researchers might not look for is The Australian Light Horse Association whose aim is to preserve the history and tradition of the Australian Light Horse and its predecessors. There is lots of information on this site for anyone with ancestors who were in the Australian Light Horse.

While I was aware of the Cornish Association of Victoria and the Cornish Association of Bendigo and District, I was not aware that there is also a  Cornish Association in New South Wales. I was a bit surprised that there wasn’t a South Australian one listed. There is lots of information on these sites for anyone with Cornish ancestors.

There are dozens and dozens of societies & groups listed so I encourage everyone to scroll through the list and I think you will find at least one, if not many more, that will be of interest.

World GenWeb

This took me to the World GenWeb Project, then Pacific GenWeb, then all the Australian States and Territories including Norfolk Island, and the Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia GenWebs.  As anyone who has used GenWebs before, they take you to lots of other links.

Clicking on the Victorian GenWeb I was interested to see a Victorian Marriage Witness Index which could be quite useful. Details include bride, groom, witness, date, place and name, and link to, the person submitting the information. I should also add my Victorian marriage certificate details to it. The VicGen Lookup Exchange was a list of volunteers and the resources they are willing to look up for other researchers.

Lots of other links for Victoria and as I have research in every state I could spend a lot of time exploring this one category.

Conclusion

As all of the examples under the 21 categories show, there are lots of resources that I was previously not aware of and wouldn’t necessarily try and find via Google or other search engines. There were a few broken links in the sites I selected to explore, but I managed to find some sites by simply searching for them, while others may not exist now.  Trying to maintain the links must be an enormous task for Cyndi, made harder by people not keeping her informed of changes to their sites.

Exploring Cyndi’s list for all Australian links, while time consuming, could also be a very worthwhile exercise. Let me know if you have any success!


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