Searching Ancestry from home - video transcript

This page is a video transcript of the Search Ancestry from home video on Council's YouTube channel. The video is presented by Genealogical Society of Queensland.

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>> PRESENTER:  Welcome to the Brisbane City Council video on Searching Ancestry from home. This is being presented to you today by the Genealogical Society of Queensland. 

You need to visit the Brisbane City Council Web site of
In the middle you will find a search box, in which you need to type in 'library catalogue', and click on 'library catalogue' again. 

At this particular point, you need to enter your library card number and PIN.

Once you are in your account, on the box, on the right-hand side, down the bottom, you will see access to 

Click on this to go to Ancestry. 

This is the beginning page for Ancestry to start your searches. You can also start by looking at census, vitals, military, immigration, newspapers, new collections, charts and forms, and message boards. 

But for now, we are going to go through the beginning of searching.

This is a simple search in which it just includes the name, birth year and place.

You could choose more options, and that will give you extra details that you may already know to input.

I am going to use a known relative of my own, who I do know came to Australia with his wife and child in the 1880s. And Thomas Pauling disappeared. Isabella and the children returned to Scotland and nobody knows what happened to Thomas. It has been assumed that he went to New South Wales, but also that he possibly may have changed his name. Nobody within the family has been able to locate his death. But you just never know. There are new records coming out all the time. And one day he will turn up. 

On my first search at just putting in his name and date of birth, Ancestry has standard settings of going to all collections. This means it is looking at everything for you in relation to a 'Thomas Pauling' born in 1863. We want to change that to Australia, on which you can just go to the dropdown box and choose 'Australia'.

We also want to narrow down the amount of results as it is far too many to go through. 

I did notice, though, that Thomas's birth details and in regard to his birth and baptism have also appeared here, which is correct. 

So, I wanted to put in some more details that I already knew about Thomas and his time in Australia. 

So, I went to the 'more options' section. This is where I added more details regarding his birth from 1863 and I put in the county of Scotland where he was born. I know he was in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1890. And I know his wife's name was Isabella. 

Still, this ended up with far too many results to go through. 

But with his birth being in Scotland, and me looking for him in Melbourne, Australia, I did get a good mixture here between Australian and Scottish records to look at. 

Now, what I am going to do is show you how to narrow your searches down instead of going through 163,000. We narrow them down by looking at the different categories that are here.

The first category I decided to start with was immigration records. 

So, I clicked on immigration and travel. Still quite a few to go through individually. 

So, you could also narrow it down if you need to. If you knew Thomas was a member of the crew for example, there’s only 72 that could show up for you. 

One of the things that is most important and one of the things I didn't do to show you was that I did not click on 'Thomas' or 'Pauling' to be as exact spellings.

The reason for that is, as we all know, many people have had their name misspelt, transcribed differently over the years, not only just in the transcripts, but perhaps the way they actually pronounced it for the person to actually write it down. 

As you can see here, we do get a variety of spellings, so we have got 'Paulding', we've got 'Pawlings', but it is spelt with a 'w' and not a 'u'. And we have also got a 'Thomas Billington'.
The reason for that is because we have keyed in the name 'Thomas'. 

So, I like to keep my options open in regard to spellings. So, I do not tick the exact surname. 

Couple of pages down, I did find an entry that I thought was quite interesting and I wanted to look at. 

Again, the reason why I did not key in exact names was that this is spelt as 'Thos' for 'Thomas' instead of 'Thomas' as T-H-O-M-A-S.

If I had ticked 'Thomas', I would not have received this particular entry. 

This one was a good one. 1858, similar sort of age grouping. Right timeframe for for me to know that Thomas and his family came to Victoria. So, I wanted to go and have a look. 

On the next page, the entry  actually shows the date that the ship arrived in 1886. It also stopped at Adelaide, Melbourne, and then went on to Sydney, before it would have then returned to London.

Age grouping is a little bit out because my Thomas was born in 1863, but I did know that they came around this timeframe because it was in between the census in Scotland of 1881 and 1891. 

An important aspect is for you always to copy down the source citation and the source information. These are the references that you will need to enter into your genealogical program or for future reference, when you want to return back to find out where you actually got this record from.

The next page made available to me was on Thomas Pauling and his family. Right down the bottom. Mr Thomas Pauling, age 28, Mrs Pauling aged 23 and an infant aged one. 

I then saved this shipping record to my computer at home. 

When you press the save button up here, it will give you that option. 

It's also interesting to note what page on the filmstrip that this did appear. And you will also note there are no details across the top here in relation to the ship’s details.

So, in order to find details about the ship on the date that it actually left, who was the captain, where did it go, how many births were there, were there any deaths on board - you need to go to the first page and the last page of that shipping reference. 

So, from using the filmstrip, this is the page here - 424 - in which my Thomas Pauling and his family appeared. I can move backwards, and I only needed to go to image number 422 to get to the beginning of that shipping record. 

But I needed to go image 435 in order to get the very last page, and last pages are important because, as I said, it can actually show you if there were any births or deaths on board as well. 

Next, I wanted to see if there were any type of government records in relation to land - whether my Thomas Pauling owned any. I found that there was nothing coming up for me in relation to the timeframe I wanted, but I decided in this instance I wanted to have a look and see just what was on a Victorian rate book.

So, as you can see, it is in Victoria, Australia, rate books of 1855 to 1963. So that covers a good timeframe if you are looking for somebody in Victoria, you might be able to find them on a rate book. 

And I was quite amazed at what information could be gained. 

Again, do not forget your source citation and your source information. 

So, I went and had a look. 

Two pages for the one entry, covering from giving the name of the person, their occupation, who the owner was, where the place was of residence, what district it was, and the annual valuable rate, and the date that it was actually paid. 

I zoomed in to show you some of these in detail. 

Again, the Thomas I was looking at ends up on the bottom of the entries, but it tells me he was Thomas Pauling, and his occupation was a carter. And he was also the owner of the property and the property itself was a house and land in Patrick Street.

The second page actually gave me details that it was in the Crowlands Pleasant Creek District and the yearly rateable value was £8. 

When I look at the others, and how much they were paying per year, £8 was not a great sum. So, it was either poor land or a very small block. 

But Thomas had actually paid his values and paid that £8 on the 26 September in 1870. 

Next, I decided to see if there were any military records.

This showed only that there was 31 in relation to any Thomas Pauling. 

Unfortunately, these dates were not the correct dates that I was looking for, but it was interesting to see just how many do appear into this category. 

Again, you can narrow it down to either a casualty, pension records, awards and decorations. 

Next, I noticed that there was a Thomas Pauling, but he had a middle name recorded on the indexes as 'West Brunswick'. 

So, I decided to have a look at this as well, just to see - was it correct as his name?

You just never know. Because people often called their children by the names of the ships that they came over on. 

Or was it an error in the OCR Software on doing the digitization. Often it is just the OCR software and these things can be corrected as well, by sending in details to Ancestry. 

When looking at this record, it was the trade directory in Melbourne of 1892. And it was under the hotel section. As you can see, there were several hotels starting with 'Union'.

So, there was the Union Club here. Another union, the United Kingdom United Services Club, another United Services Club. These are all the proprietors of those hotels. Here is Thomas living at West Brunswick. And West and Brunswick Road West. 

So, the entry has been recorded incorrectly, and I could send those details through to Ancestry later on for them to correct it. 

It was also interesting seeing just how many house cleaners that there actually were advertised in 1892.

Next, I wanted to see if Thomas appeared on any other census records or voting records after 1891. 

Now, because we do not know where Thomas ended up - it could have been New South Wales, he could have gone back to Scotland, could have gone to the US, he could have even gone to Ireland. 

There is one here from the Irish Census of 1911, and the date of birth for this Thomas was near enough to my 1863.

So, I have decided to have a look at Thomas being in Dublin. Any particular lead needed to be followed up and then you can eliminate that record. 

When looking at the transcription on Ancestry, I noted that Thomas and Henrietta's children often had names that were familiar in my own Pauling family. So we've got Thomas, got Ellens and Janes, Elizabeths, and Robert is a very prominent name in the Pauling family. Not so much Albert, but Isabella and Mary. 

And this record would take me directly to the National Archives of Ireland to view that record itself.

But before I went there, it was also interesting to note, some of the suggested records on the side. These records come up in relation to Thomas and his date of birth, where he might have been, and sometimes you can find your Thomas within these records as well. A nice, easy way of finding more details. For example, he could have been in a Chelsea Pensioner. He may have even died in England, or did he go to Canada?

With going to the link on the National Archives of Ireland, I was then able to see that this Thomas was aged 45. He was the Head of the family. He was a member of the Church of Ireland, which is actually a mixture of Catholic and Protestant. His birthplace was England. So, it is definitely not my Thomas, because mine needs to be born in Scotland. Gives me his occupation as being a Superintendent in the Civil Service. He could read and write and so could the rest of the family.

And his wife has recorded that they had been married for 17 years. They had seven children and all seven children were still living. 

Next, I looked at the family trees. These are good. And so that you could see if anyone else on Ancestry is also researching details about your Thomas and what information did they have, and could we make contact and share that information? In this particular case, I did find three Thomas Paulings that fitted my own family's details.

One was in a private tree and you can always get in contact with them to ask as well and two were in public trees giving details. So I could have a look at right now. 

One of the trees that I looked at, that was a public tree, showed the details that I had as well in relation to Thomas. And no details of his death. So, they didn't know where he died either. If you have a subscription to Ancestry, you can then send them a message to say that you were actually researching Thomas and his family.

If you don't have a subscription, you are unable to message via the library details and library acquisition to be able to send a message to these persons. But you might know somebody else that can do it on your behalf. 

Now, that was the end of teaching you how to do the search.

Coming back to the beginning again, showing you across the top, gives you more facilities in relation to doing searches. 

So, first of all, is the newspapers.

I love newspapers. They are fantastic and they are full of information - vital bits of information, which could be births, marriages and deaths. Could be accidents, bankruptcies or could even be running for parliament. Details about funerals and memorandum, you name it. It's amazing what you can find in a newspaper when you key in a person's name. 

Next, I went to look at the new collections. I do this myself each month as it gives me an idea on what else has actually been added, because sometimes you just forget when you see those emails that come through to remind you of what has come out. It can often go to the back of your mind. 

So, I often look at these and as you can see, they run down in date order and the very first one at the top here was just recently uploaded to Ancestry on the 16 April 2020. Now, this part here is details regarding the full catalogue. So, you can narrow it down to particular countries like either Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Europe. I narrowed it down to Australia to have a look at.
And we can see here, the very first one that is brand new was in Victoria of Australia and it was the Battle to Farm from 1919 to 1935. Never know what might be in that one. 

You can also search the message boards. These are very interesting, and you can find topics and queries on just about anything that you can think of. I keyed in Queensland just to find out what was coming up just for the state. 

It has then been broken down into the various regions.

But further down on the page, I could also go into things like land, gold, coal, schools, anything that you can think of. People have posted a message that they want help on it, and somebody has been able to answer them. I've read through quite a lot of these and often found that somebody else has had the same sort of query as myself and that has been able to help me with my own research when I've read the answers. 

Next, Ancestry has made available a number of the standard charts and forms for you to download and use. These are very, very handy. You have got the ancestral charts, research calendar, research extract, and one of the important ones is the correspondence record. 

How many times have we written down and said, ah, I sent an email to so-and-so about such and such? Now forgotten what date it was. What was their reply? Did I get a reply back? 

Keep a correspondence record of who you get in touch with. And you will find it comes quite handy.

And one of the best charts that they have up there is the Family Group Sheet. If you are just starting your family history, this is what you will need to get started with and set out your families correctly.

So you would key in all details that you know of regarding the husband, the wife and the children. And you can continue to fill those details in as you go. Then you can file them into a ring binder folder.

And that's the end of this video. 

I would like to thank you on behalf of the Brisbane City Council and also allowing the Genealogical Society of Queensland to present this to you. Thank you.

Last updated: 8 June 2020
Topics: library