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Researching your family history

Curious about your family history? We can help! Start your research using your library membership to access a large collection of resources to help you, including passenger and immigration records. 

Get started researching your family history by attending one of the regular sessions Bayside Libraries run to help you explore your family history, including using library resources like Ancestry and Find My Past as well as specific author talks. 

View current Family History events at the Library

If you are just beginning to research your family history, start by downloading a Family History Chart template from Ancestry. 

When researching your own family tree, start with your father’s side of the family, if possible. Depending on your family’s culture, it can often be easier to trace your ancestors this way because of two related factors:

  • Women often take their husband’s surname when they marry;
  • Children often inherit their father’s surname.

Download a family history chart

The Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV), maintains passenger records that contains records of passengers arriving or departing Victoria, mostly as ship passenger lists. 

Explore PROV Shipping Records

Discover your family history and start your family tree. Access billions of genealogy records including Census, BDM & Military records.

Explore Ancestry (in Library Access only)



Find My Past is a family history and genealogy resource covering Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Explore Find My Past



Brighton Library holds microfiche copies of Sands & McDougall Directories. You can also access them online via the State Library of Victoria.

Explore Sands & McDougall Directories

Search for birth, death and marriage certificates from the State of Victoria.

Explore Births, Deaths and Marriages

Public Record Office Victoria holds an extraordinary array of records created by the Victorian Government from the mid-1830s to now.

Explore Public Records Office Collections

The Australian Cemeteries Index is a website with records from over 6,000 Australian cemeteries.

Explore the Australian Cemeteries Index

The Ryerson Index is a free index to death notices appearing in Australian newspapers. The date range covered extends from the Sydney Gazette of 1803 up to newspapers published within the last week or so. The Index also includes many funeral notices, and some probate notices and obituaries.

Explore The Ryerson Index

Chinese Australian family history research can be difficult and has its own unique challenges. This guide aims to identify those difficulties and provides you with the background information and knowledge necessary to begin your research.

Access Guides for Researching Chinese-Australian Family History

Make use of one of the library slide and negative film strip converters to preserve and store your family photos.

Digital Preservation tools at the Library

View my active saved list