Posted by Ancestry Australia and New Zealand on December 16, 2011 in Australia

We released new research this week that reveals that New Zealand trumps Australia in the celebrity stakes, as 16 per cent of Kiwis are able to lay claim to someone famous. However, Aussies should not fear as we are twice as likely as New Zealanders to be related to ‘convict royalty’, with almost one in five (17 per cent) of Australians having a link to a convicted criminal or convict.

2,000 Australian and New Zealand residents were surveyed, the results highlighting that the family trait of keeping skeletons in the closet is universal. In both Australia and New Zealand, almost 12 per cent of people said family members refused to discuss family secrets or rumours. Fortunately, it would appear that you don’t have to shake the family tree too hard to uncover your own family secret as almost one third (33 per cent) of respondents in both countries have discovered one by chance.

But not all are so easily revealed – more than half of Australians (55 per cent) currently exploring their family history are seeking to shed light on a family secret. 35 per cent also said that confronting a family secret resulted in them getting in touch with relatives they didn’t know previously, and that it also brought their family closer together.

Australia is a nation driven by a curiosity about our past, with 62 per cent of those surveyed exploring their family history in order to find out where their ancestors came from. Three quarters (75 per cent) think knowing their family history is important, although 72 per cent are yet to explore their roots. 43 per cent said that they want to know about their family history in order to share it with their children.

Given the time of year, it is the perfect opportunity for Australians to sit down with their relatives and start to explore their family history.

 Brad Argent, content director,, comments: “One of the most common regrets I hear from people is that they didn’t ask questions about their family, and particularly the older members, when they had the chance.

“Every family has an interesting story to tell, and this research certainly proves that we Australians are curious about our past – even if we have yet to explore it. Where we came from and how we got here are just such fundamental questions for us all and Christmas is the perfect time to start discussing them with your family.”

 To begin searching your family history, visit


  1. Sheryl Sutherland

    What is wrong with the Australian Site? I have been trying since 10.30am edst to no avail. Anyone else having the same problems? I have lost a days research..!!!! Not happy Jan..!!!!1

  2. Wayne Wilson

    Are you kidding?

    We have just tried to find records to create a family tree for my partner.

    We have used known, exact records for her mother and grandfather. We even tried her own, off her birth certificate. Her grandfather, Gordon Parsons, born in Paddington, Sydney (Aust) in 1926, was one of Australia’s most prominent country artists, penning the song ‘The Pub With No Beer’, yes, the one Slim Dusty sang!

    To prove that our eyes weren’t failing us I used your system to track my details from my birth certificate, using known, exact records. Apparently, I do not exist either!

    Are you kidding? I would love to know what records you are keeping!

    Very, very disappointed. Extremely underwhelming indeed. My niece has tracked our family records to medieval England using another service which I am linked to, I’ll try that I think. That services’ monthly and annual charges are less than yours as well.

    Finally, I can assure you that the records we used for Gordon Parsons are correct. If you are in doubt, I suggest you contact the Tamworth Country Music Hall of Fame, Hedley Records, and The Wax Museum in Tamworth where you will find indelible records of his existence.

    Wayne Wilson and Shanie Cahill.

  3. John Cooper

    I am a member. I have been trying to search the English census. Everytime I try to log on I am put to the Australian records. I have little interest in these records at the moment. Can you please help.
    I particularly want to find my father in laws date and place of birth

    thank you for your time

    John Cooper

  4. Ancestry Australia and New Zealand

    Hi Sheryl. Sorry to hear you had problems with the site. If this happens again, you can call our Member Services team on 1800 251 838 (from AU) or 0800 442 100 (from NZ) and they can help.

  5. Ancestry Australia and New Zealand

    Hi Wayne. The reason you did not find Gordon Parsons birth record is beacuase our Australian Birth index includes records from 1788-1922 so a birth from 1926 would not be included. You could try searching for a marriage (1788-1950) or death record (1787-1985) if applicable.

  6. Ancestry Australia and New Zealand

    Hi John. When you are in the Search box, make sure you have unticked the box “Only records from Australia” which will bring up records from beyond Australia. You can also click on Advanced Search and choose the UK as the Collection Priority. Hope this helps.

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