Records, Family History Month and the Grant Program!
Welcome to the July 2023 ‘Ancestry Community Update’ blog post for Australia and New Zealand.
For anyone I am yet to meet, my name is Jason Reeve and I’m the Head of Content & Community for Ancestry in Australia and New Zealand. You’ll likely end up meeting me at a family history expo or through a genealogical society.
In the last few months, both Australia and New Zealand have witnessed significant historical milestones. Let me share just a few with you here;
1. Commemorating ANZAC Day
April 25th marked the annual commemoration of ANZAC Day, a day that honours the contributions and sacrifices of Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women. This year, we observed the 108th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli during World War I, a pivotal event in our shared history. Discover our WW1 Service Files here (AU | NZ).
2. Referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
As part of the Australian Government’s commitment to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart, a referendum will be held between October and December 2023 to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Read more here.
3. Centenary of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF)
March 31st marked the centenary of the RNZAF, commemorating 100 years of service and dedication in the realm of aviation and defence. This milestone serves as a reminder of the RNZAF’s contributions to New Zealand’s history and its ongoing commitment to national security.
As historians, we all know that there’s never a dull moment, nor a shortage of rocks to overturn in the search for new stories and information. I do hope that you’re having great success with your family history journey and equally, that the information prepared for you below is helpful to you.
As usual, you’ll find an update on new collections, upcoming collections and importantly, events where you learn tips & tricks, as well as mingle with other like-minded family historians.
Head of Content & Community
Another reminder that we have expanded access to AncestryClassroom™ to educators and students in Australia and New Zealand.
If you’re a teacher within an Australian or New Zealand school, get in touch with us to learn how to use AncestryClassroom™.
If you’re interested but based elsewhere, send me an email to find out how you can access Ancestry at your school for zero cost.
Ancestry® Grant Program
It’s that time again! The Ancestry Grant Program is open for submissions.
Each year, a total of five digitisation grants will be awarded within AU & NZ (combined). Once the grant recipients have been selected, scanning will begin at the earliest opportunity.
The program aims to encourage and allow holders of historical content collections that are in an original format (of any size) to achieve a digitisation outcome that may otherwise be difficult.
Projects to date have included occupational records, land records, military records, newspaper collections and various registers. Some of these collections have been large, others have been very small. In either case, I highly recommend that you contact me via the email below and we can discuss the collection further.
You can see the full post relating to the 2023 program here.
Upcoming Record Releases
Did you know? When new records are acquired by Ancestry, they can take anywhere from 6-18 months to be available on the website, due to the process and timings required for those records to be prepared correctly. They may need to be digitised, or indexed – or both.
Want to learn a little more about the process? Take a look at this recent video from our digitisation team.
We don’t only add ‘new’ collections, sometimes we’ll also revisit an existing collection to improve the information that has previously been available (i.e. add more fields or correct known errors). We’ll also seek to add additional records to existing collections, and this is a called an ‘update’.
We’re a little over half way through 2023, and so far we’ve seen over 60,000,000+ new records added for Australia and New Zealand – it’s an incredible number, but there’s a lot more coming yet. There are too many collections to name each of them here, but let’s focus on a few key collections.
Here’s a few recent launches from AU & NZ;
– 100,000 Rejected Applications to Enlist in the AIF [visit]
– 17 million Australian Business Number public records [visit]
– 26 million additional NZ Electoral Roll records [visit]
For those researching their UK roots, we’ve also launched;
– 20 million Scotland, Postal Directories, 1825-1910 [visit]
– 16 million Gwent, Wales, Electoral Registers, 1832-1969 [visit]
– 3 million UK and Ireland, Medical Registers, 1859-1943 [visit]
Back at home, we’re expecting to publish the following over the next couple of months;
– 5 million Victoria, Australia, Birth, Death & Marriage Records, 1837 – 1991
– 3 million Victoria, Australia, Petty Session Records, 1854 – 1922
– 3 million Australia, Coastal Passenger Records, 1852 – 1924
The ‘pipeline’ for new records coming for Australia and New Zealand continues to be full of large, small, interesting and comprehensive collections that will help all of us (me included!) make new, fascinating discoveries about the lives our ancestors lived.
How can you help? That’s easy, if you know of any great ‘family history relevant’ collections that are in desperate need of digitisation, or are already digital and would make a great addition to the Ancestry website, just let me know. I’ll reach out to the custodians of the collection(s) and explore whether those records could join the Ancestry database.
An important part of these blog posts is sharing what’s happening in the community. This may cover partnerships or activities Ancestry is involved in, or simply shining a light on activities that we feel you’d be interested in.
(1) August is Family History Month!
There’s no better time to explore the ins and outs of family history. Keep your eyes and ears open, as many libraries, societies and businesses open up and invite you to join them for various events across the month.
(2) GeniCert – NSW Birth, Death & Marriage Transcriptions
Researching your family tree? Need information from NSW Birth Death and Marriage Certificates?
Genicert provides transcriptions of information from NSW Birth Death and Marriage registers to family history researchers.
You can learn more here.
(3) Revealing Karl & Sarah’s AncestryDNA Traits
In July, I joined Karl & Sarah on the Today Show to reveal just a few of their 40+ AncestryDNA traits.
Traits are an AncestryDNA feature that provides information about your genetic tendencies towards specific behaviours & characteristics. These include whether you are more likely to be an introvert or an extrovert, a morning or night person, or even whether you are predisposed to being a picky eater.
Karl & Sarah were eager to settle a dispute about who was likely to be the greatest athlete, but thankfully everyone was a winner. Sarah was likely to triumph on a short sprinting track, whereas Karl had the genes to help him go the distance over a longer period.
You can see the full segment here.
If you would like to learn more about AncestryDNA, you can find an abundance of information on interpreting your results, privacy, security, and science via our FAQ page here.
So what’s coming up next?
[SAG] First Look at AncestryDNA [Virtual]
Date: Wednesday 19th July
NSW & ACT Conference [Virtual / In Person]
Dates: 8th Sep– 10th Sep 2023
Getting Help / Feedback
As family historians we often find ourselves hitting the dreaded brick wall. As an Ancestry user, you may also have questions about the website or your account.
There are numerous ways to get the support you need – and below you can see which option is most appropriate based on the type of question you have.
(1) Ancestry Support – The first place to go if you have an Ancestry website question or account issue is the support page.
(2) Ancestry Message Boards – If you have a website question, or one that leans more towards family history research, then why not try posting your question on the Ancestry message boards? Once logged in to your Ancestry account, you can find the message boards via the ‘Help’ link along the top navigation bar.
(3) Genealogical Societies & Libraries – If you’re after more ‘hands on’ support for genealogy more generally, or wish to take your learning to the next level, then a genealogical society or library-based family history group might be right for you. There are supportive and active groups all over Australia and New Zealand – just try googling your area, nearest major city or head into your local library.
(4) Facebook – Just like the above, there are some incredibly knowledgeable and supportive groups with a presence on Facebook. You can also use Facebook to engage with Genealogical Societies outside of your local area (for example, in an overseas area you may be researching).
(i) Family History & DNA – Talking Family History
(ii) DNA – Using DNA for Genealogy Australia & NZ
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