On April 21st 2017, PJ Williams and I were fortunate enough to attend the Queanbeyan Heritage Festival to promote the work of the Family History Unit and help attendees find their families. As Queanbeyan locals ourselves we have a strong passion for reaching out to our community by sharing Indigenous family history research information and skills.
We conducted a two-hour ‘Finding Your Family’ training session at Queanbeyan and had a turnout of 20 participants. We ran the group through what type of records exist, where to find them, why they were created, and how to interpret them.
The group was very interested to understand the incredible diversity in the way that Aboriginal people were treated in different states and territories and were grateful that we explained to them just why historical Governments felt it was their right to treat Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in particular ways.
We showed the group the different resources that we use in our work and included examples of accessing records from the National Archives of Australia, Trove and the Norman Tindale Genealogies name indexes. Upon hearing our group’s own family oral histories we opened the floor for general discussion and some hands-on learning. PJ and I offered each researcher personalised suggestions of records to look out for and of places to search.
Since then, we have received feedback from participants who attended the training telling us of how they have put the training in family history research in to practice. We have also received some requests for our professional service. We would like to again thank Brigid Whitbread and the Queanbeyan Library for hosting the event.
PJ and I found that our services and the Family History Unit were appreciated and in high demand at this event and hope to continue engaging with the Queanbeyan community through training and information sessions in the future.
If you would like help finding your Indigenous family history, we encourage you to get in contact with the Family History Unit. We have a great webpage that offers you advice, tools, sources to search and places to go if you’d like to do your research yourself. If you reach a roadblock in your searching, or you’d like to talk about where you’re up to and where to go next, we can be reached by phone on 1800 352 553 or by contacting the Family History Unit.