Alison Smith :

Maybe you have watched the show “Who do you think you are” which tracks peoples family history.  Alison started looking into her genealogy and found some surprises.  One was a bit of a ruffian way back, and secondly the amazing amount of information which is now readily available online.

In days gone by you would have to write to get access to birth certificates, or copies of newspaper articles.  Now a couple of mouse clicks may get that information.

In this show Alison talks about her motivation for delving into the family background, how she went about it, and the resources she has found useful for locating information.

She talks about a couple of ways you can go about this hobby.  Some folk want to find out about where their ancestors came from, and perhaps what their motivations were for emigrating or what trade they followed.  In other words, a broad sweep across their history.  Others concentrate on just one or two family members, perhaps for the purpose of writing about them, or just for interest.  Both approaches can become equally addictive once you get in to the detective work.

Here are some of the resources mentioned in the podcast :

The stories of older living relatives.

Old photographs.

Local libraries.

Historical societies and genealogical societies.

Cemeteries and gravestones.

History books of the period to provide context to the search.

And of coarse the internet.  Two sites Alison has found invaluable are   which is part of the National Library, has a massive archive of Australian newspapers.   can connect you to information and people from all round the world.

Leave me a comment in the box below if you have other resources which would be useful for people starting the search, or email me with any questions at



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One Comment

  • Alison makes an important point about “learning from a different perspective” when you are older. Her learning is obviously for the joy of it and she is certainly not learning from ground zero! This is what learning should be about! Regarding tracing your ancestry, another great resource for those who have English ancestry is the fully searchable online “Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913” Thanks for sharing Alison’s story!

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