Gosford's History

Family History

Ruby Bassan, local  Red Cross nurse

Love to know more about your family's past?

Have you ever wondered where your family's origins lie? Do you have free men or convicts, scoundrels or saints lurking in the family cupboard?

People research their origins for a great variety of reasons, ranging from idle curiosity to health matters to scrapbook memories.

Whatever the reason, Gosford City Library holds resources that can help start you off on a fascinating journey of discovery. Be warned - once you start, family history research is highly addictive!

Using the Australian resources available at Gosford City Library, combined with a fair degree of patience, much research, lots of luck and a little spare change for certificates (available elsewhere), you should be able to work your way back to your first arrivals in Australia.

Where is the collection located?

The Family History Collection is located on the Mezzanine Level of Gosford Branch Library, 118 Donnison Street, Gosford. You can access it via two short flights of stairs from the main ground level.

What does the library hold?

The Gosford City Library Collection specializes solely in Australian records. The main emphasis is on New South Wales, with some Queensland and Victorian Immigration records.
Please note that we do not hold overseas records, as other groups on the Central Coast specialise in these.

A large selection of family history books and guides are available for reference use within the library in our Family History (FH) collection.
 
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How do I access the collection?

To access the collection, please phone 4304 7500 and book a time on the resource you require.   Bookings are taken for 1 hour sessions for microfilm and microfiche machines, beginning on the hour.

Use of the collection is conducted on a learn-it-yourself basis.  The family history collection is available for use during Library opening hours.

Where do I start?

In family history, the place to start is with your own story. You are just as important to the family history as your ancestors.

Get organised in your record keeping early! A range of basic forms and tips can be found on Family Search.

To get started, most people head to the birth, death and marriage indexes for their chosen state. More internet based indexes are being released for events post-World War 2, but birth indexes lag behind marriages and deaths in availability.

Work backwards in time slowly from the known to the unknown, and seek to verify your information from several sources if possible. Failure to do so can result in your following someone else's family line, and this costs time, money and creates a false impression of your family history.

Remember that there is no such thing as a ‘correct’ way of spelling particular surnames, only ‘your way’. Always check variations in spelling when looking for ancestors.

Be prepared to spend money in purchasing copies of key birth, death or marriage certificates. It is false economy to try to research family history without referring to key primary documents. When used on their own, some indexes can be highly misleading.

Talk to living relatives and record their stories on tape if possible. Family stories are seldom 100 per cent true, but offer important clues as to where to begin your search.

Collect photographs and memorabilia to make your family history lively and interesting. Remember, never trim or laminate anything precious!

Never use original items when scrap-booking and seek professional guidance to preserve original items.

Overall, if you want something researched correctly, do it yourself. Sometimes it’s easier or more motivating to join a family history group, or ask our volunteers for guidance.

Look on the Internet to see if indexes and databases are available to search for:

  • Births, deaths and marriages;
  • Convict and immigration records;
  • Photographs;
  • War service and war grave records; and
  • Overseas genealogical records.

Searching for these indexes, of which there are now many on the internet, will help you in your research. Look for other resources on microfilm, microfiche, or in original printed formats in libraries, archives and museums.

What if I need assistance or guidance?

Gosford City Library offers limited support and guidance for family history research.

Usually a library volunteer or staff member is available on Tuesdays. At other times, family history assistance is by prior appointment only.

Please remember to phone 4304 7500 and book a resource.

Useful contacts and web addresses

There are many special interest groups and websites catering for Australian and overseas research.

Useful Contacts and Websites

Family history resources at Gosford City Library

The Local Family History Resource List is an index of family history and local history microfilm and microfiche resources that are held at Gosford City Library.