An important part of life that provides a fascinating window into your past...
Covering a period from 1852 to 1901, our Institutions & Organisations section contains over 4.2 million records from Australia and New Zealand. Information can be searched from records such as police gazettes, Supreme Court records, parliamentary
papers and jury rolls. They're a treasure trove for anyone researching their family past or building their family tree!
"What can I find in a police gazette if my ancestors were never involved in criminal activity?"
Police Gazettes are a valuable resource for your family history research, and despite what many people mistakenly presume, they do not only contain criminals! Victims of a wide variety of crimes (such as theft, embezzlement and even wife desertion) are also included; as well as missing persons (including children), inquests, and people reported dead for whom no relative could be found.
Below is an example of one of the many police gazettes available in this collection (South Australian Police Gazette 1880). As with most, it contains an abundance of useful information such as: promotions, demotions, discharges, resignations and deaths relating to the police force. There are often physical details on persons (missing, wanted or released), with everything from basic details to descriptions of clothing worn - a great way to form a more realistic picture of your ancestors! Information is also given on housebreak-ins, robberies, arson, murders, deserted seamen, warrants issued, prisoners discharged, missing friends, lost and found items and more.
"Why are parliamentary papers such a valuable genealogy tool?"
The Parliamentary Papers for the Colony of Victoria are an informative source of information for local historians and family history researchers. The index enables you to search the previously unindexed Parliamentary Papers for people who are not normally mentioned in other sources b - in other words, the ordinary people in your family. They provide an overview of their subjects, and contain valuable pointers for further research. Included are many reports of experts, delegations and committees investigating all types of matters of interest to the government. There's a fascinating array of information waiting for you!
Below is an example of a transcription from Parliamentary Papers for the Colony of VIC 1852-1869, offering full names, year of event and a description of position.