Family history tell us who we are


With the majority of us at home – August is shaping up to be a big month on so many fronts –most importantly in terms of getting a COVID-19 vaccine – but it’s also family history month.

For many history buffs digging around the family tree can prove very revealing and for some it’s similar to finishing off a puzzle – where the missing pieces complete a broader picture.

When you find out about your own history it completes you as person, Sue Davis from Wollondilly Heritage Centre and Museum said.

“Family history is very important. It’s important to remember the past and where you came from to influence the future,” Ms Davis said.

A former school teacher she researched much of her family including a great aunt. In her research she found out her great aunt was a school teacher who first started teaching in Trangie in 1911 to only stop when she got married.

“Maybe that’s why I became a school teacher,” Ms David said. “It was in the family.”

“My great aunt didn’t have any children. I felt responsible. If I didn’t research her she would have been forgotten, forever.”

Ms Davis also went onto research a long forgotten grave at Rookwood Cemetery of a great grandfather.

She likened it to what Aboriginal people feel to country. A connection.

“When I found it I had a spiritual connection.”

Ms Davis said people just want to find out who they are and where they came from.

With technology it is now easier than ever before.

She recounted how her mother in the early 1990s would write to people in England who she thought could help her with her family research and would include a few dollars in the envelope for their time.

“She wrote a whole book [that way] before the internet.”

With lockdown here for a while yet, any wanting help with their family history can email Ms Davis on tohs1988@bigpond.net.au

The neighbouring local government area is also celebrating family history month and Camden Libraries, Camden Area Family History Service and Camden Historical Society, can assist anyone working on their family’s story.

The information available in the library includes photographs, military service records, and a vertical file collection. Both Camden Area Family History and Camden Historical Society also hold valuable records and research material.

Camden Libraries also have pioneer registers, cemetery records and access to old newspapers which may act as an additional source to learning about your family’s history.

Due to lockdown, library members can gain access to Ancestry.com through the library website. Additional links for the library, Historical Society and Family History Services can be found by going to library.camden.nsw.gov.au/local-heritage/family-history.