Family history

Large Family Group, 1905, pm1114

Starting your family history can be daunting. The Port Phillip Library Service can help you with a number of valuable resources.

Ancestry Library Edition


Ancestry Library Edition is a major resource for genealogy, family history and family trees. This huge database provides key information such as, birth, death and marriage indexes from the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. The Ancestry Library Edition website can be accessed by members of the public and library members from the public catalogue computers at all Port Phillip Libraries.

Find My Past Library Edition

Another wonderful resource for genealogy, family history, and family trees, accessible from public computers within the library, with a maximum of 2 users at any one time.

Access census records, easy-to-search birth, marriage and death records, the UK's largest collection of parish records, historical British newspapers and much more for England, Wales and Scotland.

Find my past AU records

Access records from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland & United States - records from England, Wales & Scotland can now be accessed from this site also
Access cemetery records, death records, probate, land & court records, migration records, directories, criminal reports, electoral rolls, almanacs, military records and government gazettes for Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the US.

Access census records, easy-to-search birth, marriage and death records, the UK's largest collection of parish records, historical British newspapers and much more for England, Wales and Scotland.

The British Newspaper Archive


Explore pages from hundreds of local, regional and national newspapers from across the UK and Ireland.

Only accessible from within the library.

Family history programs

The Emerald Hill Library & Heritage Centre offers a range of family history seminars throughout the year aimed at providing you with the skills to begin researching your family history. The programs are open to beginners and anyone wishing to brush up on their research skills and learn more. Bookings are required and can be made via the events calendar. We recommend (but it's not essential) that you bring a laptop or ipad to these sessions, you can access the library version of and Find my past plus the library's free wifi..

Other resources

Other Other useful sources of information in family history research are council rate books, electoral rolls  and directories such as the Sands & McDougall  directories. The Port Phillip Library Service holds a large range of reference materials, the list below gives you an idea of the material that can be accessed. To make an enquiry about accessing these resources and starting your search, contact Local History Services

Family history research websites 

Genealogy Society of Victoria -

Biggest Family Album -


The Victorian CD-ROMs listed below are available at the Emerald Hill Heritage Centre:

Death Index Victoria 1921-1985

Edwardian Index Victoria 1902-1913

Federation Index Victoria 1889-1901

Great War Index Victoria 1914-1918

Migration to Victoria 1852-1879

Inquest Index Victoria 1840-1985

Marine Births, Deaths & Marriages Victoria 1853-1920

Marriage Index Victoria 1921-1942

Melbourne Argus Birth Index 1914-1931

Melbourne Argus Marriage Index 1931-1941

Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888

Other CD-ROMs/DVDs at the Emerald Hill Heritage Centre:

Index to Victorian Goldfields Hospital Admissions

Melbourne General Cemetery

Hatches matches & despatches

Transcripts of Memorial inscriptions in the St Kilda Cemetery

Cemetery transcriptions – Monumental inscriptions from 258 Victorian Cemeteries

The following are on microfiche at the Emerald Hill Heritage Centre:

Australian women’s work exhibition 1907 catalogue index

Children’s registers of state wards in the Colony of Victoria 1864-1897.

Index to Children in Victorian Institutions 1860-1863

Melbourne Benevolent Asylum Register 1851-1858

St Augustine’s Orphanage Geelong 1856-1861

St Kilda Electoral roll 1901-1994

Victorian Federal Referendum 1899

Victorian Publicans index 1840-1854

Victorian Pubs index 1840-1854

St Augustine’s Orphanage Geelong 1856-1861

For research outside Victoria the following resources are available:

South Australia

Biographical index of South Australians 1836-1885

West Terrace Cemetery Burial Registers 1840-1920

Census of South Australia 1841


Nundah Cemetery Index to Monumental inscriptions

Northern Territory

Northern Territory Anglican Baptisms 1900-1939 & Confirmations 1900-1947

Index to Northern Territory Times & Gazette 1920

Port Darwin, Northern Territory Passenger Lists 1920


Tasmanian Births deaths and marriages 1803-1899 Rolls 1-92 full certificates. These are on microfilm, the index to the rolls is on microfiche.

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