What's hidden in your tree?

Genealogical Research & Coaching

What types of DNA tests are available?

For genealogical purposes, there are three main types of DNA tests that can be ordered: yDNA tests for the direct paternal line, mitochondrial DNA tests for the direct maternal line, and autosomal DNA tests for finding matches on all your ancestral lines.

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Which DNA testing company should I use?

Once you've decided to test your DNA as a part of your family history research, and which person to test and which test type, the next consideration is which DNA testing company to use.  There are plenty of selection guides on international genetic genealogy blogs, and forums such as Facebook, but they are all very US-focused and many aspects of them don't apply to Australia & NZ.

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Should I test my siblings too?

This is a question often asked and heard in the genetic genealogy community.  Should I test my siblings too?  The answer depends on the type of DNA test and the makeup of your family.

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Facial composition brings convict ancestor to life

William Bartlett

Family Reunion

Earlier this month I attended the 19th annual Bartlett Family Reunion in outer-suburban Melbourne.  It is a lively gathering of descendants of my Tasmanian convict ancestor William Bartlett.

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Genetic Genealogy Resources & Links

Once you start taking an interest in DNA testing for family history purposes, you will naturally want to find out more about how everything works - the test types, who to test, choice of testing companies, understanding results, taking it further, support groups, online forums, advanced tools, projects, etc.

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Introduction to Using DNA for Genealogy

chromosome browser

Buzzes of excitement have become apparent in family history societies across the country over the last year, as more and more genealogists are starting to use DNA testing as an additional family history research tool. 

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Current Sales & Discount Offers

Occasionally there are sales or discount voucher codes available for the purchase of DNA tests for genealogy.  I will publish them on this page whenever I'm aware of good deals to share.

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DNA match email management


For those venturing into the fascinating world of DNA testing for family history, be prepared for the occasional influx of emails from prospective relatives.  Autosomal DNA tests such as Family Tree DNA's Family Finder test have the potential to find hundreds of matches, initiating many new contacts via email.

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Free access to Australian records at MyHeritage

MyHeritage Australian Searches

To celebrate National Family History Month, MyHeritage family history website is offering free access to Australian historical records from August 15th to 22nd - that's from today until next Friday, so get into detective mode for the weekend and the week ahead and start exploring!

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Do you recognise 'Pietro'?

The mystery Pietro in 1942

Pietro never knew he had a daughter.  Since her mother passed away, his daughter is now looking for him, even though he would be aged in his late 90s if he was still alive.  Pietro was in Naples in 1942/43, where he met his daughter’s mother, who loved him very much.

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What does a DNA test kit look like & how do I use it?

DNA test kit

Have you ordered your first DNA test kit and are wondering what it will look like and how you will use it? Or are you considering doing a DNA test to help with your family research and want to learn more before you order - what's in the kit and how you physically take the test?

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How to order a Family Tree DNA test

DNA test kit envelope

So, you've decided to test your DNA or that of another family member?  Not sure how?  Well, once you've decided who to test and selected the appropriate test type, ordering the test kit is quick and easy.  Just follow these simple steps and your Family Tree DNA test kit will be ordered and on its way!

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Rev up your research with DNA!


Could your family history research use a bit of a rev-up?  A DNA test will spice things up a bit and get you following up some of those long-unfinished cousins' lines in your tree!

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Australian state-based genealogy resources

Qld criminal records

Australia’s state-based online information resources can provide vital records to help you grow your family tree or relocate living relatives.  If you are just starting your family history research, read about Australia's free national resources first, to locate records of any interactions your family may have had with the government - such as immigration, military service, naturalisation, and patent applications.  Also look for news or family announcements published in newspapers.

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Snipping Tool for Genealogy and more

Snipping Tool

If you are already an avid fan of Microsoft’s Snipping Tool, then this post is probably not for you - unless you want to see how I make use of it.  If, on the other hand, you have no idea what the Snipping Tool is, or you've heard of it but never used it, then you must read on! 

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ANZAC photos to share or identify

ANZAC soldiers

For ANZAC Day today, I decided to share two photographs from my family's photo collection.  Both photos originate from the same family album belonging to a cousin of my mother.  I have limited information about the soldiers in the photos, as the original owner is now deceased, but I would like to share them in case others can claim them as belonging to their families.

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Double-take your Census Records!

Census images

Was your ancestor enumerated twice?  Success in locating our ancestors’ families in the census returns generally falls into two distinct types: the majority of families that we find relatively quickly and easily (or with just a few tweaks of the search criteria), versus those ‘difficult’ few families that we just can’t locate in a particular census, regardless of how many times we try again, and again, using different search strategies.

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Social Media & Genealogy

Social Media Collage

Social media and social networking have changed the way genealogists network and carry out their research, compared with, say, 20 years ago.  Along with all the new technologies and resources available to us comes a lot more potential for new contacts, collaborations and discoveries.

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Tracking down Genealogical Treats on eBay

IOOF receipt 1901

Family historians and genealogists are always on the alert for new clues relating to their ancestors, so once all known memorabilia has been gleaned from extended families, a broader hunt and speculative searches can be implemented for:

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Can you identify this family from Staffordshire?

Hagley Lodge formerly at Hagley Hall near Rugeley in Staffordshire

For many years I have wondered who the other family in this photo is, so I decided to publish it in the hope that someone might see it and be able to identify them.  There is a chance that it was taken somewhere in the Rugeley, Brereton, Longdon, Abbots Bromley, Colton, Armitage, or Lichfield areas.

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From Lichfield to Australia 1883 - Part 2

The Sobraon - National Library of Australia

When the 'Sobraon' sailed from Plymouth in September 1883, one of the passengers on board was a young man from Lichfield in Staffordshire.  He diarised his voyage, and his story ended up back in Lichfield and was published by The Lichfield Mercury just a few months later.  Part 2 completes the remainder of his 100 day trip to New South Wales via Melbourne.

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From Lichfield to Australia 1883 - Part 1

The Sobraon - National Library of Australia

In September 1883, a well-educated young man from Lichfield in Staffordshire embarked on a lengthy voyage that he would likely remember forever. He left England on the 'Sobraon' and sailed for a far away land of prosperity and hope - Australia.  I have transcribed the full account of his voyage, as printed by The Lichfield Mercury in two parts in March and April, 1884.

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Two National Treasures for Australian Genealogists

Saturday Night in a Digger's Hut

Courtesy of the Australian Government, genealogists researching Australian families are extremely lucky to have free online access to some great indexes and digitised records at the National Archives of Australia and the National Library of Australia.

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Researching your Italian Family in Australia

Italian arrivals on Moncalieri in 1926

Due to the political and economic turmoil in Italy after WWII, thousands of Italians migrated to Australia to find work and a new home for their families. In Australia’s 2011 census, over 916,000 persons identified themselves as having Italian ancestry. Some families may have lost touch during and after migration, as siblings and other relatives ended up in different parts of different countries.

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A little bit of Cairns, Now and Then

First Landing in Cairns, 1876 - State Library of Queensland

From the international tourists who flock here to visit the wonders of the reef and rainforest, to the regular holiday-makers from the southern states escaping cold winters, many people enjoy a little bit of Cairns now and then, and some of us are lucky to experience it every day.

A quick look at Cairns in the present is followed by a glance at its interesting history, which commenced with mining and related services over 127 years ago, and soon developed into a tourist hotspot famous for the same unique environmental characteristics that make it popular today.

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