Australian Genealogy Datasets – ACT – District Pioneer Registers

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This month we look at the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the District Pioneer Registers.  If you have pioneer ancestors in this area would you know where to look?  Not all genealogy information is on the large membership sites like, FindMyPast and    Regardless of whether you are in Australia, New Zealand or worldwide, information is also held in State Libraries, Family History Societies and Local Historical Societies to name a few.

The ACT Heritage Library hold sets of District Pioneers Registers which include the following titles:-

  • Queanbeyan pioneers: first study: pocket biographies of 112 pioneers
  • Biographical Register of the Australian Capital Territory 1820-1921
  • Historical Indexes of the Canberra/Queanbeyan district
  • Pre 1860 pioneer register of Goulburn and district
  • Early Days in the Braidwood District 1822-51
  • Biographical register of Canberra and Queabeyan: from the district to the Australian Capital Territory 1820-1930
  • Monaro Pioneers Index

The Monaro Pioneers Index is also available online, you may need to register for an account to view the information.  The index is listed in alphabetical order, some have a summary of information, some list descendants and some have photo’s.

If you live in the area you can pop in to view the various registers and indexes at the ACT Heritage Library.  If you don’t live in the area and require assistance you can call on a professional genealogist or record agent.  AAGRA have members in most states, you can check our directory here.

Meet Frances Cairns – Genealogist & Record Agent

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“Every child ought to be made to understand not only something of the world in which he lives, but something of the inheritance from the past to which he is born”. William Charles Braithwaite, 1909

It is commonplace now at schools for students to do their family history as part of the education department’s curriculum. Unfortunately, I had to wait until I was nearing forty before I found out about my family. I started out by doing a Genealogy course with face to face classes with Janet Reakes. Tracing my ancestry became very addictive and I was amazed at what I found out about my family and those who came before them. The joy of Family History is that you can put aside your work and pick it up again at anytime. I decided many years later that I wanted to assist other people in finding their ancestral lines so I undertook University study in order to turn professional.

The beginnings of family history problem solving came when I did a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Sociology. Studying for the degree also taught me how to be analytical and thorough. As part of the course, I had to generate a Family History Chart and I chose to do a Circular Chart with me in the middle, spreading out to my ancestors. I reached back to 1738 on one of my lines.  I also became very familiar with research, as extra reading and information was required for the Graduate Certificate in Family and Community History that I completed in 2009.

Although I am not able to make promises with regards the provision of a positive outcome to a family history request, I do my very best to try and source relevant documents and information for my clients. It is fascinating and rewarding to conduct oral interviews and written questionnaires with living persons and the results are often surprising. I have paid subscriptions to Family History sites,  belong to many organisations and facebook groups that all add to my exposure to sources and assistance.

It requires diligence, perseverance, imagination, care, skill and labour to undertake research of records in Australia and overseas for people interested in tracing their family roots. Every bit of information must be tested to confirm the authenticity of the record. To have a good narrative of our past is a good legacy to leave behind and the discovery about marriages and children, deaths and divorces forges our inherited patterns. Stories tell us about ourselves, our culture and our civilization.

I hold a Graduate Certificate in Family and Community History obtained from the Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW.

Research Enquires:
Email: [email protected]

Brian John Croker 1933-2021 (MAAGRA)

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It is with sadness we report the death of our long-serving foundation member, Brian Croker, on 8 August 2021. Not only was Brian a committed member of AAGRA for 44 years, he was also a life member and the first president of the Western Australian Genealogical Society, the latter position he held for 10 years. The B.J. Croker Genealogical Society Library in Bayswater was named in his honour. He was also a president of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations for 4 years. Brian will be deeply missed in the genealogy world and, on behalf of all AAGRA members, we pass our condolences to his family and friends.

Dr Dianne Snowden AM

President of AAGRA.

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