News Release

Melbourne Families Embrace Family History Research

Tracing your family tree has become a popular pastime which can involve all the family. Whether you are a beginner or already an enthusiastic family history researcher, free help is readily available.

As part of the government sponsored National Family History Month in August, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hosted a Family History Discovery Day in Melbourne on Saturday 15th August. The hands-on and interactive event was open to the public with activities suitable for all ages. 

One-on-one assistance was provided by experts, as well as a series of “how to” group sessions. Beginner classes were held on starting your family history using various online tools and databases. 

More advanced programs were held based on Trove newspaper archives, immigration, military records, and Chinese research.  Children were captivated by interactive activities using mobile technology. 

A highlight of the Family History Discovery Day was the new Discovery Centre, similar in design to the Salt Lake City Family History Discovery Centre which opened earlier this year. This interactive facility introduced new ways for families to explore their ancestry. 

Avid family history researcher and local Member of Parliament, Nick Wakeling, officially opened this year’s event. He frequently utilizes and contributes to the Church’s extensive resources, made available at no charge to the public, to assist anyone interested in researching their own family history. 

“I commend the Church for making such wonderful resources so freely available and accessible to everyone,” he said.  

The Church has prepared and presented personal family histories to Australian prime ministers John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, leveraging the vast resources based in Salt Lake City. 

Kaitlyn Carthew, age 20, from Wantirna South, spoke at the session about her own experience with family history after researching one of her ancestors. 

“We always thought that he died as a prisoner of war in Java, but we found out from records released more recently that he was actually captured by the Germans in northern Africa, then somehow handed over to the Japanese before dying at Hellfire Pass building the Thai-Burma Railway.”   

Similar events were held in other parts of Melbourne and around the country as part of National Family History Month. 

FamilySearch can be accessed free online at or through 4,745 family history centres in 70 countries. In Australia, family history centres are located at various Church meetinghouses.  See the FamilySearch website for locations. 

If you’re interested in attending events next year, details will be available at the Australian Federation of Family History Organisations. 

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