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Family History

Family History


Our libraries hold an extensive collection of books and microfiche/microfilm to help you research your family history.

The collection mainly focuses on Australian material with an emphasis on Queensland; however expanding overseas resources are also included in the collection.

Major resources held include:

  • Birth, death and marriage indexes for all Australian States
  • The Cairns Post newspaper on microfilm
  • Cemetery indexes and monumental inscriptions including the Cairns Cemeteries database
  • Early directories, electoral rolls, naturalisations and convict indents
  • Guides to researching cultural and ethnic groups and specific countries
  • Pre - 1856 NSW Birth/Death/Marriage certificates
  • Pre - 1900 Tasmanian Birth/Death/Marriage certificates
  • Immigration and shipping records

Visit the City Library and browse the collection or use our online catalogue.


Microfiche and microfilm readers/printers/scanners are available for use and a research computer from which you can access useful Internet sites. It is advisable to phone and make a booking to use the equipment. The material and equipment is housed at the City library.

eResources available on site at any Cairns Libraries Branch

Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry Library Edition provides access to record collections from Canada, Europe, Australia and other areas of the world!  This collection, with thousands of databases and billions of indexed names. Access is free from public PCs at any Cairns Libraries Branch.

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Find My Past

Free access to both UK & Australasia collections from Cairns Libraries public PCs. Over 650 million records, including the 1911 census - the most detailed census ever produced, 16 million full colour scanned images of the original forms completed by each householder and a gateway to newcomers to family history.

Get started with Help finding my past

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The British Newspaper Archive

The British Newspaper Archive is a partnership between the British Library and findmypast to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's vast collection over a 10 year period. The British Newspaper Archives allows you to search over 200 newspaper titles from the 18th to 20th centuries – with nearly 4.7 million digitised pages, and millions more to come. Available for free on Public PCs at all branches. To search you will need to register. Registration will also allocate you 15 credits to use at home.

British Newspaper archive

eResources access anywhere

State Library of Queensland

The State Library of Queensland provides a comprehensive collection of Family history resources including:

Get started with Help tracing your family tree.

State Library of Queensland

Trove is an online service created by the National Library of Australia offering free public access to a wide range of information, including historical and contemporary materials. Trove contains digital reproductions of newspapers, journals, books, maps, personal papers, as well as archived websites and other born-digital content. It also brings together records and digitised content from libraries, museums, galleries, universities, archives, data repositories and other research and collecting organisations around Australia.

For help visit the Trove support zones

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National Archives of Australia

Whether you are interested in your family history, sourcing historical files from a government agency, or researching Australia's past, the National Archives of Australia can help you find what you need.

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Queensland State Archives

Queensland State Archives (QSA) connects Queenslanders with their past - the histories of their families, the local community and the state - by ensuring that the significant records of government are available and accessible.

Queensland State Archives
Birth, Death and Marriages registries

Register a birth, apply for a certificate, change your name or search your family history. The registration of births, deaths and marriages, changes of name, changes of sex, adoptions and provision of certificates is the responsibility of the state and territory governments in Australia.

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Staff cannot conduct original or extensive research, the amount of staff time available to individual enquiries is limited. For extensive support we recommend you seek help from a local genealogy group for example the Cairns Family History Society.

Last updated: 29 Jan 2020