I live in Victoria, and my ancestors came from Victoria back to between 1840 and 1863, so my early research was in the Victorian birth, death and marriage indexes. I was lucky that my local library had copies of these indexes on microfiche. When I first started researching, these indexes were divided into type of event (birth, death, or marriage) sections of years, and sometimes year by year, and then into surnames. I started off by going through all the indexes for anyone with my maiden surname – Whimpey. Then my mother’s maiden name and so on. For the less common surnames, I jotted down all the entries, for the more common surnames, I jotted down entries for names I’d already come across. As you can image, it was a fairly time consuming process.
In 2000, I bought the Birth, Death and Marriage Indexes for Victoria on CD Rom. The Indexes on CD Rom for Victoria were divided into Pioneer Index 1837-1888 (which included births, deaths and marriages), Federation Index 1889-1901, Edwardian Index 1901-1913, Great War Index 1914-1920, and then the Death Index 1921-1985. Each CD rom was set up with a search function, so you just type in the information you’re looking for, and it brings up all the results for that time period. This made researching a lot easier.
In 1999, I first gained access to the internet. Prior to this, my research was pretty limited to my local library, and later the State Library of Victoria, and their records were mainly for Victoria, with some birth death and marriage indexes for other Australian states, but limited information for overseas. Over time, more records have become available on the internet, and I have been able to broaden my research to finding birth, death and marriage records for England and Wales, Scotland, United States, Canada, New Zealand
In my resources page, I have listed a few of these, but my next post will set out a list of websites that I have used that have birth, death, marriage indexes, and/or where you can obtain the certificates.