Finding the history of your house

Earlier this year I purchased my first Canberra house, and can understand the curiosity people have about the history of their homes. The Ask a Librarian team often receives questions from people interested in this topic, and my own experience has undeniably made these types of question very interesting to me:

I would like to find out when my house was built and what kind of name I can use for it.

I just want to know when it was built and how old it is. 

Alexander's roup | ‎raʊp (Scottish)

Having established a clear link between the City of Aberdeen and a London bookseller, sometime hosier and dealer in articles of natural history last year, the life of Alexander Shaw has continued to cause me to itch.

And so while in Scotland recently I was delighted to come face-to-face with records relating to Alexander Shaw's business dealings, his estate and the Alexander Shaw Hospital.

Life as a family history librarian

If you’re like me and have an interest (and/or obsession) with family history, chances are you have dreamt of losing yourself in the endless stacks of the National Library. Shipping records, newspapers, books, manuscripts, pictures… who knows what family secrets are waiting to be discovered. 

For a lucky team of librarians, hunting for elusive ancestors is all in a day’s work. I visited my colleagues in our Newspapers and Family History team to find out just what being a family history librarian involves.

Newspapers for family history

This blog is part of an occasional series highlighting eResources on particular subjects.

For National Family History Month, I am focussing on some of our historic overseas newspaper databases, and revealing how, as cheerfully as these newspaper boys of the 1960s, we are able to bring the news of the past to you in the comfort of your own home. 

Three newspaper delivery boys

Managing your digital records

Most of us have moved into the digital world in order to work, communicate, take photos, and generally to run our lives. But the huge storage capacity of contemporary computers and other devices, and a sense of being too busy, mean that many people have chaotic personal digital archives, disorganised and prone to accidental loss.

If our digital archivists could be angels on the shoulders of digital content creators, they would bestow 4 pieces of wisdom.


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