Starting your family history? Here's what I did. First I got everything I knew about my family together. Then I used a chart to map things out and spot the gaps. I visited the Newspapers and Family History zone in the National Library of Australia. It's a great place for family history research. It really pays to visit in person because there's a huge range of resources that you have to be in the library to use.

The staff are very helpful and can point you in the right direction, but the actual research is up to you. The best way to start filling in the gaps is with indexes for births, deaths and marriages. Then I used shipping records to find out how they got to Australia.

Electoral Rolls helped me to find out where they all lived. The Library also has an impressive collection of convict records, which led me to my great great grandpa "the Irish Rebel"

Newspapers also help add the personal touches. Obituaries, wedding announcements and even some shocking stories. Some newspapers are available online through Trove and the Library's e-resources, but many more can be seen on microfilm in the Library.

If you can't visit The National Library, look for family history resources at your local library. The National Library helped me build my family tree. It's taken me some time, but it's fun and I love the thrill of the chase.

The National Library of Australia, a home for Australia's stories.