For Family History month this year we asked staff from the Newspapers and Family History team to highlight useful resources that are not available online. In previous weeks, Shannon and Ralph  shared their picks for supporting family history research. This week, we have Leisa, with:

The Founders of Australia by Mollie Gillen

In today’s digital world, many of us often forget the value of books. The reference collection held in the Newspapers and Family History Zone can be a great resource for family historians, providing a wealth of information not always freely available online.

One book, which I found to be a useful resource is The Founders of Australia by Mollie Gillen. This is a biographical dictionary of individuals on the First Fleet ships, including Convicts, military, shipping crew, spouses and children. The content for each entry has been sourced from primary sources held in the UK Public Record Office records. Entries contain information taken from muster records, shipping and passenger records, convict records, military service records and other documentation.

The Founders of Australia by Mollie Gillen

Mollie Gillen, The founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet  1989,

Working in the Newspapers and Family History team, we receive many enquiries about convicts. This book is particularly helpful searching for convicts on the First Fleet. Information such as the convict crime, arrival year and ship, spouse, employment details and alias could be included in the one entry. I find this a quick way to locate reliable and detailed information.


This publication is available to request in the National Library of Australia's main reading room, but if you can't visit us in person, have a look on Trove to find a copy in a library near you.

Stay tuned for part four next week, where we will share another staff pick for Family History research.