Introducing CoraWeb: Helping you Trace Your Family History in Australia and Elsewhere


My new blog series focuses on some of my favourite free Australasian family history research websites, and this month's focus is on CoraWeb which is a portal site maintained by Cora Num, a well-known Australian genealogist and author of several research guides. It is designed to help researchers trace their family history in Australia and elsewhere.

The site provides links for the whole of Australia through numerous categories which are then subdivided into national, states and territories or topics and resources.

Searching

There is an option to search the site and this might be a quick and easy way to get an answer but browsing may be a more effective way to really see what is available. With a site search you may use a different word or terminology or not even think to look for something. Whereas with browsing there is the element of serendipity and you stumble over a resource that you would never think to look for.

Central Fire Station, Brisbane 1900, negative no. 129619, image courtesy State Library Queensland

Categories

There are the usual genealogy topics such as BDMs, cemeteries, directories, electoral rolls, maps, land records, military records, occupations, probate records, shipping and migration.

More unexpected categories include apps for genealogy on the move, blogs, digital books and eResources, local history, pictures and images, publish your family history, societies and groups and software.
There is a separate category for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and one for those just beginning their family history.

Subcategories

Where appropriate the main subcategories are by location, namely national, state or territory. There is often an overlap between these groups so explore both levels of government. Other subcategories are arranged by resource or topic.
The best way to appreciate the varied links is to simply pick a category and then systematically look at the various subcategories. In some instances, the links will be the same, for example, a state archive as this will be the main repository for numerous genealogical resources.

Some subcategories are further subdivided. For example, under Cemeteries, there is a subcategory for Queensland and then a further category for Brisbane cemeteries. This is similar for the other state and territory capitals.

Looking towards South Brisbane (Dutton Park) cemetery ca 1898, negative no. 142840, image courtesy State Library Queensland

Overseas Countries

Most Australians have some British ancestry so there are several categories including:

  • England – 424 links
  • Ireland – 431 links
  • Scotland – 209 links
  • Wales – 108 links.

We also have close ties to New Zealand and there are 140 links to categories such as archives and libraries, BDMS, probate records, cemeteries, military records, newspapers, occupations, immigration and other resources.

Also included are India and Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon with 45 links to a wide range of websites and databases.

Finally, there are 67 links under Other Countries including Austria, South Africa, Hong Kong, Poland, Sweden, Chinese genealogy, Jewish genealogy and even some USA links. Researchers need to look at the description too as sometimes the title may include more than it suggests. For example, the Irish Merchant Seaman 1918-1921 online index includes 23,000 Irish born seaman, but it also includes over 1000 Canadian born merchant seaman.

The number of links are as at May 2018 and as this is a dynamic portal site, numbers may vary over time, usually increasing.

Chinese bridal party, Rockhampton, ca 1900, negative no. 197976, image courtesy State Library of Queensland

As you can see, CoraWeb is a wonderful free, online resource that can assist anyone with Australian genealogy research. Look for the category of records that you want to know more about and then simply explore the links. Most useful, original genealogy records are in the national or state archives so try those links first. Good luck!


Shauna Hicks

About Shauna Hicks

Shauna Hicks has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and worked in government for over 35 years in libraries and archives in Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. Since retiring, she has written a number of family history guides and is a regular speaker at genealogy cruises, conferences and seminars. She now operates her own business at www.shaunahicks.com.au and is the author of the blog, Diary of an Australian Genealogist.

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