Connect with your history

March is Women's History Month and we want to help you connect with the women in your ancestry. Use all the tools at your fingertips to advance your Family History research.

Who do you think you are? has made widely known as a family history research tool. But regardless of what the advertising suggests, it does not have it all.
The library provides you access to various Family History databases, including, which could broaden your depth of knowledge about members on your tree or even stimulate new branch growth!

FindMyPast has a great range of material covering most countries of the world, however with a particular focus on the records of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Records of women can be found among any of the resources indexed.
Women can be particularly hard to trace  so resources which point directly to women can be a boon. Calais Laceworker Immigrants to South Australia and South Australian Destitute Women are a couple of the indexes available via FindMyPast.

The Biographical Database of Australia is designed to help researchers find one person in thousands, to avoid confusing persons of the same name and to track individuals across time. It aims to gather data from a wide variety of original manuscripts and bring them all together under the individuals name. It's a great starting point, for sifting out those with the same name who are not your ancestor. Don't forget to try both of your female ancestors surnames if you  know them.

British Newspaper Archive has over 18.5 million digitised newspaper pages from 743 UK papers. Browse by place of publication, title and/or date range. Search by name. Newspaper articles can provide amazing detail about peoples lives. They were the social media of the times. If anything happened it was recorded in the papers. Shipping records, arrests, trials, weddings, parties and advertisements can provide clues to locating people. Just have a browse and get a feel for the big news items of the times which can provide clues as to why an ancestor chose to leave all they knew and travel to Australia.

Sydney Morning Herald Archives has digitised reproductions of every edition between the years 1955 and 1995. Use this to find personal notices detailing births, deaths and marriages not yet released by the NSW Registry of Birth, Deaths and Marriages. Birth records are not released to the public until 100 years have passed, marriages must wait 50 years and deaths 30 years. This is not done just to annoy family historians, but for good privacy reasons. So personal notices are a boon!

Ancestry Library Edition boasts over 1.5 million names in over 4000 databases and at that it is the biggest single source of genealogical information. New South Wales, Australia, Wives and children of Irish Convicts, 1825 -1840, Principal women of the Empire: Australia and New Zealand are two resources dealing specifically with women, however females are documented in all other resources as well.

Come in to one of the Sutherland Shire Libraries to search and see the original documents supplied via the library's subscription.

March reads

 Calling Major Tom/ David M. Barnett

Calling Major Tom is a funny, uplifting tale of friendship and community about the world's most unlikely astronaut. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll get a David Bowie earworm and you will cheer on all the grumpy men in your life. There's a starman waiting in the sky. And his name is Thomas. He is very happy to be on his own, far away from other people and their problems. But beneath his cranky exterior lies a story and a sadness that is familiar to us all. And he's about to encounter a family who will change his view of the world forever.

4321/ Paul Auster
Paul Auster's greatest, most heartbreaking and satisfying novel -- a sweeping and surprising story of birthright and possibility, of love and of life itself: a masterpiece. Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson's life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Each Ferguson falls under the spell of the magnificent Amy Schneiderman, yet each Amy and each Ferguson have a relationship like no other. Meanwhile, readers will take in each Ferguson's pleasures and ache from each Ferguson's pains, as the mortal plot of each Ferguson's life rushes on. As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, yet with a passion for realism and a great tenderness and fierce attachment to history and to life itself that readers have never seen from Auster before. 4 3 2 1 is a marvelous and unforgettably affecting tour de force.

The golden child/ Wendy James

Blogger Lizzy's life is buzzing, happy, normal. Two gorgeous children, a handsome husband, destiny under control. For her real-life alter-ego Beth, things are unravelling. Tensions are simmering with her husband, mother-in-law and even her own mother. Her teenage daughters, once the objects of her existence, have moved beyond her grasp and one of them has shown signs of, well, thoughtlessness ...Then a classmate of one daughter is callously bullied and the finger of blame is pointed at Beth's clever, beautiful child. Shattered, shamed and frightened, two families must negotiate worlds of cruelty they are totally ill-equipped for. This is a novel that grapples with modern-day spectres of selfies, selfishness and cyberbullying. It plays with our fears of parenting, social media and Queen Bees, and it asks the question: just how well do you know your child?

We were the lucky ones/ Georgia Hunter
An extraordinary, propulsive novel based on the true story of a family of Polish Jews who are separated at the start of the Second World War, determined to survive - and reunite.

The refugees/ Viet Thanh Nyugen

"The Refugees, is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family. In The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration"--Provided by publisher.

Hold back the stars/ Katie Khan

"A startling and evocative novel, harkening to both One Day and Gravity, a man and a woman revisit memories of their love affair on a utopian Earth while they are trapped in the vast void of space with only ninety minutes of oxygen left. After the catastrophic destruction of the Middle East and the United States, Europe has become a utopia and, every three years, the European population must rotate into different multicultural communities, living as individuals responsible for their own actions. While living in this paradise, Max meets Carys and immediately feels a spark of attraction. He quickly realizes, however, that Carys is someone he might want to stay with long-term, which is impossible in this new world. As their relationship plays out, the connections between their time on Earth and their present dilemma in space become clear. When their air ticks dangerously low, one is offered the chance of salvation--but who will take it? An original and daring exploration of the impact of first love and how the choices we make can change the fate of everyone around us, this is an unforgettable read"-

Difficult women/ Roxanne Gay
A collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection. The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister's marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realise when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls' fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbours conform, compete, and spy on each other.

The Chilbury Ladies Choir/ Jennifer Ryan

As England becomes enmeshed in the early days of World War II and the men are away fighting, the women of Chilbury village forge an uncommon bond. They defy the Vicar's stuffy edict to close the choir and instead resurrect themselves as the Chilbury Ladies' Choir. There's a timid widow devastated when her only son goes to fight; the older daughter of a local scion drawn to a mysterious artist; her younger sister pining over an impossible crush; a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia hiding a family secret; and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past.

City of friends/ Joanne Trollope
The day Stacey Grant loses her job feels like the last day of her life. Or at least, the only life she'd ever known. For who was she if not a City high-flyer, Senior Partner at one of the top private equity firms in London? As Stacey starts to reconcile her old life with the new - one without professional achievements or meetings, but instead, long days at home with her dog and ailing mother, waiting for her successful husband to come home - she at least has The Girls to fall back on. Beth, Melissa and Gaby. The girls, now women, had been best friends from the early days of university right through their working lives, and for all the happiness and heartbreaks in between. But these career women all have personal problems of their own, and when Stacey's redundancy forces a betrayal to emerge that was supposed to remain secret, their long cherished friendships will be pushed to their limits.

Lincoln in the Bardo/ George Sanders
The extraordinary first novel by the bestselling, Folio Prize-winning, National Book Award-shortlisted George Saunders, about Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy's body. From this seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of realism, entering a thrilling, supernatural domain both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself trapped in a transitional realm - called, in Tibetan tradition, the bardo - and as ghosts mingle, squabble, gripe and commiserate, and stony tendrils creep towards the boy, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie's soul. Unfolding over a single night, Lincoln in the Bardo is written with George Saunders' inimitable humour, pathos and grace. Here he invents an exhilarating new form, and is confirmed as one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Deploying a theatrical, kaleidoscopic panoply of voices - living and dead, historical and fictional - Lincoln in the Bardo poses a timeless question: how do we live and love when we know that everything we hold dear must end?

2017 Stella Shortlist has been announced!

The Stella Prize Shortlist 2017 has been announced! The Stella Prize was established in 2013 for writing by Australian women in any genre. You can request copies of each of these extraordinary books from the Library.   
The 2017 Stella Prize will be awarded in Melbourne on the evening of Tuesday 18 April. 

The Hate Race/
Maxine Berber Clarke

Dying: A Memoir 
by Cory Taylor

   The Museum of Modern Love
   by Heather Rose
Poum and Alexandre/
Catherine Saint de
Between and wolf and
a dog/ Georgia Blain
      An isolated incident/
Emily MaGuire