Bunbury Australia History Centre offers support to researchers as part of Family History Month Australasia 2021

Bunbury Australia History Centre, History Consultants Ann Allan, Jan Herdsman and Liz Lock.
Bunbury Australia History Centre, History Consultants Ann Allan, Jan Herdsman and Liz Lock.

CURIOUS, South West residents can freely access their family history as well as receive support thanks to the help of the Bunbury Australia History Centre.

As part of Family History Month Australasia 2021, August is a month for all Australian's to both celebrate and put a focus on their family history.

The Bunbury Centre, located within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on 31 Preston Street, East Bunbury, offers support for researchers in their discovery of family history using the not-for-profit website, Family Search.

Bunbury Australia History Centre, History Consultants Jan Herdsman, Ann Allan and Liz Lock, have all been part of the Centre since it's conception in the early 2000s.

Ms Herdsman said in that time, the service had been accessed by a variety of people both from the church as well as non church-going members.

"The process is someone comes to us and says they want to look up their family, so we ask them what they know so far about themselves and their relatives. And then we do as much research as we can," Ms Herdsman said.

You become obsessed and when you find someone it's like, yes! You do end up in tears when you've helped someone find out something new.

Ann Allan

Whilst both online genealogy platforms MyHeritage and Ancestory.com are paid, subscription-based services, Family Search is a not-for-profit organisation run by the Church.

"There's a lot of research sites available worldwide, but Family Search is free for anyone and anyone can have an account and access the records. You can access it both here and at home, as well as call us for assistance," Ms Herdsman said.

"The reason the service we offer is here is because we're fairly experienced with searching family history and you can access some records here that you can't get anywhere else."

Ms Herdsman expressed the importance of family and having a sense of belonging, recalling a time when she was assisting a local family with their history.

"I was tidying up these families that had been mixed up and discovered a child that originally wasn't included in any records because they had died as a baby. I just felt this great happiness that I was able to reunite this child with it's family."

"Things like that do happen all the time and you just get this great sense of, I'm doing something right."

Ms Allan said she often stayed away until 2am researching family history.

"You become obsessed and when you find someone it's like, yes! You do end up in tears when you've helped someone find out something new."

To find out more and to start searching your family history, visit https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Bunbury_Australia_Family_History_Centre.

Residents can also access the Australind Family History Society services at http://www.australindfhs.org/.

"We need to be with our families forever, so that's why we look for them. This service is just as exciting for us as it is for the people we are helping," Ms Herdsman said.