Michelle Dennis Family History Research


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airmans enlistment photo
World War 1 Service Records
World War 2 Service Records
Ship Passenger Lists
Parish registers
Census records
Convict records

Naturalisation certificates

Did your grandfather serve in World War II?

I was able to obtain the World War II service record of an airman that served on active service overseas. In his records were pages of documents including this enlistment photograph.
Soldiers records can contain all kinds of information including personal family letters, telegrams, as well as records of the soldiers conduct, details of medals received, and their record sheet detailing their postings.

recruitment questions

This is the airman's initial application to the Citizen Air Force at the recruiting centre.
It includes a lot of personal details.
record sheet

This document shows where the soldier was posted giving places, dates and the various units to where he was sent.

It also includes family history information such as his Occupation in Civil Life, his Religion and his special qualifications (this was stated he was knowledgeable in First Aid).

Did your ancestor serve in World War 1?

Records of Australian servicemen and women who served in World War I in the first Australian Imperial Force (AIF) are preserved in the National Archives. The collection of first AIF personnel dossiers includes records of service in the:

  • First Australian Imperial Force (1st AIF)
  • Australian Flying Corps (AFC) – the predecessor of the RAAF
  • Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) – the combined force despatched in August 1914 to neutralise German New Guinea
  • Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train (RANBT) – formed to assist the landing of men and equipment from RAN vessels
  • Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS)
  • Home or Depot units for personnel who served within Australia
  • non-combatants such as artists, photographers, chaplains and historians

world war 1 service record

How did your ancestors arrive in Australia?
If your ancestor arrived as a passenger through one of the Australian sea ports, we may be able to find them on the passenger lists, such as this one.

shipping list

Did your ancestor leave a will?

Some of our ancestors left behind a will which can contain a lot of family information, often with surprising clauses and interesting facts. This will of a gunmaker in London in 1832 mentions all his worldly goods - from the tools of his trade, to individual things in his household.


Where were your ancestors buried?

Perhaps we can find them in a church burial register. Many of Australia and English churchs kept a burial register. This one in 1832 gives the name of the person, their address, and their age. Sometimes their occupation and parents names are given too.

burial register

Where were your ancestors on the night of the census?

In England Census records were taken every 10 years from 1841 to 1911. The later ones give a wonderful amount of information, even telling us how many rooms each house had. In this case - four. Also we are told their address, names, position in the household, age, if married, how many children living & dead, their occupation, and where they were born.

1911 census

What did your ancestor for a living?

Perhaps they were mentioned in a newspaper advertisement? This man, Thomas Dennis, a carpenter in Yorkshire, went bankrupt and appeared in the insolvency court of 1821.


Did your ancestors arrive voluntarily? Do you have a convict in the family?

This is a record of the convict trial held in the Old Bailey London for Mr James Toft. James embezzled some of his bosses money, was tried, and found guilty, and sentenced to transportation to Australia for 14 years.

convict trial

This is a convict indent giving wonderful details about the convicts.  It is called a List of Convicts on Transport. As well as giving us their name, their court dates, their sentence, and where they where from, it also tells us their occupation, height, hair color, eye color and age.

convict indent

This is a convict's Ticket of Leave. When prisoners were transported from the United Kingdom to Australia, and subsequently other colonies, those who had served a period of probation—and shown by their good behaviour that they could be allowed certain freedoms—were awarded the ticket of leave. Once granted, a convict was permitted to seek employment within a specified district, but could not leave the district without the permission of the government or the district's resident magistrate. Each change of employer or district was recorded on the ticket. [

convict ticket of leave

Did your ancestor come from a European country such as Germany?

If so, there may be a naturalisation record available for him. Heinrich Bolle, on his immigration into Australia gave his birthplace as Burgdorf, Hanover, Germany. He gives his present residence as Reids Creek near Beechworth, Vic, stating that he is a gold miner. He also tells us how long he has been in Australia, and the name of the ship he came out on.