Australians are being encouraged to find out more about their relatives and if they served Australia in wars, conflicts and on peacekeeping operations over the past century.
Australians are being encouraged to find out more about their relatives and if they served Australia in wars, conflicts and on peacekeeping operations over the past century.

This year's Anzac Centenary chance to chase family history

FOR many people, the past experiences of their older family members are lost before they are shared among the younger generations.

Just getting on with living is enough, let alone asking the questions of parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents, what was your younger life like and even, did you fight in a war?

During the Anzac Centenary, Australians are being encouraged to find out more about their relatives and if they were one of the almost two million who served Australia in wars, conflicts and on peacekeeping operations over the past century.

This year's Remembrance Day which is the 100th anniversary of the World War I Armistice, will be an opportunity to remember a family member's service.

There are several ways to research if a relative served in World War I.  "Start by asking your oldest relatives what they know or if anyone has letters, diaries, medals or other memorabilia from a war, conflict or peacekeeping mission that could provide some clues," the Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC Darren Chester suggests.

"From there, it's as simple as searching the online database of the Australian War Memorial, the National Archives of Australia, the National Library of Australia and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

"Communities should also use the valuable local resources such as local libraries, RSL branches and historical societies, which do an amazing job at documenting and preserving our history."

If you have from the UK or New Zealand you can search sites such as the UK National Archives and the NZ National Archives.

As part of the launch of the Federal Government's Just Ask initiative, Ancestry.com is providing 100 hours' free access to its database from November 9 to 12, 2018 for people to track their family story.

"As time moves forward Australia continues to lose more of the original living memories of our wartime history but uncovering the story of military ancestors is a straightforward process that can yield amazing results," Mr Chester said.

 "Throughout the Anzac Centenary period 2014-18, many people have found long-lost connections to the first world war, giving them a broader understanding and respect for their family history."

For more information on researching your family connection, go to the Department of Veterans' Affairs website.


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