Shake your family tree

I put out a press release today on the beaut 'Shake Your Family Tree' events that the National Archives are running. In the process, I couldn't resist mentioning one member of the family you mightn't expect - my great-great-uncle Robert Beckett (pictured), who served as a non-Labor MLC in the Victorian Parliament 1913-17.

Time To Shake Your Family Tree

Federal Member for Fraser, Andrew Leigh, has called on Canberrans to shake their family tree on 25 February 2011 and discover their family history.

The National Archives is holding the fourth Shake Your Family Tree day on 25 February 2011. All of the National Archives offices around the country- Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Perth and Darwin-are providing interesting activities to assist people in tracing their family histories.

Shake Your Family Tree is a major event on the National Archives calendar, drawing around 2500 people to the Archives’ offices around the country. The theme for 2011 is Unexpected Discoveries – Amazing stories you can find in the Archives.

Andrew Leigh said the National Archives plays an important role in family history research.

“The National Archives holds a vast collection of information about people, from the ordinary to the famous, and their diverse interactions with the Australian government,” said Mr Leigh.

The National Archives holds Australian government records since Federation – on men and women who served Australia in wartime, who settled in Australia in the twentieth century or who were employed on public projects.

“People are always amazed to discover what is held in the Archives,” said Mr Leigh.

“Family historians find letters, photographs, immigration and citizenship applications, employment records and copyright registrations that help to build a picture of their past. The search is even easier now, as many of these documents are available online.

“Many of these records are about people – individuals who migrated here, who served in our armed forces, who were interned or investigated by the government, who were Indigenous, who applied for a copyright... the list goes on.

“In my own family tree, we’ve discovered a great-great-uncle of mine, Robert Beckett, who was a non-Labor member of the Victorian Legislative Council from 1913-1917.

“I encourage all Canberrans to access the valuable resources and records held by the National Archives,” concluded Mr Leigh.

Shake Your Family Tree day events include free seminars, workshops, demonstrations and guided tours, all relating to finding family history.

To access more information on the National Archives Australia, visit

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