Library services

2357971When you visit the Library, you can access many of the world's best online digital genealogical services, many of which come with a hefty price tag when you subscribe from home.  But, as a member of the Society, you can use these services in our library free of charge.

Ancestry : a research tool offering the most comprehensive, international genealogical information available online, with billions of indexed names in over 9,000 collections.

FindMyPast : the leading collection of family history records of the British Isles, and increasing its worldwide holdings.

Scotland's People : records kept by the Scottish Government, churches and courts of law, including civil registers, church registers, census returns, valuation rolls, legal records, prison registers, and poor relief and migration records. [Note: you will need to pay for the credits you use with this, but it does mean you don't need to subscribe and have unused credits at home]

Roots Ireland: data from 34 county genealogy centres on the island of Ireland. The main sources on the site are Irish Catholic and other church records of baptisms, marriages and deaths which are the most important source for tracing Irish ancestry.

The Genealogist : A British collection with a range of innovative tools for finding your family history. Known for their high standard of indexing.

FamilySearch: FHWA is an affiliated library giving our members access to many records unavailable to the general public. Search and explore over 5 billion records from worldwide collections between 655 A.D. and today.

The British Newspaper Archive: Register with the BNA at home for free, search from home for free, and then come into FHWA wherre you can login to your BNA account and view your records for free. 

There are so many books to help you with your research in our collection. Maps Web PhotoWe have books on how to research; research in various countries such as Ireland, Germany, Poland and more; research methodolgy; how to cite your sources; histories and family histories with a strong focus on Western Australia, followed by Australia and the United Kingdom; military history including WA battalion histories; Convict and crime related books; shipping records; parish register indexes and transcripts; cemetery and burial indexes and transcriptions especially for Australia; and many more unusual, but highly useful books that will help with research.

We have magazines for the following in our collection: all our Affiliated Societies in WA; the main State and Territory Societies; the main society for most English and Welsh Counties [as per pre 1974 boundaries], Scottish, Irish, New Zealand, and specialist subject areas, as well as some popular commercial genealogy and history titles.

Maps, concentrating on Western Australia, the United Kingdom and some other parts of the world.

Charts include family trees; military material, and diagrams.

FHWA's Electronic Document Resposition is known fondly as the EDR.CDs resized

Did you think that the days of CDs was long gone?

Only a small proportion of genealogical information is available free and online.  We have more than 1000 CDs, available only in the library, covering all areas of the globe.  Before coming into the library search our catalogue by Country, State/County, Title and notes. Make a note of the CD reference number of any records that you believe will assist your research. 

When you visit, just use the EDR CD# search feature on the Research Centre computers to access the required CD, or use other EDR search functions for a more detailed search.  Copyright and licencing on these CDs mean that the data they contain cannot be made available online.

Family History Ebooks 

Ebooks can also be found on the EDR. Search the catalogue to see if there is a family history for the name you are interested in. If the catalogue states that it is an Ebook, note the reference number and come in to read it.


The vertical files contain information that is perhaps only a few pages in size. Vertical File Web Photo copy

It contains a variety of resouces, including

  • pamphlets,
  • photographs,
  • short histories,
  • family histories,
  • a collection of papers on a family,
  • a thin history of a church or a place.

You can find these via the Catalogue, and are located in a filing cabinet accessible to Members in the Library.

Funeral Ephemera Collection Web PhotoThis collection includes items such as funeral booklets, bookmarks, and obituaries [not published in newspapers]. 

The person must either have been born, or have died, in Western Australia to be included in this collection. There must also be more than just the name on the items so as to make the collection useful for researchers. 

Search the Library catalogue to find people.

This is a new collection and the Librarian welcomes donations of items. 

Book-and-microfilmThis includes records that are either on microfiche or on microfilm.

Microfiche was the most popular way to publish genealogical indexes prior to about 2000. As a result we have a vast collection of information to be found in this format. Large collections of cemetery, burial, parish register, hospital, passenger, census, and specialist indexes can be found for all of Australia, the United Kingdom, and some other parts of the world. Some of this material I have not seen in digital formats. Search the catalogue to find these items.

Microfilm in our collection is now mostly reproduced online in TROVE or subscription databases. However, we do hold some films from the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints retained after they digitised the majority of their holdings. Search for these using the place or the film number in our library catalogue. Some of these may not have been digitised.

lib pic copyOur Library Volunteers are wonderful.

They can help you with your research by showing you how to find records; how to interpret what you find, and what to do next with your research.

Some of them have areas if expertise such as Scotland, Germanic countries, Victoria, New South Wales, England, Ireland, etc. Some are extra experienced at using certain subscription sites.

The Volunteer at the reception desk can point out a volunteer to assist you.

They all provide their help for free.