Sydney, Australia, 6 June 2012 –Over two billion[i] people are expected to have watched the televised Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations marking the Queen’s 60 year reign, and with the Queen’s birthday weekend quickly approaching in most states, Ancestry.com.au, Australia’s largest online family history resource[ii] is honouring the occasion by making 236 million UK records free to access for the whole weekend, starting 12.01AM on Friday 8 June until 11.59PM AEST on Monday 11 June, 2012.
While geographically Australia and England are thousands of kilometres apart, as part of the Commonwealth and with over a third of Australians claiming British ancestry[iii], the ties of the Empire remain strong.
Ancestry.com.au’s recent survey of Australians’ attitudes towards England and the Royal Family included more than 1000 Aussies[iv] and found that Australia appears to be evenly divided when it comes to whether the country should remain a constitutional monarchy. Just over half (52 per cent) want to stay under Britannia’s rule and 48 per cent wish to become a Republic. Not surprisingly, the residents of the Australian Capital Territory were the strongest supporters of becoming a republic with 63 per cent wanting to move on from the monarchy.
Prince William is the clear favourite to ascend to the throne with 81 per cent preferring him over Prince Charles. Tasmania (90 per cent) and South Australia (89 per cent) are Wills’ biggest supporters, while Charles’ main cheerleaders are in the ACT (25 per cent) followed by Victoria (21 per cent).
For British descendants in Australia, family history looks to run deep. Over 75 per cent of Australians surveyed who claimed British ancestry were able to trace their history back at least 100 years. Many families immigrated to Australia with the promise of a better life and cheap passage, with 18 per cent indicating they or their family moved to Australia as part of the ‘ten pound pom’ scheme following the Second World War. The incentive program was designed to substantially increase the population of Australia and to supply workers for the country's booming industries and attracted over one million migrants.[v]
Additional highlights from the national survey include:
- Senior jubilee: Almost 40 per cent of Australians surveyed planned on watching or celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. For those over 65 years of age, the number jumped to almost 60 per cent.
- Party time: Of the respondents who are planning on celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, most (94 per cent) intended to watch the event on television, five per cent planned on celebrating in ‘traditional British fashion’ by drinking warm beer and eating fish and chips, and three per cent proposed to mark the event by having high tea.
- Doggone it: Over 60 per cent of Australians strongly associate Corgis (dog breed) or the Union Jack with the Queen and England.
Brad Argent, Ancestry.com.au Content Director for Australia and New Zealand, comments: “The 236 million records from the UK freely accessible this weekend represent an unprecedented opportunity to find out just how British you really are.
It’s an excellent starting point for new family historians to learn about their past and should provide a wealth of information for more experienced researchers to build on their discoveries.”
To access the free collections, please visit www.ancestry.com.au.
[ii] comScore, 2011, based on genealogy related websites selected from the Family and Parenting sub-category under the Community category
[iii] 2006 Australian Census, Australian Bureau of Statistics
[iv] ‘The Australians’ attitudes towards England and the Royal Family’ survey was commissioned by Ancestry.com.au in May 2012 and was conducted by Pure Profile, who polled a nationally representative sample of 1002 people across Australia aged 18 and over
[v] Ten Pound Poms. The University of Sussex at Brighton. Retrieved 16 March 2006
Australia’s leading family history website, Ancestry.com.au contains more than one billion records in its Australian and UK collections, including the Australia Birth, Marriage and Death Index, Australian Convict Transportation Registers, Australian Free Settlers, Australian Electoral Rolls, New South Wales SANDS Directories, as well as the most complete online collection of England, Wales and Scotland Censuses and the England and Wales Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes.
Ancestry.com Inc is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than 1.9 million paying subscribers. More than 10 billion records have been added to the site in the past 15 years. Ancestry users have created more than 34 million family trees containing more than four billion profiles.
In addition to its flagship site http://www.ancestry.com, Ancestry.com offers several localised web sites, including Ancestry.com.au which was launched in May 2006, designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.
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