Armed with notepads and lists of possible leads, keen historians flocked to the Kiama Family History Centre expo on Saturday.
More than 30 family and local historical societies, and museums from NSW and Queensland were on hand to give people an insight into their ancestors' lives, one of the largest gatherings of its kind.
Kiama Family History Centre officer Susan Lark said family history was about more than just writing names on a piece of paper.
While dates of birth, marriage and death were enough for some, Mrs Lark said more people wanted to flesh out the personalities of their forebears, researching political affiliations, club memberships and homesteads.
"People are really keen to know exactly what plot of land their relatives lived on. I think they want to know what ground they trod on before them, where the family walked before they did," she said.
Mrs Lark said there had been an increase in the number of people keen to trace the branches of their family tree and solve any family puzzles following television shows where the subjects did just that.
"You can't trace your family history in 45 minutes like they do in those shows but I think it inspires people to find out something about their family, too."
Suellen Jonusys, from Woonona, said she had only begun to build her family history, keen to create a record for her descendants.
"I think it's more for my children and grandchildren. I've gone through life really not terribly concerned but now I think someone should make a start and research our ancestors."