Family history and genealogy

The Family History Collection consists of birth, death and marriage records for all Australian States, as well as cemetery registers, electoral rolls, probate indexes, shipping records, handbooks and directories. You can research your family tree with free access to ancestry databases in the library.

Family history research group

Individuals in the group work at their own pace in researching their family history, ancestors and genealogical goals. Our Local History Librarian is also available during these sessions to guide and help with tracing your genealogy/family history. More information

Genealogy databases

Ancestry Library Edition

This genealogy research tool is available within the library only. It provides patrons with instant access to a wide range of unique resources for genealogical and historical research. With more than 1.5 billion names in over 4,000 databases, Ancestry Library Edition includes records from the United States Census; military records; court, land and probate records; vital and church records; directories; passenger lists and more. These collections are continuously expanding, with new content added every business day. Check out the Ancestry website.

Tips for tracing your family

Remember that the starting point with all family history research is to begin with you and work backwards.

Library resources

A selection of databases, registers, directories and other reference tools can be found at the following links:

Electoral Rolls 1903-1980 are now available online via on Ancestry access – into Library Edition of Ancestry  

Immigration to NSW

Immigration Index

How to find unassisted passengers at State Records –
also Immigration from many lands (guide)
also Holders of “Archives Resources Kit” (ARK) – (ARK contains copies of many immigration records)

Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters –   (Unassisted Passenger & Crew arrivals 1845-1900)

FamilySearch – Select ‘Australia and New Zealand’, then ‘Index to Bounty Immigrants   arriving in NSW’)

Immigration to NSW on Ancestry –   (costs) Immigration to NSW on findmypast – (costs)

Bounty scheme to NSW

Chinese Naturalisation Database, NSW (1857-1887)

Donegal Relief Fund Passenger Lists –

Female migration to Australia in the 1830s –

Galway Emigrant Index 1828-1866 –

Illustrated Sydney News

Irish Famine Memorial –    (special immigration scheme to bring destitute single women from the workhouses of Ireland, 1845-48)

Lebanese Settlement in New South Wales –

Migration Heritage Centre NSW

North Head Quarantine Station, Register of deaths –   (‘RecordSearch’, advanced search, ‘Series’, Series C526
also North Head Quarantine Station –

Pure Merinos & lists of the Australian Agricultural Company –

Shipping and Arrivals (WebGen Australia) –

Ships Muster Index: Passengers & crew departing NSW (1816-1825) –   (Select ‘Databases’, then ‘NSW Ships Musters‘)

Soldier Settlement in NSW (1916-1939) –    (‘A Land Fit for Heroes?’)

Top 100 Genealogy Sites

Resources for Military Families

Genealogy and the Law


A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Family Tree Online Military Indexes

A Genealogist’s Guide to Tracing People from Our Past

 New York City and the History of Ellis Island    

Geoneaolgy Explained here

Online Information

Other online resources

Family History Service

Services available from the State Library of New South Wales.
Professional Family History Researchers can undertake research for you (fees apply). Speak to a family history librarian on Lower Ground 2 of the State Reference Library.

New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

The Registry holds over 17 million records of events registered in New South Wales. These records include Early Church Records (baptismal, marriages and burials) from 1788 to 1855 and Birth, death and marriage registrations from 1856 to the present day.

Society of Australian Genealogists

This site provides information about the Society plus links to Australian and overseas sources. It also provides online access to their library catalogue and some on-line databases.

State Records NSW

Collections of records created by the NSW government and its agencies.

IHR NSW Family History Documents

This site boasts more than 15,000 pages of records. You can become a member of IHR or pays as you go. Some of the documents available include land records, electoral rolls, school lists and mining and agricultural records.


An excellent site which concentrates on Australia whilst also providing wide coverage of other areas.

Dead Persons Society Ryerson Index

This indexes death notices and obituaries in Australian newspapers. It is a contemporary index.


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Page last updated: 27 Jun 2022