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.

Genealogy databases

  • Ancestry – Library members have access to more than 1.5 billion names in over 4,000 databases. Includes records from US census, military, court, land and probate, church records, passenger lists. Electoral Rolls 1903-1980 are now available online.
  • MyHeritage Library Edition™ – One of the largest, most internationally diverse genealogy databases of its kind in the world. It includes billions of historical documents from more than 48 countries, millions of historical photos, public records, indexes and additional resources.
  • The Australian Newspapers Collection – Search two of the most influential Australian newspaper: The Age (1854-2000) and the Sydney Morning Herald (1831-2000).
  • State Library of NSW has a comprehensive range of historical newspapers printed in Britain.

Link to family history databases

Join the family history research group

Individuals in the group work at their own pace in researching their family history, ancestors and genealogical goals. The group has been going strong for over 15 years and help each other by way of discussions, knowledge, and skill sharing.

Our Community History staff member is also available during these sessions to guide and help with tracing your genealogy / family history.

All are welcome to join.  It is preferrable to be computer literate, able to search the web and have an active email address. You will also need to bring your work and have knowledge or records of dates and events of your ancestors like birth, marriage, and death.

During these sessions the library provides tablets and access to genealogy / family history databases like My Heritage Database, Ancestry and other web resources.

Ashfield Library
Level 3, Ashfield Civic Centre
260 Liverpool Road, Ashfield.

February to November, second Tuesday of the month, 10am-12pm.  

No bookings required. View the calendar.

Tips for tracing your family

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

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.

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

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.

IHR NSW Family History Documents - You can become a member of IHR or pays as you go. documents available include land records, electoral rolls, school lists and mining and agricultural records.

Coraweb – 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.

NSW Family History Transcriptions Service

My Ancestors - free Australian genealogy records

New South Wales, Australia Online Genealogy Records • FamilySearch

Australian Maps-MAPCO

Find & Connect - people who grew up in orphanages, children’s homes, institutions and foster homes in NSW from the 1920s to the 1990s.

Australian Medical Pioneer Index - Colonial doctors to 1875.

Illustrated Sydney News

Top 100 Genealogy Sites

Home page |


Female migration to Australia in the 1830s

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

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

Pure Merinos & lists of the Australian Agricultural Company Shipping Lists

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

Fellowship of First Fleeters January 1788.

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Page last updated: 26 Mar 2024