Family 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 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.

Find My Past

This genealogy research tool is available within the library only. Research your family history online and create your family tree using birth, marriage and death indexes, census returns and many more historical resources. View images and maps of where your ancestors lived, or find out what your ancestors did for a living. Find My Past provides access to millions of family and local history records for Australian, New Zealand, Ireland, the UK and America. Visit the Find my Past 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

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.

World-Wide Genealogy Resources

An invaluable research tool for Australian amateur genealogists with more than 400 links connecting you to information from other countries.

Family Search Internet Genealogy Service

This Mormon site provides links to other sites as well as access to their catalogue with search options by place and surname.

Cyndi's List

This registry holds information dating back to 1848. There is also a limited range of Maori indexes available.  

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Page last updated: 19 Sep 2019