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Researching family history in Australia is not as easy as it appears on the surface.  Records are not held in a central repository but held by the individual States.  This means that in order to search for Births, Deaths and Marriages – for example -  in Australia it is necessary to know the State where these occurred. 


Data Protection Regulations are much more stringent than in the UK.  Public access to Birth, Death and Marriage records is restricted and this restriction varies by State.


We have summarised some of the major details for each State – please click on the relevant State on the map above to be taken to the applicable page.


Sovereign Ancestry Lincolnshire -  Map of Australia Northern Territory New South Wales Western Australia Queensland Southern Austraila Victoria Tasmania


Parish Records:

Baptism, Marriage & Burial registers are held by the individual State Registries.  It must be noted however that some of the early parish registers have been lost creating gaps in these records.


Census Records:

Australia does not hold any Census records.  Due to Privacy Laws, they have all been destroyed after statistical analysis.  However there is an 1841 Census for NSW still in existence but it contains information on land holders only not the general population.


Convict Records:

Australia has its beginnings in its convict heritage.  Records relating to individual convicts and their administration are held in each of the individual State Archives.  To search for a convict it is necessary to know the State of arrival.  These records include indents, tickets of leave, certificates of freedom, permission to marry and Colonial Secretary’s correspondence.


Defence Records:

The National Archives holds service records for all military actions in which Australia was involved prior to 1945.


Electoral Rolls:

Electoral Rolls have been closed to public access from 2000 forward. To search prior to this, it is necessary to know an actual address as these are not alphabetised and are recorded under the individual States.


Sovereign Ancestry UK - Port Arthur Prison Tasmania


Immigration Records:

Indexes for immigrants arriving prior to 1901 are held in the individual State Archives.  Therefore, to avoid protracted research, it is necessary to know the port of arrival. 


These indexes are divided into 2 groups – Assisted Immigrants and Free Immigrants.  The latter are more difficult to locate with certainty as the immigrants are generally listed by surname only.


From 1 January 1901 forward all immigration records are held by the National Archives.


Miscellaneous Records:

All the other usual records are available on an individual States basis e.g., directories, newspapers, probates, cemeteries, schools etc.


Sovereign Ancestry UK -  Old Australia Map Sovereign Ancestry UK -  Old Australia Map Sovereign Ancestry UK -  Old Australia Map
Sovereign Ancestry UK -  Old Australia Map Sovereign Ancestry UK -  Old Australia Map Sovereign Ancestry UK -  Old Australia Map




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