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Researching your family history

Do you want to delve deeper into your family's past?

Explore your family history using the Library’s diverse and extensive collections. We will have something for you whether you're a veteran family historian or just starting out.

state library catalogue workshop

We have a dedicated family history area where you will find family history records and resources, including:

  • electoral rolls
  • genealogy handbooks
  • past newspapers.

Staff are also there to help you get started with your research and to guide you through the Library’s collections.

Search across the Library's collections to discover family history records available at the Library.

Can’t come to the Library? Check out the family history research guides we've developed or Ask a Librarian to get help with your family history research.


The family history area is in the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room.

Research guides

We’ve developed online research guides to help you with researching your family history and navigating the Library's collections. These guides include tips, strategies and key resources.

  • Aboriginal Australians family history
  • Births, deaths and marriages
  • Convicts: Bound for Australia
  • Convicts: Life in the colony
  • Shipping and Passenger records

We also have two getting started guides for a basic introduction to some family history material from the Library's collections.

Workshops and talks

We regularly run family history events where specialist staff introduce the Library's family history collections and teach techniques to preserve family records.

Each August we run a number of family history events to celebrate National Family History Month.

Check What’s on to find out about upcoming family history events.

Family history groups

We can deliver tailored programs for family history groups at the Library.

Contact us to talk about organising a program for your group.


The Library's eresources collection includes popular family history eresources such as:

You can access most eresources such as past newspapers from anywhere, anytime if you're a New South Wales resident. You just need a Library card or a registered NSW public library card. But some eresources such as Ancestry Library Edition and Findmypast can only be accessed while at the Library.

If you're not a resident of NSW, you can access the complete eresources collection at the Library.