Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

Some material may contain terms that reflect authors’ views, or those of the period in which the item was written or recorded, but may not be considered appropriate today. These views are not necessarily the views of AIATSIS. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in an historical context.

Before you start

Before you start is a set of information sheets that you might find useful to read before you start your Indigenous family history research.

  • Stolen Generations: Link-Up family tracing and reunion services for Stolen Generations
  • Proof of Aboriginality: family history research and proving your Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage
  • Understanding the challenges: locating historical records, dealing with distressing material, and being sure that you have the right information
  • Indigenous names: things to know about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander names in the past
  • Thinking about place: the importance of place in Indigenous family history research
  • Researching one ancestor: family history research usually starts with you and works back, but you may wish to skip back and research one particular ancestor
  • Past caring: a paper about the barriers to doing Indigenous family history research (2002)
Last reviewed: 17 Jan 2017

AIATSIS acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, culture and community.

We pay our respects to elders past and present.

Before you start | Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies


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