Organisations in each state and territory can help with your Indigenous family history research. There are also a number of national organisations and non-government websites that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family history.
- Libraries hold a range of material that is useful for family history, including books, indexes and original manuscripts. Many larger libraries have special family history librarians who can help you with your research. Some libraries have online research guides to help you understand their collections.
- Archives hold original records, created by government agencies, private organisations or individuals. Archives are different from libraries, and you will need help from an archivist to locate and access records.
- Indigenous family history services are provided by state and territory governments to assist you in accessing records and personal information about your and your ancestors held in government archives.
- Link-Up organisations provide services to members of the Stolen Generations, their families, and foster and adoptive families. These include researching family and personal records, finding family members and support and counselling.
- Organisations for adoptees and care leavers (and their families) can help you find information about your personal and family history and connect you with family. They also provide counselling and support services.
- Family history community projects and organisations offer practical help in researching your family history. Some are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander focused. They may have library collections, computers, access to resources and provide training courses and workshops.
Before you contact them
Try to collect and organise as much information as you can before approaching organisations for help. They will need names, dates and places in order to help you with your research.
See Family history sources for information about the kind of information you might find.
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)
The AIATSIS Family History Unit can help people researching their Indigenous family history. The AIATSIS Finding Your Family website is an online resource with a focus on helping people to learn how to do Indigenous family history research. AIATSIS offers an Australia-wide service. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Biographical Index enables you to do an online name search of some of the material in the collection. AIATSIS cannot compile family trees or help you to confirm Aboriginality.
51 Lawson Crescent, Acton ACT 2601
GPO Box 553, Canberra ACT 2601
Ph: 02 6246 1111
Freecall: 1 800 352 553
Fax: 02 6261 4285
LINC Tasmania is the name of the organisation which brings together the State Library of Tasmania, Archives Office of Tasmania, Adult Education and Tasmanian Communities Online. It provides library services, research and information services, adult literacy support, community learning, online access, and archive and heritage services. The Hobart Reading Room is the base for LINC Tasmania’s reference services. Staff from the Tasmanian Information and Research Service can provide personal help with family history research. LINC Tasmania also operates at 69 locations around the state.
2nd Floor, 91 Murray Street, Hobart TAS 7000
Ph: 03 6165 5538
Online form: http://sltas.altarama.com/reft100.aspx?key=Research
Web: www.linc.tas.gov.au/archive-heritage/guides-records/Pages/Aboriginal.aspx (Aboriginal family history)
Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
Registration of births, deaths and marriages commenced in 1839 in Tasmania, the first Australian colony to take over the function previously conducted by the churches. The registry holds church records (burials, baptisms and marriages) from 1803 to 1839, and birth, death and marriage registrations from 1839 to the present day.
The Tasmanian Names Index provides access to historical Tasmanian birth, death and marriage records online. The cost of BDM records varies from state to state but is normally $30 to $50 per certificate.
Apply in person for birth, death and marriage certificates at Service Tasmania shops around the state.
GPO Box 198, Hobart TAS 7001
Free call: 1300 135 513
Ph: 03 616 53457
Fax: 03 6233 6444
http://linctas.ent.sirsidynix.net.au/client/en_AU/names/ (Tasmanian Name Index)
Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre
Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre represents the political and community development aspirations of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. Its programs include counselling services, including for people separated from their families and communities.
198 Elizabeth Street, Hobart TAS 7001
GPO Box 569, Hobart TAS 7001
Ph: 03 6234 0700
Fax: 03 6234 0799
182 Charles Street, Launceston TAS 7250
PO Box 531, Launceston TAS 7250
Ph: 03 6332 3800
Fax: 03 6332 3899
53 Alexander Street, Burnie TAS 7320
PO Box 536, Burnie TAS 7320
Ph: 03 6431 3289
Fax: 03 6431 8363
Find & Connect Support Services Tasmania
The Find & Connect Support Service in Tasmania helps Forgotten Australians and former child migrants to trace their history and understand the reason they were placed into care, reconnect with family where possible and to access counselling and other supports.
National Archives of Australia (Hobart)
The National Archives of Australia holds federal government records, including many about Indigenous Australians (mostly people from Victoria and the Northern Territory). The archives has offices around Australia. Records about Tasmania are mostly held in Hobart and Canberra. The Bringing Them Home name index can help you find information about Indigenous family members in National Archives records.
91 Murray Street, Hobart TAS 7000
GPO Box 309, Hobart TAS 7001
Ph: 03 6165 5607
Fax: 03 6233 7902
Web: www.naa.gov.au/collection/a-z/aboriginal-people (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people)
www.naa.gov.au/collection/family-history (Family history)
National Library of Australia
The National Library collects and makes available material of national significance about Australia and Australians. It holds books, manuscripts, newspapers, photographs and oral histories that could be useful in researching your family – much of this is available online through Trove. The library has a family history collection and staff you can help you to locate material.
Parkes Place, Canberra ACT 2600
Ph: 02 6262 1111
Fax: 02 6257 1703
Ask a Librarian (online contact form): www.nla.gov.au/askalibrarian
Australian War Memorial
Indigenous people have served in every military conflict that Australia has been involved in since the Boer War (1899-1902). Military records are a rich source of information about the men and women who served in the armed forces, and sometimes their family members.
Treloar Crescent, Campbell ACT 2612
Ph: 02 6243 4211
Fax: (02) 6243 4325
Indigenous Australian servicemen: www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/aborigines/indigenous/
People, profiles and biographies: www.awm.gov.au/people/profiles/ (940 Indigenous service persons)
Research guides for Indigenous family history
Research guides provide comprehensive information for people doing family history research. They often include an outline of the history of colonisation and Aboriginal protection/welfare legislation, linking these to the records that were created about Indigenous people.
Books published by AIATSIS
- Penny Taylor, Telling it like it is: A guide to making Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, AIATSIS, 1992
- Diane Smith and Boronia Halstead, Lookin for your mob: A guide to tracing Aboriginal family trees, Aboriginal Studies Press, 1990.
- Documenting Tasmanian Aboriginal descent – LINC Tasmania: www.linc.tas.gov.au/family-history/Pages/Aboriginal-ancestry.aspx
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – National Archives of Australia: www.naa.gov.au/collection/a-z/aboriginal-people.aspx
- Centre for Indigenous Family History Studies (CIFHS) – a name searchable archive of some government documents relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The site is updated with new records continuously. Some of the documents contain offensive language. www.cifhs.com
General family history organisations
Family history groups, local history societies and local libraries
Local family history groups, local history societies and local libraries are valuable sources of information and resources. They can put you in contact with people with a good knowledge of the local history of a town or area that you are interested in. Many also have local studies collections with books, newspapers, family histories, photographs and manuscripts.
Find local libraries
You can use Australian Libraries Gateway – Find a Library to locate libraries in Tasmania with family history and local history collections. Under location select ‘TAS’ and under library type select ‘Local/Family history’. You can also browse using the map.
Tasmanian Family History Society
The Tasmanian Family History Society promotes family history research through education, preservation and transcribing of relevant records. It provides reference libraries and associated learning opportunities around the state. Branches are located in Hobart, Burnie, Huon, Launceston and Mersey.
Family history research websites
- CoraWeb: a comprehensive, categorised and cross-referenced list of links and useful advice about tracing your family history (Australia)
- Ancestry – Help & Advice: general family history advice, as well as information about using Ancestry’s paid services (Australia)
- Cyndi’s List: a comprehensive, categorised and cross-referenced list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online (USA)
- FamilySearch Learning Center: articles and short online courses put together by the largest genealogical organisation in the world (USA)
Find family history and historical societies
- CoraWeb – Genealogy, Family History and Historical Societies: www.coraweb.com.au/categories/family-history-and-historical-societies
- Cape Banks Family History Society – Australian Family History Societies: www.capebanks.org.au/australian-family-history-societies/
Society of Australian Genealogists
The Society of Australian Genealogists helps people trace their family history, providing genealogy advice and running workshops and lectures. It has an excellent family history library and a manuscript collection in central Sydney.