The individual letters in the Main Series of Letters Received are numerically arranged by registration number (which basically is an annual running number) in the years 1826-1832 and 1850-1982. Between 1833 and 1849 the in-letters are arranged in writer/subject bundles (usually according to the last person who wrote on the matter).
- Record series in the index: NRS 905
- Entries in the index: 7600+
A note about the index
'Keywords' search: typing a word, part of a word, or phrase will search the entire database for that word or phrase in the following fields: 'Title', 'Place', 'Minister', 'Church' and 'Remarks' fields. Item, reel and registration numbers are not part of this search.
'From/to' search: To search for a year or for a range of years change the 'from' and 'to' fields: for example to search for 1827 only type 1827 into both of these fields; to search for 1830-39 type 1830 into the 'from' field and 1839 into the 'to' field.
As the database is fairly large it is suggested that, if feasible, the range of years be limited to a period of interest.
'Title', 'Place', 'Minister' and 'Church': Select from the drop down menus.
These fields are derived from the titles of various bundles of in-letters. The titles have been manipulated, amended and simplified to facilitate their searching. Occasionally, the final component of the title is in the 'Remarks' column of the database, for example Water Police.
The bulk of the Titled bundles are in the 1833-49 period when the in-letters are arranged this way. Other titled bundles (such as Despatches, Minutes, Miscellaneous), exist from 1826 until the 1920s.
The year 'from/to' fields can be used with any one of the above to limit the search to a particular period.
For most 'Items' in the database a range of registration numbers is provided. This does not mean that all of the numbers in between will be found in that 'Item'. The paper Skeleton Register covering 1826 to 1849 — available in the reading room — notes the location of individual letters as they have been found and should be consulted for this period. Generally, earlier letters on a particular subject are located with the last letter on the subject.
- Titles: For notes on standard bundle titles see Notes on Bundle Titles and Notations in Registers
If you can provide a full reference to correspondence in the Main Series, including a letter number and a container number we can provide photocopies of records for a fee. An example of a full reference is letter number 89/5470 in container [5/5933].
The Main Series is partly indexed by the Joan Reese Index to Convicts (and others), 1826-1894, which is available for searching on microfiche in our reading room and at other research institutions such as the State Library of NSW. Photocopies of entries in the index can be ordered online here, or via the Colonial Secretary copy order form, as part of our Copy Order Service.