This Guide highlights the key records and available indexes, relating to passengers arriving in New South Wales, 1788-1922. While most of the records relate to passengers disembarking in Sydney, records of arrivals in other ports are also included. Records relating to departures are also listed.
Remember, it is always easier to work from the present to the past when tracing your family history. A good place to start is with yourself: write down your date of birth and then other important dates such when you were married and when your children were born. Continue recording this basic information working back through the generations, your parents, grandparents, great grandparents...
Between 1788 and 1842 about 80,000 convicts were transported to New South Wales. Of these, approximately 85% were men and 15% were women. Almost two thirds of convicts were English (along with a small number of Scottish and Welsh), with the Irish making up the remaining one third. Convicts were usually given sentences of transportation for seven, 14 years or life. Some convicts in the 1830s received ten-year sentences. About one quarter of the convicts were sentenced to 'the term of their natural lives', and a proportion of these had reprieves from the death sentence.
Colour digitised images of early convict indents are available for the first time through 'Sentenced beyond the seas' - a project to digitise and index Australia's early convict records.
Photographs have filtered into every aspect of our lives. There can be few people today who have not posed for a family snap shot or reminisced over holiday photos from years ago. The use of photography spans the recording of important moments in history to the more commonplace tasks of insurance and identification records. So important have they become that it is difficult to conceive of a passport without one.
A grant of probate is the authority given by the Supreme Court NSW to the executor(s) to deal with a deceased person's estate. The will in the Probate packet is considered by the Court to be the only legal document. Records in a Probate packet include: the last will and testament codicils (additions or revocations to the will) letters of administration. Other documents may include: inventory of assets of the estate; affidavits of death and copy of the death certificate; oath of office of the executor; affidavits sworn by the executor; executor's petition for probate; affidavits of attesting witnesses; notices of motion for administration; any application or lodgement documents including notice of motion for probate and address for service; orders relating to the filing of accounts;or renunciation of probate by executor.
A brief overview of the major sources in our collection that relate to divorce and procedures for accessing Divorce Case Papers (Open to Public Access after 30 years).
A guide for researchers who may have difficulty tracing individuals because they changed their name. It outlines some of the reasons for changes of name and, if the change of name has been registered, suggests where evidence of the name change may be found.
Electoral rolls can provide valuable information, indicating where a person lived over a period of time.
In these days of Web 2.0 and the use of high tech tools and databases which can answer research queries in an instant, the challenge presented by reading and interpreting handwritten archival documents often comes as a surprise to first time researchers. In fact interpreting old handwriting can be a laborious and time consuming task for even the most experienced.