Research A-Z

Browse the alphabetical list of research topics. This list includes guides, indexes and stories. Looking for the list of searchable indexes? Please visit the Online Indexes »
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W


Aboriginal People

We've listed resources to help you access archives relating to Aboriginal people.

Access Directions

Follow this quick link to the Register of Access Directions - a listing of records that are open or closed to public access under the State Records Act 1998. 

Access to the Records

This covers a variety of topics including information on open and closed periods and where copies of our records are held.


see Care Leavers


The NSW Anzac Centenary website highlights records from the State archives relating to key events and historical themes associated with NSW and World War I.

Architecture and Design

Records from the Colonial (Government) Architect; photos of public buildings in NSW, hospital buildings records relating to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.

Archives in Brief

The online versions of Archives in Brief have been replaced by Research A-Z.

Archives Resources Kit (ARK)

The ARK is held by 40 community access points across NSW and consists of microfilm copies of our most popular and heavily used colonial records.

Assisted Immigrants

see Immigration and Shipping


Inmate records for the Infirm and Destitute Asylums and where to find them


Bankruptcy and Insolvency

Insolvency - inability to satisfy creditors or discharge liabilities. Bankruptcy - similar but also involves the sequestration of a person's assets when they are unable to meet the demands of creditors.


Please visit the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages website for copies of birth, death and marriage certificates registered in NSW and NSW historical BDM indexes.

Bench of Magistrates

see Courts

Blue Books

Statistical returns of the Colony of New South Wales.

Botanic Gardens

see Royal Botanic Gardens

Botanic Gardens employees

see Professions and Occupations

Bubonic Plague

A record of the Bubonic Plague that hit in Sydney of the early 20th century


Business and Company Records

Registers of Firms, 1903-1922


Cabinet documents

Public release of NSW Cabinet Papers

Cafes and Restaurants

As the rail system expanded across the State during the 19th century the provision and availability of refreshments became an essential part of travelling by train.

Care Leavers

Records relating to orphans, foster care, adoption and other out-of-home care.

Cemeteries and Burials

At the first establishment of the colony for a long time no piece of ground was set apart for a Burial place.

Census and Musters

Population muster and census records, 1788-1901.

Child Care and Protection

Records and indexes relating to child care and protection; child / youth migration from the UK; Randwick Asylum; Scheyville Training Farm.

Citing and Publishing

Information on how to request permission to publish and how to cite records accurately.

Coat of Arms

see Heraldry

Colonial Secretary

The correspondence of the Colonial Secretary is one of the most valuable sources of information on all aspects of the history of the Colony and the State of NSW.

Conditional Purchase

The Conditional Purchase scheme, also known as 'free selection before survey', ran from 1862 to 1951.

Conservation and Preservation

Conservation treatments and tips, including caring for your family photos


How do you know if there was a convict in your family? Find out where to start your research

Copies of Archives

see Access to the Records

Copy Service

Most copy services are provided in-house. See the fees and guarantees on our copy services.


Find out how copyright affects your use of State archives

Coronial Inquiries

see Inquests


see Local Government


Civil and criminal court records; Court of Claims; Quarter Sessions; Supreme Court.


In general there are few records relating to crew until 1854. Research into these records can often be difficult.

Crown Land


Digital Galleries

We are migrating our online galleries to the new Magazine section. Those still to be migrated may be accessed at

Digital Shipping Lists

Browse through digital shipping lists from 1828-1896


Sources in our collection that relate to divorce and procedures for accessing Divorce Case Papers.



see Donating records


Family History

It is always easier to work from the present to the past when tracing your family history. Find out more in our Guide for Family Historians.

Female Factory

A brief historical overview of the Female Factory and a list of the main record series. 


see Videos

Fires and Fire Brigades

A brief overview of the major sources in our collection that relate to fires.

First Fleet

In our collection are Australia’s earliest convict records dating back to the First Fleet in 1788.

Foster Care

see Care Leavers



Getting Started

Find out where to start your online research using the NSW State archives and how to prepare for a visit to the reading room.

Government Architect

see Architecture and Design

Government Asylums

see AsylumsHealth

Government Domains employees

see Professions and Occupations

Government Gazettes

see Government Publications


Guarantees of Service

see Services



Tips for reading and interpreting handwritten archival documents.


Hyde Park Barracks

see Convicts


Immigration and Shipping

Find the key records and indexes for passengers 1788-1922.


Search for people and places across a variety of topics...

Infirm and Destitute Asylums

see Asylums


Inquests are conducted by coroners and are held to investigate the manner and cause of death, fires.


see Bankruptcy and Insolvency



Take a break and puzzle your way into the archives



Liverpool State Hospital

see Asylums

Local History

We have number of resources to help you trace the history of a place (rather than focusing on individuals).


Maps and Plans

Government Architect, Surveyors, Land Grants, Crown Land, Conditional Purchase.

Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage

see Water BoardMaps and Plans


see Goldmining

Moreton Bay

The Moreton Bay penal colony operated from 1824 to 1842 as another place of secondary punishment for convicts who committed serious offences. In 1842 it was declared open for free settlement. It became the city of Brisbane.


see Census and Musters


Name Change

see Change of Name

Naturalization and Denization

Naturalization records are a good source of information for tracing details of an immigrant's arrival and native place. Our guide lists the key records in our collection relating to naturalization, 1834-1903.

New Zealand

A look at the relationship between New South Wales and New Zealand from the early 1800s to Federation.



see Sydney Observatory

On This Day

What happened #OnThisDay in history? Browse through the history of New South Wales and the State archives day by day, month by month.


Passenger Lists

see Immigration and Shipping


see Chemists and Pharmacists


Photographic highlights in the collection.


see Bubonic Plague

Police Gazettes

see Government Publications

Population Statistics

see Census and Musters

Prisons and Prisoners

see Gaols

Probates and Wills

Records in a Probate packet include the last will and testament.

Public Buildings

see Architecture and Design

Public Halls

see Theatres and Public Halls

Publishing State Archives

see Citing and Publishing



see Bubonic Plague


Railways and Railway Workers

Access railway records, including employment, locomotives, photos, plans.

Reader's Ticket

A reader's ticket is required to view original (uncopied) records in the reading room.

Reading Room

Your responsibilities when using our facilities and how to handle original (uncopied) State archives

Record Series List

Follow this tag for item lists of selected record series. 

Regional Archives Centres

A network of Regional Archives Centres, located in host institutions in Armidale, Broken Hill, Newcastle, Wagga Wagga, Wingecarribee and Wollongong provide access to State archives of regional significance and to copies of key State archives.


Photos from the Department of Main Roads: New South Wales, Norfolk Island aerodrome construction, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Listing records that document the activities and development of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney from 1816 onwards



Education in NSW 1788-c.1979 plus the main records, indexes, photos, teachers.

Ships' Musters

Available at the Society of Australian Genealogists - this series (NRS 1289) lists both passengers and crew departing from Sydney.

Short Guides

The online versions of Short Guides have been replaced by Research A-Z.

Special Bundles

Special Bundles contain correspondence and papers on particular matters or subjects which because of their significance or the quantity of correspondence generated were usually extracted from an agency's main correspondence series and treated separately. 

State Wards

see Care Leavers


We are connecting related stories to our research guides. Read stories as you browse the guides and indexes or see all stories here.


see Surveyor General


Taronga Zoo


See also the LINC Tasmania (formerly Archives Office of Tasmania) website for the Tasmanian Names Index.


During the 18th Century, as prisoner numbers rose and gaols became overcroweded, the British considered transportation overseas to be the best solution to the problem.



Search the Index to Unemployed in Sydney, 1866.


Van Diemen's Land

see Tasmania

Vessels Arriving

see Immigration and Shipping


Watch films from the collection, interviews with NSW State Archives staff, 'moving images' and more


Opening hours, directions and information to get started with your research


Water Board

Detail Sheets created by the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board (MWS&DB) c.1904-1945 and how to access them.


Our program of free webinars focuses on the wonderful resources of the State archives collection and how to access them

Women in the records

Highlighting several areas, or 'gateways', for researching on women in the State archives.