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Research topics

An A-Z subject list to find your way into our collection. This is a work in progress.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | L | M | NP | R | S | W


Aboriginal people - bringing together all our resources that can help you identify, access and use State archives that relate to Indigenous people.
Architecture - architecture, building and design of public buildings. Includes resources from the Government Architect, Public Works, Maritime Services Board, maps/plans, photos and more.
Asylum/mental hospital records - how to find out if an ancestor was in an asylum or mental hospital, which hospitals we hold records for, what time periods these cover and how to obtain permission to access them.


Bankruptcy and Insolvency - this fact sheet includes definitions of bankruptcy and insolvency, and list the records and available indexes
Births, deaths and marriages - sources that can provide valuable details on baptisms, deaths and marriages 
Note: visit the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for BDM indexes


Census records - this guide lists census records in our collection and available indexes
Child welfare - indexes relating to education and child welfare
Colonial Secretary - one of the most valuable sources of information on all aspects of the history of the Colony and the State of New South Wales.
Convicts - how do you know if there was a convict in your family? Find out where to start and how to dig further into the records, including: trial and transportation records, penal settlements, emancipation, and families of convicts.

- see Sentenced beyond the Seas - a project to digitise and index Australia's earliest convict records, 1788-1801.
Court records - civil and criminal indexes


Death records - cemeteries, deceased estates, inquests, intestate files, probate (wills)
Divorce - this fact sheet includes related records and indexes and how to order photocopies of the divorce case papers




Family history - how to start your family history; downloadable worksheets, and; tips for researching.
Firefighters - this fact sheet includes related records


Gaol and prison records - mugshots; name indexes; what types of records are available and the time periods they cover; prison staff records.
Gold mining


Hospitals - see above Asylum and mental hospital records
Hotels - this fact sheet includes related records and indexes


Immigration & multicultural records - have you come to the end of the line of family members born here? Find arrivals to Australia, how people arrived (ie., free arrivals - assisted, unassisted; crew, convict, military), where to search for passenger arrivals, plus a handy worksheet to help you keep track of your research, including immigration records.
Indigenous Australians - see above Aboriginal people
Insolvency - see above Bankruptcy


Land records - early land records including: parish maps; Surveyor General cartographic records; conditional purchase; primary application packets; house and property; soldier settlement, and; information about PIXEL - online access to a number of historical land title records such as Old Form Torrens Title Registers, Charting Maps and Crown Plans online.
Local history - case study of Dalgety showing examples of what records you may find in the State archives and which sources to check.


Military - see below War


Naturalisation - this fact sheet includes related records and indexes
New Zealand - did you know that New Zealand was once a part of the colony of New South Wales? This page looks at the relationship between New South Wales and New Zealand from the early 1800s to Federation.
Nurses - this fact sheet includes related records and indexes


Police service - this fact sheet includes related records and indexes
Publicans - this fact sheet includes related records and indexes


Railway workers - how to find out if your ancestor worked on the railways; online indexes you can search, and; a list of railway records in our collection. Also read details about the General Railway Strike in 1917 and view examples of the Railway Personal History cards.


School records
School teachers - this fact sheet includes related records and indexes
Shipping - see above Immigration


War - from the Sudan and Boer Wars to the ANZAC spirit in World War I and the bombing of Darwin in World War II we hold a variety of records relating to the military.
Women - this information page highlights several areas, or 'gateways', for researching women in the State archives. Subjects include: Aboriginal women and children; women in the workplace and at home; women's advocacy, and; a gallery of well-known and notorious women as featured in our collection.