Find and Connect was established to help Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants understand more about their past and about the historical context of child welfare in Australia. We assist people who spent time in an orphanage or children’s home in Australia and their immediate families. Unfortunately we cannot assist with your family history research.

If you or your immediate family member were not in care and you are researching your family history the following information may be helpful to you, however you are ineligible for any assistance from Find & Connect and we are unable to directly respond to general family history requests.

How to do your own Family History Research

Collate anything known about the person in care (names, places, dates etc) and then try to fill in the gaps and create a chronology. Create family tree by hand or using an online family tree maker. 

The National Archives of Australia holds records created by the Commonwealth government related to aboriginal affairs, immigration (including child migrants), military service and records related to the Northern Territory while it was under Commonwealth control. There are branches of the NAA in each state and territory. 

The State Library in your capital city is another place  to get help and advice about family history research and family tracing. Most State Libraries have a genealogy (family history) centre. At the State Library, you can get free access to websites like Ancestry.com, and search resources like Police Gazettes, post office directories, immigration and shipping records and a range of family history indexes.

The National Library of Australia in Canberra (NLA) holds records of national significance, including large manuscript, photographic and oral history collections. The latter includes interviews from the Bringing Them Home Oral History Project and the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants Oral History Project. Trove ((LINK))  is a website managed by the National Library of Australia that brings together searchable content from libraries, museums, archives and other research organisations. For a list of newspapers available online on Trove, see About Digitised Newspapers and more.

Each state/territory has a Registrar of BDM. Some sites allow for historical searching with information about availability, restrictions and how to apply for records. 

Other places to search for BDM information include:

 Cemetery and Burial Records

Two useful sites to find cemetery records and burial places are:

Lone graves and unregistered deaths have been indexed in a number of states/territories. Search for these and other indexes via local genealogical societies or websites run by professional genealogists/historians. Also use newspaper family notices. Think laterally – information about a death or funeral in a newspaper can lead you to the Funeral Director, cemetery, burial place and family members.

Other useful resources

  • Genealogical Societies & Historical Societies – online databases, library resources and valuable advice
  • Directories – commercially published volumes listing primary occupant of residences and businesses – useful for locating where people lived and who their neighbours were
  • Electoral Rolls – current Commonwealth and state rolls are searchable online at electoral offices. Past rolls in hard copy or on microfiche are accessible in state libraries Land Titles records offices – for researching house and land ownership
  • Council Archives – assessment books, local government records, maps, plans, photos, oral histories
  • Government and Police Gazettes – information about government institutions, Acts and Regulations, employees, criminal activities, absconding, inquests, missing persons
  • School Records – admission records, yearbooks, newsletters, photographs
  • Church and Parish Records – baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials, church newsletters, photos
  • Noel Butlin Archives – pastoral, business and association records

Researching Aboriginal Family History

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in Canberra holds a unique collection of records including film, photographs, video and audio recordings and the world’s largest compilation of printed materials and other resources relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The collection can be searched online via the online search engine Mura. AIATSIS also provides excellent family history searching fact sheets on their website: http://aiatsis.gov.au/research/finding-your-family

The Archives of the South Australian Museum holds a wide range of records valuable for genealogical searching for people with Aboriginal of Torres Strait Islander heritage. The Museum holds the Tindale collection which includes genealogies, information cards, photographs, maps and other information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia.

Paid Subscription Family Searching

Many libraries allow free access to subscription sites. Ancestry – popular family searching website and family tree maker.