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NSW First Nations Family History Research Guide

Tracing your family history and don't know where to start? Use this guide to find key family history resources for Aboriginal Australians.

Research guide

Where do I begin?

Oral traditions in First Nations cultures are very strong so if you can, yarn with family members to gather as much information as possible.

Download this family history template to record details that will guide your research. 

Download the template

The Library is a treasure trove of information relating to researching family history. Check the resources page to help you find records for your family history journey. These are often the same records used by other Australians to research their family history. 

The Library’s reference librarians can get you started by showing you how to use the Library’s collections and resources, help you get a library card, and offer advice if you don’t know where to start. 

The Library is open to visitors every day, and all of the librarians are able to assist with your research.

Take care

This family history guide has been written by First Nations people for First Nations people. It may deal with the subject of family separations and intergenerational trauma. Ensure your cultural safety when doing First Nations family history research.

Getting started

Indigenous spaces- Support Indigenous people in the local area

Resources for First Nations family history

Find various resources ranging from government services to church records to help you start your family history journey.

Include and support indigenous employment across the library network

Books with First Nations family histories

You can find Aboriginal genealogies for people who lived in New South Wales in these books.

People holding photographs at a table

Looking after your records and photos

Your family history documents are an important part of your story and cultural heritage. How should you look after them?

Indigenous Engagement are here to help 

The Indigenous Engagement team comprises several First Nations staff members who can help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people fill in the gaps in their family tree when expert assistance is required. 

We can provide one hour of specialist research per query. 

Before you contact us, please have as much information ready as possible, for example:

  • a family tree, 
  • research notes or 
  • any family birth/ death/ marriage certificates. 

Use the template above to help organise your information.

You can email us at: 

If you would like to meet with a member of the Indigenous Engagement team in person, please email us at least a week before your visit to make an appointment so we can make sure somebody will be available to see you. 

If you do not identify as Indigenous, please look at this Guide to Researching Your Family History, and use the Ask A Librarian form to request help with your family history research. Enquiries will still be forwarded to our branch if our expertise is required. 


Bright artwork of a fruitful vine on black background by Aboriginal artist Melle Smith-Haimona to represent the Koori Kin service and Aboriginal family connections
Artwork by Melle Smith-Haimona, 2022

Selected resources

The Tindale Genealogies

A good resource if your family is connected to Boggabilla, Brewarrina, Cummeragunja, Kempsey, Menindee, Pilliga, Walgett, Wallaga Lake or Woodenbong.

A number of magazines on a table. A hand is browsing the pages

Australian Indigenous index

The Australian Indigenous Index, or INFOKOORI, is an index from May 1991 to July 2016 to the Koori Mail. It is also indexes biographical information from magazines including: Our Aim (1907-1961), Dawn (1952-1969), New Dawn (1970-1975) and Identity (1971-1982).

  • Resource
Issues of the Koori Mail

Koori Mail

An independently owned Aboriginal newspaper reporting political, social and cultural issues and events by or about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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Eight Days in Kamay

On 29 April 1770, the Gweagal people of Kamay discovered James Cook and his crew as they sailed into the bay and came ashore. The eight days that followed changed the course of Australia’s history.

Smiling portrait of an old woman holding a model of the Sydney Harbour Bridge covered in shells.

Sydney Elders

Four Sydney elders — Uncle Chicka, Aunty Esme, Aunty Sandra and Uncle Dennis — tell very personal stories of Aboriginal Sydney.

Pop and Me

My Weekend with Pop

My Weekend with Pop is an online storybook written and spoken in five Aboriginal languages from across NSW.


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Image credit

Penny Evans is a Gamilaroi artist living and working on Bundjalung country. This is a page from her 2013 work ‘Mapping genealogy’, an artists' book held in the Mitchell Library that uses collage and sewing to chart her family history/genealogy and explore identity as it relates to place and spirit (Begerang NSW, near Mungundi. (Call number: HF 2016/14)