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Due to essential maintenance, the Sign up for a Library card form will be unavailable between Wednesday, 30 November 5.30 pm and Thursday, 1 December 9.00 am (AEDT). We apologise for any inconvenience.

Researching your family history

Family history can reveal surprising, and sometimes moving stories that strengthen an individual's understanding of who they are.

Explore your family history using the Library’s diverse and extensive collections.

We have a dedicated family history area in the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room, where you will find family history records and resources, including electoral rolls, telephone books, newspapers and how-to handbooks. Librarians are available to help you get started with your research and to guide you through the Library’s collections.

If you are a resident of NSW and have an NSW State Library card, you can use some resources from home. 

We also regularly hold events to help with family history research. Check What’s on for upcoming events.

Events, research guides and resources

Births, deaths and marriages

Research, discover and learn about significant events of your ancestor’s life.

Convicts: Bound for Australia

Find information about a convict's crime, trial, sentence, and confinement in UK prisons or hulks before transportation.

Convicts: Life in the colony

Find information about a convict’s life after they arrived in the colony.

Shipping and passenger records

Search passenger records and delve deeper into the records of ships arriving in Australia

Family history eresources

Family history resources to help you find out more about your ancestry.  

HLRV Fundamentals

Get the most out of the Historical Land Records Viewer with these online videos

Get a Library card

With a Library card you can request books and other collection material to use in the Library, access eresources and book a study room.

Ask a Librarian

Need help with your research? Have a question that you can’t find the answer to? Ask a Librarian! We love to help!