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Australia family history records

21 Australian family record collections you may have overlooked

Aussie ancestors? Use these resources to trace their amazing life stories.

For a relatively young country, Australia has an incredibly rich and colourful history, and its family records can provide amazing detail into how your own family lived and what life was like down under generations ago.

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We've put together a handy guide to finding your Australian ancestors in our records. As well as the basic building blocks of birth, death and marriage (BDM) records, we've also taken a look at a collection or two you may be less familiar with.

Records of life events from Australia

BDM records are crucial for anyone starting their family history journey. Search our Australia, Births and Baptisms, 1792-1981, Australia, Marriages, 1788-1935, and Australia Deaths and Burials, 1816-1980 records to get started with your research.

Australian census records

Census records should be your second port of call. Our collections include the first Australian Census, News South Wales, 1828 Census Householders' Returns. In it, you can find both settlers and convicts, with biographical information such as their religion and the number of cattle they owned. You can also search the Northern Territory Census dating from 1881 to 1921 and the 1841 South Australia Census.

Immigration records into Australia

The ultimate resource for Australian emigrants, the Passenger Lists leaving UK 1890-1960 provide details of anyone leaving to find a new life down under.

The records reveal who travelled, the name of the ship they went on, where they left from and arrived into - all vital pieces of information for taking your research further.

Australian crime and convict records

If your relatives dabbled in criminal behaviour, you might just find them in the Victoria Prison Registers, which can give you details of their crimes and sentencing, as well as various biographical details. You might even come across their mugshot.

Ned Kelly's mugshot

Ned Kelly's mugshout in our Victoria Prison Registers. View the full record.

While only a small percentage of the records are those of convicts, the England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935 records can help you find huge amounts of information on the court cases and sentencing of your convict ancestors.

Due to the circumstances that surrounded the arrival of most newcomers to Australia from British colonies, crime-related records are a fantastic resource for tracing Australian ancestors. Containing over 188,000 records, Australia Convict ships 1786-1849 is one of the best sets. It dates back to the ships of the First Fleet and includes the details of some of the earliest convict settlers in New South Wales. As well as that, there are other unique convict records filled with incredible details, such as the conditional and absolute pardons and applications to marry.

Records from the Australian military

At Findmypast, you'll find an extensive collection of Australian military records, perfect for tracing Anzac ancestors. It includes the WW2 Missing and Prisoners of War and Australian Imperial Force Nominal Roll 1914-1918. It's worth remembering a lot of Australian soldiers also appear in our other world records, such as the Prisoners of War collection.

Historical Australian directories and social history records

Sometimes, the best things come in small packages and this can certainly be said for some of our Australian social history records. With everything from Letters from Victorian Pioneers and the incredibly detailed Aldine History of Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, to pastoral directories and almanacs, a quick look through the records can give you an incredible insight into what life was like throughout Australia's history.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our Australian family records collection. Take a look at what else is available - there's just so much that can help you piece together your Aussie family story. We'd love to hear about your discoveries. Share them with us on social media by tagging @findmypast.