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Family history service at the State Library of South Australia: Home

Our Service and Collection

The State Library Family History Collection specialises in South Australian resources. It is strong in material relating to England, Ireland and includes a selection of interstate and overseas resources.

The service and collection is located in Spence Wing on Level 1.

A staff member is stationed in the area weekdays from 10am to 5pm during Library opening hours. Outside these times, assistance is available at the Information Desk.

Our Ask Us service can provide assistance for those unable to get to the Library.

Staff are able to get you started by showing you how to use the resources and can refer you to professional services for more extensive personalised research.


You can access many of our eResources from home, if you are a South Australian resident. You just need to register for a State Library card. Please note that eResources such as Ancestry Library Edition and Findmypast can only be accessed while at the Library.

If you are not a South Australian resident, you may access the complete eResources collection while at the Library.

Events: Genealogy Gems 2017

Free family history lectures held on the third Thursday of each month from March to November* between 1 to 2pm.  Held in the Hetzel Theatre, located in the Institute Building on the corner of Kintore Avenue and North Terrace. Due to demand booking is essential.

Book online and find out more here.

*Except for May, which will be on the second Thursday.

Library Guides - Getting Started

The guides below are a great starting point for researching family history, learn how to organise information, record sources and find answers to frequently asked questions.

Library Guides - Top Three

Most family trees start out as a collection of names and dates.  Then we flesh them out with additional information such as immigration details, maybe war service information or what house, street or suburb an ancestor lived in.  The guides listed on this page have been compiled to help assist you in this quest.  They point you towards information sources held at the State Library; link you to other organisations that may have further information and websites that may be of interest. 

Library Guides - More Useful Topics

The State Library has, and is continuing to produce guides that highlight resources in the collection on various subjects.  Below are some of our most used Library Guides, to view a complete listings of all our family history related Library Guides click here.

From our photographic collection

Two little girls c. 1893. (Hawkes family album, B 72257/4)

Quick Links

New to the family history collection


Family Secrets

Have you discovered secrets kept by past generations in your family history research? A researcher from the University of Melbourne is seeking volunteers for an online survey. The project, “Family Secrets, National Silences: A Sociological Study of Intergenerational Storytelling”, aims to better understand the social role of family secrets and the impact of social policies on families over time. The survey consists of 7 questions and will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.  To participate please fill out the survey at:

For more information please contact the researcher Dr Ashley Barnwell