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Aboriginal Family History: Home

The State Library of South Australia holds a wide cross section of information about South Australia and its people, some of which relates to Aboriginal people, but specific information regarding families can sometimes require broad research.

Finding Your Own Way

In July 2005 the State Library hosted the launching of the resource Finding your own way, SA Link-Up's 'self-help' guide to tracing Aboriginal families and individual histories. Compiled by historian Dr Karen George, and staff from State Records and SA Link-up, this resource contains details of the institutions in South Australia that have been custodians of Aboriginal children, including how to find and access their records.

The Find and Connect Website, launched in 2011 for Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, drew on the resources in Finding your own way to bring together historical resources relating to institutional 'care' in South Australia. You can use this website to find information about policies, public figures and legislation.

Other states

Finding your story: a resource manual to the records of the stolen generations in Victoria, 2005, also available online.

Signposts: a guide for children and young people in Care in WA from 1920.

Looking west: a guide to Aboriginal records in Western Australia, 2004 (not held at State Library, held at National Archives of Australia)

Tracking Family: A guide to Aboriginal records relating to the Northern Territory, 2015, also available online.

Introduction

This Library Guide has been developed to assist Australian Aboriginal people wanting to trace members of their family, within the collections of the State Library, and should be used in conjunction with the Family History Starter Guide and any relevant Library Guides under Aboriginal Australia.

Aboriginal people are often the best source for Aboriginal family history. Families, friends and communities are invaluable sources of information. Approaching Aboriginal organisations is also a useful way to start. The State Library holds a wide cross section of information about South Australia and its people, some of which relates to Aboriginal people, but specific information regarding families can sometimes require broad research.

Births, Deaths and Marriages

From 1 July 1842, all South Australian births, deaths and marriages were required to be registered. Prior to the commencement of civil registration in 1842, church registers provide most records for births, deaths and marriages.

Indexes to births, deaths and marriages records are held at the State Library, for South Australia and some interstate. These indexes are available in various formats, including printed form, microfiche and computer files covering the following time spans: Births 1842 - 1928, Deaths 1842 - 1972 and Marriages 1842 - 1937. In May 2012, Genealogy SA published extracts from the indexes online. The information is equivalent to indexes published online by most Australian states. Information about these and other databases can be found at the Genealogy SA website.

These records are one of the first places to start checking for basic information. For details of the Library's resources, refer to the Births, Deaths and Marriages library guide.

Sometimes for Aboriginal people, their birth, marriage or death may not have been registered in this way. This may be because of where the event took place, for example they may have been born on an outback station or in a traditional situation.

In this case, other resources such as mission records, station records, church records, institutional records and other archives may have some information about people.

Who we are

State Library of South Australia
Contact:
GPO Box 419
Adelaide SA 5001
(08) 8207 7250