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Aboriginal Family History: State Library resources

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.

The Library Catalogue lists published material in all formats held in the Library. It also lists photographs, including viewable digitised images, other pictorial items, ephemera and references to selected articles. Unpublished material held in personal, society and business categories, including mission records, as well as oral histories from interviews with Aboriginal people are also accessible through the Library Catalogue. Staff can assist with searching.

Discovering Kim & Country

Watch Discovering Kin and Country: Tips and skills for researching Aboriginal family history
Recorded August 2021

Click on 'Show more' under the descriptions to see a list of speakers.

Other helpful resources

  • Part of the National Library of Australia's oral history collection on the Stolen Generations is now available online, access via this parent link in their catalogue.
  • Bringing them home: report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their families April 1997. Commonly known as the Stolen children report or Stolen generation report.
  • Telling it like it is kit 1992, also provides valuable research hints and suggestions including tips for oral history recordings and interviews.
  • Stubbs, Rebecca, 'The Indigenous family history journey', Australian family tree connections, February 2006, pp. 36 - 37. This article explores some of the challenges unique to carrying out Aboriginal Family History research and some of the issues surrounding the use of resources such as birth, death and marriage records and electoral rolls.
  • The AIATSIS website, specifically mission and reserve records

Stolen Generations

More detailed resources covering the history and impact of Australian policies of child removal can be found on the pages Stolen Generations and Children in Institutional care.

To find relevant material in the catalogue, try searching on these subject headings.

Other useful search topics include:

  • Church names-Church of Christ, Anglican Church, and Lutheran Church
  • Mission names-Point McLeay, Poonindie, Oodnadatta
  • Community names and geographic locations-Ooldea, Coopers Creek
  • Names of individuals-Sister Kate, George Taplin
  • Children's Homes-Goodwood Orphanage, Sister Kates Children's Home.

Individual people and places

Some Aboriginal family histories have already been researched and published. Doreen Kartinyeri has published genealogies for the Kartinyeri, Rigney, Sumner, Wanganeen and Wilson families. These can be searched on the Library Catalogue by author. A selection of other histories of names and places are:

Police Gazettes

Police Gazettes can also provide details of names and events that can assist with family history. The Library holds the The South Australian police gazette from 1868 to the current year. Please note that the most recent 60 years, including the current year, are restricted and will require permission to access.