Family history sources

It is important to understand that records about Indigenous people were created by a wide range of agencies, including:

  • protection and welfare boards
  • adoption agencies
  • education and health departments
  • police forces
  • churches and missionaries
  • anthropologists and a range of academics. 

They were created for a variety of reasons, such as the 'protection and care' of Aboriginal people, but mostly prominently they document how governments regulated the lives of Aboriginal people.

  • Some of the records were specifically about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Some of the records were 'mainstream'.

Researching Indigenous family history means that you will look for both types of records. 

What are all these records?

Read the information in this section to find out the types of records that might have information about your family.

How do you get access to the records?

Where to get help has contact information in each state and territory for the places that have the records.

Last reviewed: 22 Aug 2019