Researching your family

The National Archives of Australia is a rich source of information for family historians.

Many of the records in our collection are about people who:

  • migrated to Australia
  • served in our defence forces
  • are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin
  • were interned or investigated by the government
  • applied for copyright, patents or trademarks

The best way to search is to think about how family members had contact with the government.

Then work out what types of records we might have about them.

There are many ways your family might have had contact with the government.

  • Migrating to Australia
  • Becoming an Australian citizen
  • Applying for a relative to visit from overseas
  • Serving in the army, air force or navy
  • Enrolling to vote
  • Registering a patent or trademark
  • Working for the government

For more ideas, see:

Using RecordSearch for a surname search

After reading our step-by-step guide, you can search for family surnames using RecordSearch.

You can also explore the collection or search for people.

Census time capsules

Since 2001 at census time, millions of Australians have agreed to have their personal information kept as part of a census time capsule.

Family historians wanted this valuable information kept for future generations.

We have secured one time capsule for every census since 2001.

These capsules are closed for 99 years from the year of the census. The records of the 2001 census will be released in 2100. Subsequent records will be released every five years after that.

Destination Australia

Destination Australia features more than 20,000 photographs of migrants who arrived in Australia from all over the world after World War II.