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Singapore Archives and Libraries

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Singapore did not become a separate entity until 1959. For several hundred years it was a segment of the British protectorate of Malaya. Following WWII and the occupation of the peninsula by Japan,Malaya achieved independence. Due to the corrupt regime in Malaya, Singapore declared independence in 1959.

It should be noted that most records relating to Singapore were damaged or lost during the Japanese occupation, but the country has done a marvelous job of preserving what records could be recovered.

Archives collect and preserve original documents of such organizations as societies, churches, and governments.

Libraries generally collect published sources such as books, maps, and microfilm.

Most archives and libraries in Singapore are open for the general use of the public, but it is wise to make contact by phone or email to ensure that they are open the day that is planned for a visit.

Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Because Singapore is such a well organized digital country, the Government has set up a linked web site that accesses all Libraries and Archives. The link follows:

National Library of Singapore[edit | edit source]

National Library of Singapore

The National Library traces its history back to the establishment of the first public library as a result of suggestions by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore. This library, renamed the Hullett Memorial Library in 1923, was co-located with Singapore's first school, Raffles Institution, at a site now occupied by the Raffles City complex.[3] It moved to a separate Library and Museum Building in 1887 under the name of Raffles Library as part of the Raffles Museum, before moving to the Stamford Road premises in 1960 under the name of the National Library of Singapore.

As Singapore gained its independence in 1965, and as the country's population spread into the suburbs, the library, in collaboration with the city's urban planners, established a presence in the suburbs by building a library branch in most of the new towns built by the Housing and Development Board. These branch libraries were each considered a physical extension of the original library at Stamford Road, rather than distinct institutions in their own right, thus the term "National Library" could be said to apply to the original institution and all its affiliates.

National Archives of Singapore[edit | edit source]

The National Archives of Singapore
100 Victoria St.,
Singapore 188064
Telephone: +65 6332 3255
Hours: open every day from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m.
Staff is very helpful. A must-see stop for genealogists seeking information on their ancestors.

The National Archives of Singapore (NAS) is the national archives of Singapore. It was formed in August 1993 with the merging of the National Archives and the Oral History Department. The NAS is responsible for the collection and management of records relating to the nation's political, social and economic history. NAS also identifies and collects records of historical significance from local and overseas private sources. In 1993, both NAS and the National Museum of Singapore were brought under the administration of the National Heritage Board.[1]

The National Archives was originally established in 1968 for the preservation and administration of the nation's archives. It holds records as far back as 1800, 19 years before the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles and the founding of the modern nation. The Oral History Centre documents the history of Singapore through the use of oral history methodology. NAS has a selection of archival materials available for viewing by the public, including public records, building plans, oral history recordings, photographs, electronic records and an audio-visual collection of microfilms, films, videotapes, colour slides, negatives and maps. The National Archives of Singapore (NAS) is an institution of the National Library Board (NLB)

The National Library has published a book entitled Sources on Family History: A Select Bibliography, which contains all of the records that they have in their library on Genealogy and Family History. Sources on Family History has an ISBN number of 978-981-08-0558-6. It is dated 2008 and has about 115 pages. Separate from this, the reference librarian told me of some of their wonderful resources. They have their newspaper collection on line, dating from the Straits Times, 1845. . They also have family history records about Malaysia, India, China, and the Philippines. On the shelves are family histories such as, To Our Grand-Children: Seven Generations and Counting or Vietnamese Family Chronicle or Beneath the Banyan Tree: My Family Chronicles. They also have Strait Settlement Directories and a journal database. The Lee Kong Chian Reference Library on the 11th floor is where most of the family history materials are located; however, biographies with genealogical data can be found on lower floors.

National University of Singapore (NUS) Library[edit | edit source]

National University of Singapore (NUS) Library

The National University of Singapore (Abbreviation: NUS) is one of the three largest public and autonomous universities in Singapore. Founded in 1905, it is the oldest institute of higher learning (IHL) in Singapore, as well as the largest university in the country in terms of student enrolment and curriculum offered. NUS is a research-intensive, comprehensive university with an entrepreneurial dimension.

The Bukit Timah campus houses the Faculty of Law, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and research institutes. Many of the island's historical archives are housed there.



Other Resources[edit | edit source]

The Family History Library has several books on Archives and Libraries about Singapore. Go to a Place search and type in: