New South Wales, Australia Genealogy

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Australia Gotoarrow.png New South Wales

New South Wales

New South Wales is a state in south eastern Australia. The capital is Sydney. In 1770 Captain James Cook claimed the eastern coast of Australia for Britain naming it New South Wales. A convict settlement was planted at Sydney Cove (later simply Sydney) which became the mother colony for Australia and New Zealand. Colonial New South Wales developed with the wool industry in the 19th century achieving responsible self government in 1855 and becoming one of the founding six states of the federal Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.

New South Wales was first settled by Europeans in 1788 with the arrival of eleven English ships with more than 1000 convicts and military personnel, known today as the 'First Fleeters.' The Second Fleet arrived in 1790 and saved the colony from starvation. The Third Fleet arrived in 1791 and included the first Irish transportees. The first free settler immigrants arrived in 1793. By 1828, when the first regular census was taken, the non-Aboriginal population of New South Wales was estimated at 36,598.

Van Dieman's Land (called Tasmania since 1856), originally a part of New South Wales, was separated off in 1825 and became an independent colony.  Other states that were broken off of New South Wales include South Australia in 1836, Victoria in 1851, and Queensland in 1861. The Northern Territory was separated out in 1911.

Getting started with New South Wales research

Numerous articles are available on FamilySearch Wiki to help you get started in family history. This portal will provide links to articles about general research topics.


Regions and Places

  • Blue Mountains
  • Central Coast
  • Central NSW
  • Far North Coast
  • Hunter Region
  • Illawarra
  • New England
  • North Coast
  • Riverina
  • Snowy Mountains
  • South Coast
  • Sydney

Research Tools

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Featured Content

The Wiki article describing an online collection are found at:

See the Family History Library Favorites for important links to record collections on the internet.

Church Records

Learn how to find your Australian ancestors in New South Wales by searching church records. See the tutorial at FamilySearch called "New South Wales Early Church Records 1788-1886" There are many listings for specific Church Records in theFamily History Library Catalog. Review the listing for a specific area of your research.


1833 County Maps: NSW Eastern | NSW Western: Courtesy of London Ancestor

Vital Records

Learn how to find your ancestors in New South Wales, Australia by finding them in theBirth, Death, Marriage index.  View the"Using the New South Wales Birth, Death, Marriage Index" online tutorial from FamilySearch for more help.

Eden/Monaro Pioneers Database: This database contains over 266,000 names.

Family History Research, can be done at the State Library and Mitchell Library, in Macquarie Street, Sydney just off Martin Place. Be sure to take some ID that shows your current address, so that you can get a State Library Card that will allow you to use the computers anywhere in the building. The card gives residents of NSW access to online resources from home.



Help Wanted

Interested in editing or adding to the Wiki? The New South Wales page needs you! Here are some simple ways you can add information other researchers need!

  • New South Wales makes its indexes to births, deaths and marriages available online.
Genealogy courses: Learn how to research from an expert in Australia Courses.

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