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Family Records Service
Aboriginal Affairs operates the Family Records Service (FRS) to help Aboriginal people in New South Wales to access records pertaining to themselves, or their ancestors, that are held in the archive collection of the former Aborigines Welfare Board (formerly known as the Aborigines Protection Board) and the Chief Secretary records relating to Aboriginal affairs. The records span the period from 1890 to 1969. Due to the personal and sensitive nature of information contained in these records, many of the records are closed to public access.
The Family Records Service has been operating since 2002 and its establishment was informed by the recommendations of the Bringing them Home report from the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families. This report highlighted the need to support members of the Stolen Generations to reconnect with their family and community and to re-establish links to their Aboriginal cultural heritage.
People can apply to the Family Records Service to receive copies of records pertaining to themselves or their ancestors. Applications can also be made from case workers working for Family and Community Services and service providers seeking family and community related information for state wards in their care. Applications for access for public or private research interests may also be received from academic researchers, historians, and documentary or film makers.
All requests are considered within the context of the Privacy & Personal Information Protection Act, Government Information (Public Access) Act and the State Records Act, and for ‘closed’ records which contain personal information, access is only provided with the necessary permission of the people named in the records, or their direct descendants.
There is no cost for this service.
How to access the records
You can apply to access the records of the former Aborigines Welfare Board (formerly known as Aborigines Protection Board) and Chief Secretary by completing a "Finding your Mob" Personal Family History Research Application Form obtained through the Family Records Service.
Applicants need to provide a copy of their own birth certificate, or where not available, a copy of their driver’s licence and/or health card.
To assist in processing applications, it is important to link the applicant to the names listed on your application. As a guide, the following list of supporting documents, where possible, should be included with your application:
|For You||Your Parents||Your Grandparents||Your Great Grandparents|
|Birth certificate||Birth certificate(s)||Birth certificate(s)||Birth certificate(s)|
|Marriage certificate||Marriage certificate(s)||Marriage certificate(s)||Marriage certificate(s)|
(if deemed appropriate)
(if deemed appropriate)
(if deemed appropriate)
Obtain a copy of the "Finding your Mob" Personal Family History Research Application Form
There are two options to obtain a copy of the “Finding your Mob” Personal Family History Research Application Form:
- Contact the Family Records Service on the toll free number 1800 019 998 or
- Send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Links to other agencies who can assist you with family history research
To assist you in your journey to research your family history we recommend that you visit the following links:
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
Finding your family: help you to research your Indigenous family history.
Find & Connect
History & information about Australian orphanages, children’s Homes & other institutions.
National Archives of Australia
Records about Indigenous Australians
Australian Government records held by the National Archives include information relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their histories.
National Library of Australia
Collections/What we collect/Indigenous
The Library’s collection holds a diverse range of materials for Australia’s past and contemporary Indigenous culture.
NSW Justice Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages
Family History Search
Records of births, deaths and marriages in NSW that date from 1856. Early church records from 1788 to 1855 are also available. The search function allows unrestricted searching, with no identification required for Births over 100 years ago; Deaths over 30 years ago; Marriages over 50 years ago.
State Archives and Records Authority NSW
This overview provides a brief explanation of State archives that document the NSW government’s interaction with Aboriginal people from 1788 until today.
State Library of New South Wales
Contact the Indigenous Services at the Library who can assist you with family history.
eResources of interest
1997 ‘Bringing Them Home’ the Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from
View the Bringing them Home Report (PDF)
NSW Government Response: Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their
View the NSW Government Response (PDF)
Securing the Truth: NSW Government Submission to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families
View Securing the Truth (PDF)
Heritage places and items for information on the Kinchela Aboriginal Boys Training Home, Cootamundra Aboriginal Girls Training Home and Bomaderry Aboriginal Childrens Home can be found at Heritage NSW website.