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Family history


AIATSIS offers a range of resources that will assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to do family history research - to help you find out about your mob.

Getting started

Our website is a good starting point. Our Brief Guide (PDF 122 KB) will give you some tips on the basics. The Family History kit provides more comprehensive information about sources and contact details for other organisations that can help.

Stolen Generations

If you are a member of the Stolen Generations your nearest Link-Up office should be able to assist you. You can find Link-Up contact details here. Or see Fact Sheet 6 - Link-Up services (PFD 120 KB).

Proof of Aboriginality

If you require assistance with Proof or Confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage please see Fact Sheet 12 and contact your local Aboriginal Land Council. Contact the Indigenous Coordination Centre on 1800 079 098 to be put through to your local Land Council.

You may also find the contact details of a Land Council or other Indigenous community organisations by using the 'Search for a corporation' box at Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations.

Services to Link-Ups

Since 2012 AIATSIS has provided research support services to Link-Up organisations to assist them to do family history research on behalf of Stolen Generations clients. Link-Up workers can log in to Link-Up online resources.

Change to Family History Unit services

The AIATSIS Family History Unit (FHU) began in the late 1970s as the an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Biographical Index (ABI). The ABI was developed to provide a brief biographical entry for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people referred to, or depicted in, published and unpublished material held in the Institute’s collections.

We no longer provide in-depth family history research support to individual clients.

The AIATSIS Library can assist you with searches of the AIATSIS collections. For assistance with searching the AIATSIS catalogue or accessing an item in the collection please email library@aiatsis.gov.au .

Searching for family names - ABI

The ABI (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Biographical Index) is a personal name index to published materials held in the AIATSIS Library. It is available online and you can search for information on your family. It has more than 72,000 entries.