Use this guide to research your convict's life, including their working life, family life and freedom, after they arrived in the colony.
If you want to explore your convict's early life, including their crime and sentence as well as the voyage to the colony, use the Convicts: Bound for Australia guide.
To uncover details about your convict’s life you will need to check many resources. You will find the government kept detailed records about convicts, most of which have survived, so you're likely to find more records about a convict's life than a free settler.
There is a little bit of luck involved with family history research but a lot of it is working methodically through the resources. You might find this worksheet from State Archives & Records NSW helpful to record your findings.
- Note down the resources you’ve checked even when you don’t find anything.
- Check the original record as it might have additional information not listed in the index.
- More information was documented in later years than earlier years.
Not sure how to begin your research? Check out getting started with your convict research.
The icon next to each resource shows where you can use them. You will need to sign up for a Library card to use many of our resources.
|In the Library, or anywhere if you are a NSW resident with a Library card|
|Only in the Library|
|Publicly available - you don't need a Library card|
Family history at the Library
You can find our Family history area on Lower Ground 2 of the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room. This is where you will find most of our family history resources. We also have resources in the Special Collections area in the Mitchell Library Reading Room and in stack storage. Ask staff for help with your research as well as using our collections.
Find out more about family history at the Library.
Convict Barrack Sydney N.S. Wales [ca. 1820] from Collection of views predominantly of Sydney, Liverpool, and the Sunda Straits, and portraits, ca 1807, 1829-1847, 1887.
Digital order number: a1120005 (album ID: 823417)
|Reading room opening hours|
|Monday to Thursday||9 am to 8 pm|
|Friday||9 am to 5 pm|
|Weekends||10 am to 5 pm|
The Special Collections area is closed on Sundays.
Opening hours may vary on public holidays. View opening hours.