Index to colonial convict movements, 1827 - 1853Colonial Secretary's correspondence, 1826-1894Index Female Factory Parramatta Index, 1826-1848
Colonial Office correspondence index, 1823-1840Colonial Secretary's correspondence, 1826-1894NSW Convict marriage banns, 1826-1841Free passengers and crew on convict ships, 1830-1840Immigration: wives and families of convicts on bounty ships, 1849–1855Index Female Factory Parramatta, 1826-1848NSW orphan schools records, 1817-1833Wages paid to orphans index, 1849-1851Convict applications to bring out families Index, 1827–1873NSW Probate index (wills), 1800-1985
Australian Genealogical Computer Index (AGCI)Indexes to convict/employer registers, 1843-1845 and bench books, 1824-1835Index to convicts monthly returns of summary trials, 1832-1836Index to the Governor's Court: an early civil court in New South Wales; Part one, cases heard 1814-1824Guilty or not guilty, 1841-1856
Ancestry Library EditionReports of inquests, 1796-April 1824, June 1828NSW Probate index (wills), 1800-1985
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Convicts: Life in the colony   Tags: colonial convicts, colony, convict research, convicts, family history  

Last Updated: Mar 30, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

About the guide Print Page

Getting started

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 with a Library card icon In the Library, or anywhere if you are a NSW resident with a Library card
Only in the Library Only in the Library
Publicly available 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)


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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.


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Macquarie Street
Sydney NSW 2000
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