Unlock the Past Cruises

New South Wales

New South Wales



Records relating to NSW, Norfolk Island and Tasmania found in Colonial Office microfilms

As a penal settlement answering to the British government, copies of colonial paperwork were sent to the Colonial Office in London. The Colonial Office papers contain a huge amount of material relating to the early settlements and residents of New South Wales, Norfolk Island and Tasmania. This seminar provides a guide to the type of information available both on the microfilms published by the Australian Joint Copying Project and in other published works.
- 45/60 minutes – Powerpoint presentation

Case study: researching the notorious Captain Thunderbolt

When Carol Baxter began researching bushranger Captain Thunderbolt, she found that other books and articles had, naturally, been written. However, most of these were riddled with errors and failed to make use of the wealth of information that was available to an experienced researcher. For example, she found a transcript of Fred Ward’s critical 1856 trial that no one had previously located. Through this case study, you will see how a professional researcher undertakes such research and learn strategies that you can apply to your own research.  

Something from nothing: reading between the lines of military records

While General Editor of the Biographical Database of Australia, Carol Baxter examined all the Muster Books and Pay Lists for Governor Macquarie’s 73rd Regiment of Foot, which served in New South Wales between 1810 and 1814. By examining the records of all the soldiers, rather than simply looking for information about an individual soldier, she made the astonishing discovery that she could determine a huge amount of information about the lives of the rank and file even when the lists themselves included no information against a particular soldier’s name.

Mary Ann Bugg: Lieutenant and lover

Beautiful, feisty, intelligent and educated, Mary Ann Bugg was the “right-hand man” of bushranger Captain Thunderbolt. She was also his lover, the mother of his children, and the most notorious Aboriginal woman in nineteenth-century Australia.

– 30/60 minutes – no equipment necessary but Powerpoint slides are available


Sexy convict Jane New was a temptation that John Stephen Jnr found too difficult to resist. John was the Registrar of the NSW Supreme Court, son of a Supreme Court judge, and brother of a future Lieutenant-Governor of NSW. His relatives in England – also with the surname Stephen – had played a leading role in the abolition of slavery.

NSW church registers: a comprehensive examination

Baptisms, marriages and burials provide critical information about our ancestors’ lives however these details are not always easy to find.


Open Hours
  • Our office hours are 10am to 4pm NSW time Monday through Friday.
  • 1995

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced researcher, we can help with your NSW family history research.

My name is Marilyn Rowan - a Transcription Agent approved by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to access and transcribe their records.

Order NSW BDM Transcriptions and England & Wales Certificates on-line or, browse our site to find out about our other services and links to other service providers.

Finding your World War 1 ANZACs

Online resources for researching your ancestor who enlisted in World War 1 - whether in the Army, Navy, Flying Corps or Nursing Services. Also covered are resources for researching those who enlisted in the New Zealand or British services.

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