Record Launch: New South Wales, Australia, Immigration Records, 1840-1902

Posted by Jason Reeve on August 18, 2023 in Uncategorized

In partnership with Museums of History NSW, Ancestry launches a new collection of NSW immigration records.


From the NSW State Archives Collection
From the NSW State Archives Collection

In partnership with Museums of History NSW, Ancestry has digitised, indexed and published an important set of 19th century NSW immigration records held in the NSW State Archives Collection. Never digitised before, these records provide a remarkable range of information beyond traditional shipping lists, about immigrants and the schemes under which they emigrated.

Visit the collection and begin searching for your family here.


One of the many highlights of the collection is ‘Wages paid to orphans, 1849-1851’. Digitised and indexed, this volume relates to young Irish women who migrated to NSW as part of Earl Grey’s Famine Orphan Scheme between 1848 and 1850. It shows name of orphan, ship of arrival, amount due to orphan from master or employer, amount paid by master or employer into orphan’s account, and amount withdrawn from account and paid to orphan.


Other highlights from this collection that have also been digitised are:

  • Register of applications for assisted passages to NSW, 1884-1887. This register shows the names and locality of the applicant and the nature of the application.
  • Remittance list refunds, 1855-1868. These refunds relate to persons who had contributions to their passage to NSW paid under Remittance Regulations but did not emigrate. Details given include name of nominee, age, name of depositor and reasons for not emigrating.
  • Applications from persons in the colony nominating immigrants, 1857-1858, 1880, 1885-1895
  • Ships’ papers, 1839-1891. These include items such as certificates of arrival, health reports, tenders, lists of immigrants leaving the ship without formal engagements, copies of contracts between immigrants and employers, and matrons’ diaries.


For further information on these important collections, you can visit Museums of History NSW’s website and review the Immigration and Shipping Guide.


“Digitisation increasingly plays a key role in both the preservation and access to the State Archives Collection. Our partnership with Ancestry is central to furthering this work and we are so pleased to bring these records to a worldwide audience.” Museums of History NSW


Jason Reeve
Head of Content & Community


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