Adoption and Forgotten Australians

Family history for adopted people, Forgotten Australians and child migrants

England and Wales

Listed below are a number of Government and private agencies in England and Wales, that can help trace records of adoption or of children formerly in care.

General Register Office UK
Adopted persons can apply for their original birth entry through the General Register Office UK.
They also maintain the Adoption Contact Register to enable adopted people and their birth relatives to get in touch with each other if that is what they both wish.

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) provides information for adopted people, birth relatives and adoptive parents in England and Wales. It also provides information for agencies, professionals and volunteers who provide services for adopted people and their birth and adoptive relatives.

Adoption Services for Adults works with adults affected by adoption where the adoption took place in England or Wales, providing intermediary services, access to birth records, counselling through contacts with local authorities and workshops. It holds the NORCAP Adoption Contact Register.

Child Migrants Trust assists former child migrants in accessing their records. Also provides family tracing services.

Barnardo’s Family History Service Barnado's has a vast archive of records about the children in its care dating back to the 1870’s. If you had a relative you believe was in the care of Barnardo’s during their childhood, whether in the UK or as part of migrations to Australia or Canada, they may have records and images that will help you in researching your family history.

Catholic Children’s Society: (Westminster) provides information and access to records who were placed for adoption by the Catholic Children's Society (formerly Crusades of Rescue). The Catholic Children’s Society also has a central record for many Catholic child migrants.

Print resources:


General Register Office for Scotland: Adoption Unit at New Register House can provide you with an extract of your original entry if you were born in Scotland.

Birthlink (formerly Family Care): provides a range of services for individuals and families affected by adoption, including the Adoption Contact Register for Scotland, searching services and facilitation between parties.

Scotland’s people: This is a commercial website which charges for its services. Enter “adoption” in the search box.


The Adoption Authority of Ireland: Adoption Board will assist adopted people, parents who have placed children for adoption, adoptive parents, and natural family members of people placed for adoption.

Irish Famine Memorial Sydney: website dedicated to the Australian Monument to the Great Irish Famine (1845-1848) and to the 4,200 female famine orphans who arrived in Australia under the Earl Grey scheme (1848 -1850). Includes a list of female orphans arriving by Ship into Australia.
Go to Orphans - Ships - New South Wales/Victoria/South Australia.

Deserted Children, Dublin 1850 - 1854: this database is available to search on Findmypast, available onsite to Library users.

New Zealand

Adoption Services at Child, Youth and Family is a service of the New Zealand Ministry of Social Development, which provides services to adult adopted people, birth parents and adoptive parents under the Adult Adoption Information Act.

Registrar-General, Births, Deaths and Marriages PO BOX 10 526, Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Inter-country adoption

International Social Service Australia
Provides social work services to families, children and single adults across international borders. Their intercountry services include family tracing and reunification, international family mediation, kinship care and other child welfare matters, and support for families experiencing international parental child abduction.

Useful publications