Researching your overseas ancestors

A guide to researching ancestors who emigrated to Australia from countries other than the United Kingdom


Newspapers can provide a wealth of information about your ancestors, including:

  • family notices - details of births, engagements, marriages and deaths and possibly the names of relatives you might not know about.
  • shipping arrivals - details of when passenger ships arrived in Australia
  • legal information - bankruptcies, court notices, crimes, arrests, inquests and probate notices.
  • land and property - land sales, auctions, information on houses and previous residents.
  • feature articles - military news, business announcements, neighbourhood and local news.
  • advertisements - businesses, entertainment, events etc.

The State Library has many Australian newspapers published in languages other than English for the various ethnic communities in Australia. We also have a small collection of foreign language newspapers published overseas. Search the Library's online catalogue to find specific titles.

Overseas newspaper databases

The library subscribes to a range of international newspaper databases, providing access to both historical and current titles.
These resources can be accessed from outside the Library if you are a registered Victorian Library user.

You can find a full listing of titles on our current and historic newspapers database pages.

A selection of some of these databases is shown below:

In addition, a list of online newspaper archives is available on Wikipedia which includes free and pay per view newspaper archives from around the world in many languages.