Researching your Victorian ancestors

A guide to family history research using the major Victorian resources

Introduction

Australian immigration and shipping records were state based until 1923 when the Commonwealth Government assumed responsibility for passenger arrivals and departures. Pre 1923 records are housed in the relevant state archives and post 1923  are held by the National Archives of Australia.

Victorian records

For detailed information on researching people arriving in and departing from Victoria please go to the Victorian immigration and emigration research guide

                                                                  Emigrants landing at Queens Wharf, Melbourne.

Emigrants landing at the Queen's Wharf, Melbourne, IAN25/08/63/1

Other states and territories

National

National Archives of Australia migration and citizenship records

New South Wales

State Records of NSW immigration records

South Australia

State Library of South Australia immigration to South Australia guide       

Tasmania

LINC Tasmania arrivals

Queensland

Queensland State Archives immigration records.

Western Australia         

State Library of Western Australia immigration records
State Records Office of Western Australia passenger lists & immigration records


Detailed information on how to locate immigration records can be found in the  state and territory genieguides, available in Family History and Newspaper Room.

Naturalisation records

Non-British persons who were residents of Australia for more than 5 years could become citizens on application to the authorities.  With naturalisation they would acquire the rights and privileges of citizens to own land, vote in elections etc. Few females applied.

Chinese residents were naturalised in significant numbers until 1885 when the Victorian government changed it's naturalisation policy. Applications would no longer be approved ‘unless a sufficient reason was assigned’. The number of certificates issued decreased and by 1888 none were issued.

Naturalisation records may include, in the handwritten application, the place of birth, former place of residence, birthplace and name of the ship and the date of arrival in the colony/country of the applicant

 

 

Victoria - naturalisation records

1848-1903

  • The National Archives of Australia {NAA) in Canberra holds naturalisation records for the Colony of Victoria for the period from 1848 to 1903, including Letters of Administration from 1851-1903.

1904 onwards

  • The National Archives of Australia in Canberra holds Commonwealth naturalisation and citizenship records from 1904 onwards. Two main types of records are held - naturalisation certificates (up to 1962) and naturalisation case files. The case files include the citizenship application details, the oath of allegiance and other documents.
    To find citizenship records:
    • Go to the NAA RecordSearch page and select the NameSearch option
    • Type in the surname and given name
    • In ‘Category of records’, select ‘Immigration and naturalisation records’

 

 

Victoria - Indexes to naturalisation certificates

1851-1928

  • Victoria - Index to Naturalisation Certificates, 1851-1928. Available at the Library on the Ancestry Library Edition database
    This collection includes images of a card index to naturalisation certificates issued to non-British subjects in Victoria. Details on the cards include the name of the person, occupation, place of residence, age, native place, the date and number of the certificate, and the reference to the record book and page.Certificates can be ordered from the National Archives of Australia.

1847-1852

1852-1880

1852-1903

1863-1903

 

Other states

Pre 1904

  • Naturalisation records for the Province of South Australia are held in the National Archives Adelaide Office.
  • Naturalisation records for New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania before 1904 are held by the appropriate State government archive office.

1904 onwards

  • The National Archives of Australia in Canberra holds Commonwealth naturalisation and citizenship records from 1904 onwards. Two main types of records are held - naturalisation certificates (up to 1962) and naturalisation case files. The case files include the citizenship application details, the oath of allegiance and other documents.
    To find citizenship records:
  • Go to the NAA RecordSearch page and select the NameSearch option
  • Type in the surname and given name
  • In ‘Category of records’, select ‘Immigration and naturalisation records’.

 

Ships information

For technical information, pictures, logs and histories of passenger and cargo ships please consult the Library's Ships and shipping guide.

State Library Victoria

LIBRARY CLOSURE  

In line with the stage 3 restrictions announced by the Premier, State Library Victoria closed on Thursday 9 July.

We will advise when there is any update to this situation.

Our Ask A Librarian  reference service is still available to assist with your research inquiries.