Family History

The State Records Office contains numerous records that are of great value to those undertaking family history research, such as passenger lists, convict records, court case files and wills to name but a few.

Many of these records are made available to clients on a self-service basis in the Microform Area for ease of access, while others may require searching of the many finding aids and indexes provided in the Search Room and the completion of a call slip to retrieve the required records from storage.

The location of the State Records Office, within the Alexander Library Building, allows family history researchers to make use of other important family history resources available through the State Library of WA's Genealogy Centre which is situated on the third floor of the Alexander Library Building.

Getting Started

The first step in undertaking family history research is to gather together as many facts as possible about family members. Sources of information may include copies of birth, death and marriage certificates, family papers (diaries, letters, etc.), photographs and relevant details obtained from interviewing older family members. This information will then form the basis for further in depth research that will likely require making use of the resources of the State Records Office, the Battye Library and the Genealogy Centre.

Staff at the State Records Office are happy to provide basic introductory advice to those considering undertaking family history research into their West Australian ancestors. State Records Office staff can also advise family historians on the types of records available that may assist them in tracing their family tree.

To help new clients develop their research skills and familiarize themselves with the resources available the State Records Office operates regular public seminars. These seminars have proven to be very popular in the past with fledgling family historians.

FamilyHistoryWA (FHWA) and its branches can also be an invaluable source of help and advice for those beginning their family history.

The State Library's Genealogy Centre on the first floor of the Alexander Library Building provides a full weekday/weekend service but is also manned by volunteers from FHWA between 9.30am - 1pm Tuesday to Thursday. In addition to providing a starting point for beginners these experienced genealogists can also help more advanced family historians overcome dead ends in their research.

Records of Genealogical Importance

Some of the areas within the State archive collection that are of particular interest to family history researchers include:

These are but a few areas in which family history material can be found. Please also see the collection overview for more information on the range of records held by the State Records Office.

Staff at the Search Room Enquiry Desk are happy to help family history researchers locate the information they require from within the collections of the State Records Office.

Aboriginal Family History

Researching the family history of Aboriginal and indigenous people requires a different approach to that of other genealogical research. While many of the important genealogical records mentioned above are of equal importance for researchers investigating Aboriginal family history, there are additional records and specialised indexes that are of specific interest to Aboriginal family historians. Further information is available on our Aboriginal family history research page.

Family History Publications

A number of historical guides and indexes that are of use to family history researchers are available for purchase through the State Records Office and the State Library.

Internet Resources

A wide variety of genealogy resources are available through the Internet. These resources range from searchable databases to simple information sheets and "how to" guides for beginners.

The archives held by the State Records Office are searchable via the State Records Office's online catalogue.

A collection of online genealogy and local history resources are also provided on the relevant SRO Links page. Of particular use is the website of the FamilyHistoryWA which contains numerous links to Australian and International genealogy resources.

Reference Queries

In some cases State Records Office staff may be able to provide limited research assistance to clients who live outside the Perth metropolitan area and are unable to attend the Search Room in person.

Further Information

State Records Office staff are available to provide additional information on the range of resources available from within the State Records Office collection that may be of benefit to family history researchers. For more information contact us by telephone on (08) 9427 3600, via email at or in person.