Family history resources

Hawkesbury Library Service has a large collection of resources to help you with your family history research.  The collection includes books, church and cemetery records, census, newsletters, newspapers, directories, maps, photographs, microfilm and electronic resources.  Also check the Local history resources page for additional information.

The Library provides many resources to help you with your family history research including:

Ancestry Library edition

Ancestry Library

Ancestry® Library Edition is one of the largest online family history resources and is only available by subscription to libraries. It has an unprecedented online collection of material from the UK, Europe, Australia, and more. Collections include records such as census data, parish records, directories, photos, immigration records, family histories, military records, court and legal documents, maps and much more. Australian convict records, shipping and Australian Electoral Rolls are featured.

How to access: In-Library – at both libraries, using the Library’s PCs or your own device and the Library’s wifi.


The Library has a large collection of published books on the genealogy of local families. Many of these do not have indexes, so browse the table of contents.  There are also books on the history of the local area.

How to access: In-Library, search the catalogue for holdings


The Library has a large collection of CD-ROMs which provide information on:

  • Births, deaths and marriages (Australia)
  • Shipping records
  • Convict records
  • Postal directories
  • Police Gazettes
  • Government Gazettes
  • Parish registers
  • Cemetery records

How to access: In-Library, Local Studies PC, search the catalogue for holdings

Church, cemetery and census records

The Local Studies Collection holds many cemetery inscriptions and church registers.  Most of the records relate to the Hawkesbury and surrounding areas.

Some cemetery records and church registers can be accessed on the Hawkesbury on the Net website.  Other material is available in print or on microfilm.

Various early musters and census records are included in the Local Studies Collection. These include the 1828 and 1901 NSW Census and the early 19th century musters.

How to access: Online 24/7 and in-Library, search the catalogue for holdings

Directories and electoral rolls

A number of postal directories are available in the Local Studies Collection. These were similar to telephone directories but recorded postal addresses. Subscribers paid for entries so they do not provide complete coverage.

  • Sands Directory
    The Sands Directory was published between 1859 and 1932/33 and lists the occupants of buildings both in alphabetical order and by local government area.  Hawkesbury Central Library, Windsor has a complete set of the Sands Directory available electronically.
  • Telephone Directories
    A selection of telephone directories are held, including NSW 1889-1915 microfiche, 1913-1953 CD-ROM. Hawkesbury telephone directories are held in hard copy from the 1970s.
  • Electoral Rolls
    A range of electoral rolls are available including records for NSW and the Hawkesbury district from the 1840s. Some records are available via Internet History Resources on the Local Studies PC. A selection of 20th century Commonwealth rolls are accessible on Ancestry.

How to access: In-Library, Local Studies PC and search the catalogue for holdings

Find My Past

Find My Past

Findmypast is a genealogy service which provides access to records from Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland and the USA. Records include armed forces, church & religion, life events - births, deaths & marriages, census and land surveys, education and work, institutions and organisations, newspapers, directories and social history, travel and migration, and family trees.

How to access: In-Library – at both libraries, using the Library’s PCs or your own device and the Library’s wifi.


The Local Studies Collection holds historical, geographical, topographical and parish maps of the district which provide information about local history, family history and geographical information about the landscape. These are housed in map cabinets in the Local Studies section.

How to access: In-Library, search the catalogue for holdings


This collection includes births, deaths & marriage records, church registers, shipping records, will indexes, electoral rolls, convict data, publican licences and land grants.

The Local Studies Collection also holds:

  • Genealogical Research Kit from State Archives
  • Arndell Index to Hawkesbury Pioneers
  • Mutch Index

How to access: In-Library, search the catalogue for holdings

Newsletters and journals

The Local Studies Collection holds a range of family history newsletters and journals.

How to access: In-Library, search the catalogue for holdings


Click here to find out about the newspaper collection on the Local history resources page.

Oral History

Hawkesbury Voices captures the social and cultural history of the Hawkesbury through local oral history stories. These interviews complement existing records held in the Local Studies Collection of Hawkesbury Library Service.

Find out more about the Oral History collection on the Hawkesbury Voices page.

How to access: In-Library, search the catalogue. Some interviews are available online at Amplify

Pamphlet file

The pamphlet file includes a large number of unpublished family histories and research as well as information about buildings and places.

How to access: In-Library, access with staff assistance, search the catalogue for holdings

Photographs (Hawkesbury Images)
Hawkesbury Images includes historical and contemporary images from our Local Studies Collection. Members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are advised that records may contain names and images of deceased people.

Visit our Catalogue to search or browse holdings.

Special collections

Click here to find out about Special collections.

Starting your family history research

Have a look what you have at home. Do you have access to any letters, certificates or photographs? Talk to older members of your family.

Start with yourself and work backwards to your parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Charts are useful to record this information.  Print out free charts. A chart will also help you visualise the gaps in your family history.

Verify the information with births, deaths and marriage certificates. Access NSW indexes online or other states indexes, church records, family papers and other sources. Always note the source of your information.

There are many resources that you can search for further information, including wills, newspapers, census, electoral rolls, shipping and directories. There are also a number of self-help books in the Local Studies collection at RL929 & RL929.4 as well as in the lending non-fiction collection between 929 and 929.4

Check the catalogue for holdings, as well as our research guides/fact sheets.

Learn more about family history research at the Library

The Library offers a large collection of books, DVDs and magazines, which you can borrow, to help you in learning about undertaking family history research.  To view holdings check the library catalogue

Expand your knowledge by attending seminars and family history group meetings. The Library regularly runs classes relating to family history. Visit the What’s on page to see what is planned.

Find out about the Hawkesbury Family History Group which meets regularly at the Library, and has guest speakers on a range of research topics.

A number of Local Studies Fact sheets have been designed to assist you.

Research Guidance

A personal visit to the Library is recommended as the best way to continue your research.   Library staff can assist by directing you to the various local studies resources, at any time during Library opening hours.

If you are making a special visit to use the collection, it is highly recommended that you contact the Local History Librarian prior to your visit to discuss your research needs.

For researchers unable to visit, we have a research service which is undertaken on a fee basis on material that is unique to our collection, for people living long distances from the Library.  Contact the Local History Librarian for more information.

Related sites

These sites might be useful for additional information:

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