More immigration records online

Published on Friday 18 August 2023

We are delighted to announce that our partner Ancestry has digitised, indexed and published an important set of 19th century NSW immigration records held in the NSW State Archives Collection. Never digitised before, these records provide a remarkable range of information beyond traditional shipping lists, about immigrants and the schemes under which they emigrated.

What has been digitised?

The highlight of the collection is NRS 5274, Wages paid to orphans, 1849-1851. Digitised and indexed, this volume relates to young Irish women who migrated to NSW as part of Earl Grey’s Famine Orphan Scheme between 1848 and 1850. It shows name of orphan, ship of arrival, amount due to orphan from master or employer, amount paid by master or employer into orphan's account, and amount withdrawn from account and paid to orphan.

Some of the other records in this collection are:

  • NRS 5274, Persons authorised to import migrants, 1838-1842. This volume provides the name and address of each person authorised to import migrants and the number and destination of immigrants, or the reason for authorities not being fulfilled.
  • NRS 5243, Applications from persons in the colony nominating immigrants, 1857-1858, 1880, 1885-1895
  • NRS 5328, Ships’ papers, 1839-1891. These include certificates of arrival, health reports, tenders, lists of immigrants leaving the ship without formal engagements, copies of contracts between immigrants and employers, and matrons' diaries. See our Immigration and Shipping Guide for a full list of the ships. This series is browsable but not indexed.

Preserving the records

Digitisation increasingly plays a key role in both the preservation and access to the State Archives Collection. Our partnership with Ancestry is central to furthering this work and we are so pleased to bring these records to a worldwide audience.

Where to access these records

You will find these records on the Ancestry website in the database New South Wales, Australia, Immigration Records, 1840-1902. Ancestry is a subscriber site, however you can access it free in our State Archives Reading Room and in many public libraries around Australia.

See our suite of Immigration and Shipping resources in our Subjects A-Z for more information about researching this topic in the NSW State Archives Collection.

Browse all

Assisted Immigrants index 1839-1896

Passengers arriving in Sydney & Newcastle 1844-59, Moreton Bay 1848-59 & Port Phillip 1839-51

Man steering a ship5's wheel

Crew & passengers 1828-1841

Search for crew arriving in New South Wales between 1828 and 1841

Ocean liners Strathnaver and Mariposa in Sydney Harbour, 1932

Immigration & shipping guide

Key records and available indexes, relating to passengers arriving in New South Wales, 1788-1922

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