Friday 20 October 2017

NSW Colonial Secretary's Letters 1826-1856 join Ancestry

Ancestry ( has added a new Australian collection, indexed as part of its World Archives Project:

New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Letters, 1826-1856
Source: State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

The collection New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Letters, 1826-1856 consist mainly of copies of letters to the Principle Superintendent of Convicts and to the Land Board in relation to the assignment of convict servants. Letters and records of various events make up the majority of the collections: petitions by convicts for sentence mitigation, marriage permission requests, character memorials for potential settlers, land grant or lease applications, official visit reports, information about court cases, and lists of assigned servants. These files were organized by the Colonial Secretary, or Secretary to the Governor of New South Wales.

The colony of New South Wales is located on the south-east coast of Australia and became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. Prior to that date it was a British colony whose first settlement was a penal colony governed by Captain Arthur Phillip in 1788. During the time period of this collection, 1788 through 1856, 10 different governors were assigned to the colony, which existed in a steady state of anarchy until the appointment of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, who cracked down on active rebellion leaders and built local infrastructure in the form of roads, wharves, churches, and public buildings. Mentioned in this collection is Governor William Bligh. An officer of the British Royal Navy, he had the reputation of a firm disciplinarian and was appointed the fourth governor of New South Wales in 1805 with the assignment to straighten out the colony and clean up the corrupt rum trade. He was deposed in 1808 by a group of settlers in what is known as the Rum Rebellion, and held captive until 1810.

Within these records you can find significant information about your ancestors if they lived or immigrated to New South Wales during this time period. If they requested to marry, resettle in New South Wales, or acquire a land grant these requests would have been processed by the colonial secretary or other administrative personnel. For more general information about Australian records and research see Searching for Roots Down Under by Janet Reakes in the Learning Center. This article provides a short history of the settlement of Australia, suggests other databases on the site to search, and includes a brief summary of the kinds of records you can look for in order to further your research.

Information in this database:

Given name
Event date
Event description

This collection is only partially indexed but all of the images may be viewed using the browse.


My next 5 week long Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the OPRs course commences Nov 6th 2017 - details at For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

No comments:

Post a Comment