If you want to find out about where you come from, the Community and Personal Histories team can help. The team can help you use records to research your family and personal history, or help you with other information such as confirming dates of birth, for you, or older relatives.
The Community and Personal Histories team (CPH) is part of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and has a permanent office at QSA to help people locate records and get access to them.
QSA is the official repository for Queensland government records. Records are available for viewing in the Public Search Room.
The Queensland State Archives houses a significant collection of records about Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. Many records about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people contain personal affairs information as well as other sensitive information, so the government agencies that created the records have restricted access to them. If you want to get access to a record that is restricted, you have to request permission from the relevant government agency – and this is where CPH can help.
Researching archival records takes time and can seem complex. To help, CPH and QSA staff have put together a number of research aids. A good place to start is the brief guide Records relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and there is also a growing number of indexes available. Indexes to records can be invaluable because they highlight records that at first glance you might not have considered worth viewing, but which may uncover important information on family members or extended family. These indexes are to records on ‘open’ access, so if you find anything that looks interesting, you should be able to see it on the same day.
Currently on QSA’s website there are indexes to the following records, all of which are on open access:
- Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People 1859-1903
- Correspondence relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 1894-1915 – Deebing Creek
- Aboriginal War Census returns 1915 – 1916.
In the Public Search Room you can also source information by using Paul Mackett’s index to records relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This is a name index to Queensland government records, and most of the records referred to in this index are also on open access.
Finally, when you visit QSA you can also lodge a request for family history information in person by meeting with a CPH team member. You can also complete an online family history request form, or you can call CPH research staff during business hours on the freecall number 1800 650 230.