Legacy Tree Genealogists works with researchers all across the world to access records for our clients. We asked Benjamin from Park Holme to give us insight into doing archival research in South Australia. Check it out!
As we mentioned in a previous post, South Australia is blessed with so many major archives located in close proximity to each other. That article contained a discussion of the Lutheran Archives located just outside of the Adelaide city limits. Presented here is a rundown on the other archives that can be found in or just outside the City Mile.
State Records – 115 Cavan Rd, Gepps Cross (Map ref 1 – Bus pickup point)
Until 2015, the State Records Reading Room, the repository for South Australian Government Records, was co-located with the National Archives and State Library on North Terrace, but the decision was made to move it back to the Gepps Cross site, in the northern suburbs, where the actual documents are kept. For ease of access, State Records offers a free shuttle bus from the city to Gepps Cross at 10am on the first Thursday of each month and a return service at 3pm. Bookings are essential.
State Records holds many key documents such as official pre-federation immigration records, government employee lists, coronial inquests, and police reports, as well as a myriad of governmental documentation and correspondence that may reveal key family history gems. Records are subject to release dates and restrictions based on privacy and confidentiality requirements. Access is free and photography of records is permitted.
State Library of South Australia (SLSA) – Corner of Kintore Avenue and North Terrace, Adelaide (Map ref 2)
There are two major resources in the SLSA for family historians. First is the Family History Collection, which includes indexes and microform versions of newspapers, immigration documents, church records, directories, and more – as well as access to most major subscription sites.
The second resource is the Archival collection, which includes many deposited family and non-governmental papers. Registration is required to access these documents, and delivery of the items occurs within an hour of requesting. Items are only available Monday to Friday. Photography of documents is permitted within set guidelines, and only pencils are allowed in the reading room.
Many of the eResources can be accessed from home by South Australian Residents with a library card, and – best of all – it’s free! There is also free wi-fi onsite and plenty of desk space and microform readers. Charges for copying and printing are managed via a copycard system. For those long days of research, there is a café on site, and bottled water is allowed in the general areas.
National Archives of Australia (NAA) – In the State Library building, North Terrace Adelaide (Map ref 2)
The National Archives has chosen to decentralize its holdings so that records with relevance to particular states are held in that state. As with many Australian government archives, there is a concerted effort to digitize the collection and have it available for free online, but for those records still waiting, the originals can be accessed from the NAA reading room. Key documents for family historians are post-1901 military service records, naturalization certificates, and immigration records.
Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) – 1 King William Street, Adelaide (Map ref 3)
An underutilized service is the current Australian Electoral Roll. This can be accessed electronically from any AEC office in Australia. If you are searching for living people to contact about their family branch, this is certainly an excellent resource. No digital or film recording devices may be used in the search rooms, so bring a big notebook.
City of Adelaide Archives – Topham Mall, Adelaide (Map ref 4)
Historic maps and plans, earliest corporation records, City of Adelaide assessment books, annual reports, council minutes, citizens’ rolls, municipal year books, town clerk’s records, city engineer’s records, the Smith Survey showing the precise location and layout of every building that existed in the city in 1878-1880, licensing records, health records, and the public streets register are all found here.
If your family had any dealings with the City of Adelaide, this is the place to find the records. Access to the archive is free, but there are significant copying costs, and the use of cameras is not permitted.
Supreme Court Registry and Probate Registry – 301 King William Street, Adelaide (Map ref 5)
This is a repository that is probably not used as much as it could be by family historians, and one that can sometimes put the final piece in place. The Probate registry has a copy of all wills and administrations that have been granted probate in South Australia. Where there is a will, this means being able to see what relationships are documented. Where the person died intestate, the probate will identify who inherited the estate in line with the Administration and Probate Act 1919.
Copies of probate are $20.30 collected or $22.50 posted.
Lands Title Office – 101 Grenfell Street, Adelaide (Map ref 6)
It’s probably not as necessary now to visit the Lands Titles Office since the launch of SAILIS (the South Australian Integrated Land Information System) online, but this repository is still worth a mention. Lands Title manages the Torrens Title system of land registration in South Australia, and so holds record of every land transaction made since 1858. Digitized images of the pre-computerized Certificates of Title show the history of nearly every property in South Australia, and often have information about marriages and deaths when this affected the ownership of land.
Once again, all pre-computerized certificates are free to access and download from the SAILIS website.
If you have ancestors who lived in Adelaide or elsewhere in South Australia, Legacy Tree Genealogists would love to research them for you! Our onsite agents are available to visit any one or more of these archives to find what you need. Contact us today for a free consultation.