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by Malcolm Ward

© Malcolm Ward 2005-2011. All rights reserved





The Archive Office of Tasmania (AOT) delivers its public services as the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (TAHO) on level 2 of the State Library building, 91 Murray Street, Hobart. The TAHO combines the viewing of original document functions, microfilm and microfiche services of the old Archives Office of Tasmania with the Tasmaniana Library, newspaper microfilm and Family History services of the State Library. See:

For Tasmanian genealogy, the AOT/TAHO is the best place to do your research in person and it caters well for e-mail inquiries and has a number of indexes on line. If you can't get there in person, the AOT will do research, copying etc for you, for a fee. The AOT home page is at: This page points to various services provided, many of which will be discussed below.

Reading Room
Registration, with 3 pieces of identification (including one photo ID) is required before using the reading room for original material. This area is where the Tasmaniana Library was formerly located. Lockers are provided for bags etc in the foyer area of Level 2. Digital photography of original materials is allowed, with the filling out of another form. An archivist should be on duty to assist with queries on materials, how the records are structured etc and a librarian is also usually on duty.

Items are requested by filling in a form and are usually retrieved 'on request' with minimal delay except at busy times. A lot of larger format items (eg plans) and lesser-requested archives are kept off-site at Berriedale and will be brought in the following day. In the on-line catalogue these items are labeled 'Ber'.

Microfilm/microfiche Reading Area
The microfilm and microfiche collections of the AOT and State Library have been combined into a single self service area with reading and printing viewers, between the reading room and the family history area. Included in this area on microfilm and microfiche are Tasmanian and interstate newspapers, TAMIOT, electoral rolls, Post Office Directories, interstate b,d & m records and, importantly, the microfilm records of the Archive Office that used to be delivered by staff (eg Tasmanian birth, death and marriage registers pre 1900, AJCP microfilms, Colonial Secretaries Correspondence, wills, inquests, convict records and much more). At the time of writing, the labeling of the drawers is poor and one needs to hunt around a bit to find what you are after.

The former Archive Office microfilm reels are identified uniquely by a "Z number" which is not the same as the archives reference. In general, once you have the AOT item reference (eg SC195/1/170), you need to go into the "item search" area of Archives on-line, search on the reference, and amongst other details on the item, the result will bring up the Z number for the film which you then use to locate it in the cabinets. One further complication is that a reel of microfilm may contain more than one volume, and the microfilm box may still have 'old' volume numbers written on it - so you can't tell where on the reel your item is. Having obtained the Z number, ask at the reading room staff to look up on their system the equivalent old volume number for the item, so you can locate it on the film.

Family history Area
This area hasn't changed location (main reference library, level 2) and includes hardcopies of indexes published by various organizations, indexes on computers, books formerly on the shelves of the Tasmaniana Library and the remaining card indexes from the Archives Office.

On-line Services
There are two main areas of searchable digital content on the State Library/Archives Office web site.

From the State Library there is a wide range of digitised images, including photographs, convict records, maps and index cards. See:

The AOT has been increasing its 'name indexes' on line and has a comprehensive search function to look for any of its holdings. The name indexes can be found at and currently include wills, arrivals, departures, census, convicts, general (mainly names, some subjects), inquests, divorces, naturalizations and convicts permission to marry. Also included is the Tasmanian 'Family Links' database which isn't strictly an archives product and has some issues - see Section 2.5 of this Guide.

Archive office images can be searched on-line at A portal for searching more on-line images can be found at

An under-used on-line resource is the search facility of their on-line catalogue at This will reveal the AOT holdings and file references for any topic they have indexed.

Family historians should check records useful for genealogical research at

It is very worthwhile to look at the AOT's guides to its holdings; these can be found here: The guides apply to many of the categories below.

The AOT previously maintained files of correspondence between themselves and inquirers and these correspondence files are available for browsing today. Some files contain the results of the past inquirers' own research on the family name or subject and so can be very useful.




The TFHS has a number of branches around the state and these have indexed and/or sell a wide range of resources and have many more "in-house" in their libraries (not all of which are mentioned on their web site). Visitors are welcome. See for locations of the branch facilities and contact details. A number of the TFHS publications and indexes will be mentioned below.




The Family History section of the State Library at level 2, 91 Murray Street Hobart has been combined with part of the former Archives Office collection - see description above in Section 1.1. There are a significant amount of family history resources available, see:

The whole library catalogue is on line at

The searchable State Library e-Heritage web site contains many images of interest to family historians. Find it here: Digital resources of the State Library and The Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office are accessed here:

The Tasmaniana Library is a section of the State Library in Hobart specialising in Tasmanian books, maps etc. and is worth visiting to browse, at least. From September 2008 the items on shelves can be found in the family history section on Level 2; the remaining items can be retrieved from the stacks by staff on the submission of a request slip.

A list of newspaper holdings at the State Library (dating back to 1816) can be found here:

The Library has systematically systematically indexed Tasmanian newspapers since 1994 and this 'Tasmanian Index' is on-line - see the search portal here: : Content from 1966 to 1994 is accessed via PDFs of index cards here: : The 'Stilwell Index', an index of The Mercury and the Hobart Town Advertiser newspapers from about 1860 to the 1890s is now combined with the 'Tasmanian Index' referenced above.




The Launceston branch of the State Library also has many genealogical resources and a reputation for being helpful in family history research. See




The Community History Centre in the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at the Inveresk Railyards, Launceston, is a substantial resource for the family historian, especially Launceston City Council records. See their web site at :




Although not necessarily specialising in Tasmanian genealogy, all family historians should visit their local LDS Family History Centre (if there is one) to see the facilities they provide. Visitors are made welcome and the volunteers can assist in general and some specific problems. To find the nearest LDS FHC near you, search from here:

The LDS have put many of their indexed parish church records and other information on the web. To search "All Resources" or choose one of the individual databases, go to here: A word of caution; although most people think of the LDS main database (the International Genealogical Index or IGI) as being derived from transcribed church parish records, in fact there are many data submitted from what the Church calls "Patrons", or individuals. These submissions are not verified, so check the source of any search result on the IGI. Of course records derived from parish church records and the like can be checked by ordering in the microfilm of the original for a small fee.




The NLA's on-line index of resources pertaining to genealogy can be found here: (For Tasmania, it mainly duplicates what is mentioned elsewhere in this guide.)

The NLA's digitisation of Australian newspapers is now found under the 'Trove' website:




The SAG has a very large holding of genealogical resources in their facility at Kent Street, Sydney, with a bias to NSW. Contact details and some searchable databases can be found here




The National Archives in Canberra hold many records of interest to family historians, particularly post 1900, as you would imagine. The web page is here:

A search by name of their defence records can sometimes find individuals who have been omitted or mis-indexed in the Australian War Memorial site.




The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart has collections covering many aspects of Tasmanian history of interest to the family historian, including photographs and documents.

Unfortunately accessing the collections for private research can be problematical. Perseverance and determination may be required.

The museum's web site is here:




The Maritime museum is located in Hobart, opposite the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.




The Tasmanian Historical Research Association promotes research into and publication of Tasmanian history. THRA's Papers and Proceedings have been published since 1951 and contain much of interest to the family historian. The Proceedings have been indexed and both the full text and the indexes can be found at major Tasmanian libraries, at least. Additionally, TRHA publishes volumes on special subjects - see:




The Companion to Tasmanian History, edited by Alison Alexander was first published in hardcopy in 2005. It is a work which gives short to medium length entries on almost every subject (people, places, institutions and issues) relevant to Tasmania's history and also longer articles on selected subjects.

The on-line version of this comprehensive work is searchable and can be found here:

© Malcolm Ward 2005-2011. All rights reserved
Submitted by Malcolm Ward 28-Jul-2005
Updated 30-Nov-2011