Discover your New South Wales ancestors. Uncover information about their property, occupation, transactions, and many other rich details of their life and times. The New South Wales government gazettes were published weekly from 1832 by the colonial authorities in order to share important information with officials and the public, on matters ranging from laws and regulation to convict assignment. Find out if your ancestor was one of the tens of thousands of people featured each year.
This is an index to personal names appearing in the New South Wales Government Gazettes between 1832-1863.
Government gazettes are a unique and useful resource for family, local and social history researchers alike. They were published by the government as a means of communication to officials and the general public. As such, their information covers a broad spectrum of the community, recording facts concerning tens of thousands of ordinary people every year.
The New South Wales Government Gazette was first published on 7 March 1832. Before this, official notices were printed in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, which was the first newspaper in the colony.
The gazette was usually published weekly, although there were sometimes special issues. In addition, indexes to the gazettes were published on a roughly quarterly basis.
Often the information was of an administrative and bureaucratic nature, but the gazettes can reveal fascinating insights into your ancestor’s life and times. The level of detail they contained varied widely over the years.
For example, in the government gazettes, you will find details on land sales and auctions, court notices, petitions, notice of acts, tenders and contracts, police auctions of stolen property, statistics, unclaimed letters, impoundments of cattle and horses, reward notices and more. They contain laws and regulations and details of probate and bankruptcies. The gazettes even include information concerning licenses, which were required in the colony to cut timber and sell liquor, among other pursuits.
If your ancestors were convicts, the government gazettes are a great resource, providing lots of information relating to convicts in the colony of New South Wales. They listed details regarding which convicts were assigned to which employers, those who were granted tickets of leave and certificates of freedom, those who absconded, apprehensions and more. Some of these even include descriptions of the convicts’ physical appearance.
In particular, the 1833 gazette includes lists of all male convicts who arrived in the colony of New South Wales month by month, noting their name, convict number, ship, and occupation, as well as to whom they were assigned and where.
Other individuals who frequently appear in the New South Wales government gazettes include government employees, private households or employers who were assigned convicts to serve as workers, and even sailors who deserted ship!
Note that these government gazettes may feature individuals and places from beyond the current New South Wales borders, so it may be worth searching for your ancestors even if they didn’t live in that colony during this time period. This is because other colonies (later to become states of their own) separated from New South Wales at different times. For example, Victoria separated from the New South Wales colony in 1851. Before then, all government notices, regulations, forms and other official documents relating to what was then called the Port Phillip District were published in the New South Wales Government Gazette.
The New South Wales Government Gazettes 1832-1863 contain a vast amount of historical and genealogical information and can help you reconstruct events and circumstances in the lives of individuals and communities.
This dataset contains 830,000 personal names indexed from the NSW Government Gazettes 1832-1863 by volunteers at the Society of Australian Genealogists and was originally published on CD in 2005 by the SAG. For the purposes of this indexing work each record was classified into broad event categories, eg a ‘Convict indulgence’ may refer to the person named receiving a Ticket of Leave, a Certificate of Freedom or a Conditional Pardon. Consulting the original entry in the NSW Government Gazette will provide more precise information.
© Society of Australian Genealogists.