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Find an Orphan: Advanced Search

Search by the orphan's family name.

Search for names that sound like the the orphan's family name. This can help find incorrect or unusual spellings but may also find irrelevant records.

Search by the mother's family name. These were sometimes different from the orphan's family name.

Advanced Search by all name fields
This will enable you to undetake a complex combination search by orphan, mother and father names, admittance dates and ships of arrival. It will not display all the available information. Once you have completed the advanced table search and identified your orphan you can note the correct orphans name and number and then return to the simple search to view full details for that orphan.  

See below for important information about seaching these records.

Where do these records come from?

The records made available through our website are found in the archives of the Social Welfare Department (SWD). The basic register record includes the child's name, age at admission and dates of admission and discharge; along with the name of the child's mother and father (if known) and the name of the ship on which they arrived in the colony. Records catalogued SWD 26 for the period 1859 - 1879 include applications for admission, along with supporting letters and subsequent correspondence about the child.

In many cases details included in the official register are incomplete or incorrect. Sometimes the spelling of surnames for both parents and children varies within the register and between convict and marriage records. For example: the surname of the mother of Catherine Sharkett (Orphan 4879) is recorded as Shooket in the register index, Elizabeth Shukey inside the register, Eleanor Sharkett on the convict record and Ellen Sharkett on the Permission to Marry Form.

Variations and discrepancies also occurred because mothers were convicted under their maiden name or because married women who arrived without their husbands re-married shortly after arrival.

Read more about the origins of these records and further research options.

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 Site last updated June 2021