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Starting Your Family Tree

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Were you Adopted?

From the earliest years of colonial settlement, children have been brought up by people other than their biological parents due to many factors, including separation or the death of one or both parents. 

These children are often referred to as having been adopted, however, formal adoption did not become possible in NSW until 1923 when the NSW Child Welfare department was created and legislation formalising the adoption process was introduced. 

In response to recent communtiry pressure, greater access to official records has been granted to those affected by adoption; however, access is still quite restricted. 

Further information can be obtained by contacting the Family Information Service, Adoption Services, Department of Community Services (DOCS). 

State Records hold many records relating to child welfare. Email adoption@community.nsw.gov.au

Many private arrangements to 'adopt' children were also made by solicitors, church groups and charitable institutions. DOCS has produced a guide called 'Connecting Kin' to help people separated from their families to research and reconnect with their family history.