Gazettes and Directories

Government Gazettes contain details of land transactions, unclaimed mail, convicts assigned, etc. Police Gazettes contain the victims as well as the perpetrators of crimes. Directories give addresses and occupations and those of the neighbours. Even if we can’t find our ancestor or other relatives by name, we can still get a very good idea of what their lives were like from these publications.

Government Gazettes

Old government publicationsGovernment Gazettes were published weekly and contain a great deal of information about a great many things, such as public service employees and positions; land transactions; permits and licenses; and convict pardons, tickets of leave, assignments and escapes. The first NSW Government Gazette was published in 1832; before this time this information was published in the Sydney Gazette.

NSW Government Gazettes are available on Trove, and at the State Library of NSW, State Records NSW and the Society of Australian Genealogists. They have been microfilmed to 1886 and are available in the State Library of NSW. They are now gradually being released on CD by Archive CD Books, which makes searching possible. Indexing from 1832 to 1863 is available from the Australian Genealogical Computer Index Volume 2 on CD, and from 1864 to 1869 on Australian Genealogical Computer Index Volume 3; both available from The Society of Australian Genealogists.

Police Gazettes

Police Gazettes were distributed to the police force throughout the state. “They include court lists, lists of warrants issued, appointments and changes in the Police Service, lists of Justices of the Peace, lists of arrests and discharges (which include descriptions), escaped prisoners, and missing persons, as well as lists for liquor, wine sellers, tobacco sellers, auctioneers, billiard and poisons licences.” (Archive CD Books Australia)

NSW Police Gazettes have been digitised and indexed on Ancestry and FindMyPast to 1930.

Commercial and post-office directories were to our ancestors what the Yellow and White Pages are to us now. They show who lived where and what businesses were being conducted in the area. They are especially useful for address and occupation information in Australia because the destruction of the censuses deprived us of this systematic collection of information.

Directories are available in some libraries. Some have been digitised by Ancestry.