We provide books, microform, journals and CD-ROMs to assist with family history research. The material includes the following subject areas:

  • Atlases
  • Births, Deaths and Marriages
  • Census and Musters
  • Convicts
  • Family History Research Guides
  • Land Records
  • Military and Police Records
  • Names and Heraldry
  • Placenames
  • Research Directories
  • Shipping/Immigration Records
  • Other Genealogical Resources

Most titles are not available for loan but may be either photocopied or printed. The library’s online catalogue can be checked for the availability and location of the item required.

Online Databases

Ancestry Library Edition library access

A genealogy research tool containing more than 1.5 billion names in over 4,000 databases and includes records from the United States Census, military records, court, land and probate records, church records, directories, passenger lists and more.

Findmypast.com.au library access only

Search 50 million records for Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea. Find your past using our family history records and many more for local and social history. Now includes resources previously available through the Find My Past UK site with over 650 million family history records including records from each of the Victorian (1841-1901) censuses, access to the 1911 census on 1911census.co.uk, the Parish Records Collection and an extensive military records collection.

Family History Volunteers

Volunteers from the Holroyd Family History Group are available to assist at Merrylands Library on the second Monday of each month between 10am and 12 noon.

For more information about the Holroyd Family History Group research assistance please phone 9631 2092.

Births, Deaths and Marriages

Cumberland Council Library Service has the following births, deaths and marriages indexes available on CD-ROM.

  • NSW Pioneer Index – 1788-1888
  • NSW Federation Index – 1889-1918
  • NSW between the Wars – 1919-1945 (marriages and deaths only)
  • Queensland Pioneers Index 1829-1889
  • South Australia – Births Index 1842-1906
  • South Australia – Deaths Index 1842-1915
  • Tasmania Pioneer Index – 1803-1899
  • Victoria – Pioneer Index – 1837-1888
  • Victoria – Edwardian Index – 1902-1913
  • Victoria – Federation Index 1889-1901
  • Victoria – Great War Index – 1914-1920
  • Victoria – Deaths Index – 1921-1985
  • Western Australia Pioneer Index – 1841-1905

Census and Musters

During the nineteenth century, musters were taken to record the inhabitants of the colony. Some of these have been published and are available in book form. The 1828 Census was the first census to take place in NSW and the only one that remains intact. It has been published as a reference tool. Parts of the 1841 and 1891 Census are available at the Archives Office.


Australia was first settled as a penal colony in 1788, after the British had to make alternative arrangements for the transportation of convicts. Transportation ceased in NSW in 1842. As a result of the Bicentenary in 1988, a great deal of convict material was released on microfilm and fiche through the Archives Office of NSW, now known as State Records NSW.

The library holds a number of general books about convicts, including a large selection of books by James McClelland.

Land Records

The first land grant in NSW was made in 1789 and the land was granted to assist with settlement of the penal colony. The majority of Holroyd is situated in the Parish of St John, County of Cumberland. Land records are an important resource for both the family and local historian.

For further information about land, contact the following repositories:

  • State Records NSW, Globe Street, Sydney and O’Connell Street, Kingswood
  • Lands Title Office, Queens Square, Sydney
  • Crown Lands Department, 23 Bridge Street, Sydney

Names and Heraldry

Names and heraldry are an interesting sideline to family history. Surnames can have various origins including patronymic, occupational, locational and nicknames. A similar surname does not necessarily mean that there is a connection with that particular family.


Heraldry relates to coats of arms and can also provide more information on the gentry and noble families.

Tartans and Clans

Scotland has its own unique type of family history with its clans and tartans.

Shipping/Immigration Records

Another important part of family research is shipping records. Ancestors could have arrived in Australia as convicts, free settlers or assisted immigrants. The State Records NSW has a very good collection of shipping arrival records.

Cumberland has lots of resources for people researching family history.

You may also be interested in the websites below: