Frequently Asked Questions

Searching for records

Our archive collection is made up of permanent records created by state and local government agencies in South Australia. We do not hold all the records created by government, but only a small amount are kept permanently. Many records remain with the government agencies.

You can read about some of the most popular records in our collection at Discover our Collection,  these include records relating to Health and Welfare as well as Police, Courts and Gaols.

You can search our collection using ArchivesSearch.

Find more tips about searching on the Using ArchivesSearch webpage.

Learn about how the archive is arranged and how this can help you to search at Searching for Records.

Not all the records in the archive have been listed or indexed in ArchivesSearch.

If you do not find results when searching for a name, think about what information you are hoping to find about that person and how that may have been recorded by government. We arrange records by the government agency that created them.

For example, if you are searching for when someone attended school, search to see if we hold admission registers for that school.

More information about popular topics is available in the Discover our Collection section of the website.

When you find an index result for your search, you can click the link to the index and will be taken to the first entries. To find the person you are searching for, scroll through the results (you can show 20,  50, 100, 200 or 500 entries per page using the Show option at the top of the index).

You can also use the Sort by drop down to sort the index using different columns.

There are a couple of reasons why a search may show 0 results:

  • There are no records described with the search terms. Try to broaden your search and think about which government agency may have created the records you are searching for.
  • Details in a Direct Search have been entered incorrectly.  Try again and see the Using ArchivesSearch page for more information on how to do a Direct Search.
  • Records you are searching for are restricted. Find out more about Restricted Records.

Use the main search bar on the ArchivesSearch home page or header on every page to do a keyword search using any words.

Learn more handy tips and how to use operators to narrow down your keyword searches.

Direct search allows you to search directly for a government agency or series when you know the archival reference.

Learn more handy tips and what you need to do a direct search.

How to view records

Some of the most popular records in our collection have been digitised. Our Online Records page details how to access digital copies of records. Please note the ArchivesSearch catalogue does not contain any images of records.

See the Family Search tutorial for the steps to find an entry on a State Records website index and how to then navigate to the FamilySearch website and view the digital images.

Access to digital copies of records on FamilySearch requires a free registration. If you do not wish to register with FamilySearch, or the images for the records are not available, send us an enquiry to ask for a copying quote. Specific references are required when requesting a digital copy of a record.

Once you have identified records to view in our Research Centre and found the precise references, you will need to book an appointment and pre-order records.

Find out more about how to book an appointment and pre-order records.

Records you wish to view must be pre-ordered at least 24 hours in advance of your visit. You will not be able to order records for same-day viewing.

Some records are stored at our secondary repository and are subject to increased retrieval times. Staff will will let you know where this is the case and arrange an appropriate booking time.

No. To order records to view at our Research Centre you will still need to book an appointment and pre-order records.

Government agencies can still loan records through our Loans Services.

Authorised Agency Users

Authorised Agency Users within SA Government agencies can login to ArchivesSearch using the SSO login button.

Authorised Agency Users in agencies outside of the SA Government can login with an email address and password.

If you are unsure about which option to use please contact us.

Try logging out of ArchivesSearch and then back into ArchivesSearch, as this can help the system pick up your permissions.

If this does not work, trying clearing your cache and then logging out and in again.

If this does not work, please contact us and provide details of your agency (GA number) and the browser and version you are using.