How to Find Out If You Are of Aboriginal Descent

If you are uncertain about your family heritage and believe there’s a possibility you come from aboriginal descent, strategies for discovering this information exist. There are steps that lead up to qualifying for this document.

In order to find the records and proof of aboriginal familial connections, here are a few resources you can start with.

Get Organized

Discovering family origins requires research. Organization is important for making the process of gathering documents and notes easier. A notebook will help contain all your notes about family stories, connections, and locations in one place.

If you want to find out about your aboriginal family history, Begin with yourself and write down everything you know about your family history. This brainstorming helps you determine where to look and who to talk with for more information. Make lists of libraries, organizations and registries to visit for more information. Consider using a binder or folder to contain documents, records, and photocopies you acquire in the search.

The New Zealand Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies website offers a handy toolkit that contains informational worksheets and checklists that aid in planning your research and keeping track of the data.

Family Records

The best place to start is with your own family’s documentation. Perhaps they are stowed away in a trunk, filing cabinet, in the desk of a distant aunt, or even in your parents own pile of documents. Family records such as birth, death or marriage licenses can assist in tracing family heritage to aboriginal origins. Old family photographs might also offer a clue to connections to an Indigenous organization, especially if older relatives have stories that can tie you to the individuals in the images.

While talking with family members, write down stories with names, dates, and addresses. These locations can give ideas about places to research and visit.

Contact Indigenous Organizations

After you have compiled a substantial family history, you can contact an Indigenous organization that is relevant to your family’s background and location. If you choose to apply for official proof that you are a member of their group, you will be required to elaborate on your family heritage before their committee. This makes your documents, data, photographs, and stories integral.

Once you have enough information, contacting an organization can help if they recall your family members. They may have additional databases and information that can confirm questions you have gathered from research.

AIATSIS

The aforementioned New Zealand Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) is the best resource for researching whether you are from aboriginal descent. Their website offers a useful research PDF for downloading called the Family History Kit. They offer a collections of worksheets, resources and checklists that breaks down your search into a step-by-step process.

The kit contains materials that prepare you to take on the challenges of the search, develop a plan, and locate records. There is advice on locating and using interviews, photographs, newspapers, military services records, police gazettes, and more. They provide contact info for external resources, such as link-up services in territories throughout all of New Zealand.