Migration Museum staff receive a large number of public enquiries each year. The Museum provides a fantastic resource for people with an interest in a wide range of migration and history related topics.

The frequently asked questions below are aimed at answering some of the more common questions we are asked. Please have a look and see if you can find what you are looking for. If more information is required you can send your enquiry to one of our Museum staff.

There are various services that may assist in researching your family history in South Australia. Key organisations include:

  • State Library of South Australia (located next to the Migration Museum)

Primary and secondary sources and family history support services. http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au

  • State Records of South Australia

State Government archives, including the Destitute Asylum and immigration (generally pre-1920s). http://www.archives.sa.gov.au

  • National Archives of Australia

Federal Government archives, including immigration (generally post-1901). http://www.naa.gov.au

  • Genealogy SA

Not-for-profit family history association; offers comprehensive database and library services. http://ww.saghs.org.au

  • South Australian Maritime Museum

Database of vessel and passenger arrivals (1836-99 and 1915-56). http://maritime.historysa.com.au/publications

  • Public Libraries SA

Many local libraries also have a family history collection and support services. http://www.libraries.sa.gov.au/

  • Community Museums

Community museums and historical societies can also assist with specific local context. A directory is available at http://www.community.history.sa.gov.au/

The Migration Museum relies on generous donations of artefacts from the public to continue to expand its collection, including photographs and oral history interviews. Please refer to our Collection FAQs for further information about donating items to the Museum. We also welcome your comments on the Museum’s exhibitions.

The Migration Museum is located in several buildings that formed part of South Australia’s Destitute Asylum, which operated from the early 1850s to 1918. The Museum features an informative exhibition about the history of the site titled ‘In this place: the history of the Migration Museum site’.

Mary Geyer’s book The Women of the Destitute Asylum, Adelaide, 1852-1918 (Wakefield Press, 2008) can also be purchased from the Migration Museum.

Enquiries about individuals should be directed to State Records of South Australia, http://www.archives.sa.gov.au, which holds the majority of archives relating to the Asylum (see next page).

Settlement Square in the centre of the Migration Museum is a place for people to commemorate their family’s contribution to South Australia’s cultural diversity. You can search our on-site database of more than 2,000 pavers that relate to your family or find other families who migrated at the same time or from the same place. Find out how to record your family in Settlement Square and become a member of the Migration Museum Foundation.

The Migration Museum does not hold archival records as such; however, you are welcome to enquire with a curator about:

  • whether the Museum has items associated with your family in its collection; and
  • browsing the research files and library that Museum staff have collated about various subjects.

Appointments are required. Research and copying fees may be incurred for time-consuming tasks.

The Migration Museum can help you place your South Australian ancestors in their historical context. We collect and present materials that represent the cultural diversity of South Australia and impact of settlement on indigenous people. The Museum is arranged chronologically, so you can research what was happening at the time your ancestors lived.

Our publication From Many Places (2006) describes South Australia’s cultural diversity in detail. It provides a summary of the geographic origins, history of immigration and settlement, community activities, organisations and media, statistics, and a bibliography for each group profiled.