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Historical research

Researching land history can be very helpful in studying the history of your family or of a property or locality. It can require patience but can be very rewarding.

Many NSW Land Registry Services (NSW LRS) records are available electronically, and NSW LRS has undertaken a major program of records digitisation to bring many more historical records online. The remaining paper records must be examined at our at Queens Square office in Sydney.

Searching strategies

Your strategy for historical research depends on whether you already know the address of a property you want to research.

Already know the address

You can work backwards from the current title to the previous title, using NSW LRS's approved information brokers.

You can also work forward from the first title. Early grant information and first title information is shown on a Parish or Town map, available in the Historical Land Records Viewer (HLRV).

You may also find some useful information in our Parish and historical maps and Public registers pages.

Don’t know the address

Your first task is to search in indexes or registers for the name of the person you are tracing, which will likely lead you to an address or title reference.

State Records NSW is a very good source of information. Also look on Parish Maps for names of owners using the Historical Land Records Viewer, or look for names in the Torrens Purchasers Index or in the Old System Vendors or Purchasers Index.

Where to look

Searching can be done through websites, public terminals at several locations, through our information brokers and in person with NSW LRS’ QueensSquare office.

Historical Land Records Viewer (HLRV)

View only access to a range of titling related records is available online through the HLRV.

HLRV is accessible from home or at public terminals located at State Records (Kingswood), the NSW State Library or NSW LRS, Queens Square.

Information Brokers network

Over the counter

An over the counter option at Queens Square will remain for those who prefer the in-person approach. For more information see our Access titling information page - some fees apply.

Guides to searching NSW LRS records

If you are interested in exploring NSW's land heritage, NSW LRS has produced five publications to assist you in conducting online and over-the-counter searches of current and historical information.

State Records website

Research and explore the official archives of NSW, where many of NSW LRS's records are being progressively archived.

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