The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Biographical Index

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Biographical Index (ABI) is a personal name index to published material held in the AIATSIS Library. The ABI is part of our catalogue Mura®, and can be searched online.

The ABI is compiled by an indexer who reads through books from the AIATSIS collection and creates records for the names of people mentioned in the them. The items indexed cover the whole of Australia, including Tasmania and the Torres Strait.

There are about 70,000 records in the ABI and it is being continuously updated from both historical and contemporary Australian Indigenous works.

Before you search the ABI, please read the cultural sensitivity message.

 Types of material indexed in the ABI

Currently

  • Books: personal and family histories

Previously

  • Journals: current publications such as Deadly Vibe and Torres News; Ceased publications: Dawn and New Dawn, Australian Evangel, Identity, The Lutheran, the Australian Board of Missions Review and the Newsletter for the Aboriginal People of Victoria
  • State government reports including Protector’s Reports.
  • Manuscripts

Examples of materials indexed in the ABI

1. Carmen Drummond

This an excellent example of the information ABI records might provide to family history researchers. It has a lot of family information in the annotation (sometimes called description).

It mentions where Carmen was born, where she grew up, her marriage to Ali and her passing in 1984.

 Examples of materials indexed in the ABI

2. Matilda House

The family tree of the Blakney Creek families includes Matilda House, the daughter of Pearl Simpson and Doug Williams.

This is a good example of people connecting to their place, in this case Yass and Brungle, New South Wales, from 1850s to 1950s.

This an example for family history because it has a lot of family information in the Annotation (sometimes called Description)

Requesting photocopies of material in the ABI

You can request a copy of items referred to in the ABI by contacting AIATSIS Collections. There will be a charge for this service – see ordering collection items for more information on the copying services provided by AIATSIS.

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