The WA Family Connections System contains links between individuals who are related, created using information recorded on original Birth Registrations and Midwives’ Notifications. These relationships are usually (but not always) biological. No information is known about adoptions, including step, local or overseas adoptions.
Currently, the genealogy held by the Department of Health includes parents and siblings of people born in WA since 1945. Extended family members (including grandparents, grandchildren, cousins, aunts and uncles) can also be identified.
The availability of Family Connections information arose from the WA Family Connections Project, which was started in 2003. This project involved creating genealogical links from information recorded on Registrations that are available electronically. Initially focusing on Birth Registrations dating back to 1974, a later phase incorporated newly digitized records from as early as 1945.
Population-based genealogies for are rare due to the challenges of developing and maintaining such a resource on a large scale. The combination of genealogy and health data for the WA population represent a unique opportunity to investigate the inheritance of human disease. Data may be used to assess the degree of relatedness of individuals within study samples, locate common ancestors, estimate genetic risk and describe the familial burden of comorbid conditions.