Births, deaths and marriages (BDM): Australia, New Zealand, England and Wales

Download the PDF version of Births, deaths and marriages: family history info guide  (PDF 46.0 KB)

Guidelines for birth, death and marriage research

Work back from yourself, from the known to the unknown. Start with your own full birth certificate. The information it provides will lead you to information on your parents and the means of identifying their certificates. From their certificates, you can find information on the earlier generation.

See also: England and Wales birth, death and marriage indexes info guide

Major BDM Indexes available at State Library of Queensland

Place Births Deaths Marriages Integrated Indexes Civil Registration
Qld 1829-1919 1829-1987 1839-1942 1829-1914 Mar 1856
NSW 1788-1918 1788-1987 1788-1967 1788-1945 (births to 1918) Mar 1856
Vic 1836-1920 1836-1988 1836-1942 1836-1920 July 1853
Tas 1803-1933 1803-1933 1803-1930 1803-1899 (births to 1919) December 1838
SA 1842-1928 1842-1972 1842-1937 None July 1842
WA *1829-1932 1829-1980 1829-1965 1841-1905 Sept 1841
NT 1870-1918 1870-1913 1870- 1913 None August 1870
ACT

-

1930-1985

1930-1940

-

-

NZ 1840-1990 1848-1990 1840-1990 None 1848 approx
England & Wales 1837-2001 1837-2001 1837-2001 None July 1837

* For 1829-1840 consult "Access to Ancestors" MFPAM 929.3941 1990. Ask at desk

Major BDM Indexes available online

Place Births Deaths Marriages Website
Qld 1829-1917 1829-1987 1829-1942 Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages historical index
Note online ordering option for historical records
NSW 1788-1917 1788-1987 1788-1967 NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Historical Indexes
Note online ordering option for historical records

*From yesterday’s date 100, 30 & 50 years ago*
Vic 1836-1915 1836-1988 1836-1942 Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages - Historical Index Search
Note online ordering option for historical records
Tas 1803-1933 1803-1933 1803-1899 LINC Tasmania Names index
SA 1842-1928 1842-1972 1842-1937 Genealogy SA
WA 1841-1932 1841-1971 1841-1936 WA Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Historical Online Indexes
ACT

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1930-1986 1930-1941 ACT Births, Deaths and Marriages – Access Canberra (Under "Related resources" then 'Public Registers' at right of screen)
NZ 1840-1917 1848-1967 1840-1937 NZ Births, Deaths and Marriages Online Historical Records Search

NOTE:

  • Check New South Wales records for Victoria pre 1851 and Queensland pre 1859
  • New South Wales indexes post 1945 and Queensland indexes post 1964 are on the web only
  • Many of the birth, death and marriage indexes are also available on CD-ROM. The Victorian marriage index 1921-1942 is available on CD-ROM only. Consult the One Search online catalogue or CD-ROM information booklet for the latest details of our holdings.
  • Index and certificate information varies among the States. For details, Ask a Librarian or consult Graham Jaunay's site Adelaide Proformat
  • Search ancestry.com (library ed.), onsite only, to find English and Welsh civil records to 2001. See also Info Guide 3.5 - England and Wales: birth, death and marriage indexes.

Other useful indexes

  • The International Genealogical Index (IGI) is compiled by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is available on fiche, CD-ROM or through the FamilySearch website. It contains millions of baptismal and marriage entries from civil and church registers from around the world but mainly from Europe and the Americas.
  • The State Library holds some parish registers for New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia, as well as some British, North America, Western Europe and Scandinavia indexes on microfilm, microfiche and CD-ROM. Ask at the Desk or consult our CD-ROM list for the latest arrivals.

Helpful hints

  • Use primary source material such as birth, death and marriage certificates. The indexes alone are not enough. Certificates issued since the introduction of compulsory civil registration provide information for further research, including place of birth, parents' names, address, length of spent time in the colony, occupation, religion and details of other family members.
  • Names were spelt variously. In a period of limited literacy a person might spell his/her name many ways, and immigrants from non-English speaking backgrounds were at the mercy of the registration clerks' interpretations of their accents
  • Ages could vary markedly. In a time when there were fewer personal written records, it was easier for people to be "flexible" about their age, based on what the immigration authorities required, what was deemed suitable for marriage purposes etc.
  • Find as many records as possible in Australia before commencing a search overseas: it is easier and cheaper.
  • Check what others are researching. Consult resources such as the Genealogical Research Directory (FAMHIS 929.1072), an international register of family historians. This source is published annually and is available for perusal in the State Library.
  • Cross-check information as much as possible.
    Consider the following:
    • Church records
    • monumental inscriptions and other cemetery records
    • undertakers' records
    • probate records
    • indexes to newspaper birth, death and marriage records.
  • Maintain records of your sources.
    • Use a research log. This is useful for checking information and finding errors. Always record the details of records you have checked – you may need them again!
    • Samples of research logs may be purchased from family history societies, found in handbooks, or downloaded free from websites such as the Ancestors site.
    • Prepare family group sheets and descendant charts to record relationships other than the direct line. There are plenty of sources from the Net, societies, and in handbooks.
  • Find out more about the lives of your family in their historical, geographical, social and occupational contexts.
    • Directories, newspapers, maps, gazetteers, electoral rolls, government and local records are valuable sources of information. Check the Family History Info Guides for more details about our holdings of these resources.

Download the PDF version of Births, deaths and marriages: family history info guide  (PDF 46.0 KB)

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