Australia Civil Registration
View the Australia BDM Civil Registration Index online tutorialfrom FamilySearch.
For birth, death, and marriage records before civil registration, read the church records article.
- 1 General Historical Background
- 2 State Registrars' Details and Costs of Certificates
- 3 Information Recorded in Civil Registers
- 4 Indexes to Civil Registration Records
- 5 Locating Civil Registration Records
- 6 Ryerson Index
- 7 Colonial Tasmanian Family Links Database
- 8 Records at the Family History Library
General Historical Background[edit | edit source]
Civil registration of births, deaths and marriages was introduced in England in 1837 but was not made compulsory until 1875. As was often the case, the colonial legislators considered applying Imperial legislative innovations and began to pass their own laws establishing civil registration. However, the schemes implemented were ahead of the mother Parliament by requiring from the beginning compulsory civil registration soon after the event. The dates of commencement of civil registration in each colony/state and territory are: 
|South Australia||1842||1 Jul|
|Western Australia||1841||9 Sep|
|Queensland||1856||1 March||¶ Note 1|
|[South Wales]||1856||1 March|
|Northern Territory||1870||24 Aug||¶ Note 2|
|Australian Capital Territory||1930||1 Jan||¶ Note 3|
Note 1. Civil registration commenced in Queensland when it was still part of the Colony of New South Wales. The relevant records were transferred to the control of the new Colony of Queensland at its formation in 1859.
Note 2. Civil registration began in the Northern Territory when it was administered from Adelaide. Responsibility was taken over by the Commonwealth from South Australia in 1911. The function was transferred to the Northern Territory Government in 1978 when internal self-government was granted.
Note 3. Civil registration began in the Australian Capital Territory from the creation of the Territory. At first, the function was carried out by New South Wales until 1930 when the Commonwealth took over. In 1988, the function was transferred to the Government of the Australian Capital Territory when internal self-government was granted.
State Registrars' Details and Costs of Certificates[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
Information Recorded in Civil Registers[edit | edit source]
Birth records may provide the following information:
- Surname and forenames of child
- Date and place of birth of child
- Sex of the child
- Multiple births
- Surname and forenames of father
- Age, birthplace, and occupation or rank of father
- Maiden surname and forenames of mother
- Place and year of marriage of parents
- Age and birthplace of mother
- Number and sex of previous issue, if deceased
- Name, relationship, description, and residence of informant
Marriage records may provide the following information:
- Surname and forenames of parties
- Occupations and places of residence of parties
- Ages and places of birth of parties
- Marital status prior to the marriage
- Date and place of marriage
- Name of celebrant and denomination
- Names of witnesses
- Surnames and forenames of parents
Divorce records may be a clue to search for a subsequent marriage and children:
- Public Record Office Victoria Watch the video to learn how to search.
- State Records NSW
- State Records of WA
- Tasmanian Archives
- South Australia
- Queensland A PDF outline gives the steps for divorce information
- Northern Territory
- Australian Capital Territory
Death records may provide the following information:
- Surname and forenames of deceased
- Date and place of death
- Occupation, age, and sex of deceased
- Place of birth and place and date of marriage of deceased
- Length of residence in Australia and in what colonies, states, and territories
- Name of spouse and names and ages of living children of deceased
- Number and sex of issue, if deceased
- Name and occupation of father
- Maiden surname of mother
- Cause of death and duration of last illness
- Name of medical practitioner
- Date and place of burial
- Religion and name of minister or witness
- Names of undertaker and informant
- Residence and relationship or description of informant
- Date and place of civil registration
Indexes to Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]
New South Wales has an index to births 1788-1910, deaths 1788-1980, and marriages 1788-1960 available online at www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/bdm_fh.html#
Queensland indexes of birth to 1914 and marriages and deaths to 1929 are available online at https://www.bdm.qld.gov.au/IndexSearch/BirIndexQry.m.
There are also Pioneer Indexes on compact discs which index civil registration records and some church records. These indexes include the following:
- New South Wales Pioneers Index, 1788–1918
- The Federation Series:1899–1918] (part 2 of New South Wales Pioneer Index)
- The Tasmanian Pioneers Index, 1803–1899
- The Victoria Pioneers Index, 1837–1888
- The Western Australian Pioneers Index, 1841–1905
A compilation of most of these Pioneer Indexes was produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a set of four compact discs entitled Australian Vital Records Index 1788–1905. It is available for purchase, except in Australia, through the Salt Lake Distribution Center, 1999 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104-4233, USA and online http://www.ldscatalog.com,Vital Records Indexes.
Locating Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]
Pre-civil registration records from many towns are in the various state archives and registrar general’s office. Many of these records have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library. However, for more recent records, and for those not yet microfilmed, contact the appropriate state archives.
If your request is unsuccessful, search for duplicate records such as church registers. For more information on church registers, see the Church Records article.
To order a copy of a birth, marriage or death certificate, contact the registrar general for the state and territory where the event occurred. Click on a link to learn more.
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
The following are the addresses of civil registration offices where requests may be made:
- New South Wales
Office of the Registrar General of Births, Deaths, and Marriages
G.P.O. Box 30
New South Wales 2001
Statistics on births, marriage and deaths are published by the Registrar General as follows:
- Registration. Annual report from the Registrar General. 1856-1866
- Vital statistics. 1867-1894
- Annual report on vital statistics. 1895
- Vital statistics 1896-1898
- Statistician's report on the vital statistics on NSW. 1899-1900
These reports are found in section N.6 of the Colonial Statistics Introduction above. They can also be found in the Journals of the Legislative Council at G.NSW/J.
microfiche at MIC319.4/70 described in the
Fisher MIC ARCHIVES Authority of New South Wales
929.394 The genealogical research kit
8 Sydney 1984 +
Fisher MIC NEW South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and
1 NSW Registry of births, deaths and marriages
pre 1956 to 1905.
Sydney: W and F Pascoe 1982-
Ryerson Index[edit | edit source]
- http://www.rootsweb.com/~nswsdps/dpsindex.htm (same website, alternate address)
"Because the Index was originally created by the Sydney Dead Persons Society, it concentrates on notices from NSW papers. However, the representation from papers from other states continues to grow, with additional papers being regularly added, so that the Index can now truly be considered an Australian index....
Colonial Tasmanian Family Links Database[edit | edit source]
The Colonial Tasmanian Family Links database is designed to provide an initial online genealogical research resource. It links individuals with other members of their families living in Tasmania in the 19th Century. The information about individuals is based primarily on records of births, deaths, and marriages and similar events, held in the Archives Office and the linkages have been developed by family historians associated with the former National Heritage Foundation in the late 1990s. The database contains approximately five hundred thousand entries.
Records at the Family History Library[edit | edit source]
To find civil registration records in the Family History Library, look in the Place Search of the Family History Library’s catalog at Catalog/frameset_fhlc.asp http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FamilySearch Catalog/frameset_fhlc.asp under:
AUSTRALIA, [STATE]- CIVIL REGISTRATION
There may also be information under:
AUSTRALIA - CIVIL REGISTRATION INDEXES
Archive offices may have inventories and guides that describe the record keeping systems and available civil registration records in Australia.
Wiki articles describing these collections are found at:
- Australia Births and Baptisms (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Australia Deaths and Burials (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Austrailia Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)Australia, Miscellaneous Genealogical Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Miscellaneous Australian Genealogical Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Chas. H. Wickens, "Messenger Prize Essay (1905)" (1909) 43 (1) Journal of the Institute of Actuaries PP 23-84 accessed via JStor lt; http://www.jstor.org/stable/41136529gt; accessed 15 July 2013, p. 38.
- Deaths outside Tasmania Government of Tasmanaia. LINC Tasmania, bringing together the State Library of Tasmania, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (TAHO), Adult Education and Online Access Centres. Accessed 15 Jul 2013.