National Australian Birth, Marriage and Death Database Spanning 200 Years

15 million records from all states¹ starting from 1788 through to 1985² now online reveal new insights into Australian history:

The records of those who were born, married or died in Australia from 1788 through to 1985 have been assembled into one fully searchable database – The Australian Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes – and are now available online for the first time on leading family history website³ Ancestry.com.au.

In a project that has taken four years to complete, the Australian Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes have been assembled from microfilm sourced from state record offices and archives where the records are available online or on fiche, but not in one place or in one format.

In total, 15 million records are included in this new database, which will be an essential starting point for both Australian family historians and those around the world with Australian heritage wishing to learn more about their ancestors’ lives.

The database is easy to use and can be searched by any of the following terms:

  • Birth: name, birth year, father’s name, mother’s name, and birth place
  • Marriage: maiden name, spouse name, marriage year and marriage place
  • Death: name, death year, est. birth year, father’s name, mother’s name and death place.

The records reveal fascinating insights into Australian birth, marriage and death trends since the First Fleet arrived in Australia more than 200 years ago:

Births:
The Australian Birth Indexes reveal that those humorous 20th century stereotypical names for Australian males and females – ‘Bruce’ and ‘Sheila’ – have in fact been around far longer than popular culture would have us believe. ‘Bruce’, a seemingly ‘modern’ name, first appeared in the birth indexes in 1831, while ‘Sheila’ first appeared some 45 years later in 1876.

Australian parents also preferred traditional English names for their children, with John the most popular male name for more than 74,000 Australian boys, and Mary the most popular female name for more than 52,000 Australian girls.

Also included in The Australian Birth Indexes are famous Australians:
o The Don – born Donald George Bradman in New South Wales, 1908
o Chips Rafferty – born John William Pilbean Goffrage in New South Wales, 1909
o Smithy – born Charles Edward Kingsford Smith in Queensland, 1897

Marriages:
Australians are clearly romantics when put under pressure, with the records revealing a huge spike in marriages throughout WWII. Not surprisingly, the top five marriage years in modern Australian history all fall during this conflict.

In NSW alone, over 340,000 people married throughout the period of 1939-1943 inclusive. The peak year for weddings was 1942 with nearly 80,000 marriages recorded, compared to just 60,000 weddings when the war began in 1939.

The Australian Marriage Indexes also reveal that the ‘modern trend’ of multiple marriages has in fact been going on for rather a long time. For example, Australian statesman Henry Parkes married three times, including twice in Australia, first to Eleanor Dixon in 1889 then Julia Lynch just six years later in 1895.

There are more than 4,891,890 names in The Australian Marriage Indexes, including forebears of famous Australians:
o Arthur David Kidman – Nicole Kidman’s grandfather, who married Margaret Emily Mary Callachor in North Sydney in 1936; and
o Sir Keith Arthur Murdoch – the parents of Rupert Murdoch married Dame Elisabeth Greene, in 1928

Deaths:
The death indexes reveal that life for the early Australian settlers was tough, with the average age of death calculated across the full date range of the death indexes being just 56 years old compared to the current life expectancy for Australians of over 79 years for men and 83 years for women4.

Famous Australians included in The Australian Death Indexes are:
o Henry Lawson – died in Sydney in September 1922
o Prime Minister Edmund Barton – died in Medlow Bath in January 1920
o Andrew Barton Paterson – died in Sydney in February 1941

Ancestry.com.au Partnership Development Manager Brad Argent says: “Without question, birth, marriage and death records form the cornerstone for any and all family history researchers therefore this collection represents a significant step forward for those interested in exploring their Australian heritage.”

“As more Australians become interested in discovering their ancestors, it is vital that fantastic records such as these become available so that our interest in who we are and where we came from continues to flourish.”

The President of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations Inc, Andrew Peake, said: “With the availability of the Australian Birth, Death and Marriage Indexes, Ancestry.com.au is fast becoming a one-stop-shop for family history research.”

“The release of these indexes will make it much easier to find that elusive ancestor who moved between the Australian colonies. It is great to have such a comprehensive and searchable collection of indexes available in one place online.”

To view The Australian Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes, visit www.ancestry.com.au

¹ The database covers all Australian States (excluding the Australian Capital Territory), however many people in the marriage and death records will have been born elsewhere in the world. The Indexes have been sourced from the Queensland Registrar General’s Office, the Tasmanian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, the Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, Victoria, the NSW Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages, the General Register of BMD, Western Australia, the Office of the Registrar General, Northern Territory and the South Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

² The full database includes the following indexes – NSW Births (1788 to 1909), NSW Deaths (1788 to 1945), NSW Marriages (1788 to 1945), NT Births (1870 to 1909), NT Deaths (1870 to 1913), NT Marriages (1870 to 1913), QLD Births (1829 to 1909), QLD Deaths (1929 to 1959), QLD Marriages (1829 to 1934), SA Births (1907 to 1922), SA Deaths (1916 to 1970), SA Marriages (1917 to 1937), TAS Births (1803 to 1909), TAS Deaths (1803 to 1919), TAS Marriages (1803 to 1919), VIC Births (1836 to 1909), VIC Deaths (1836 to 1985), VIC Marriages (1836 to 1920), WA Deaths (1906 to 1980), WA Marriages (1906 to 1949).

³ comScore, 2009, based on genealogy related websites selected from the Family and Parenting sub-category under the Community category

4 Australian Bureau of Statistics. 3302.0 – Deaths, Australia, 2008. Based on current mortality rates, a boy born in 2006-2008 can expect to live 79.2 years while a girl can expect to live 83.7 years.


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