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Births, deaths and marriages: Intro

This State Library of South Australia guide includes information on cemeteries, church records, burials and probate (wills). Information for other states is also included.

Searching from home

The Genealogy SA website contains brief extracts from South Australian birth, death and marriage records created by the Genealogy Society in conjunction with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

More detailed record summaries are available online and in book form in the State Library of South Australia, as well as in many public libraries, and other state libraries. The Library is open daily, but if you are unable to visit we invite you to submit a query via our Ask Us Service.


Family Search is a free website with a similar coverage to Ancestry, including British births, deaths, marriages and census records.

Savill Index to The Advertiser Funeral Notices 1971 - onward now online

The Savill Index of Advertiser funeral notices is freely available online, covering the period 1971 onwards. It has been compiled by Mr Gerald Savill.

The State Library also holds the earlier printed version of the Savill Index. This is updated at the beginning of each year with the previous year's index, received from Mr Savill.

Copies of individual notices may be requested via the Library's Ask Us service. Unless specifically requested as a print, these will be forwarded as pdf files.  A quote for copying will be forwarded to you.  Or you can come into the Library in person and have staff assist you to make copies  from  the Advertiser microfilm.

Getting started

Birth, Death and Marriage records are a rich source of family information.

The information you will find in an index or on the certificate varies according to the time, and the place in which the event was registered, but you should be able to establish:

  • The date and place of the birth, death or marriage
  • The names of parents
  • The maiden names of women

Indexes/ brief records ONLY for South Australian and other Australian births, deaths and marriages are held at the State Library, for dates deemed by the Registrar as suitable for free access. For South Australia the dates are: births up to 1928, marriages 1937 and deaths 1972.

The indexes/ brief records were created by Genealogy SA in conjunction with the Registrar's office. The Registrar and Genealogy SA do not allow viewing outside of the subscribing libraries, so these may only be searched by visiting the Library in person, or searching the shorter extracts on the Genealogy SA website.

Copies of full certificates require application to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and payment of the appropriate fee.

Duplicate copies of certificates (district registrations) are held in a number of country districts. For Adelaide there were two registration districts. Certificates for the western district ("Adelaide") are held at the Goodwood Public Library on microfilm, while for the later eastern district ("Norwood") duplicate certificates are at Campbelltown Public Library.


Birth, Death & Marriage Registry Offices

Each state holds its own birth, death and marriage registry office.  To be directed to the appropriate office in each state click on the name of the State you are interested in.

Ancestry Library Edition and Family Search

The most comprehensive website for family tree research is Ancestry. Although based in the USA, it has worldwide coverage. Full access to this website is only available by subscription. The State Library is a subscriber, but due to licensing restrictions we cannot make Ancestry Library Edition available to home users. However, it is freely available to anyone visiting the State Library, and is also available at local council libraries.

Family Search is a free website with a similar coverage to Ancestry, including British births, deaths, marriages and census records.

Who we are

State Library of South Australia
GPO Box 419
Adelaide SA 5001
(08) 8207 7250


Newspapers are a rich source for birth, death and marriage information. Personal notices published in newspapers often mention names of other family members, or give more details around an event. The best source for searching historic Australian newspapers is the National Library's free Trove website.


Information about divorce and separation is more difficult to locate. The Matrimonial petitions index (1859-1893) held by State Records is available on microfiche at the State Library. This is a surname list of petitions for a range of official forms of separation and divorce. The full records need to be viewed at State Records.

Checking the digitised Australian newspapers on the Trove website may also provide newspaper reports of court cases relating to matrimonial issues.