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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.

Online sources

The Genealogy SA website has brief extracts for South Australian births, deaths and marriages. Paid membership is required to have full access.

The most detailed free birth, death and marriage information for South Australia (19th century) is on FamilyHistorySA a private website with many useful links.

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


More detailed information is available online (and in book form) at the State Library of South Australia, also some public libraries, and the other state libraries.

If you are unable to visit we invite you to submit a query via our Ask Us Service.


Steam train on line at Pichi Richi c. 1912 (PRG 280/1/44/529)


Birth, Death & Marriage Registry Offices

Each state has its own Registry office.  

To find other state offices click on the links below.


Information about divorces and separations can be difficult to locate.

The Matrimonial petitions index (1859-1893) held by State Records is on microfiche at the State Library. It lists those applying for various official forms of separation and divorce. (The full records can be viewed at State Records.)

Australian historic newspapers on the Trove website may also contain newspaper reports of court cases relating to divorce and other matrimonial issues.

Getting started

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

The information in indexes and official certificates varies over time and the place, 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

**Unfortunately the State Library has access to indexes/ brief records ONLY for births, deaths and marriages for South Australian (and other states). **

For South Australia the dates of these records are:

- births 1842 - 1928

- marriages 1842 - 1937

- deaths 1842 - 1972.

**These records were extracted from the official sources by Genealogy SA. The Registrar and Genealogy SA do not allow viewing of these indexes outside of subscribing libraries, so they may only be viewed by visiting the Library in person.**


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 city and country districts.

For Adelaide there were two registration districts. Certificates for the western district ("Adelaide") are held at the Goodwood Public Library on microfilm, and for the later eastern district ("Norwood") the duplicate certificates are held at Campbelltown Public Library.


Sir Henry Ayers with children and grandchildren, 1891. (PRG 67/54/22)

Savill Index to Funeral Notices in the Advertiser, 1971 - onward

The Savill Index of Advertiser funeral notices compiled by Gerald Savill is available on the State Library website, covering the period 1971 onwards.

The State Library also holds a printed version which is updated at the beginning of each year.

Copies of individual notices may be requested via the Ask Us service. We will quote for copying to a pdf file, unless a print is specifically requested. 

You may also visit the Library in person, and staff will assist you to make copies  from  the Advertiser microfilm.


St Mary's Church, South Road, c. 1910 (B 23387)

Old newspapers online

An unidentified man reading a newspaper containing an advertisement for Wendts' jewellers, c. 1915 (B 50637)

The best source for searching historic Australian newspapers is the National Library's free Trove website.

Newspapers are a rich source for birth, death, marriage, and all kinds of other information.

Personal notices in newspapers usually name other family members, and give more details.

Ancestry Library Edition and Family Search

The most comprehensive international website for family research is Ancestry. Based in the USA, it has worldwide coverage.

Full access to this website is only by subscription. The State Library is a subscriber, and the site is freely available for visitors to the Library.  It 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.