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Births, deaths and marriages: Introduction

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

Birth, Death & Marriage Registry Offices

Online sources for SA births, deaths and marriages

The Genealogy SA website has brief extracts for South Australian births, deaths and marriages. For full access you must be a member.


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.

Historic newspapers on the Trove website may contain reports of court cases relating to divorce and other matrimonial issues.

Burial records online

Adelaide Cemeteries Authority - records for West Terrace, Cheltenham, Enfield and Smithfield cemeteries

Centennial Park - Adelaide's major crematorium and cemetery established in 1936

Australian Cemeteries - A project of the Oz Gen Online network for free Australian genealogical information - This international website has an Australian section

Billion Graves - Another international website with an Australian component, and photographs of headstones

See also the SA Deaths page of this Library Guide.


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

Birth, death and marriage records are the best source for family history. Some have made early birth, death and marriage information available online.

**Unfortunately South Australia has not done this, but the Registry Office has allowed brief records and indexes ONLY to be available at the State Library and other subscribing libraries. Brief versions of these records are also available on the Genealogy SA website.**

For full copies of certificates apply to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. A fee is charged for this service.

When a birth, death or marriage is registered, one copy remains with the district registration office or local police station.

Duplicate copies of older district registrations are now held in local district repositories.

Adelaide had two registration districts. Certificates for the western district ("Adelaide") are held at the Unley Museum on microfilm, and for the later eastern district ("Norwood") the duplicate certificates are no longer  held at Campbelltown Public Library. They are now at the State Records of South Australia

The Gerald A. Savill Index to Funeral Notices in the Advertiser, 1971 - onward

The The Gerald A. Savill Index of Advertiser funeral notices compiled by Gerald Savill is available on the State Library website. It covers the period from 1971 onwards.

The next step is to visit the State Library and view and copy the notice from the Advertiser microfilm or you can order copies of individual notices via the Ask Us service. 

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

Ancestry Library Edition and Family Search

The most comprehensive family history website is Ancestry. This is a subscription website.

The State Library subscribes to the 'library edition' of Ancestry, and is able to offer free access to this for users within the Library only.  Ancestry library edition is also available in local council libraries.

Family Search is a free website which also includes British births, deaths, marriages and census records.

For British births, marriages and deaths the free information on the website might be useful.

Newspapers online

Newspapers often contain birth, death and marriage notices.

The free Trove website contains Australian newspapers for 1803 to 1954 - and later dates where copyright permission has been given.

Even if you already have the dates of births, marriages and deaths form other sources, newspaper notices often contain additional helpful information such as 'second surviving daughter of ...' or 'eldest son of the late ...' which might place a person in order within a family, or help date other events such as parents' deaths.

See also the SA Newspapers Library Guide