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Births, deaths and marriages: SA Births

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

Australian birth registrations

Baby Evangeline being washed by her mother Rosa Gabriel (nee Brownley) while sister Marion looks on, 1909. (B 56385)

What you can expect to find on an Australian Birth Index  - a guide compiled by Graham Jaunay.

How do I get a certificate?

There will not necessarily be more information on the certificate than is recorded on the indexes. Check to see what information you will see on a certificate. However, you may wish to obtain a copy of a certificate for your own records.

Copies of birth certificates can be purchased from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Office.

Birth certificates after 1928 are only available to the person named, their parents or their children. You will need to provide proof of identity.

Apply for a certificate online.

Nellie Byrne with Janice and Caroline, 1945

This image is from the Arthur Collection. Find more information about this image here. 

Finding birth records in South Australia


Official birth registration was introduced in South Australia in 1842.

The main record of children born before 1842 is the baptismal register of Holy Trinity (Anglican) Church. This can be viewed on microfilm at the Library, or names can be searched in the Index to baptisms at Trinity Church, Adelaide 1837-1843 compiled by Mary Kowalick.

The free Family History SA and Family Search websites contain early birth records from this register and other sources.

A guide to early church records for South Australia appears on Graham Jaunay's Adelaide Proformat website.


Civil Registration of births, deaths and marriages began in South Australia in 1842.

Births for 1842 - 1928 have been transcribed into a digger database which may be searched at the Library. This information is also held in both book and microfiche format.

Brief versions of these records are available on the Genealogy SA website.

District Registers containing duplicates of the original registrations are now held in various libraries around the state.

See the SA District Registers page of this Library Guide.

1928 onwards

For privacy reasons indexes for births after 1928 are not yet publicly available, but the information may appear in newspaper notices on the Trove website.

If you cannot come into the Library to search for yourself, you can submit a request for a basic search via the State Library Ask Us service.

Online searching

Genealogy SA has published brief extracts from the South Australian births, deaths and marriages indexes on their website.

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

Other useful sources

If you have not had success with the official indexes, you could also try:

District Registers

Genealogy SA have compiled indexes to the District Registers (District births, deaths and marriages indexes) which can be searched at the State Library.

The original District Registers are located at a number of South Australian Council libraries. Use the search tool on the Family History SA website page.

Copies of the registers are also available at the Genealogy SA Library, Unley. Click on the tab above entitled SA District Registers.

Church Records

The State Library has a large collection of Church Records. If you know what church your family attended, you can check whether the State Library has its records in the library catalogue by searching under the name of the church. But you will need to visit the library to look at the records either on microfilm, or the original registers will be taken to the Somerville Reading Room.

Note: Registers after 1974 require written permission to access, from the individual church.

If you need help checking for particular church records, you may visit the Library, phone us, or forward an enquiry via Ask Us.

The State Library holds other sources for information about Australian births, listed in the library catalogue under the subject, "Registers of births etc". You may submit an enquiry online at Ask Us.

Adoption Records

Legalised adoption was introduced in South Australia in 1925. Prior to this 'adoptions' were generally arranged within families or by churches. More information relating to adoption can be found in  Adoption and Fostering of Children.

Rosalie Trengove c. 1917 (PRG 1480/14/80)

Information for Births after 1928

Personal Notices

You may be able to find information about a birth in newspaper personal notices. If you know the approximate date and where the birth took place, you can search the microfilmed newspapers at the State Library.

The State Library holds The Adelaide chronicle personal notices index which indexes births listed in The Chronicle between 1921-1924. This is available on microfilm in the Family History area in the Spence Wing.

The library catalogue includes references to articles about South Australian people from selected newspapers, magazines, books and pamphlets held in the State Library. For example, obituaries from The Adelaide Observer from 1880 onwards, and The Chronicle from 1920 onwards, are being progressively added to this index. You can search under the name of the person you are researching, and you can do this from home.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Sometimes the spelling of names changes or is misspelt. This is particularly common for non-English names.

Often a second or middle name is used, not the officially registered first name.

For a number of reasons an individual may alter their age. Maybe great-grandmother said she was born in 1900, but she was actually born in 1895!