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Births, deaths and marriages: SA District Registers

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

Unknown couple and dog driving pony and trap c. 1914. B 55461

On 1 July 1842 official civil registration of births, deaths and marriages became compulsory in South Australia. Later a system of fines were applicable for non-registration: births had to be registered within 42 days, and deaths within 10 days. Marriages were registered quarterly by the officiating minister.

From 1875 each birth, death or marriage was to be registered in triplicate, with one copy given to the person registering the information, the second retained at the district offices, and the final copy was sent to the General Registry Office in Adelaide.

Occasionally a copy never was sent or was lost on the way to Adelaide. If you cannot find a registration in the BDM indexes at the State Library it might be worth checking the district registers.

SA District Register Indexes

District Registrars were required to create an index to make their registers easier to search.

Genealogy SA have created indexes where original indexes were incorrect or non-existent.  The indexes are available on microfiche in the State Library Family History area. 

The locations of the original District Registers are listed in the documents (PDFs) in the next column.  Some are located at the local library or history centre and some are located at State Records.  

Note that the book and page number recorded in the district indexes differs from the indexes used for the records of the Registrar General's office.

History of the registration process and districts

For full information about SA birth death and marriage registrations, including district registrations and maps, see South Australian registration districts of births, deaths & marriages / by Beryl E. Schahinger in the State Library family history collection.


SA District Register locations

To locate a birth, death or marriage in a District Register you first need to know the place or general area where the event occurred.

The alphabetical list of towns above may help.  Once the district is known, use the Key to SA BDM District Register locations above to see where the district registers are held.

It is best to contact the holding library to arrange to view the registers as they are generally not on open access.

(Due to fragility some libraries have lodged the original registers with State Records of South Australia, but have a microform copy for public use.)

Microfilm of the District Registers is also available at the Genealogy SA library at Unley.