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Births, deaths and marriages: Getting Started

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

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. When a birth, death or marriage was registered, one copy remained with the district registration office.

Most other Australian States have made early birth, death and marriage information available online. 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. 

Original district registrations are held in local district repositories or at State Records for more information look here.


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


Free online sources for SA births, deaths and marriages

The Genealogy SA website has brief extracts for South Australian births 1842-1928, deaths 1845-1993, and marriages 1842-1937 as well as church and other records. For full access you must be a member.

Trove contains full-text Australian newspapers for 1803 to 1954 - and later dates where copyright permission has been given.

Newspapers often contain birth, death and marriage notices and contain additional information such as 'second surviving daughter of ...' or 'eldest son of the late ...' placing a person in order within a family or help date other events such as parents' deaths.

Family Search has some SA immigration records, parish records, school registers, and probate and burial records.  Registration for a membership is required but there is no fee.  

South Australian Birth, Death & Marriage Registry Office

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 offering free access within the State Library and Public Libraries in South Australia.