Researching your Victorian ancestors

A guide to family history research using the major Victorian resources

Indexes to births, marriages and deaths

Birth, death and marriage certificates are vital documents to help genealogists establish relationships of family members backwards in time. They are used to build the basic structure of the family history tree.  

Certificates are kept by the Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages in each Australian state and territory.  To obtain a copy of an historical certificate you first need to check the relevant index to find the registration number. The Family History and Newspaper Room provides access to all published Australian civil registration indexes.

Civil registration in Australia is administered at a state and territory level, so the content and coverage of the birth, death and marriage indexes will vary. Go to the What you might expect to see on an historical AUS BDM certificate website for a list of what is included.

The following table lists the indexes available for each state and territory. For details on how to get the full certificate please go to the Obtaining certificates page.

States & Territories           Births       Deaths    Marriages Access      
All states Australian Birth Index, 1788-1922 Australian Death Index, 1787-1985 Australian Marriage Index, 1787-1949
Victoria 1836-1920 1836-1985 1836-1942
  • Historical indexes can be accessed from the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages website.
  • The `Digger' indexes to Victorian BDM records are available on all computers in the Library. Watch our videos on how to search these indexes.
  • The Victoria's Early Church Records index is available on all computers in the Library. Includes Baptisms, marriages and burials (1836-1853) plus extra records 1803-1906.
  • The Marine Births, Deaths & Marriages index 1853-1920  is available on all computers in the Library. It can also be accessed from the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages website.
  • The birth, death and marriages indexes are also available on microfiche - call number GMF 95.
  • If you are having trouble indentifying a place name consult the VICNAMES website.
New South Wales 1788-1912 1788-1982 1788-1962
  • Indexes to the New South Wales BDM records are available on all computers in the library.
  • The indexes are also available on microfiche - call number GMF 122.
  • Historical indexes can be freely accessed from the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages website.

 

South Australia

 

1842-1928

 

1842-1972

 

1842-1937

  • Indexes to South Australian BDM records are available on all computers in the library.
  • Indexes also available in print - call number G 994.23 SO.
  • The indexes are also available on microfiche - call number GMF 147.
  • Historical indexes can be freely accessed from Genealogy SA.

 

Tasmania

 

1803-1919

 

1803-1930

 

1803-1930

  • Indexes to Tasmanian BDM records are available on all computers in the library.
  • The indexes are also available on microfiche  - call number GMF 152.
  • The pre-1900 records of the Tasmanian Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages are held in the library - call number GM 5. These include pre-1900 birth, marriage and death certificates.
  • The Tasmanian Registry does not provide online access to any historical indexes.

 

Queensland

 

1829-1914

 

1829-1983

 

1829-1938

 

Western Australia

 

1841-1932

 

1841-1980

 

1841-1965

 

Northern Territory

 

 

1870-1918

 

1870-1913

 

1870-1913

  • Indexes to Northern Territory BDM records are available on all computers in the library.
  • The indexes are also available on microfiche - call number GMF 11.
  • The Alien births & death index - Northern Territory lists non-Northern Territory residents. Available on microfiche - call number GMF 11
  • Check NSW and SA indexes for records prior to separation in 1870.

ACT    

  1930-1983 1930-1938

 

 

Searching Victorian birth, death and marriage indexes

Watch the following videos and see how easy it is to search the Victorian birth, death and marriage cdrom (Digger) indexes.

The first video shows you how to do a simple search. The second video shows how you can analyse records and identify other areas to investigate.

For the best view choose fullscreen and the highest resolution

youtube icons

 

 

 

Obtaining certificates

You can order a birth, death or marriage certificate from the relevant registry. Wherever possibly provide all details given on the index entry, including the registration number. Fees apply for all certificates.

Unrestricted historic certificates are available in Victoria for births occurring 100 or more years ago, marriages occurring 60 or more years ago and deaths occurring 10 or more years ago. For other states please check with the relevant registry.

Location          How to obtain a certificate

Victoria

New South Wales

South Australia

Tasmania

  • Certificates cannot be ordered online.
  • Details on how to apply for a certificate can be found on the Tasmania, Births Deaths and Marriages website.
  • The pre-1900 records of the Tasmanian Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages are held in the library - call number GM 5. These include pre-1900 birth, marriage and death certificates.

Queensland

Western Australia

Northern Territory

ACT

 

Divorce records

Divorce was possible in Victoria in the second half of the 19th century when the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act came into effect in 1861.  Prior to this very few Victorian residents obtained divorces under English ecclesiastical law.

Records for 1861-1936

The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) holds divorce records created between 1861 and 1936.
None of the divorce files have been digitised

Indexes

1861-1900

Divorce Index Victoria

GMF 105 Box 2
1861-1938

Divorce Index Victoria - Index to Divorce Cause Books
Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) 

Volume 1, 1861 -1884

Volume 2, 1885 -1897

Volume 3, 1897 -1910

Volume 4, 1911- 1924

Volume 5, 1925 -1932

Volume 6,  1932 -1938

Download the relevant collection and search through it to find a specific case i.e. `Grealy v Grealy' or `Cooksey v  Cooksey'.

Online

 
Records for 1936 -1975

Researchers seeking access to Victorian divorce records created between 1936 and 1975 can contact the Registry of the Victorian Supreme Court for advice about access:

Supreme Court Registry,
Level 2, 436 Lonsdale Street, 
Melbourne, VIC., 3000
Tel: 03 9603 9300
Fax: 03 9603 9400

Office hours: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Supreme Court website  (including application forms and payment advice)

Records created after 1975

In 1976 the administration of divorce was transferred from Victoria to the Commonwealth. Researchers seeking access to Victorian divorce records created after 1975 can contact the Family Court (Victoria) for advice about access:

Family Court of Australia (Victoria)
Phone: (03) 8600 3763 or 1300 352 000  
Email: enquiries@familylawcourts.gov.au

For further information on how to access divorce records including a list of PROV records relating to divorce in Victoria please consult the PROVguide 61: Divorce records.

Where else can you look?

Use the Trove - Historic Australian Newspapers archive to locate birth, marriage and death notices in newspapers. For further information on how to search for notices go to the How to find items in newspapers research guide.

If the newspaper is not available on Trove, search the library catalogue to see if there is an index to that particular newspaper title e.g. Births, deaths and marriages printed in the Hamilton spectator 1859-1920.

Search the Ryerson Index to death notices and obituaries in Australian newspapers. Originally created by the Sydney Dead Persons Society, its strength lies in notices from NSW papers however more Victorian notices are now being indexed.

Search Victoria Funeral Notices,1981-1997. Available in the library on the FindMyPast Australasia database, this index is built from funeral notices from the Melbourne Herald Sun.