Australian BDM certificates & saving money
Australians refer to Births, Deaths and Marriages (or BDM) – in alphabetical order. In UK these are described as BMD (in chronological order) while most Northern Americans refer to Vital Statistics.
I’ve been writing a course on Australian Births, Deaths and Marriages for the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. In Australia births, deaths and marriages are managed separately by each state or territory. While these have some common history there are also differences in the records and indexes available. (Links to the various BDM Registries can be found here.)
The following are some tips for saving money, while searching Australian BDM:
- Check whether a family member already has a copy of the certificate you want.
- Most states’ and territories’ Registry BDM indexes online are free to search, although Victoria’s cost & some regions don’t have online indexes.
- Most states and territories have BDM indexes on CDROMs that can be searched freely at libraries and genealogical societies.
- Ancestry.com is available to use freely at many libraries, genealogical societies & Family History Centers, so you do not need a personal subscription to check the combined ‘Australian Birth, Marriage and Death Index’.
- Cross-check details as much as possible before ordering, to minimise wrongly ordered certificates.
- Check holdings of genealogical societies – someone else might have deposited a copy of the certificate you want.
- Check the Australasia Births, Deaths & Marriages Exchange in case someone else has the certificate you want.
- Certificates are often cheaper if you can provide the name, year and registration numbers (and sometimes registration districts) – so check an index first and write down ALL the details.
- For New South Wales (NSW) and Tasmania, many 19th century church records are microfilmed & you may be able to see them at a genealogical society or library and write down the details yourself.
- For NSW transcriptions are cheaper than full certificates. Obtain these from Marilyn Rowan, Joy Murrin or Laurie Turtle. Early Church Records transcriptions are cheaper than civil certificate transcriptions.
- In South Australia transcriptions can sometimes be obtained free from the public libraries that hold District Registers. Note that each library can only provide transcriptions of one district, not others. Some libraries charge for this service and some offer it free. (eg Unley Library holds Adelaide District Register ONLY and will copy for researchers who live too far from the library to visit.)
- South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society (SAGHS) offers transcriptions of all districts of historic South Australian certificates.
- For Victoria, historical images of certificates (downloaded immediately as PDF files) are cheaper than certified printed copies of certificates (posted to you).
- Search Queensland BDM indexes online for free and order online the historical image of a certificate more cheaply than a certified historical certificate here.
Entry filed under: Births, Research techniques. Tags: BDM, Births Deaths & Marriages, indexes, National Institute of Genealogical Studies, NIGS, South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society, transcriptions, Unley Library.