In Australia there are a number of free Australian death notices websites and without doubt one of the best Australian death notices sites is the Ryerson Index.
The Ryerson Index is an index to death notices appearing in current Australian newspapers. It also includes some funeral notices, probate notices and obituaries. While not all Australian death notices are listed, the Ryerson Index contains over 2,596,891 entries from 178 newspapers (at time of posting) and the indexing is being continuously carried out by a team of volunteers.
One of the advantages of the Ryerson Index compared to some of the other Australian death notices websites is that it contains records going back to the mid 1800′s. Other Australian death notices sites like obits.com.au, obituary.com.au and thelastpost.com.au records are obtained from funeral directors or though contributions by members of the public which limits their content.
The Ryerson Index can be searched in two ways: by name, or by location and once the search is complete it lists the Surname, given name, date of death, age, location, which publication it was printed in and the published date.
Once you have found the death notice you are after, you can receive a photocopy of the death notice by using the Ryerson Index free lookup service. Again this is a volunteer project and don’t expect too much as not all decades are available for lookup.
If you cannot get a copy of a Australian death notices using the Ryerson Index free lookup service, try the Australian newspaper archives website or visit your local library and they might have copies of your State’s papers on microfiche.
In Australia, I think we are pretty lucky when it comes to trying to trace our family tree for free. For instance, both NSW and Queensland have a free historical birth, death and marriage (BDM) index online, where we can easily find information to help us in our family search.
But eventually there may come a time when you have to purchase a BDM certificate to allow you to trace your family tree further. NSW BDM certificate costs will vary from state to state, with NSW BDM certificates starting from about $28 (at the time of posting).
Another alternative is to get a transcribed copy of the certificate. There are a number of professional BDM transcription agents across Australia who will often be able to transcribe certificates cheaper than purchasing the original.
Being a bit of a scrooge, this was the position I found myself in when I needed to find information on my mum’s parents.
Somehow I had ended up with a copy of my grandfather’s death certificate, so I knew Pop’s details but all I knew about Nana was that her and Pop were married in Ryde, NSW and their 50th Wedding Anniversary was in 1982. Nana’s parents were named Albert and Amelia Thompson and that Nana was born in England somewhere.
Once I had Nana and Pop’s marriage reference number from the NSW BDM index, I then found a NSW BDM transcription agent through Google.
A NSW BDM transription agent can transcribe the following for you: NSW Birth Certificates 1788 – 1909. NSW Marriage Certificates 1788 – 1959 and NSW Death Certificates 1788 – 1979.
When hiring a NSW BDM transcription agent, one good thing is that besides purchasing a full transcription, you can pay for only the “fields” you require. A NSW Full Certificate Transcript cost is $18.00, NSW Partial Certificate Transcripts (5 Fields) is $15.00, and a NSW Partial Certificate Transcripts (3 Fields) costs $12.00.
For example, if you need a marriage certificate transcribed, you have the choice of 12 different fields.
1.Marriage Date & Place
2. Groom’s Birthplace
3. Groom’s Occupation
4. Groom’s Age
5. Groom’s Father
6. Groom’s Mother
7. Bride’s Birthplace
8. Bride’s Age
9. Bride’s Father
10. Bride’s Mother
12. Religion & Minister
I only needed to know 3 fields 7, 9 and 10 and the cost is only $12 instead of $28 for a certificate. Not a bad saving, especially if you need to purchase a few.
And when I received the order, the NSW BDM transcription agent actually sent me all of Nana’s details, fields 7 to 12, even though I didn’t really need them, which I thought was nice.
If you are researching your Australian family history, one great source of information is the Australian newspaper archives. This is a free online service that enables full-text searching of old newspaper articles. The Australian newspaper archives includes newspapers published in each state and territory from the 1800s to the mid-1950s.
By searching the Australian newspaper archives, you can not only find birth, marriage, death and funeral notices, which might uncover unknown facts, but also social, political, economic and cultural issues of the day.
The first 100 years of the Sydney Morning Herald are now publicly available. (The Sydney Herald 1831-1842 and The Sydney Morning Herald 1842-1931). Issues from 1932-1954 will be added weekly over the next few months.
The Argus (and its previous title the Melbourne Argus) from 1846 -1945 are now completed and available. The remaining 10 years (1945-1954) of the Argus will be made available in 2010 (mid to end of year).
Other titles included in the Australian newspaper archives: The Maitland Mercury, The Courier-Mail, The Hobart Town Gazette, The Advertiser and The West Australian.