by Meg Bate
[This is an update of the article published in Ancestor 33:1 (March 2016) after the launch of the new web search service by Birth Deaths and Marriages Victoria. The author may be contacted at email@example.com.]
This index covers Victorian births from 1853 to 1916, marriages from 1853 to 1942, deaths from 1853 to 1988, plus Church baptisms, marriages and burials in Victoria from 1836 to 1853. A separate index is available for Events at sea (marine) index with 6,200+ entries relating to births, marriages and deaths 1853-1920 that occurred on board international and coastal ships bound for port in Victoria
A few hints on searching.
- When entering a family name and /or given name you can use the wildcard * to broaden your search.
- This can even be used to replace the first letter in a surname as *erryman to pick names Berryman or Merryman or Perryman
- Can be used as W* to pick up Wm or William or Will
- Can be used in the middle as Berr*man to pick up Berriman or Berryman
- In 'Events' select the event you require. It is possible to have two or all three boxes ticked.
- It is not necessary to fill in all the search boxes. If you are having trouble trying to locate the birth or death of a person you can just search using parents given names, leaving family name blank.
- Often given names and places are abbreviated, so if you search for a 'William' with no success then try 'Wm' as it may be abbreviated. Of course place names can have the strangest abbreviations so be careful here. Of course don’t forger to use the wildcard *
- Don’t use the browser back button; click on 'Refine search' for your next search or “Back” button.
For additional help the guide to use this index is available at https://assets.justice.vic.gov.au/bdm/transactions/family+history+help+guide
This covers getting started, search tips, how to download images and troubleshooting tips.
- Interestingly I have found birth entries for the years 1917 to 1945. It’s not complete for these years, as in 1921 there were 240 entries, 1922 – 188 entries, 1925 – 158 entries, 1930 – 167 entries, 1943 – 16 entries. I randomly checked a couple of these names for deaths and most of these people were there as well. For example, Birth Entry: Eric John BARTLETT, born 1924, no. 23970, father William, mother Rebecca Harper.
Death Entry: Eric John BARTLETT death 1967 no. 306, father William Edwin, mother Rebecca (Harper). Age 77 yrs.
- The death index entry can sometimes provide more information compared with the Digger index. - For deaths between 1943 - 1964 plus a few in later years, the place of birth and place of death are mentioned and they are not abbreviated, so this is extra information. An entry from the new website for death registration number: 1964/1548; Family name: HALL ; Given names: Ellen Maude ; Sex: Female; Father's name: BENNETT Samuel; Mother's name: Hannah (Spittlehouse); Place of birth: Ballarat; Place of death: Parkville ; Age: 91. Compared with the entry from the Digger index 1921 - 1985. Hall, Ellen Maude; Father: Bennett Samuel; Mother: Hannah Spittlehouse. Death place: PARK; Age: 91; Yr: 1964; Reg no. 1548. - A spouse’s name appears in many death records, mostly between 1853 and 1888.
- Sorting results by the headers only works for the current page.
- To see more detail click on the subject’s entry.
- The Events at sea (Marine) index includes the name of the ship and in some cases the exact death date. For example: Edward BAGSHAW Ship name: Golden Era. Place of birth: UNKNOWN. Place of death: At Sea On Board "Golden Era", Age: 22. Date of death: 03/05/1854. Marine births, deaths and marriages Victoria 1853-1920 (CD).
- The online death index has dropped off the additional age information such as “M” Months, “D” Days information from records for example:
The Digger index records the death as follows:
TEMPLETON, Louisa. Father: Richard. Mother: Mary Ann KENNAN. Age at Death: 14M (Months). Place of birth: MELBOURNE. Reference: 1853 no. 1758,
while the online index has:
TEMPLETON, Louisa. Father's name: Richard. Mother's name: Mary Ann (Kennan). Place of birth: MELBOURNE Age 14.
- In the Digger index the many marriages in the Pioneer, Federation and Edwardian indexes can include the birthplace information. E.g.
Marriage: 1891 no. 2482. Hardie, Arch (birth place: HTon) M McKeand Sarah (birth place: Heywood). Compared with online index which has Marriage Event registration number: Family name: HARDIE, Given names: Arch Spouse's family name: MCKEAND, Spouse's given names: Sarah.
I am finding new things all the time about this index and I believe that we can expect some further upgrades to this system in the future. Be aware that the GSV has the CDs of the Early church records and Marine births, deaths and marriages Victoria 1853-1920 and these discs include digital copies of the original certificates. So take advantage of your membership and either come into the GSV or email for a quick lookup.
This article was first published in Ancestor Journal.
Bate, Meg. 'Exploring the new births deaths marriages Victoria historical indexes'. Ancestor 33(1) 2016, pp. 20-21