There are no seminars scheduled for August.
In September the following
13 Sep: Introduction
to FH research Cultural
Centre Library Diagonal Road Oaklands Park 10:30am 2 hour
27 Sep: Pitfalls in Family History Cultural
Centre Library Diagonal Road Oaklands
Park 10:30am 2 hour session
From 1 July the fee for a SA BDM certificate rose $1.50 (4.3%) to $36.75. Wills
from the Probate Registry now cost $12.90.
Libraries with Ancestry.com
Ancestry.com is now available at the following South Australian libraries:
SA Genealogy & Heraldry Soc (Ancestry.co.uk)
State Library of SA
If you can add to this list
In this issue:
• SA fees
• LIbraries with Ancestry.com
your Digger CD data on your Hard Drive
and ID theft revisited
your Digger CD data on your Hard Drive
Have you accumulated a number of Digger CDs and want to access them
without the need to mount the CD?
The default installation creates a Digger
directory containing a number of
The files particular
CD are identified
to the CD title, for example the VIC Pioneers CD files start with vicp,
the QLD pioneers CD files start with qld1 and the SA Deaths CD files
start with sad1.
The birth, marriage and death data is contained on each CD in a directory
named DATA which contains files that have unique names for each CD.
To run these Digger indexes from a hard drive instead of the CDs two
steps are required, as follows:
1. Copy the contents of the Data Folder from the CD onto your hard drive
(noting that as the file names are unique to each CD they can be all
same Data folder on the hard drive).
• You will find the DATA folder in the Local Disk
which is usually called C:
• Just copy the contents from the DATA file on
the CD into this folder.
• If you do not have a folder called DATA, then
2. Identify the .ini file relevant to the particular CD in the DIGGER
folder, for example sad1.ini for the SA Deaths 1 CD and
open that file with Windows Notepad by double clicking on it. At the
end of each relevant .ini file you will see the following (assuming
the CD was installed from a D drive letter CD-ROM drive):
Change the last two lines to match the hard drive letter that you copied
the Data directory to, for example assuming a C drive, change the lines
and save the file.
Note: These instructions assume that the CD data folders are
replicated on the hard drive and are not located on the hard drive as
a sub directory (folder),
for example D:\Births is copied to C:\Births and not C:\Some directory
and ID theft revisited
Since writing the item entitled Privacy and ID Fraud in
the June newsletter that was picked up by AFTC Magazine July issue, I
have had a number of people contact me to share their woes over the matter.
More interestingly, the WA Registrar of BDM contacted AFTC Magazine and
indicated that he was not all that happy as he felt they were being harsh
on the Registries and advised AFTC that the Final Report of
the NSW Parliamentary Legislative Council's Standing Committee on Social
Issues called Births,
Deaths and Marriages: An Open Register? was a basis for how the
Australian BDM Registries tackle this issue.
I had been led to believe that this report focused on one principle
of privacy namely that disclosure for a specific purpose means that the
information cannot be used for any other reason. Hence you disclose your
address and telephone number in the telephone book purely to inform the
public how they may contact you by telephone. Using that data for any
other purpose is inappropriate (and indeed now unlawful although impossible
to police). The argument went that the registrar collected BDM data for
specific purposes as defined in the Act and public disclosure was not
one of them.
My point is that birth, marriages and deaths are very public events in
How the report then went from that stance to determining the release
date of the so-called historical records is not clear to me. The way
the SA Registrar explained it was that in SA it was based on the old
adage of life was three score and ten and therefore you could release
birth records after 70 years which neatly led to 50 years for marriage
but I am not too sure how they arrived at 25 for deaths under this scheme.
Frankly I think they just plucked figures out of the air. What I do know
is that in about 1992 all registrars agreed on uniform embargoed periods
but when they all got home and talked to their political masters, changes
in some cases were made!
Of course I am still left wondering why under this policy my 87-year
old mother is entitled to less privacy than me!
The report indicates that it received 169 written submissions (I note
that every capital city FHS except SAGHS made a submission.) from the
public and 36 witnesses and the overwhelming majority wanted all records
opened. Other considerations clearly outweighed these submissions.
After reading the report I am now aware that I was largely correct about
the privacy issue. It says that if the information is to be owned at
all, it belongs to the person to whom it relates. If it has been made
available to a government department for a specific purpose then in the
absence of special circumstances, that department should not use it,
or allow its use, for any other purpose. (p52) Notwithstanding this statement,
it is well known that certain groups do have access to the records including
MPs and professional organisations!
The reasoning given for having closed records in the report is based
on the amount of information disclosed on the certificates. I find this
strange when other bodies such as the Probate Registries and Land Services
offices have no such qualms. Ironically they excuse England/Wales and
New Zealand for not having a closure period because their certificates
hold little sensitive data. South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia
have certificates based on the English model with little data. All states’ indexes,
apart from South Australia, disclose very little information—name,
year and reference and not much else. Many family researchers would welcome
the release of the indexes even if it meant the certificates themselves
remained closed. At least they would have an indication of when the event
occurred and may be able to follow it using other pathways such as newspapers
and the like.
One interesting, but unproven issue was the suggestion that if the public
had access to these records those providing the data may be disinclined
to reveal personal issues. We all know that in the case of deaths in
SA, the registrar collects far more data than is ever displayed on the
certificate and moreover the data is collected at a most inopportune
time as far as the grieving relatives and the desire for accuracy are
It would seem that the understanding of genealogical research by the
compilers of the report is not good and reading the report it would seem
that the submissions and witnesses might not have made it clear. The
report quotes a genealogist (p64) as being preoccupied with research
going back in time and that is, of course, only partly correct as I alluded
to in my previous article. There is little doubt in my mind through experience
that the tracing of living distant relatives, one’s cousins, often
reveals information about one’s ancestry that has travelled down
to the present via another family line. Personally my greatest break
throughs and acquisition of new information and artefacts have come from
distant cousins discovered in the course of family history research.
The report only makes a passing reference to identity fraud (p58, p66)
which given its compilation date is not all that surprising. The report
makes a strong point that the purpose of civil registration was never
to provide evidence of identity although I suspect that currently this
stance has changed given the great lengths registries now go to make
forgery difficult. I still stand by my original comments on this matter.
In closing remember that this report was compiled by politicians and
in fact the brief was to determine if the access to BDM certificates
should be relaxed. I suspect if the matter was taken away from the political
arena and the terms of reference worded differently, we could have easily
had a completely different result!