29: Tracing your English ancestors Mt Barker
Library 1:30 to 4:30pm
10: Finding your way around the English/Welsh
censuses 1841–1911 Tea Tree Gully Public Library 10:00
30: Tracing your English ancestors WEA Centre
Adelaide 6:30 to 9:30pm
31: Accessing the primary research stream
State Library for the Flinders University 9:00am to 4:00pm
See the seminar program
for more details and bookings.
National Wills Index
British Origins has announced that the National
Wills Index is now available online. This index covers pre-1858
English Wills and other probate documents. As with all such sites
the user needs to pay close attention to the content before committing
funds. For example this site has the Prerogative Court of Canterbury
Wills Index 1750–1800 but at The National Archives one can access
the complete range 1384–1858.
National Archives seminar
A free seminar on employment records held by the National Archives
will be conducted by the Adelaide Office 8 June 2010 10:00–11:00am.
Bookings essential 08 8409 8400.
and burial records in SA
to July 1948, a South Australian Death Certificate did not reveal
the place of burial and this oversight makes locating burial places
quite difficult especially in the Adelaide metropolitan area where
clients have a range of choice when it comes to a burial. Apart from
the fact that headstones often have useful information, knowing the
place of burial can reveal other members of the family either mentioned
on the headstone or interred in the same grave complete with birth
dates and names of spouses.
National Wills Index
National Archives seminar
and burial records in SA
Glandore SA 5037
Tel: +61 8 8371 4465
• Drafting charts
• Locating documents
• Seminar presentations
• Writing & publishing
• SA lookup service
• Ship paintings
Adelaide Proformat uses
Genealogist - for UK census, BMD indexes and more online simply because it contains quality data checked by experts.
Proformat News acknowledges the support by
my own research I have discovered headstones naming still-born infants
(unregistered in SA) as well as some headstones featuring extensive
family data. Although I have yet to come across a headstone in SA
to match an ancestral headstone I located in Templemore (Derry) Cathedral
grounds which named three generations of my family.
Pictured above: a transcribed death certificate for
the first half of 1948 to compare with a certificate for the latter
half of the year below. Both certificates prepared by Adelaide
Proformat transcription service. The BDM Registry prohibits
Elaborate headstones are the records of the wealthy. Many poorer families
could only afford a wooden marker, long since rotted away or eaten
by termites, or no headstone at all. Not that the more elaborate headstones
were not prone to weathering or vandalism of some nature—albeit
anti-social behaviour or institutional. South Australia, with its
short term grave leases, is particularly prone to the latter and especially
in the larger full metropolitan cemeteries that tend to operate as
businesses. Of course a lack of headstone does not necessarily indicate
poverty, as the deceased may have had no one to erect a monument.
The graves lacking a marker should be recorded in the cemetery's burial
register although the celebrant at the funeral may have also kept
a record as did the undertaker, The latter two may often be ascertained
by checking newspaper personal columns.
The cemetery burial register will normally provide the name of the
deceased, often their age, their last place of residence, and the
date of the burial. You can also expect to obtain details about the
lease holder, the location of the grave in the cemetery and the depth
of the grave. Some cemetery registers will also name the celebrant.
In some cases the newspaper can be accessed online. The scanning of
newspapers is rapidly improving but
compare the adjacent image with the one below and you will see that
there is still some way to go. In fact in this particular example
the Optical Character Recognition [OCR] software did a reasonable
job allowing this entry to be located in by a word search.
Pictured: Advertiser, Adelaide Monday 29 April
1912 p2 col 5 extracted from trove.nla.gov.au
Below: the OCR result for the entry..
If the funeral was conducted in a church or with a religious graveside
service, it may be possible to access the particular church's registers.
However, in modern times many denominations have dispensed with burial
registers knowing that the record is available in other official sources
as outlined in this article.
Many funeral directors hold records compiled over many generations
of their business as it would seem this industry tends to stay within
the family. Several of these companies have deposited their records
with the State Library of South Australia. Most of these
records can also be found at the SA Genealogical & Heraldry
Society. The records held by some funeral directors are quite
If one fails to pin down the cemetery, there are still a number of
avenues open to advance the search...
Incidentally while checking the newspaper personal columns also look
forward for about a fortnight and see if an obituary was published.
Many ordinary people had obituaries. An alternative is to check the
listing at the Adelaide
Proformat web site. Not only may this report the cemetery,
but of course the biography may reveal information about the deceased.
Pictured: Obituary Observer 20 Jun 1891 p29
col b as prepared by Adelaide Proformat newspaper transcription service.
Basically in South Australia there are three types of cemeteries.
Those operated by local government authorities, known in South Australia
as councils, those operated by religious denominations and secular
companies or trusts, and those operated privately. The latter includes
most pastoral properties and in most cases these are no longer being
The SA Genealogical & Heraldry Society holds an extensive
collection of cemetery records for the first two above mentioned groups.
The compilation of this collection predates the establishment of the
society in 1972 but it suffers from two weaknesses that mean the collection
is rapidly losing some of its usefulness. The early transcribers just
extracted the genealogy on the headstones rather than transcribing
the whole text and no photographs were taken. The original work is
being transferred to computers to allow searching across the collection
and a painfully slow photographing program is in progress. In the
meantime many other individuals have taken up the work and many have
contributed their efforts to the web site called
Australian Cemeteries that has recently been upgraded
to allow global searching of the contributions. The burial records
of a number of cemeteries operated by local government authorities
can be accessed via the author’s
web site. One can also locate every known cemetery including
station cemeteries, via the usual search process or by a interactive
map. Centennial Park, the largest metropolitan cemetery, is the only
to have its records online.
The CD, Lonely Graves of South Australia, compiled by the
author and available from Gould
Genealogy lists known burials outside cemeteries and includes
pastoral station cemeteries.
A number of burial registers and monumental transcriptions have been
published. The State Library of SA as the legal deposit library
should have a copy of all these publications and so a search of their
will reveal the cemeteries covered by publications. Simply type …
cemetery into the search engine. Gould
Genealogy also sell a number of current publications.
Most 20th century funeral notices in newspapers mention the cemetery
and knowing the date of death makes it relatively easy to access the
newspapers following that date looking for a notice. When the embargo
date 1973 is reached and death certificates are not readily available,
the researcher can use other avenues to find the date of death and
thus access newspapers. The SA Genealogical & Heraldry Society
is indexing death notices in newspapers working back from the present
towards 1972. Persons owning property at the time of their death have
this information recorded on the land title and this can be especially
useful if the death occurred after the closed period 1972. Knowing
a date of death aids the search of newspaper funeral notices which
may mention the cemetery involved.
Online records pertaining to South Australian cemeteries are somewhat
limited to work being undertaken by individuals. Many of these people
are posting their work to the Australian
Cemeteries web site. Some seek a fee to disclose the material
while others freely display the material. Clearly the better material
includes a photograph of the headstone. Also as previously mentioned,
local government authorities have partially placed their burial data
on line and this can be accessed via the page on the Adelaide Proformat
web site indicated above. Cemeteries within the Adelaide
Cemeteries Authority (West Terrace, Enfield, Cheltenham,
Smithfield) give the public access to their records via touch screens
at the cemeteries. They will charge a fee for all other avenues of
enquiry. Using newspaper obituaries, death and funeral notices can
assist in locating the cemetery and several web sites have recent
and historical newspapers available online although no site has a
complete run of Australian newspapers. The best site for past newspapers
is the National Library's Trove
site. Click on the newspapers as illustrated to access newspapers
more recent material look at The
Ryerson Index.Ancestry.com also offers access to
recent newspaper obituaries. To access this pay-to-use site use your
local library. Every public library in South Australia now has free
access available to patrons. The web site dedicated to Germanic burials,
German Headstones in Australia, is also worth a look.
When using any of these sites remember to check the coverage before
you discount there being no record available.
Locating burial registers becomes an option when no record of a headstone
or newspaper report is evident. Many burial registers disclose little
information other than the name of the deceased, date of burial and
location of the grave within the cemetery. In some cases more information
is provided. Probably the largest collection of burial registers is
held by the SA Genealogical & Heraldry Society. The researcher
should also check the holdings of State Records as this repository
holds local government records. The following burial registers are
known to be at State Records which has a 30 year closed period: Appila
Yarrowie 1919–83, Beverley Primitive Methodist 1859–1930,
Bodies donated to science 1899–1970, Callington 1904–39,
Hindmarsh 1846–1986, Magill 1888–1992, North Brighton
1898–1932, Parkside Asylum (later Glenside Hospital) 1894–1992,
West Terrace (includes Child, Pauper & Prisoner Registers. Licensee
Register, and Receipt Books). The State Library also has some material.
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