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logoProformat News                  ISSN 1833-9514
No 7
Sep 2006

October seminars
Graham Jaunay has no seminars scheduled for October. He will be presenting a public talk:

Crooks, cops and victims in the 1840s (Campbelltown Historical Society 10 October 8:00pm)

Civil Registration In SA (pt 1)

Individuals whose research is based on South Australia are well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the system of civil registration. Because the colony was one of the earlier starters in this field (along with VDL and WA) the government followed the English model introduced in mid-1837. Unfortunately this model lacks details found in those colonies on the eastern seaboard who stated a decade and more later and used the Scottish model. You can see a summary table outlining all this detail on the Adelaide Proformat web site.
Ironically SA was late in producing electronic versions of its indexes and in licensing the SA Genealogy Society to do the work from the perspective of family historians, the state has Australia's most detailed indexes. In fact for many researchers there is little need to purchase BDM certificates. This is probably a good thing given that SA certificates are very expensive indeed!

In this issue:


• October seminars

Civil Registration in SA


Adelaide Proformat
5 Windana Mews
Glandore SA 5037

Tel: +61 8 8371 4465
Fax: +61 8 8374 4479


Drafting charts
Locating documents
Seminar presentations
Writing & publishing
SA lookup service
Ship paintings

BDM records form the foundation of family history because they are the primary basis of all research to determine the genealogy of a family. By developing an unbroken chain of marriage and birth certificates back to the start of civil registration a pedigree can be established. This process can occur because birth certificates name parents and that leads to the marriage certificate of the parents. The marriage certificate in turn names fathers and gives ages and that leads to the birth certificates of the couple and so on…
A surprising number of events are not registered or are inaccurate for a whole range of reasons. In SA pre1875 Catholic and Scottish births are often not registered. Death records are usually the most inaccurate as the person concerned was not in a position to give the information! An searchable index of known unregistered SA deaths can be found on the web site.
For privacy reasons, the authorities will not make modern records available, unless you fulfil certain relationship requirements. The embargoed periods for all Australian states as well as SA can be seen by reference to the site via the link above.
The SA BDM Registry will search a nominated ten years for a certificate at no additional charge. If they do not find the certificate you lose your money! Therefore it is wise to search the index yourself, even if you know the date to ensure the event was registered. You can find the indexes in books, fiche or CD at: the State Library and SA Genealogy & Heraldry Society. Many LDS and public libraries also hold copies. If given the choice, you should always opt to search the CD rather than the other media, as databases provide very powerful searching features especially when you use wildcard searching techniques coupled with a bit of lateral thinking.
To successfully obtain a certificate is a simple two-step process:
1. Search the indexes
           If you locate the appropriate entry—go to step 2.
           If you locate several likely entries—undertake further research.
           If no entry is located—go to 1. District records 2. Parish registers (see below)
2. Complete the form with as much detail as possible using one of the three available methods—
           1. online with CC details
           2. downloaded form for posting
           3. using a form from a SA PO with BillPay facilities.
If you cannot find an entry in the index, it may be useful to check the District Registrar’s material as the item may have been lost in transferring to the Principal Registrar! You can only find a complete set of this material at: SA Genealogy & Heraldry Society as they initially filmed this material when District registries were closed in 1992. Some LDS and public libraries hold the material for their area only. Searching District Records, like every other series of records, requires specific skills and understanding that will be elaborated on in a future newsletter,
If you are searching an era before civil registration or for families that avoided registering births, you will have to rely on other, usually church, records and those available in SA will also be the subject of a future newsletter.

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