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logoProformat News                  ISSN 1833-9514
No 8
Oct 2006

November seminars
Graham Jaunay has no seminars or talks scheduled for November. It looks like an early break for Christmas! A late October seminar has been scheduled::

Genealogy on the Web - Seaford Library – 26 October)

New family history group
The new Adelaide Northern Districts Family History Group is now meeting regularly on the 3rd Thursday of the month in the Old Police Station at 3 Ann Street Salisbury at 7:00pm.

NAA Adelaide Office
The National Archives has advised that their Adelaide Office reading room hours from 9 Oct will be: 9:00am to 4:30pm Wed, Thu and Fri.

SA Death Index 1916–1972
The SA Genealogy & Heraldry Society has released the SA Death Index 1916–1972 in the usual three formats—book, fiche and CD. Remember what was said in the previous newsletter—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.

Online surname index
In July 1994 Adelaide Proformat was established and by October had its web site in operation. Early in 1995 in conjunction with GENUKI the recently established Online Name Listing was extended to cover some UK counties not taken up by local residents in the UK. Gradually over time most of those gave up for various reasons until the majority of counties were managed by Graham Jaunay. At the peak, over 800 submissions were being made every day and the site accounted for millions of visits annually. Throughout its whole life the site has never charged anyone to make a submission.
In 2000 the landscape of the web started to change and we saw a greater commercialism on the Internet. Strangely today people would rather pay a subscription to Lost Cousins or Genes Reunited than post their interests to the Online Name Listing free service and so the listings decline. In August 2006 the site received just 403 postings, in August 2005 the postings totaled 794, In August 1999 they totaled 27827! The unique visitors to end of August 2006 for the year total just 284065, a tenth of expectations in 1999.
What does all this mean? Eventually the listing will become so small that the chances of finding a result will diminish to zero and everyone will be forced to pay a fee to subscribe to one of the commercial sites.

In this issue:


• November seminars
New family history group
• NAA Adelaide Office
• SA Death Index 1916–1972
• Online surname index

Civil Registration in SA

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Civil Registration In SA (pt 2)

As suggested in the previous newsletter, if you cannot find an entry in the Principal Registrar's BDM Indexes, it may be useful to check the District Registrar’s material as the item may have been lost in the transferring process! Remember you can only find a complete set of this material at the 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.
It is useful to have an understanding of how the system worked and therefore the possible problems you will encounter when using SA BDM records.BDM districts 1842
In July 1842 the colony was effectively divided into two District Registries based on Port Lincoln and Adelaide headed by District Registrars answerable to the Principal Registrar in Adelaide (see illustration). Every 6 months the District Registrar had to file a copy of his certificates with the Principal Registrar. All people living outside the defined areas had to make their way to the nearest Deputy Registrar.
Parents were compelled to register births within 6 weeks or face a £10 fine. Some late registrations had their birth dates adjusted to comply with this requirement and avoid the fine, while other just failed to register. Some groups in the community and especially Catholics and Scots were reticent to register births.
The responsibility for reporting marriages lay with the celebrants who had to supply a return to the District Registrar every quarter.
The occupier of a house was required to report a death within 10 days or face a fine of £10. Technically cemetery operators could not bury a body without sighting the death certificate or a burial order.BDM districts 1882 A burial order could be issued by an officer acting as a coroner or presiding over an inquest. Some of these failed to report the death to the District Registrar considering a burial order as sufficient. Some remote deaths resulted in burials without a death certificate. Deaths in which the body was not recovered sometimes went unregistered.
Over time penalties were reduced as rather than encourage reporting they tended to hinder them!
As the population grew, additional districts were created. Over time some were merged with their neighbours. At the peak of the system there were 22 districts. The adjacent illustration shows the districts in 1882 with most areas to the west of the gulfs not covered. With the increasing districts and their small size in populated areas, some events were reported outside the District in which they occurred.
Details of all these districts including their commencement dates and how to access the records are available on the Adelaide Proformat web site.

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 collectively known as parish registers.

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