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All About N.S.W. Death Certificates

Civil Registration of deaths in NSW began 1st March 1856. The only records relating to events before this date are church Burial records (Volume Numbers) . All records are contained in large books in Registration Number order. It is necessary to obtain the Registration Number before a particular entry can be located.

An Index is available on the NSW Registry's web site, in large libraries, or can be purchased on CD Rom or Microfiche. The index contains an alphabetical list of death events in three blocs - 1788-1888, 1889-1918, and 1919-1945.

Privacy Restrictions apply to deaths within the past 30 years. These can only be obtained from the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages after providing suitable identification/documentation. Deaths more than 30 years ago can be transcribed by a Transcription Agent

Occasionally deaths were not registered. There was a 6 month time limit to register events. If the 6 months had passed since the death, then it could not be registered. Sometimes the registration was simply not done.

The Accuracy of a Death registration depends on the informant. If the informant was not a close family member (and even sometimes when they were!), it is quite possible that the information on the registration may contain incorrect information. The householder of the house in which the deceased died was responsible to register the death.

Information on a Death Registration usually includes:

Name of deceased
Date & place of death
Sex, age & occupation of deceased
Cause of death & length of illness
Medical Attendant and when last seen
Father's name & occupation; Mother's maiden name
Informant - the accuracy of every registration depends on this person!
Children of deceased (usually names & ages are listed, but sometimes only the number of males/females is listed)

Date & place of burial, and Undertaker
Minister, religion, and names of witnesses
Birthplace and length of time in NSW (if applicable)
Marriage place, age at marriage, and Spouse name
Date & place of Registration
Click here to see an example of Death Certificate information

Information on a Burial (All Pre-1856 and "Volume" Numbers after 1856) can include:

Name of deceased
Date of Burial
Parish where buried
Date of death (sometimes)
Residence (usually)
Occupation (sometimes)
Name of ship (occasionally)
Name of Minister (usually but not always)
Click here to see an example of Burial Certificate information

Some Burials are duplicated in the indexes. This occurs when there are two records of the same event - eg in a central church register as well as the local parish register. Volumes 2A, 2B, & 2C are an index only, so an entry in another volume would usually have more detailed information.

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