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All About N.S.W. Marriage Certificates

Civil Registration of Marriages in NSW began 1st March 1856. The only records relating to events before this date are church Marriage 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, large libraries, or can be purchased on CD Rom or Microfiche. The index contains an alphabetical list of marriage events in three blocs - 1788-1888, 1889-1918, and 1919-1945.

Privacy Restrictions apply to marriages within the past 50 years. These can only be obtained from the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages after providing suitable identification/documentation. Marriages more than 50 years ago can be transcribed by a Transcription Agent or ordered from the Registry without identification.

Many pre-1896 marriages do not have complete information in the Registers. It was not compulsory to record Birthplace, Age or Parents of the parties to the marriage on civil records until 1896. Sometimes this information has been added later by the Registry after referring to the parish register.

Gaps in marriage registrations which have not already been referred back to the parish register can sometimes be obtained from the Church concerned. You would need to write to the church to ascertain whether there might be parish records available which have more complete information. See our "Useful Addresses" list.

Information on a Marriage Registration usually includes:

Names of Groom and Bride
Date & place of marriage
Minister's name & religion
Age & Birthplace of Groom and Bride
Marital status & occupation of Groom and Bride
Parents of Groom & Bride, and father's occupation
Witnesses to the marriage
Consent details for those under age
Divorce details if applicable
Click here to see an example of Marriage Certificate Information

Information on an Early Church Record Marriage (All Pre-1856 and "Volume" Numbers after 1856) can include:

Name of Groom and Bride
Date of Marriage and Parish where married
How performed (whether by banns or license)
Religious affiliation (sometimes)
Witnesses to marriage
Residence of Groom and Bride (usually)
Occupation of Groom (occasionally)
Name of Minister
Click here to see an example of Early Marriage Certificate information

Some Marriages 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 3A & 3B are an index only, so an entry in another volume would usually have more detailed information. Most other duplications are just copies of the same information, so either entry is likely to be as detailed as the other.

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