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This is the "NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages (Aboriginal marriages, 1788-1962)" page of the "Aboriginal Australians family history " guide.
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NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages (Aboriginal marriages, 1788-1962) Print Page
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How to use NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages (Aboriginal marriages, 1788-1962)

Publicly available You can use NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages from anywhere. You don't need a Library card.

How to find records of a marriage

STEP 1

Search for the marriage using the Historical Indexes at the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages website. You can narrow the search by entering the district where the marriage was registered.

Here is an example of the information found in an index entry:

Registration numberGroom's surnameGroom's given nameBride's surnameBride's given nameDistrict
V1849297 34C/1849 Pounds James (Aboriginal) Mary Ann NR

Didn't get any results? Try adding the word 'Aboriginal' to your search. Some records for Aboriginal people had 'Aboriginal' listed as their first or family name. This happened particularly in early records. However not all Aboriginal registrations will mention that the person was Aboriginal.

Or try Registered Births, Deaths & Marriages 1788-1905, NSW. Includes all early records of Aboriginal births, deaths and marriages (1788-1856) that were identified as Aboriginal.

STEP 2

Note the registration number and other information from the index entry. This will help you with locating the certificate on microfilm (for marriages before 1856 only).

STEP 3

If the marriage occurred before 1856, you can buy a copy of the certificate on the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages website or view the record on microfilm in the Library (there is no fee to view the record).

If the marriage occurred after 1855, you can only buy a copy of the certificate through the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages website.

 

How to view records of marriages that occurred before 1856

STEP 1

Collect the How to use the Genealogical research kit (also known as the Guide to the NSW Archives Resources Kit) from the shelves in the Family history area.

STEP 2

Use the guide (see 'Registers of Births, Deaths & Marriages, 1787-1856') along with the volume number from the index entry to find the microfilm reel number.

For example, volume number 34C relates to reels 5010 and 5011 (as Volume 34 continues on reel 5011).

Here is an example of the information found in the guide:

AO ReelRegistry Vol No's
FromTo
5010 32 part 34 part
5011 34 part 36
5012 37 38 part

STEP 3

Collect the microfilm reel from the drawer labelled 'NSW Register of Baptisms, Burials & Marriages 1787-1856' in the Family history area.

STEP 4

Using the microfilm reader, find the volume number on the reel.

Some volumes are divided into baptisms, marriages and then burials.

STEP 5

Search for the entry using the entry number you noted from the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages website. Look for the handwritten numbers alongside the entries (usually in the left margin) for the first and last entry on the page. These numbers are different to the original church numbers that are next to each entry.

  • You may have to locate the closest handwritten number and count down to your entry.
  • The page numbers can be wrong.
  • Some records are handwritten and can be hard to read.

STEP 6

Write down the details from the record as records cannot be photocopied due to copyright restrictions.

Here is an example of the information found in a record:

Marriages solemnized in the Parish of Carcoar in the County of Bathurst in the Year 1849

No.12 James Pounds of this Parish, Widower and
Mary Ann, an Aboriginal of this Parish, Spinster were
Married in this Church by Banns with the consent of Friends
This 10th day of August in the year 1849
By me
P.P. Agnew
This Marriage was solemnized between us James Pounds and Mary Ann
In the Presence of William Pounds, of Carcoar and Peggy Pounds of Carcoar
You can also try searching for Aboriginal marriage notices in missionary magazines. Many of these notices have been transcribed and can be found by using the Library’s Australian Indigenous index.
 

Go to the resource

NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages (Aboriginal marriages, 1788-1962) [external website]

 

Marriage certificates

Marriages were first recorded by churches and then after 1855, as Civil Registration Marriage Certificates, when the registration of marriages became law. There is no documentation of Aboriginal marriages before 1788.

 

Registration number explained

The first four numbers of a registration number (e.g. V1849297 34C/1849) is the year the marriage occurred (i.e. 1849) then followed by the entry number (i.e. 297) and volume number (i.e. 34C).

 

Viewing marriage certificates

You can buy a copy of the marriage certificate from the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages. The certificate may contain more information including the day and month of the marriage.

For marriages before 1856, you can view the record on microfilm in the Library. There is no fee to view the record.

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