Births, deaths and marriages

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors are kindly advised that this website includes images, sounds and names of people who have passed.

All users should be aware that some topics or historical content may be culturally sensitive, offensive or distressing, and that some images may contain nudity or are of people not yet identified. Certain words, terms or descriptions may reflect the author's/creator's attitude or that of the period in which they were written, but are now considered inappropriate in today's context.

Key to library resources

Access anywhere with a library card In the Library (or anywhere with a Library card for NSW residents)
Available to access in the library Only in the Library
Publicly available online Publicly available

More birth and baptism records

Learn more about your ancestor's birth and baptism

Newspapers at the Library

Newspapers are great for researching your family history as they hold a wealth of information. Newspapers can expand on the information you've already gathered and can contain information that isn’t available elsewhere.

We have a large collection of NSW newspapers that are available in a variety of formats including online, microfilm and print. You can find many early Australian newspapers on Trove.

Looking for asylum records?

Records from asylums, other mental health facilities and charitable organisations in NSW may be held with us or at State Archives & Records NSW.

Some of the information you might find includes date of death, place of birth, marital status and names of family members.

You will need to seek permission from the NSW Health Department to view records that are less than 110 years old and may also need permission from the hospital. 

Hospital records at the Library

We have records from several NSW hospitals in our collections.


What is Civil Registration?

Civil registration is the official recording of births, deaths and marriages by the government. Compulsory civil registration began in NSW on 1 March 1856. Each state and territory has a registry that is responsible for these records.

What are Parish Registers?

Parish registers are records of baptisms that were performed by churches of all denominations. The churches would record all baptisms that they performed in registers.

These records are the official source of information for births that occurred before 1856 when civil registration began in NSW. Churches continued to record baptisms after this date. These records after 1856 can be a useful supplement to the official certificate.

Find parish registers on microfilm in the family history area in the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room. 

States once part of NSW

ACT, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and even New Zealand were once part of the colony of NSW. It may be worth checking the NSW birth, death and marriage indexes for these areas.

Notices in newspapers

Use newspapers to also find birth notices. Notices tend to include the date and place of birth and the parents' names.

We have indexes of birth, death and marriage notices for several newspapers. You can find online indexes on our eresources page or search our catalogue to find print indexes.

Koori Mail Online Collection

Search the Australian Indigenous index to find information about births, funerals and marriages in the Koori Mail newspaper, Dawn magazine as well as historical missionary magazines.

You can view issues of the Koori Mail, 1991-present in the Koori Mail Online Collection.