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Source Information

Ancestry.com. Australia Marriage Index, 1788-1950 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Compiled from publicly available sources.

About Australia Marriage Index, 1788-1950

Vital records—records of births, marriage, and death—are the basic building blocks of family history research, and this database features some of the most comprehensive indexes available of historical Australian marriage records. These indexes were created by Australian registrar's offices after civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths became law in the mid 19th century. Exactly when civil registration took effect varied by colony or territory as follows:

    Tasmania — 1838
    Western Australia — 1841
    South Australia — 1842
    Victoria — 1853
    New South Wales — 1856
    Queensland — 1856 (before 1856, see NSW)
    Northern Territory — 1870 (1856–1863, see NSW; 1863–1870 see SA)

However, these dates do not reflect the earliest dates for Australian marriage records. Church records predate civil registration, and as registrar's offices assumed responsibility for registration, they requested copies of earlier church records to incorporate into their collections. Thus, this database includes indexes that may go back even further for the following colonies:

    New South Wales — 1788
    Tasmania — 1803
    Queensland — 1829
    Victoria — 1836

While these collections make up some of the most important indexes of early Australian marriage records, they are not necessarily 100 percent complete—compliance to registration laws, of course, varied, and Australia’s vast distances complicated most any record-keeping effort. In this collection records are available for the following span of years:

    New South Wales — 1788-1945
    Northern Territory — 1870-1913
    Queensland — 1829-1935
    South Australia — 1842-1937
    Tasmania — 1803-1919
    Victoria — 1836-1920
    Western Australia — 1841-1950

Searching the Records

Because some later colonies, territories, and states grew out of earlier ones, their history comes into play when searching for vital records. For example, you would look for your Northern Territory ancestor in New South Wales from 1856 to 1863 and South Australia from 1863 through 1870.

These records are indexes; they do not include images of actual marriage records. They can be searched by: name, marriage year, spouse’s name, marriage place.

The index may also include registration place, year, number (page, volume, and entry number). With the information from the indexes, you can order a copy of the record from the appropriate registry office. While these records vary in the information they contain, depending on when they were created, you might find:

  • Date of marriage
  • Ages
  • Birth dates
  • Place of birth
  • Places of residence
  • Prior marital status
  • Occupations
  • Denomination (name of celebrant)
  • Parents’ names
  • Names of witnesses
  • Witnesses’ residences and occupations
  • Celebrant’s signature