Official copies of births, deaths and marriage certificates can only be purchased through the Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Office. If you are having trouble contacting that office please call 131 882.

State Records hold hard copies of Genealogy SA’s Indexes of Registrations of Births Deaths and Marriages from:

  • 1842 to 1928 (for births)
  • 1842 to 1937 (for marriages) and
  • 1842 to 1972 (for deaths).

See other pages for information about

Access conditions

Although we hold birth, death and marriage registrations and information statements in the archive, only the Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Office is authorised to provide you with access to these records.

Access to other records relating to births, deaths and marriages may be restricted to protect personal information for between 30 to 60 years after they were created.

Indexes and special lists

We hold hard copies of the Genealogy SA's Indexes of Registrations of Births Deaths and Marriages from:

  • 1842 to 1928 (for births)
  • 1842 to 1937 (for marriages) and
  • 1842 to 1972 (for deaths).

An online version of the most common indexes is available for searching via Genealogy SA's Online Database Search. For guest users, it contains less detail than the hard copy indexes or electronic indexes available at GenealogySA or the State Library of South Australia.

Microfilm copies of registrations can be inspected onsite at Genealogy SA, or transcripts can be purchased.

We also hold a selection of indexes and other records relating to birth, death and marriage registrations, some of which have been digitised.

We hold a microform copy of the Abbott Index, which covers the years 1837 to c1937 and was compiled by Frank Abbott from notices of births, deaths, marriages and obituaries published in South Australian newspapers. The original of this index is held by the State Library of South Australia.

For death notices and obituaries appearing in Australian newspapers, the Ryerson Index may provide further information. Entries date from 1803 and represents newspapers from across the country.

Digitised records

For more information about our digitisation program, see Online Records.

Types of records

Birth certificates usually contain the following information

  • Name of child
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Father’s name
  • Father’s occupation
  • Father’s age and
  • Mother's name.

From 1907 the following details were added:

  • Father’s birthplace
  • Mother’s name and maiden name
  • Mother’s age
  • Marriage date and
  • Previous children.

Death certificates usually contain the following information

  • Name of deceased
  • Date of death
  • Place of death
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Cause of death.

From 1907 the following details were added:

  • Number of children
  • Birthplace and
  • Residency. 

The certificate also includes:

  • Marriage details (from 1915)
  • Burial place (from 1948)
  • Spouse/relative name (from 1968).

Marriage certificates usually include the following information

  • Date of marriage
  • Couple’s names
  • Couple’s ages
  • Couple’s birthplaces (from 1908)
  • Previous marital status
  • Couple’s occupations
  • Couple’s residences
  • Bride and groom's father’s names (from 1856)
  • Bride and groom's mother’s name (from 1964).


Key facts


Certificates of still-birth were made available as the Fifth Schedule in the Births and Deaths Registration Act of 1936. However stillbirths were not registered as births until the BDM Registration Act was passed in 1996, though in some circumstances the birth certificate of a later sibling may mention a previous pregnancy.

Information Statements about still births were recorded between 1937 and 1965 (with gaps).

Cemeteries sometimes recorded the burial of the stillborn child and hospitals may have recorded the admission of the mother for the birth.

In 1937, it became compulsory to register stillbirths but the Principal Registrar, with the consent of the Minister, was allowed to destroy stillbirth registrations. As a result, there are only a small number listed in an index kept by the BDM Registration Office. The Index records the mothers name and date of birth for the child. The record is not a birth or death certificate rather a medical certificate issued by the hospital where the birth took place.


RegGRG7/70 unit 8, item 484 - Gepps Cross Hostel baby creche, circa 1950istration of births, deaths and marriages with the South Australian government became law in 1842. Over time, South Australia was divided into 34 registration districts. From July 1856, Registrars from outlying districts were required to register births within 42 days and deaths within 10 days. A copy of the registration was then forwarded to the Registrar General’s Office in Adelaide.

Districts were added, re-arranged or abolished on a regular basis and were finally abolished completely in 1992. At that time all district registers and indexes were brought to Adelaide as registration became computerised. After 1992, approval was given for the indefinite loan of district registers to libraries within former registration districts. Details of the libraries and their holdings are available at State Records.

Prior to 1842, records of marriages can be found in church marriage registers and while they did not record births, churches did record the baptism of children.

Not all copies of births, deaths and marriage registrations arrived at the Registrar’s Office, so researchers may find a district registration or a head office registration only. Also, not all birth, death and marriage events were formally registered. Despite there being penalties for non-registration, some individuals refused to comply with the registration requirements. Researchers unable to locate entries in the births, deaths and marriage indexes may need to search church records of baptisms, marriages and burials.