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All About N.S.W. Births

Civil Registration of births in NSW began 1st March 1856. The only records relating to events before this date are church Baptism 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, in large libraries, or can be purchased on CD Rom or Microfiche. The index on CD-Rom contains an alphabetical list of birth events in two blocs - 1788-1888, and 1889-1918. The index on the NSW Registry website only shows 100 years prior to current year.

Births less than 100 years ago are subject to Privacy Restrictions and can only be obtained from the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages after providing suitable identification/documentation.

Births more than 100 years ago can be transcribed by a Transcription Agent or ordered from the Registry without identification.

Some births were not registered. There are many reasons for this. Some illegitimate births were not registered, but many were. There was a 6 month time limit to register events. Sometimes parents forgot, or couldn't get to town. There was no provision in the law for late registrations, so if the 6 months had passed since the birth, then it could not be registered. This did not change until after the turn of the century.

Information on a Birth Registration usually includes:

Name of child
Date & place of birth
Sex of child
Father's name, occupation, age & birthplace
Mother's maiden name, age & birthplace
Parents' marriage date & place
Previous children (sometimes names & ages are listed, sometimes only the number of males/females is listed)
Informant - the accuracy of every registration depends on this person!
Persons present at the birth
Date & place of Registration

Click here to see an example of Birth Certificate Information

Information on a Baptism (All Pre-1856 and "Volume" Numbers after 1856) can include:

Name of child
Date of Baptism
Parish where baptised
Date of birth (mostly but not always)
Father's name
Mother's name (Church of England usually have married name; Catholic, Presbyterian & Wesleyan often have maiden name)
Residence (usually)
Occupation of father (sometimes)
Names of Sponsors (Most Catholic records)
Name of Minister (usually but not always)

Click here to see an example of Baptism Certificate Information

Some Baptisms 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 1A, 1B, & 1C are an index only, so an entry in another volume would usually have more detailed information. Similarly, Volumes 126-129 usually have less detail than Volumes 125 and 130 onwards. 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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