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Frequently Asked Questions
for Queensland family history research


What information is on Qld birth, death and marriage certificates?  How do I obtain them?

In some cases the Qld Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages may not include medical attendant, witnesses etc. for post-1889 events, but certificates usually have provision for these details:

  • Births:  name;  date/place of birth;  sex;  father's name, age, occupation, birthplace;  mother's maiden name, age, birthplace;  previous issue of parents' marriage (names/ages of children living, number/sex of children deceased);  witness present at birth [before 1980];  informant's name, residence, relationship to child.  Pre-1890 certificates supplied as photocopies occasionally have annotations giving year of death, married surname etc.  [NOTE:  parents' date/place of marriage is usually on pre-1890 certificates supplied as photocopies, but for births registered in or after 1890 your application may need to ASK for that information.]

  • Marriages:  Bridegroom's and bride's name, occupation, residence, conjugal state, age [to Aug 1963] or birthdate [from Sep 1963], birthplace, father's name and [to Aug 1963] occupation, mother's maiden name. Date/place of marriage ceremony, celebrant, denomination, witnesses.

  • Deaths:  name;  date/place of death;  occupation;  age;  birthplace;  how long in Australia;  married where, at what age, and to whom;  issue (names/ages of children living, number/sex of children deceased);  father's name/occupation;  mother's maiden name;  cause of death;  duration of last illness;  doctor's name;  when last seen by that doctor;  date/place of burial/cremation, and by whom certified [usually an undertaker];  name/religion of minister and/or names of two witnesses to burial;  informant's name, residence and relationship or description.

  • For instructions on ordering certificates, and advice on a cheaper way to obtain some death certificates, see Queensland Genealogy Research Tips and 'Free Certificates in Archives Files'.
Did you know that Victorian birth, death & marriage indexes are now on FindMyPast? Other States will be added soon.

How do I find out what ship my ancestor came on?

Brief advice about immigration records is on Queensland Genealogy Research Tips. A more detailed article is in the 2008 edition of the book Tips for Queensland Research. See also my article about immigrants who used false identities.

Not in our immigration records? Maybe they came via South Africa, India, NZ, Canada, Argentina etc. Check 'Emigrants from the UK'.

How do I get a copy of a Qld will?

Most wills that went through the Qld Supreme Court (though not all) are at Qld State Archives, and indexes are available. For more information see Queensland Genealogy Research Tips and the 2008 edition of the book Tips for Queensland Research.

You can now search online for Irish birth, marriage & death records including wills.

Why was my ancestor in Dunwich Benevolent Asylum?

Dunwich provided a home for poor people who because of age, accident, infirmity or otherwise were unable to care for themselves. For a free leaflet about indexes and records of Dunwich inmates (and how to find some records of staff), email Image of email address (type this into an email headed 'Dunwich brochure please'; the leaflet will be sent by an autoresponder).

Some residents of Dunwich also spent time in a mental asylum. Check those indexes too.

What if I can't find a death registration?

Keep an open mind about spelling variants. The authorities may not have written the name as your ancestor spelled it, or the name may be incorrectly indexed. Many unregistered deaths can be found via inquests, mental asylum records, Police Gazettes and various other sources and research strategies described in the 2008 edition of the book Tips for Queensland Research.

Can't find a death? Maybe he/she died while travelling interstate or overseas. Use the indexes on FindMyPast.

How can I trace ancestors who vanished?

It depends when and where they were last seen. See 'People who vanished' on Queensland Genealogy Research Tips.

How do I find records of someone who was arrested or imprisoned?

Depending on the severity (or otherwise) of the offence, sources that may be useful include various Court records, registers of criminal depositions, Police Gazettes, Police Station watchhouse charge books and Court of Petty Sessions police charge bench books, murder files, and prison records. Some are indexed. For a free email brochure on this subject, contact Image of email address (type this into an email headed 'Criminal Records brochure please').

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My other genealogy sites have more advice, and more names from records in archives.

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