Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

I started researching my family tree at the beginning of last year. During my initial research I spent a lot of time searching the various state Birth, Death, Marriage indexes ,equality, marriage types and about attorneys fighting for the LGBTQIA community. I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts summarising the information available in each registry (like the ones that is available for obtaining for child custody in California) and tips I’ve picked up along the way for getting the most of out the registries. For more information on my research and links to the other posts in this series as they become available, head to my Family History page. If divorce is your choice you can also find lawyers for child custody cases as it involves child life at large.

I’ll be starting with the Victorian registry since that is where my research began. This post also comes at a good time because a significant changes have recently been made to the Victorian registry online.

Until a week ago, the Victorian registry charged a $0.99 fee to view a page of search results. The results were limited to 20 per page, so if the search returned multiple pages you would be charged $0.99 for each page viewed.  This meant being very careful and creative in your search to get the most value out of your payment.

Fortunately this bizarre fee structure is now a thing of the past. As of last week, search results via the Victorian registry are now free.

What information is available?

The following dates are available in the registry:

  • Births: 1853-1914
  • Marriages: 1853-1942
  • Deaths: 1853-1988

For each of these event types, the following information is presented in the search results:

  • Family name
  • Given names
  • Event
  • Father’s name / Spouse’s family name
  • Mother’s maiden name / Spouse’s given name
  • Reg. year
  • Reg. no

It’s then possible to click through an individual record and view the information listed below. The fields available vary by event type.

Field Birth Marriage Death
Event registration number
Registration year
Family name
Given names
Father’s name
Mother’s name
Place of birth
Place of death
Spouse’s family name
Spouse’s given names
A sample of search results from the Victorian BDM registry
A sample of search results from the Victorian BDM registry

Ordering certificates

Ordering the certificate online is quick and easy with two options to purchase a certified historical certificate or immediately download an uncertified image. The certified copy is $31 while the uncertified image is $24. A certified copy is really only required if you wish to use the certificate for legal purposes.

Pros and Cons

If I’d done this review a month ago, I would have struggled to list out any pros for the Victorian registry, however after their recent update it’s really very difficult to identify a negative.

Some of the pros include:

  • Drill down to view additional details on each record
  • Search across all three event types simultaneously
  • Quick and easy online delivery of certificates

The only negative that comes to mind is that there is a limit on the number of search results returned, although you can get around this quite easily by narrowing down the date range and performing multiple searches. There are some quirks in the system, so make sure you read the tips below.


A couple of things to keep in mind when searching the Victorian registry:

  • If you enter a year from date, you must also enter a year to date.  Similarly, if you enter a year to date, ensure you also provide a year from date. You won’t get an error if you only specify one date, however no results will be returned.
  • Sorting the results only works for the current page, and doesn’t sort the full result set. You’ll need to click through every page to find what you’re looking for.

Your research

How have you found searching in the new Victorian registry website? Do you have any tips for finding your ancestors in the registry? Share them in the comments below!

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I’ve just had a look at its now very good, very easy to search. In fact you can search the all records (BMD) at once without having to add any years, that is excellent! And to have immediate downloads – #winning! I use the NSW BMD website all the time and its rubbish, a very poor search engine, no effort or progress or love has gone into that site. Thanks for the headsup Derek.

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