Records of births, marriages and deaths can provide unique insight into your family history and identity.
or read the steps below for guidance before you start.
Records are restricted for between 30 and 100 years, depending on the life event. Family history search lets you search for records that fall outside this period. Refer to Periods of restriction.
The restriction is from the date the event was registered. This may not be the same as the date of the event.
1. Choose a search index
When you start a search, first choose the index you want to search by selecting 'Historical' or 'Events at sea'.
What's in the Historical index?
The historical index holds the following life events registered in Victoria.
|Births||1853||100 years before today's date|
|Marriages and relationships||1853||60 years before today's date|
|Deaths||1853||30 years before today's date|
|Church baptisms, marriages and burials||1836||1853|
Records become available on the day they reach the end of their restriction period.
Example: you search for a birth registered on 12 April 1919. If you conduct your search:
- Before 12 April 2019, you won't find it
- On or after 12 April 2019, it is available to find.
This is because the restriction period for births is 100 years.
What's in the Events at sea index?
Births, deaths and marriages on ships bound for port in Victoria, between 1853 and 1920.
Each entry in the historical and event at sea indexes includes the:
- Name of the person or people the entry relates to
- Type of event (such as birth, marriage or death)
- Name of the ship the event happened on (if applicable)
- Registration year and number
- Other information relevant to the type of event.
2. Search criteria
Enter your search criteria and click search. We recommend:
- Using a first and last name, if possible
- Entering a 5 year timeframe. This is to allow for differences between event registration and year of event.
Can't find what you're looking for?
If you can't find the entry you're after, try:
- Using different criteria combinations in your search (or even using fewer criteria)
- Different spellings or abbreviations of names (for example, Wm instead of William)
- Using an asterisk (*) after a letter. This will search for all entries beginning with those letters (for example, W* or Wil*).
The 'place of event' is a tricky search criterion - often it has been entered with an abbreviation. Leave it out if you're unsure or having trouble finding your entry.
3. View record summary
Click on an entry to see the summary for that record. You can access the full record, if you choose to, after payment.
4. Buy the record
You'll be presented with two options at the bottom of the record screen. You can buy either of them by clicking 'add to cart' and 'checkout' to proceed with payment.
Uncertified historical certificate (a scanned image of a certificate)
This isn't valid for official purposes. You're simply buying a scanned image of an official record.
If you buy an uncertified image, you can download it to your computer immediately.
This is valid for official purposes. If you choose to buy, you'll be directed to fill out a form with your details. We will post the certificate to you.
5. Download an image
Once you've bought an image, you can download it straight away.
Each image is a scan of the original, often handwritten, record. Over time, some have faded or been damaged and may not be easy to read. We've made every effort to capture the best possible image of each record.
You need to download your image within 30 days of purchase. You can also download it from the link in the email we send you.
If you have issues downloading the image, check your computer and browser firewalls and security settings before trying again.