Author Topic: NSW historic marriage certificates with blanks  (Read 27402 times)

Offline majm

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NSW historic marriage certificates with blanks
« on: Friday 29 July 11 07:35 BST (UK) »
Hi everyone,

Do you think you have reached a brickwall when you receive either a certified copy or an official transcript of a certificate (for a marriage,)  based on the NSW BDM indexes (online or otherwise).
Do not panic.  The elusive blanks are NOT usually your brickwall.  Those blanks are simply because the information is not held by the NSW BDM.  
 
Simply put, the NSW BDM online website currently includes the following words as part of its pages about Historic Records :

http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/familyHistory/historyofRegistrysRec.htm
 
....." 1856  ‘Act for Registering Birth, Deaths and Marriages’ is passed.  
Registrar General takes possession of 1834 to 1835 records held by the Supreme Court.

From 1879  “Clergy Returns Transfer Act” passed
1825 to 1855 baptism, marriage and burial records lodged with Church of England Bishop were handed over to the Registry

From 1912
Reconciliation made between Registry and Church records.
158 Volumes of Early Church Records created with approximately 50,000 records.
Registry requests access to the 1856 to 1895 church marriage registers.

Present Day  (it is 29 July 2011 as JM types this up)
The task of reconciling the Church Records for marriages between 1856 and 1895 was never finalised. Some of the Registry's marriage records from these years still have missing information....."

More on next post

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Offline majm

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Re: NSW historic marriage certificates with blanks
« Reply #1 on: Friday 29 July 11 07:36 BST (UK) »
Continued

So if you have a certified copy or an official transcript, and it does not have the vital information, please do not panic, you are not at a brickwall, just at a slight hurdle.
Most likely, there are blanks for the details about both sets of parents for the bride and groom, and of course other blanks too...  But if the marriage was in a church, then regardless of the denomination, the officiating clergy needed to know those details, and he would have recorded those details.  It is simply that those details are not on the NSW BDM records even today.  So, the NSW BDM has not completed the reconciliation of their own records with the parish records.  Some of those records for marriages 1856-1895 have been reconciled, but most of the regional/rural ones have not.


Solution to overcoming the hurdle:
By using the information on the very document (certified copy or transcript) showing the NSW BDM information available about that marriage, this is how I overcame that problem when it happened on my own family tree.
1.   I carefully noted the clergy’s name, the church, the town, the date of the marriage, and the full names recorded for the bride and groom
2.   I then contacted that local parish and confirmed that they held the original registers (there’s always at least two, one within the church building’s secure area and one within the clergy’s manse/vicarage etc also in a fireproof and secure safe etc)
3.   In turn they then provided me with the contact details for the local family history group who had already transcribed those records.
4.   I then contacted that group and obtained the information.  
5.   Hurdle dismantled....

more on next post
The information in my posts is provided for academic and non-commercial research purposes. 
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Offline majm

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Re: NSW historic marriage certificates with blanks
« Reply #2 on: Friday 29 July 11 07:38 BST (UK) »
Continued

Other solutions
a)   Sometimes the records are not yet transcribed.  If you have the time and the knowledge and can help, then please volunteer to transcribe some of those records.  The older style of handwriting has not been taught in NSW since the mid 1960’s, soon there will be very few who can read it and have the time and energy to transcribe it.
b)   Sometimes the parish has been closed and the registers removed to the safe keeping of the Head Office for that denomination.  So, then if you cannot find a local family history group, or if you have no knowledge of any transcriptions of those registers, contact the Archivist’s office of the denomination’s Head Office (usually in Sydney, usually found by looking through the white pages phone books)

Other issues
i)   Sometimes the information to cause the NSWBDM to raise an index reference was not ever received or it was lost before being indexed, so sometimes there are marriages in those parish records that are not listed on the NSW BDM indexes.  So if you believe there may have been a marriage missed (eg you have a number of NSW BDM birth certificates for children of the couple, and they all cite the date and place in NSW that the couple married), then perhaps the details for that marriage were missed being indexed by NSW BDM .... So use the same solution to approach the local parish records but please do let them know you are unsure IF there was a marriage.

Briefly;
By 1912, some sixty years of civil marriages were still not fully processed by the NSW Reg Gen’s office.  This was not a significant issue to those families at that time.  They could always go to the court house in the town where they had married and obtain confirmation of the registration of the marriage, but mostly, if a couple and their children were new to a district, it was presumed they were a married couple.  And, everyone knew that there were issues for the NSW BDM Reg General’s office v the various denominations not providing the civil authorities with the information from the parish records for the sacred ceremony of a church marriage.  .


So, in the regional and rural areas, the numbers of births, deaths and marriages were obviously a great deal less in numbers than in say the then City of Sydney’s boundaries... (Of course, even in 1900, Sydney had a huge percentage of the overall population of NSW).   Thus the duties associated with Deputy Registrar Generals were often not full time positions.  They were often the function of the local sheriff/bailiff or other court attendants.  Births, Deaths and Marriages were recorded in the court houses of so many of the rural towns.   At the end of each quarter (so during April, July, October and January) a return was meant to be prepared and forwarded to the Reg Gen’s Office.  If there was nothing to report, then no return was made.  Sometimes, the quarterly returns were submitted annually, sometimes longer gaps appeared.  These returns were sent by ordinary mail.  Thus it is quite possible that returns were not processed at the Reg Gen’s Sydney office.  (not prepared/not received/lost within HO).   But the local court house of course had the authority to issue certified extracts of their records.

More on next post
The information in my posts is provided for academic and non-commercial research purposes. 
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Offline majm

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Re: NSW historic marriage certificates with blanks
« Reply #3 on: Friday 29 July 11 07:40 BST (UK) »
And finally,

I hope this post is of help to anyone who has faced what appears to be a brickwall on receiving a NSW BDM marriage certificate.

 I stress, the information and views and opinions are my own understanding of the system.  I am not, nor have I ever been employed by the NSW BDM or by any of the official transcript agents. 

I have a long standing love of family history, and I was first introduced to this back in the 1950’s.  All four of my grandparents were born in NSW in the mid to late 19th Century.  My earliest arrival to NSW goes way back to the penal era, back earlier than the Battle of Trafalgar.  Most of my migrant forebears were in NSW before the gold rushes. 

So, I have quite a number of NSW BDM certificates and/or official transcripts.  And I hope my love of family history contributes to my maintaining an open mind and a willingness to share, there have been so many good improvements to access for searching for your own family history tree. 

I continue to enjoy finding bits and pieces to add to my own tree, thanks to RChat and the co-operation of RChatters around the world.

Cheers,  JM
EDIT TO ADD ...  PS , any spelling mistakes ... please let me know asap.  Also grammar or syntax issues etc, please let me know of these too.  I typed it up in a word doc and then realised I had long ago disabled their spell check thingy !
The information in my posts is provided for academic and non-commercial research purposes. 
Random Acts of Kindness Given Freely are never Worthless for they are Priceless.
Qui scit et non docet.    Qui docet et non vivit.    Qui nescit et non interrogat.   
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Offline shakel

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Re: NSW historic marriage certificates with blanks
« Reply #4 on: Friday 29 July 11 08:52 BST (UK) »
Thank you Majm for all that wonderful information. I also have certificates with significant gaps so I will now follow your steps and see if there is more information to be had.
Thanks again
Shakel

Offline majm

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Re: NSW historic marriage certificates with blanks
« Reply #5 on: Friday 29 July 11 09:34 BST (UK) »
I hope it will help.

If you or others do find original records, please treat them with care, lint free gloves, etc and seek assistance from experienced archivists. NSW SRO, and NSW SL have teams of professional archivists.   Also, do ask for permission before taking photos and never have any food or drink anywhere within the room.  Those records are fragile and often hard to read, so a magnifying glass can be a handy tool, as well.

May your hurdles be smashed to smithereens. 

Cheers,  JM

EDIT TO ADD http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/state-archives/preservation-work/preservation-work
The information in my posts is provided for academic and non-commercial research purposes. 
Random Acts of Kindness Given Freely are never Worthless for they are Priceless.
Qui scit et non docet.    Qui docet et non vivit.    Qui nescit et non interrogat.   
All Census Look Ups Are Crown Copyright from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
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Offline majm

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Re: NSW historic marriage certificates with blanks
« Reply #6 on: Friday 29 July 11 10:00 BST (UK) »
Just a quick note,

The Early Church Records ("V" prefixes on the index) were not indexed until they were assembled into their volumes at the NSW BDM, so that index was not prepared until more than one hundred years after the first baptisms, burials and weddings had been conducted in Sydney Town.

There is often confusion over those volumes and their accuracy.  The NSW State Library has reels of film from the various denominations original parish registers.  Those often provide far more detail than the NSW BDM plain paper certificates, and definitely more detail than the indexes.

For example, in the 1850's two of my forebears married in NSW.  I have the original certificate presented to the bride.  It is properly conserved.  So that I did not need to re-visit it, in the 1980's I sought and paid for a certified copy of it from the NSW BDM.  I have that certificate.  It does not give any information about the bride and groom's parents, nor even the names of the witnesses.   To confuse the issue even more, the online index does NOT list this marriage at all.  (I had cited the reference when sharing information with a relative interested in family history. 
I can assure you though that the archivist at that particular parish was most helpful, and I have a digital photo of the entry thanks to the combined efforts of that archivist, and my relative and myself.  Yes, the information on the parish record included all the vital information.  My conservation m.c. shows the name of the person who gave consent for her marriage (she was not yet 21), and the parish archivist found their family history sheet.   These are similar to the ones in the links on the NSW Resources Board here at RChat for the Christ Church Cathedral in Newcastle.  (Mine was not for that parish, but for a Sydney parish).
http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/topic,369703.0.html  toward the end of Reply #2 on that thread....
Baptisms, Marriages, Burials, Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle    There's a huge area covered by those records that are freely available via those links.  I do not know who provided the link for our RChat resources board, but I often thank them in my own way.  And of course I thank those that organised the process that digitised those images.


Cheers,  JM
The information in my posts is provided for academic and non-commercial research purposes. 
Random Acts of Kindness Given Freely are never Worthless for they are Priceless.
Qui scit et non docet.    Qui docet et non vivit.    Qui nescit et non interrogat.   
All Census Look Ups Are Crown Copyright from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
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Offline judb

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Re: NSW historic marriage certificates with blanks
« Reply #7 on: Friday 29 July 11 10:17 BST (UK) »
Thank you JM for a most interesting and very useful set of information. 

Hopefully it may be added to the Resources section.

Judith
DYER - Wilts, London, Somerset, MIDLANE - Hants, Wilts, SONE - Hants, WRIGHT - London, Hants, SEAGER - Deptford, DWYER, FERGUSON - Victoria, MASON - Woodford Vic, BALLARD - South Wales, GOULDBY - Lowestoft
"Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future..." T S Eliot

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Offline sparrett

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Re: NSW historic marriage certificates with blanks
« Reply #8 on: Friday 29 July 11 11:00 BST (UK) »
Judith and JM,

I too wish the information could become part of the Resources Listings at the top of the Australian Board.

So extraordinarily helpful.   ;D

Sue
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