Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ryerson Index

Over the weekend three people with family links contacted me as they had found their ancestors listed on my website.

After one of them gave me some details for her line I did a little bit of searching and came up with four newspaper references from The Ryerson Index. On its website the index is described thus:

"The Ryerson Index is an index to death notices appearing in current Australian newspapers. It also includes some funeral notices, probate notices and obituaries.

Because the Index was originally created by the Sydney Dead Persons Society, its strength lies in notices from NSW papers - including in excess of one million notices from the Sydney Morning Herald alone. However, the representation from papers from other states continues to grow, with additional papers being regularly added, so that the Index can now truly be considered an Australian index.

Indexing is being continuously carried out by a team of volunteers, too numerous to mention individually, who give freely of their time to ensure the site continues to grow. Site updates occur every couple of weeks, and more often in periods of high activity.

The index itself cannot by definition be considered a primary source of data, but is purely a research aid to direct the researcher to the original source of a notice."

This newfound cousin was unaware of the existence of the Ryerson Index. Armed with the references I gave her she was heading off to the library to search for more information.

Most of my family hail from NSW, an area of good coverage in The Ryerson. I use the index regularly in combination with the NSW Historical BDM indexes,Online Cemetery Indexes, Trove and The Sydney Morning Herald Archive to 1995 (subscription). This potent combination has given me much information on more distant family members for whom I do not wish to invest in BDM certificates from the Registry.

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