Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Australian Vital Records on Ancestry

This morning I read a post,Australian vital records indexes on Ancestry, from Chris Paton of Scottish GENES in which he told of this new index's addition to the Ancestry site.

As I have a full subscription to I decided to explore the database to see if I could find any extra info on my family. For my searches I used a family name, Pusell. After just a ten minute play I wrote this response on Chris' post:

"Chris, Have just tested out the new Australian BDMs on Ancestry - there appear to be some holes.

For deaths of Pusell there are only 12 records for the whole of Australia; on the free NSW Registry indexes ( that give the same amount of information there are 27 records for NSW!

As for births Ancestry lists 20 (for the whole of Australia) the same number as the NSW indexes list.

Ancestry lists 80 Pusell marriages whilst the NSW index lists 19 male and 36 female marriages.

The lesson here is that one should check multiple sources"

I have set aside some time today to further exploer the Ancestry indexes but am wondering how other genealogists with Australian interests find them.


Sandra said...

I saw your post and thought that I'd make a comment. I don’t have a subscription to Ancestry but I do occasionally have a check of the indexes. I tend to find that the information on Ancestry for Australian information is not accurate or data is missing.
My feeling is that there are people out there who are only just starting their research that think that is the only place to search for Australian family history. From experience this is not the case. Personally I’d rather take the time to visit the local library or State Records to look information rather.
For example: My GG grandfather arrived in NSW on the ship Wilson in 1842 – part of the Bounty Scheme. He is not listed on Ancestry for the Immigrant lists. (or wasn’t the last time I looked)
He is on the microfilm, on the database at the NSW State Records and the data for the Bounty Immigrants are now also on Family Search. I also note the images are free to look at and my theory is why pay for something you can get for free elsewhere?
So yes, “The lesson here is that one should check multiple sources" and you never know you might find something somewhere else that helps in your search.


GeniAus said...

Thanks, Sandra. Now I have a new Aussie blog to follow - yours.

A O'Brien said...

I also tried these new indexes yesterday and noticed there are quite a few names incorrectly transcribed which are correctly transcribed on other existing civil registration indexes.

GeniAus said...

Yes ausgen, I've been looking theough them for a large part of the day and have found umpteen transcription errors.

2bald said...

In response to Sandra's post re: the Wilson. The index and images for all assisted immigration have been up on Ancestry for at least 12 months. (You should drop back every now and then to see what's new.)

2bald said...

In response to Sandra's post re: the Wilson. The index and images for all assisted immigration have been up on Ancestry for at least 12 months. (You should drop back every now and then to see what's new.) said...

Thanks for your interest in this exciting new collection.

We make every effort to ensure accuracy in the transcription process, however, sometimes errors exist in the original source material (rather than as a result of transcribing the data). As a result, it’s extremely difficult to achieve 100% accuracy with the data and for this reason, we always encourage our Members to add alternate information to records via the ‘Add Alternative Information’ link on the record page.

In relation to the years covered by the collection, this is a direct reflection of the period covered by the source material we were able to acquire and, as always, we’ll continue to improve coverage of historic and contemporary records as we gain access to new sources of the material.

Thanks again for your comments and we hope you enjoy this new collection of indexes.

Sandra said...

In reply to 2bald: Yes I know the 'Wilson' is listed on Ancestry but my Ancestor is not listed for that Ship on Ancestry. The point I'm making is that people seem to think that Ancestry is the be end of all Australian research. It's not. I don't have subscription to Ancestry and seeing that the indexes & images are available for free elsewhere I don't see the point in paying Ancestry money to look at something I know I can find elsewhere for free.

Sandra said...

I’ve been thinking and I’m only going to talk in relation to NSW BDM’s as these are the ones I have the most knowledge of.
Can someone who has access to the ‘vital records’ on Ancestry confirm if the images you can access are the same (and I’m talking about the actual data on the image,names, dates, places of birth, parents names etc etc) as you would get if you were to purchase a BDM certificate from the NSWBDM Registry or a transcription from an agent? Therefore if you had a Birth Certificate for an ancestor that you received from the registry, is the data on the image on Ancestry the same?

Shelley Crawford said...

Ancestry's blog post gives a bit more information. It looks like they have transcribed microfiche records. I assume that "view image" would answer that question but I don't have a current Ancestry sub.

Without a subscription I could still see enough to know if I was getting reasonable search results. Like you, I found the results to be patchy. I wasn't able to find my grandmother's birth in 1911, which I would have originally found via microfiche.

For me though there could be some benefit from the collection. It's not particularly easy for me to get out of the house with family responsibilities, and 99c per page on the often sluggish Victorian BMD site can add up quickly. I won't be taking an Ancestry sub just to use it, but it would definately influence my decision to sign up for a while if I was thinking about accessing some other records via Ancestry.

On the whole I'm pleased to see it there.

Shelley Crawford said...

A question for 2bald re images of Assisted Immigration. I went looking for this when I was on Ancestry a few months ago because I thought I'd read about it somewhere. I could see the 'records' (which are also available on the PROV website) but no images for assisted immigration into Victoria. Did I miss something?

Rosemary said...

@Sandra: the data is the same as if you went to the NSW online index. For Vic and WA (the only other ones I'm familiar with) it's still a copy of the index, warts and all.

2bald said...

In response to Sandra - I think your missing the point about Ancestry. It's not about what's free\not free. Ancestry is about choice. You have a choice of going to the nearest copy of the microfilm and look up a record, or subscribe to Ancestry and look it up there at you convenience.

Ancestry are working with PROV to make the images available. The difference between the PROV index and the Ancestry index is small, however the compelling part of the Ancestry collection is the broader 'immigration ecology' in which the index sits.

Anonymous said...

Shelley - when you are checking the Victorian immigration records, DO NOT click through to the Victorian database. Stay on the "passenger lists" and scroll through till you find the Victorian entries. THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE YOU WILL FIND THE LINKS TO THE IMAGES. Bizarre, I know, but there you go!

I wish someone would tell us how to find the coverage years for each state for the Australian BDMs on Ancestry. Is it a big secret?


Shelley Crawford said...

@Rachel - very belated thanks for the info on accessing the Victorian passenger lists. It's quite bizarre! Even now that I know the secret, I can sometimes click through to them, sometimes not. Good to know they are there, though. Thanks


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