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Judy Webster's genealogy tips & indexes for local, interstate & overseas folk in Queensland's historical records
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Frequently Asked Questions
for Queensland family history research

What information is on Qld birth, death and marriage certificates?  How do I obtain them?

Historical certificates for Queensland usually have provision for these details:

  • Births:  name;  date/place of birth;  sex;  father's name, age, occupation, birthplace;  mother's maiden name, age, birthplace;  previous issue of parents' marriage (names/ages of children living, number/sex of children deceased);  witness present at birth [before 1980];  informant's name, residence, relationship to child.  Pre-1890 certificates supplied as images occasionally have annotations giving year of death, married surname etc.  [NOTE:  parents' date/place of marriage is usually on pre-1890 birth certificates supplied as images. If images are not available, applications for certificates for births registered in or after 1890 should ASK for parents' marriage details.]

  • Marriages:  Bridegroom's and bride's name, occupation, residence, conjugal state, age [to Aug 1963] or birthdate [from Sep 1963], birthplace, father's name and [to Aug 1963] occupation, mother's maiden name. Date/place of marriage ceremony, celebrant, denomination, witnesses.

  • Deaths:  name;  date/place of death;  occupation;  age;  birthplace;  how long in Australia;  married where, at what age, and to whom;  issue (names/ages of children living, number/sex of children deceased);  father's name/occupation;  mother's maiden name;  cause of death;  duration of last illness;  doctor's name;  when last seen by that doctor;  date/place of burial/cremation, and by whom certified [usually an undertaker];  name/religion of minister and/or names of two witnesses to burial;  informant's name, residence and relationship or description.

  • For instructions on ordering certificates, and advice on a cheaper way to obtain some death certificates, see Queensland Genealogy Research Tips and 'Free Certificates in Archives Files'.
Queensland's BIRTH indexes right up to 1919 are on Findmypast!

How do I find out what ship my ancestor came on?

Advice about immigration records is on Queensland Genealogy Research Tips. More detailed information is in the 2008 edition of the book Tips for Queensland Research. See also my article about immigrants who used false identities.

Not in our immigration records? Maybe they came via South Africa, India, NZ, Canada, Argentina etc. Check 'Emigrants from the UK'.

How do I get a copy of a will for someone who lived in Qld?

Most wills for Queensland residents are at Qld State Archives, but a few are held elsewhere (sometimes interstate or overseas). For more details, and tips on what to do if you can't find a will, see Queensland Genealogy Research Tips (now updated and expanded).

You can now search online for Irish birth, marriage & death records including wills.

Why was my ancestor in Dunwich Benevolent Asylum?

Dunwich provided a home for poor people who because of age, accident, infirmity or otherwise were unable to care for themselves. For a free leaflet about indexes and records of Dunwich inmates (and how to find some records of staff), email Image of email address (type this into an email headed 'Dunwich brochure please'; the leaflet will be sent by an autoresponder).

Some residents of Dunwich also spent time in a mental asylum. Check those indexes too.

What if I can't find a death registration?

The authorities may not have written the name as your ancestor spelled it, or the name may be incorrectly indexed. Keep an open mind about spelling variants (see Name Variations: Tips and Tricks). Many unregistered deaths can be found via inquests, mental asylum records, Police Gazettes and various other sources and research strategies described in the book Tips for Queensland Research.

Can't find a death? Maybe he/she died while travelling interstate or overseas. Try the indexes on Findmypast.

How do I find records of someone who was arrested or imprisoned?

Depending on the severity (or otherwise) of the offence, sources that may be useful include various Court records, registers of criminal depositions, Police Gazettes, Police Station watchhouse charge books and Court of Petty Sessions police charge bench books, murder files, and prison records. Some are indexed. For a free email brochure on this subject, email Image of email address (type this into an email headed 'Criminal Records brochure please'). If you don't receive a reply, check your spam folder or use my alternative address.

What if the father's name is not on the birth certificate?

Various other sources may name the father. Read the mini-guide Researching Illegitimate Children.

How can I trace ancestors who vanished?

It depends on when and where they were last seen. See (1) 'People who vanished' on Queensland Genealogy Research Tips, and (2) Six Genealogy Sources You May Have Overlooked.

Other Questions and Answers

My other genealogy sites have additional advice and names.

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