Series VPRS 8340
Death Register
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1853 - ? 1990
  Series in Custody 1853 - 1990
  Contents 1853 - 1990
Public Access: Closed
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1853 - 1873 Registrar-General's Department VA 2889
1873 - 1893 Office of the Registrar-General and the Office of Titles, (known as Land Victoria 2001 to 2014; Land Use Victoria 2014 - ct.) VA 862
1893 - 1983 Office of the Government Statist and Actuary VA 989
1983 - 1990 Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (including 1983-1986 Assistant Government Statist, Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages) VA 983
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1983 - cont Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (including 1983-1986 Assistant Government Statist, Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages) VA 983
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    Death registrations are arranged in registration number order. To obtain registration numbers from the indexes to births, deaths or marriages, researchers should access the relevant databases available online in the Reading Rooms. The indexes are arranged in alphabetical order by surname.

    Seven indexes compiled from registers of births, deaths and marriages are available online in the Reading Rooms:

    - Pioneer Index 1836-1888
    - Federation Index 1889-1901
    - Edwardian Index 1902-1913
    - Great War Index 1914-1920
    - Marriage Index 1921-1942
    - Death Index 1921-1985
    - Marine Births, Deaths and Marriages Index 1853-1920.

    For further information about births, deaths and marriages outside the date ranges of those above, enquiries should be directed to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Melbourne or from their website: www.dvc.vic.gov.au/bdm.htm

    Certificates may be obtained from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for a fee.

  • Function / Content
    This series is the hard copy of the Death Register which was created from 1853 to 1990 when it was superseded by Lifedata, the computerised system of registration.

    Each bound volume holds registration entries in numeric order by the registration number and is annotated on the spine with the number of the volume and the registration numbers of the entries bound therein.

    Decentralised system of Registration, 1853 - 1960

    Compulsory civil registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths in the State of Victoria began on 1 July 1853 with the proclamation of An Act for Registering Births, Deaths and Marriages in the Colony of Victoria (16 Vic., No.26). Prior to this, baptisms, marriages and burials were recorded by church authorities and are known as Early Church Records (refer VPRS 5479).

    From 1873 to 1893 responsibility moved to the Office of the Registrar-General and the Office of Titles (VA 862) which were amalgamated when the administration of the Registrar-General's Department transferred to the Law Department (VA 2825).

    In 1893 with the proclamation of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act (56 Vic., No.1303) responsibility passed to the Office of Government Statist and Actuary (VA 989).

    Metropolitan deaths were registered at the Registrar-General's Office and later at the Office of the Government Statist, 295 Queen Street, Melbourne. Deaths occurring in the country regions of the State were registered with the local Registrars who were appointed by the Registrar-General and later by Assistant Government Statist, and forwarded to head office each quarter at the end of March, June, September and December.

    Centralised system of Registration, 1961 - ct

    From 1893 until 1986, legislative responsibility for the registration of births, marriages and deaths was with the Office of the Government Statist and Actuary (VA 989). However in 1983 when this office was transferred to the Department of Management and Budget, operational responsibility remained with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

    With the proclamation of the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Amendment) Act 1985 (No.10244) on 31 October 1986, legislative responsibility passed to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (VA 983).

    A centralised system of registration for Births and Deaths was introduced in 1961 when the previous system of registration by District Registrars was abandoned in favour of central registration through head office, at 295 Queen Street, Melbourne.

    Information Forms for Birth and Death registrations were an integral part of the registration system (referVPRS 10262). In the case of deaths, Funeral Directors supplied the information form to the person arranging the funeral or a person with a knowledge of the facts who completed the form giving the necessary details for registration purposes and forwarded the form directly to the Office of the Government Statist, later the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, to effect registration of the death. These forms were signed attesting the information therein to be true and correct.

    The Funeral Director was also obliged to complete a form giving details of the burial of the body and a Medical Practitioner or Coroner, as the case may be, authorised the burial by completing a Medical Certificate of Death or Order of Burial.

    Registration of the death could not be effected until all of these papers had been received by the Government Statist or Registrar, as the position became known after the 1986 changes to the Act.

    The forms were sorted daily in the following order:
    - the date of death
    - the place of death in alphabetical order by the name of the municipality where the death occurred

    Following that sort the forms were then allocated a registration number and a registration entry was electronically made onto pre-printed forms for inclusion in the Register. These folios were bound in the Register according to registration number.

    Information recorded in the Registers

    The registration entries were recorded in the Register in numeric order by registration number and detail the following:
    - full known name(s) of the deceased
    - date of death
    - place of death
    - cause of death

    and if known
    - place of birth of the deceased
    - parents' names
    - mother's family surname
    - father's occupation
    - marriage details
    - children born of the marriage
    - name of the informant of the information recorded.

  • Recordkeeping System
    The volumes from 1853 to 1990 were numbered and arranged in numeric order from 1 to 2202.

    The volumes for the period 1853 to 1960 reflect the system of decentralised registration. Quarterly returns from district registrars were initially sorted alphabetically by name of registration district. Registration numbers were then allocated and folios were bound in volumes according to the registration numbers. Hence for any one year there were four (quarterly) sequences of registers in which the entries were arranged by district and then by registration number.

    The volumes were marked on the spine with reference to the registrations bound therein and show the following information:
    - the year of registration
    - the range of entries bound in the volume by first letter of the name of the district where the death was registered. (eg. entries for Airey's Inlet to Dunkeld would be in the volume marked "A-D")
    - the registration quarter of the entries bound therein.

    1853 - 1931

    During this period, the Register reflected the above system with each return sheet recording five entries.

    1932

    For the year 1932, two sequences of numbers were used in the Register, one sequence referred to metropolitan registrations and the other to registrations effected in the country. To differentiate between the two sequences, metropolitan events were prefixed with the letter "M" with one entry per sheet. Country registrations were still recorded five to a sheet.

    1933 - 1960

    For each of the years in this period, a block of numbers was reserved for each of the two areas, metropolitan and country and only one entry appeared on each sheet. Consequently, for any one year all numbers in the sequence of numbers between the first registration and the last registration for that year may not have been used. The range of numbers reserved for metropolitan deaths varied from year to year. In the latter part of 1960, metropolitan and country deaths were recorded within the same sequence, commencing at 30,000.

    1961 - 1990

    The volumes for the period 1961 to 1990 reflect the centralised system of registration and the folios were bound in the Registers according to registration number.

    The volumes are marked on the spine with reference to the registrations bound therein and show the following information:
    - the year of registration
    - the range of registrations, by registration number, bound in the volume
    - the number of the volume in the series of Death Registers, 1853-1990.

    Indexes

    Each registration, uniquely numbered from one each year, appeared in an index for that year showing:
    - the full registered name of the deceased
    - the date and place of death (place of birth from 1853 to 1880)
    - age of the deceased
    - the parents full names at the time of the death
    - the mother's family surname
    - the entry number of the registration in the Register.

    It is possible to locate a particular entry in the Register by ascertaining the registration number recorded against the above details in the Index (refer VPRS 7291).

More research resourcesMore research resources
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
1853 - 1989 Index to Death Register VPRS 7291
1989 - cont Life Data: Computerised System for the Registration, Indexing and Retrieval of Births, Deaths and Marriages Information VPRS 13011
Controlled SeriesControlled Series
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Previous SeriesPrevious Series
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Subsequent SeriesSubsequent Series
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List/s of records in this seriesList/s of records in this series
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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 1853 - 1872 Closed 7
P0002 1853 - 1938 Closed 1148
P0003 1939 - 1989 Closed 346
P0005 1960 - 1990 Closed 1557
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
1853 - 1989 Index to Death Register VPRS 7291
1989 - cont Life Data: Computerised System for the Registration, Indexing and Retrieval of Births, Deaths and Marriages Information VPRS 13011
More research resourcesMore research resources