Locating The Documents
Some of you will already have in your possession either by having acquired it previously for legal purposes, or being passed down from your parents, that is a copy of your own birth certificate. However be aware there is a difference between an ‘extract of a birth certificate’ and a ‘full birth certificate’. For example, many years ago most people got an ‘extract of their birth certificate’ so they could get a vehicle license or a passport. This has the full name, place and date of birth of the the individual. Today you need a certified copy of a full birth certificate for many circumstances including applying for a passport, so many people will already have this important document. This full birth certificate will give you clues on other documents you will need as you progress on your quest to find your ancestors.
In Australia, most modern birth certificates will have what we term ‘full information’ however this was not always so for all states. Since civil registration began in Victoria,(1852) NSW (1856) and Queensland (1859), a full birth certificate has not only the full name; place and date of the birth; but also, parents full names, including mother’s maiden name or in case of a widow her former married name; date and place of parents marriage; place of birth and age of parents;and all other children previously born into the family,often including both their name and age.
By studying your own birth certificate you can see that it is a stepping stone back to another generation, that is it gives information on your parents, so now you can search for their certificates.
It is at this stage most people use the Birth, Death and Marriage Indexes for their state of interest. Many internet-based indexes are being released, but due to the privacy laws of each state, their range and availability vary.