The release of the Australian BMD indexes on Ancestry.com.au is great news for my BATEMAN research. As most of the records relating to this family are connected with the state of Victoria I have so far been limiting the amount of index searches I do, because the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages charge for their index search results.
I know the charges for index searches weren’t particularly high, but with an Ancestry Worldwide membership I can now search to my heart’s content and can also extend to some of my other surnames just to see who might have ended in Australia as well. I am sure there are more than just the BATEMANs who went out there.
Interestingly a search for the surname GASSON in the death indexes only returns 81 results, and the surname TROWER returns only 49, both of which are a lot lower than I would have expected. The result might reflect the coverage of the indexes more than the number of my relations that actually left these shores.
One thing that doesn’t seem clear from the Ancestry web pages is the coverage dates for these indexes. It correctly states that the dates when civil registration started varies for each state or territory, but doesn’t mention that they also appear to have different cut-off dates for public access to the indexes.
As an example, although the birth index quotes the dates 1788-1922, there don’t appear to be any Victoria births after 1909. I haven’t played around to find the limits for all event types and places, but don’t be surprised if you don’t find the record you are looking for, despite what the collection title might say. The shame is that there is not an easy way to find out, unless I am missing something.