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BDM goes online

01 Apr 2009

What a year 2009 is proving to be for genealogists! The AFFHO Congress in January, the release of the 1911 census, and now, the New Zealand Births, Deaths and Marriages Index is online. No matter what happens during the rest of the year, this release is just fantastic.

We have births for those who were born 100 years ago and stillbirths over 50 years ago; marriages 80 years ago; deaths 50 years ago plus all those who have now died 80 years after they were born. That is, they may have died in 2005, aged 78 and as it is now over 80 years since they were born, their death is included. Do remember to purchase printouts because you are looking at the original records, there is more information and it’s usually cheaper.   

 You can access the Index at www.bdmrecords.dia.govt.nz

Go there to look at the Index to Government Registrations in New Zealand. Follow the recommended practice of ‘Stop! Look! Read!’. If you can’t find a marriage, look for the groom’s names in the bride’s fields – this works! Married surnames may appear in the birth surname death search – this is excellent. We have parents listed for birth entries, spouses for marriages and age at death or birth date for deaths, providing this information was given and/or extracted.

 Every column: Registration Number, Family Name, etc. can be sorted. Click on Given Name for an alpha sort A-Z, click again to sort Z-A, and alpha sort on either parent’s Given Names to help you find siblings.

Try entering just a Family Name (always remember: less is best to enter into search fields – go wide, and then narrow with more information) and the Search From Date of 01/01/1840 (could be early church records from that date).

There is a limit of 500 results, so if you reach this, key in a Search to Date, adjusting this date until you have under the 500 limit.

Then click on the Registration Number column to sort from the earliest date. Scroll down and click on Printer Friendly Page (all). You can then highlight and copy all the entries and paste into Excel and into TreePad (www.treepad.com). If you have more than 500, or a surname that is spelt in different ways, then you can combine these results in Excel and sort on any of the columns. I can search, but not sort in TreePad, and can have the data on a flash drive to use anywhere.

 Genealogists always want more, but it is good to have something to look forward to. We hope to see wild card searches, rather than searching for all spellings. Knowing where an event was registered is most important, so we look forward to seeing Places.

 However, what we do have is what I think is a world first: the database updates just after midnight every day. Web sites like the NSW BDMs (www.bdm.nsw.gov.au) and ScotlandsPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk) that also have 100 years etc. limits, update their data around January 1st each year. So if your person was born on June 2nd 1909 for example, this will not be online until January 1st 2010 – you will have to wait. But not for New Zealand; that entry will be there on June 2nd 2009. Amazing!