Three weeks ago I looked at the Birth, Death and Marriages Indexes from Victoria, and mentioned that, due to the cost of ordering certificates, that alternative means of finding death dates were to use cemetery records and death notices or obituaries. Last week I focused on cemetery records, and this week I’ll be looking at death notices or obituaries.
The first place you can look for death notices and obituaries is on the Trove website. This website has digitised a number of historical newspapers from around Australia, and more titles are being added all the time.
Due to copyright laws, this website generally only has newspapers published prior to 1955. For later newspapers, or newspapers not yet added to the site, the best place is the microfilm holdings at the State Library of Victoria (and for other states, the State Library for that state).
A number of current newspapers have current issues online, as well as archives of their obituaries, and death and funeral notices. The two main newspapers for Melbourne are
During the week, I also noticed a new collection at Ancestry.com.au.
Australia Newspaper Vital Notices, 1851-1997 This database contains birth, marriage, and death notices from three Australian Newspapers for the years 1851–1997: The Age, The Sydney Mail, and The Sydney Morning Herald. These notices have not been indexed yet, but you can browse them by newspaper title and date range.
On closer review of the database, I found the entries for the Sydney Morning Herald only went up to 1951, and those for The Sydney Mail only went up to 1919. Since these are already on the Trove website, which is searchable, and free, it will be quicker and easier to use the Trove website. The entries for The Age included issues between 1967 and 1997, (although there were gaps in the dates), so this collection may be worth a look for Vital notices in Melbourne between 1967 and 1997.
Next week, I will explain in more detail how I would use the three resources together, the birth death and marriage indexes, the cemetery indexes and the death notices/obituaries, to find the death date without purchasing a death certificate.