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How much info is on pre-1896 marriage records?
Many pre-1896 marriages do not have complete information in the Registers. It is sometimes possible to obtain more information for these "incomplete" marriages from the Church Register.
In 1876 it was the responsibility of the Minister performing a marriage to provide information to the registrar in order for the marriage to be registered. This is still the case today (ie minister or celebrant).
Until 1896 it was not compulsory for the minister to supply the following details to the registrar:
1. Birthplaces of Bride and Groom
2. Ages of Bride and Groom
3. Parents of Bride and Groom
Many ministers did not bother sending this information in to the registrar (although, of course, some did).
As a result, in the first half of the 20th century, the Registrar General, over time, copied the “missing” details from many of the parish registers into the NSW BDM register. Notes sometimes appear in the margin of the BDM entry, stating that Birthplace, Ages and Parents were added from the church register. All other details were recorded at the time of the original registration.
The process of filling in the gaps was never completed, and there are still many entries with these details left blank. In those cases it is worthwhile contacting the church concerned to see if the parish register has any extra information. See All About NSW Marriages for more information.
Rather than the NSW BDM registers having more information, for the pre 1896 period they actually often have less than the parish register.
The transcriptions supplied are taken from the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, not from the parish register. Notes referring to the parish register are actually in the NSW BDM register, and the note is transcribed along with all the other information which appears. It is exactly the same information as you would receive if you order an official certificate direct from the NSW BDM Registry.
Before ordering transcriptions or official certificates, it might be worth keeping in mind that if you already have a copy of the parish register for a marriage, the NSW BDM registration is unlikely to have any additional information on it.