Frequently Asked Questions

Also see Abbreviations explained & What's in a certificate when?

What is a Transcription?
A transcription is a copy of what is written on a Birth, Marriage or Death Certificate held in our library. We use indexes to find the relevant Certificate on microfiche, which often are different references to what is shown on our website indexes. We find the relevant certificate image, usually a hand written document on pre-printed forms. We tackle hundreds of writing styles, dubious spelling, and various interpretations of what the recorder and the informant thought should be on the form. We write or key accurately what is recorded onto our Genealogy form, and Email it back to the person's Email address. We try to return the completed transcription within a week, but we rely on our small team of experienced volunteers, and are affected by public holidays and our Christmas shutdown.

What is a Lookup?
This describes the process involved when you request details about a newspaper or cemetery record in our indexes. We find and copy one or more personal notices, and in the case of deaths, can include notices, funeral notices and memoriam notices. We scan and Email the actual images from the papers, but prepare them in a particular way, and for each individual request, to ensure we meet copyright obligations. A request for a Cemetery record lookup require us to review a number of sources to be able to provide details from registers,cemetery headstone transcriptions or photographs. These are documented and returned to the person concerned.

I have never logged on to the website and do not have a password.
This is easy to resolve. Simply go to the main Search page here, and click on the 'forgot your password' link'. Alternatively, see the website upgrade page here for detailed instructions.

Why do I get a message 'Invalid Token'?
Our website has a security feature called a token that is stored on your computer and provided to our webite for every page that you visit. If you leave yourself logged in to our website for more than about 90 minutes with no activity, the token is cancelled by our website. If you try to visit any page now, you will see this 'invalid token' message. The simplest solution is to log out if you will be away from your computer for any length of time, or start anew by clicking on your favourites link again.

Can I use an apostrophy in a search?
No. The BDM indexes were created over twenty years ago, and the technology they used dictated that apostrophes were not included. If the search bars continue for more than about 5 seconds, something has caused a problem and the search may never finish. It is best to search only A-Z till the March upgrade is launched.

Can I use wildcards in the search?
Yes, you can use the % wildcard to search for parts of names, or names that begin or end with certain characters. eg. If searching for Joraslafsky or anything similar, enter %lafsky to find anything that ends in lafsky.
Likewise, if you want to find someone born in 1888 with Last name beginning with L, you enter Date 1888 and Last name L%. This will give you hundreds of results to wade through.

Why can't I get a transcription of a death certificate between 1967 and 1972?
We have the indexes for South Australian indexes 1967-1972 but we do not have copies of the original certificate. Copies of these certificates must be ordered through the South Australian Consumer and Business Services department at http://www.cbs.sa.gov.au/births-deaths-marriages/apply-for-a-death-certificate/.

How do I report errors in the database searches?
We are often advised about apparent errors in our databases. Our volunteers do sometimes make mistakes in spite of rigorous checking procedures. However, there are many other reasons why errors occur, and sometimes they occur in official records. Please advise us if you think there is an error by emailing saghs.research@saghs.org.au. We may be able to amend the indexes at a future time, but only if the index is clearly different to the original record, and if we are able to check that original record.

When I login I keep coming back to the login page again with no error message, why?Problems have been discovered with the Microsoft Edge browser in Win10. When you try to log onto our website it takes you back to the login page with no error message and your login details disappear.  This seems to be a common problem and occurs on any website with a login section.  Here are two articles that provide some explanation and a possible solution;