The Ryerson Index an Australian treasure as far as researching goes. It is not a site that emails you every few days asking you to subscribe. It is not in-your-face with flashy new “look what we’ve just added”, but rather it is a quiet website, which just keeps on growing and being added to, and is all done by dedicated volunteers.

It is a website which contains an index to death notices appearing in current Australian newspapers. It also includes some funeral notices, probate notices and obituaries.

Because the Index was originally created by the Sydney Dead Persons Society, its strength lies in notices from New South Wales newspapers, including over one million notices from the Sydney Morning Herald alone. However the representation from papers from other states continues to grow, with additional papers being added, and the Ryerson Index currently contains notices from 181 Australian newspapers, which total over 2,800,000 entries.

While indexing is carried by a team of volunteers, all of who give their time freely to ensure the site continues to grow, being updated every couple of weeks, the Ryerson Index team have now put the call out to Family History or Local History Societies who are interested in indexing the notices from their local paper.

Members of societies make excellent indexers, because they know their local area and the names associated with it, and usually have a personal interest in the notices they are indexing.

If your society would like to contribute to the Ryerson Index, please send an email to