Anyone who has been researching Australian records for a while will know about the Ryerson Index, and just how valuable it is. After all it is the most comprehensive index to death notices and obituaries in Australian newspapers.
The Ryerson Index is an index of death notices appearing in current Australian newspapers, it also includes some funeral notices, probate notices and obituaries. What started as one person’s passion for collecting the death notices out the newspaper, has now grown to encompass death notices from 281 Australian newspapers, and currently has over 5 million entries online (actually 5,017,457 entries to be exact).
5 million is a phenomenal effort. And while sadly Joyce Ryerson, the person who started it all, passed away in 2012, aged 95, however her legacy and Index well and truly live on. Each and every volunteer should be proud of their contribution in making this happen.
To give you a little background … it all started in May 1999 with Joyce offering to give “some” Sydney Morning Herald death notices to the Sydney Dead Persons Society, which she had saved so that they could index them. The “some” turned out to be an almost complete run from 1986 to 1999.
Although the Ryerson Index traditionally focussed on newspapers from New South Wales, it now covers much of Australia. A typical search will provide the last name, given name(s), type of notice (death notice, probate notice), date of death, age of person at death, newspaper, publication date and a reference to the town/city where the person last lived.
Today with the help of volunteers around the country, the Ryerson Index continues to grow, and has become a truly Australia-wide collection of death notices. Access is free. This is a great resource for anyone with Australian ancestors.
CAN YOU HELP?
Is your local paper currently included in Ryerson Index? Check the coverage list on the website. If not, then why not take on the task of indexing the notices for the Index? Do you have access to a library or other repository which has microfilm copies of newspapers available? They are always always in need of people who can copy notices for us to index. They do prefer indexers who have access to the printed paper, as indexing from most websites can be unreliable.
KEEP UP TO DATE
To keep up to date with the latest happenings and uploads from the Ryerson Index team, you can follow them on Facebook.
Thanks for the great publicity!
To put the record straight, Joyce didn’t “start” the index. The index was an initiative of the Sydney DPS in October 1998, and originally we intended to only index current papers as they were published. Joyce’s donation, in May 1999, gave us the impetus to index both backwards and forwards from our 1998 commencement date.
President, Ryerson Index Inc
Wondering if anyone can help please. I am looking for birth of Willian Roe Reynolds (Morvan Tas) by 1822
That is all I can find in web sites, the by 1822 is because he married Elizabrth Saunders in 1856 his age was 34 she was 15 or 16.
I have tried all the records that Launceston Library have suggested but still unable to find him, thought he might have been married prior to 1856 but that just took me round in circles unless I can find birth date.
Any help greatly appreciated.
Hi Dianne, a great place for your query would be the Australian Genealogy Facebook Group. You can find the link to them here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/talltrees/. With over 5000 people who have joined the group, there’s always people to help out.
Hi, I am looking for any information on a Gladys Cooke – living in the Whalan area, she passed away in June 1986–her name would not have been Cooke- she married between 1980 & her death in 1986.
She came from the UK in Dec 1964 with her then husband George , they stayed with my parents in Canberra ——–George went back to the UK (Newcastle area)
Gladys is my aunty & I’m wondering if there is any family.
Hello I just found my late grandmother on the Ryerson index. So excited as my mum was adopted. My grandmother passed away on 12th april 1971. Her name was Florence May Hansen. It was published in the Sydney morning herald 13th april 1971. It was just a death notice no obituary. That was her maiden name when she had my mum. So I take it she never married, Can anyone tell me how to find the obituary If there is one. I wanted to see if I have any aunties or cousins out there anywhere. I cannot look without giving my credit card details, I worry about doing that. many thanks in advance for any help Also I am in QLD so cannot access any NSW details.