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Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885
Publisher: Archive Digital Books Australasia
Media: DATA CD - 1 CD (6 vols, 3027 pages)
Author: SA Genealogy & Heraldry Society
Year: (1986, 1990) 2007
Publisher: Archive Digital Books Australasia
The Biographical Index of South Australian is undoubtedly one of the key resources for historians to consult when researching those in South Australia prior to 1885. It came about as as result of the South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society deciding to publish a permanent record of people who lived in South Australia during the first 50 years of colonisation (1836-1885) to coincide with the States Jubilee 150 year (1986).
The result was the 4 volume set - "Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885". A further 4 years of work resulted in the publication in 1990 of 2 more volumes of extra biographical information. This was released as "South Australians 1836-1885". Both have been long out of print and now command high prices if they ever come onto the second hand market.
Nothing of this magnitude had ever been attempted in South Australia before (or since), and when you think that the BISA alone has over 100,000 entries, with the South Australians adding an extra 7500 entries, it's not surprising. Gaining the information was a huge task. Apart from Society members, the material came from individuals, archives and public records such as church registers, ships passenger lists, and burial records; private papers which include, wills, family bibles, birthday books, and letters of administrations.
Entries record basic biographical information about an individual such as parents, spouse and children, birth date, marriage date, death date and place, arrival in South Australia (including ship if known), plus residence, religion, occupation and more.
A complete entry could contain the following detail (with example data):
- entry name: "HEWETT Henry Grigg
- par: Henry and Frances, Matilda Eliz nee, BACCHUS
- b: bapt.14.1.1816 Portsea, HAM ENG
- d: 16.1.1850 Nth Adelaide SA
- bd: WTC
- arr: 1836 BUFFALO
- occ: Mason, Clerk of Police Court
- res: Nth Adelaide
- rel: C/E
- m: 30.11.1837 Adelaide SA
- spouse: Mercy nee ABBOTT
- par: Giles and Hannah nee FROST
- b: c1817 NTH ENG
- d: 4.4.1861 Pt Elliot SA
- Ch: Hannah Frances (1838-1857). Henry Giles (1839-1840). Priscilla Myra (1840-1861). Danl John (1842-1924), Wm Alfred (1844-1922) Martha Louisa Mary, TUCKEY (1846-1882), Emily Matilda (1849-1850) "
THE CD-ROM ADVANTAGE
This CD-ROM edition not only makes this vast body of information readily available again, but enhances it with its full text searching. Now you can:
- find many more names that can be found in the original alphabetical arrangement or printed index - especially the mother's maiden names and married names of daughters. For example there are 74 biographies of people with the surname "Dawson" in the 2 sets, but a search for that name returns 294 occurrences.
- search by place and find all people associated with that place. It makes it a great local history resource. For example a search for "Gawler" returns 4682 occurrences. No index to places is in the original.
- search for places of origin. How many and who are listed as coming from say Norfolk or Truro in Cornwall? For example a search for Truro (Cornwall) returns 137 occurrences. No index to places of origin is in the original.
- find out who else is listed as coming on your ancestor's ship (same or another voyage). Simply search by name of vessel. For example a search for the Ship Trafalgar returns 347 occurrences. No index to ships is in the original.
- search by any other word for any other purpose of interest, e.g.
- occupation. Hhow many are listed as solicitors (a search gives 205)?
- religion. All those identified as say Presbyterians (a search gives 2682)
- enlarge the image on screen to easily read what is very small type in the original.
This CD contains high quality scanned images of the whole of the original book, and has been bookmarked for easy navigation. Pages can be searched, browsed, enlarged and printed out if required.
Any computer using Adobe (Acrobat) Reader 4 or later
Adobe Reader 6 or later is recommended for CDs with searchable text
Click here to download a file of sample pages from this book. Right click on the link and select "save as" - to a location on your hard drive. The sampler can be opened, navigated and searched as with the full CD file/s. Sample files usually contain the title page, contents, some introductory pages and sample pages from the body of the book. Often the complete index from the original book is included.
Fantastic reference that paid off for me
Posted by Margaret Sutherland on 8th Jun 2017
This searchable CD is a great reference that covers a significant period in South Australia's settlement history. It lists a surprising amount of verifiable biographical information for most entries.
One strength is that also lists information that hasn't been fully verified, and highlights it as such. Omitting it may have been more technically correct, but its inclusion provides a researcher with clues that can break down a brick wall. That's how it worked for me.
While it's fairly expensive, it represents thousands of hours of compilation effort of myriad sources by volunteers. The alternative would be a trip to South Australia to look at the hard copy.
The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because of the risk associated with all similar products: You don't know if it contains your ancestor or not until you actually buy it. If you're lucky, it provides invaluable information, and the excitement of finding a new ancestor or two.