to death notices and obituaries in Australian newspapers

Coverage Details
The 2020 Newspaper Purge
Newspapers with Problems
Finding a published notice
Other public resources
Life Members
Calendar of events
So you want to be an indexer?
Ryerson and Privacy
Published articles and Videos
Some statistics
Update history
Resources for indexers
Contact Ryerson Index Inc
About us

died 30 August 2012, aged 95


The Ryerson Index is a free index to death notices appearing in Australian newspapers. The date range covered extends from the Sydney Gazette of 1803 up to newspapers published within the last week or so. The Index also includes many funeral notices, and some probate notices and obituaries.

In 2020, we commenced indexing notices from Funeral Directors' websites. This was in response to the mass closures of regional newspapers which occured in the second quarter of 2020.

Because the Index was originally created by the Sydney Dead Persons Society, its strength lies in notices from NSW papers - including in excess of two million notices from the Sydney Morning Herald alone. However, the representation from sources in other states continues to grow, with additional papers and funeral directors being regularly added, so that the Index can now truly be considered an Australian index.

Indexing is being continuously carried out by a team of volunteers, too numerous to mention individually, who give freely of their time to ensure the site continues to grow. Site updates generally occur weekly.

The index itself cannot by definition be considered a primary source of data, but is purely a research aid to direct the researcher to the original source of a notice. We at Ryerson cannot undertake genealogical research for you, we are too busy indexing!

An Obituary for the Ages


11 March 2024

In our 25 years of existence, Ryerson has morphed from being a website purely for genealogists to an organisation that additionally assists various medical research and educational organisations by giving them free access to our data. As a result, we have successfully applied to become a registered charity.

This in no way diminishes our efforts to provide a service to the genealogical community, which is and will remain our primary objective. It is an additional feature which assists projects of social benefit to better carry out their research by accessing data which can be of great use to them, but is otherwise unavailable.

We welcome enquiries from organisations which believe we can assist their work.

19 December 2023

We are pleased to announce that we will be adding the Queensland and Northern Territory Probate Indexes to Ryerson, commencing from the beginning of January 2024. A future project is planned to back-index Queensland from their online commencement in 2012, but the NT process of removing their entries from the index once the grant has been made means back-indexing for this Territory is not possible.

28 June 2023

Today we added our 9 millionth record to Ryerson. This was also our quickest million ever, taking only 596 days. With such a dedicated and enthusiastic team of volunteers, we are now aiming to have ten million records sometime in 2025.

7 October 2022

We have now completed adding the online version of the NSW Probate Index into Ryerson (approx 280,000 records). This covers the period from 21 Jan 2013 to date, and more than makes up for the loss of regional and suburban newspapers in NSW, due to the closures in 2020. Further files will be added as part of our regular updates, as they become available.

26 January 2022

We have now turned on the ability to display ALL entries from a specific newspaper or Funeral Director which has no more than 20,000 entries in Ryerson. This covers more than 90% of the sources we index.

A Special Appeal to
Family and Local History Societies

We always welcome Family History or Local History Societies who are interested in indexing the notices from their local paper or funeral director. We find members of such 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 Ryerson, please contact us via the link at the left of the screen.

Indexing Vacancies

We currently have the following vacancies for indexers:

capital city dailies: no vacancies!

regional papers: numerous vacancies eg Albury, Burnie, Eden, Gilgandra, Longreach, Kempsey, and many others.

If you are able to help out with indexing any of these papers, please contact us.

We have access to the .pdf version of all the capital city dailies, so you do not require your own access to be able to index. However, regional papers will (in most cases) require you to have access to the paper (either print or digital).

Advertisements on the Ryerson website

Ryerson is a free service, but we do use google advertising on our search page to help defray our operating costs. Unfortunately we have little control over which ads google chooses to display.

Lately, we have noticed an increase in ads requesting payment for goods or services by credit card. These requests are nothing to do with Ryerson, which has always been, and will always be, a FREE service.

We suggest that you simply ignore any requests for payment from anywhere on the Ryerson site.

The Ryerson Committee

Notices Indexed by Decade
(as at 23 March 2024)
Search site last updated
7 July 2024
next planned update:
Sun 14 July
482 Different sources
9,369,073 entries
(including more than 5 million entries from the past 30 years, which you won't find on any of the state BDM websites!)

Still can't find what you want? Then try the Australian Cemeteries Index

Can You Help?
Is your local paper currently included in Ryerson? If not, then why not take on the task of indexing the notices for us?

Do you have access to a library or other repository which has microfilm copies of newspapers available? We are always in need of people who can copy notices for us to index.

If you can help, please contact us via the link at the left of the screen.

Visitors Map
(since 12 June 2016)

This page is owned by Ryerson Index Inc, a registered charity incorporated under the laws of New South Wales, Australia.