How the South Australian BDM Registrar Could Make More Money & Make Everyone Happy

Most of my family (distant family that is), who packed up their bags, farewelled their families, and set out for a new life in Australia back in the 1800s ended up in South Australia. Now many would say this is a good thing … which in some ways it is, because with my ancestors being here means I ended up here, and do love little ‘ol South Australia, so I’m thankful for that. And it also means I don’t have to research every other state of Australia either, which is a plus. But the downside comes when it comes to getting certificates.

I do like to get certificates. You know, the PROPER ones, not just the transcripts. But to buy the South Australian ones you really need to win lotto or rob a bank – neither of which are likely for me. So I simply save up my dollars bit-by-bit and birthday money (tip: money is always a great present for a genealogist, as you can never have too many certificates!) and buy them when I can. But to buy the three certificates (birth, death and marriage) for one person you’re suddenly up for about $150 when you add in the postage.

While I buy certificates when I can, I know myself as well as plenty of others who would buy more of them if they cost less. I don’t know why the South Australian Registrar charges what they do. But I do think they should take a long hard look at what the Queensland BDM Registrar have done. Because it works, and everyone is happy.

They are in the process of digitising their ‘historical’ BDM certificates and making them available as instant downloads. So not only are they available instantly, they cost less too, and there’s no paperwork handling on the part of the Registrar … so it’s a WIN for everyone.

My recent experience with the South Australian Registrar was when I ordered three certificates. I was able to do this online by filling in a complicated form that timed out, and almost lost my entire order. Anyway I got the certificates ordered, credit card entered, then I simply wait. Their website said allow 15-20 days for delivery. Well I guess that meant “work days”, because it was over a month from when I ordered till when I received them. But why it takes THAT long beats me. I can’t imagine the SA BDM Registrar being swamped with sooooooooo many requests that they simply can’t keep up. But I could be wrong. Anyway, the research I was working on a month ago got shelved as I was waiting on the certificates. So now I have to get my head back into that mode to then continue it …

So do you see my point? Do you agree with me?

I believe that the South Australian Registrar should:
1. Digitise the historical records
2. Make them available as instant downloads or printed copies
3. Charge half price for the downloads
4. Which will result in more orders
5. Customer is happy because it’s cheaper than printed copy, and they get it instantly
6. SA BDM Registrar is happy as they get an order, and don’t need any manpower to fill the order
7. So the people who used to print the orders can then be utilised to continue the digitising process

Obviously all of this takes some time and money to set up, getting the right software that allows for instant downloads etc. But I do think the South Australian BDM Registrar is missing an enormous opportunity here if they don’t cater for the people. The genealogists at least.

So let’s all cross our fingers and toes and hope that the South Australian BDM Registrar will make the historical certificates more accessible!

[for details on the current cost of all Australian BDM certificates, click here]

5 Responses to “How the South Australian BDM Registrar Could Make More Money & Make Everyone Happy”

  1. Sharon says:

    I feel your pain Alona. Maybe we should start a petition?

    Luckily for me, most of my family are in Victoria and you can order online for only $20.00 (it has gone up). It is great to be able to search indexes (99 cents per page viewed) and more importantly to have access to certificates online immediately.
    I have a few SA family members but haven’t got around to ordering their certificates yet due to the cost and inconvenience.
    Yep. I totally agree.

  2. Lauren says:

    Oh yes, I absolutely agree. I encourage you to link them to your post, or as Sharon said, start a petition. Not having much of an income myself, I’ve never ordered a certificate, even though there are plenty I’d like to see. Like you, the majority of my family ended up in SA and certificates would be very beneficial to my research. I’d love to have them online and affordable like some of the other states.

  3. Sooo true. Online certificates are like the chocolates at the cash register, an impulse buy with instant gratification. When I started researching my Vic relatives and was able to buy the certs online for instant download, I spent WAY more money than I planned. I think I ended up with over 60 certs. So a definate winner for the Vic Govt there. On the other hand, I’ve bought none from NSW as it is all just too hard and takes too long.

  4. Deb Miller says:

    Totally agree Alona. I can’t afford them anymore. Last time I think they were about $52. Would love to get more, but NO, not the transcripts. Not the real thing for me. I like to see the original writing. Sign me up if there is ever a petition.

  5. Helen Smith says:

    I agree they are expensive. we were all very pleased when Queensland started their download capability. The pre-1890 certificates had been digitised a while ago but it was only in more recent times that the ability to instantly download came about. What was even more spectacular was that the Queensland Registrar decreased the price and I have been able to afford to go back and get copies of the certificates from the books (not quite the original but only one transcription from the original).

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