Family History - Determining Dates on Queensland and New Zealand BDM Web Sites

The search engines used on the web sites for the Index of Births, Deaths and Marriages of both of Queensland and New Zealand, have a feature that can be used to determine the actual date of a located index entry.  The following example shows one way of obtaining this date using a method called the 'binary chop' by locating the date of death of Francis Toomey who died in Queensland in the 1920's.

The first search is made:

Surname: Toomey
Given Name(s):
Father's Name(s):
Mother's Name(s)
Date to search from: 01/01/1920
To: 31/12/1930

 

This search locates 15 entries with the required entry, Francis Toomey having a registration number of 1925/2623. 

 

The next search is made of the first half of 1925:

Surname: Toomey
Given Name(s):
Father's Name(s):
Mother's Name(s)
Date to search from: 01/01/1925
To: 30/06/1925

This search locates 1 entry for Francis Toomey having a registration number of 1925/2623. If this entry was not present, another search using the date range of "01/07/1925" and "31/12/1925" would have located the entry.

The next search is made using the dates "01/01/1925" and "31/03/1925", but no entry was found, therefore another search using "01/04/1925" and "30/06/1925" does locate the entry. This means that the event took place in either April, May or June and each of these months is then searched :

Surname: Toomey
Given Name(s):
Father's Name(s):
Mother's Name(s)
Date to search from: 01/04/1925
To: 30/04/1925

 

The search using the date range of "01/05/1925" and "31/05/1925" locates the entry, therefore the index has now shown that Francis Toomey died in May 1925. In a similar way, the month of May is now searched to get the actual date by dividing it in half and searching the first half, followed by the second half - where the entry for Francis Toomey appears.  From now on it is best to search in five day ranges such as "16/05/1925" and "20/05/1925" and once the five day range has been determined, check out each day in turn until the date of the entry is found. Using this method, it was determined that Francis Toomey died 22 may 1925 and this certainly agrees with his death certificate.

 

Surname: Toomey
Given Name(s):
Father's Name(s):
Mother's Name(s)
Date to search from: 22/05/1925
To: 22/05/1925

This is the result of the above search from the Qld web site:

Reg # Given Names Surname Father's Name Mother's Name
1925/2623 Francis Toomey John Toomey Ellen Buckwell

Please note this method will not always work, especially if the event date is not recorded by the registrar (for whatever reason) or the registration number was altered due to subsequent changes.

 

It is hoped you will find this page helpful in determining the dates of events on these two web sites and at other BDM sites if they start using the same search engine in the future.

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Last Updated 27 December 2009

Copyright (c) Rex and Yvonne Toomey 2009