This week’s Major Collection at WorldVitalRecords.com features an update to the existing Ryerson Index, which contains contemporary death notices, obituaries, and genealogical queries published in two Sydney daily newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph.
The Ryerson Index (www.ryersonindex.org) was published as one of WorldVitalRecords.com’s first large Australian databases. The update to the Ryerson Index contains 1,298, 320 new records, and is part of the Australian collection. The Ryerson Index is free to access as part of the global search at WorldVitalRecords.com. Free access is possible because of the way the content is indexed at WorldVitalRecords.com. For example, when an individual does a search and there is a “hit” on a name that is in the Ryerson index, once an individual clicks on the link, the search box on the Ryerson index web site is automatically populated with that search.
The Ryerson Index plugs a hole in available resources for those researching in Australia. There are no official records available for deaths post 1985 (in New South Wales), and from varying dates for other states. By indexing the deaths published in all major, and many smaller newspapers in New South Wales, the volunteers helping with the Ryerson index continue to make that gap in the records less of a brick wall for researchers. The Ryerson index has also been expanded to include other states of Australia, and now has a large number of entries from the major newspapers in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. Combined, these four states cover about 85% of the Australian population.
This month is the tenth birthday of the Ryerson Index! In that time, volunteers have indexed more than 1.84 million entries, and are currently adding entries at the rate of more than 250,000 per year. There are approximately 120 active indexers, all volunteers, covering the 139 newspapers included in the index. Many indexers have taken on the task of back-indexing their local paper, with some papers now complete for between 40 and 60 years back from the present. The Ryerson Index is now being recognized as an essential resource for Australian research. They look forward to indexing their two millionth record (around mid-2009), and to continuing to expand in the future.