Civil Registration was introduced in to record Births, Marriages and Deaths, which previously hadn't been centrally registered. Like the census, its introduction had much to do with monitoring the growth and age profile of the country's population. Previously, the only records were the parish records kept by the church.
The General Registry Office was in charge of collecting and collating this data and they created quarterly indexes to Birth, Marriage and Death registrations. Registration certificates are a key resource in family history research. You cannot view the original register entries but you can purchase copies of the certificates. The GRO indexes are used to locate the references necessary to order certificates. The GRO's indexes are sometimes still called the St. Catherine's Indexes, after the building they lived in for many years, and it's not so long ago that you would have to spend hours winding rolls of microfilm or navigating fiche, to search just a few years looking for a single entry.
Commencing with the introduction of Civil Registration in and running up to the present day, the indexes enable us to locate the dates of family events and purchase the certificates necessary to carry out our research. Now that the GRO provide online certificate ordering, the whole process can be carried out quickly, without leaving your home.
The only delay to your research is the few days waiting for the post to arrive. Although the certificates themselves provide a wealth of knowledge, the indexes provide very little, just an Event, Name, Year, Quarter and Page number. You may also find the reported age at death, the surname of the spouse or a mother's maiden name on later entries. Records are a little patchy in the early years, especially if you are looking at births because initially registration was voluntary.
Early indexes contain just the name and reference, but extra information was later added to the indexes to help locate the correct individual.
The Age at Death was included in the Death indexes from and from the surname of the spouse was added to the Marriages and the maiden name of the mother to Births. The post BMDs contain re-registration entries, where details have been updated at a later date. There will be a date of re-registration in the original entry, however, there is no indication in the later entry that it is a re-registration so will are unable to highlight it as such.
The Official Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial BMDs Service
Some researchers are content with just finding the reference in the GRO indexes, recording the "My Ancestor " was born in the 3rd quarter of , married the 1st quarter Purchasing certificates can be expensive if you buy them all, but although you may not wish to purchase them for every child, for example, you should purchase at least a representative sample for each family, as well as those purchased to try and solve particular problems.
Certificates contain a wealth of extra information related to each event. The index reference only provides an approximate date, and even with unusual names you can never be certain. For instance, birth certificates can show how a family moved around a town, possibly indicating the family's wealth and social status at the time. A marriage certificate can provide both spouse's father's names and occupations as well as the actual place and date of the marriage, plus their ages and addresses at the time of marriage.
The full reference necessary to purchase a certificate consists of the Registration District; Year; Quarter; Volume number and the Page number. These references apply only when you order certificates from the GRO.
Why use this guide?
If you apply at the relevant local office, the registrar there will have a different system. They can make use of the year and quarter information you supply, but will have to look up the entry in their own index. You will also need to know the name of the church in the case of a marriage, as they tend to be kept separately. In a large town or city with many churches this can be a problem, which can be overcome by ordering the certificate direct from the GRO whose indexes are amalgamated. SmartSearch BMDindex has utilised these fully searchable records to offer some innovative features, utilising the fact that the data can be easily interrogated in different ways.
Several searches based on the results you have already located can be performed with just one click, for instance a reverse search on a marriage index entry can provide the first name for a spouse, not just the surname. The SmartSearch also enables you to find all the children registered to the same parents, quickly finding all the family.
From the Age at Death it can automatically list the birth index pages likely to contain their birth. Of course this only works with entries for males or spinsters, and reported ages are often inaccurate, but the feature can save you time and effort. This enables you to map surname densities onto a county map of England and Wales, often with interesting results.
This is colour coded, according to the numbers of events present, providing a visual display of surname registration densities across the counties for different periods in time. As well as the visual representation, a table provides an accurate count for each county. Record certificates are not available to view online on any site, they are only available from the General Register Office. Simply follow the instructions on the GRO website, providing the necessary information and the GRO Index reference you have found in the indexes. This is the year, quarter and district, usually accompanied by a volume number and page reference, but later records may simply have an Entry number.
The GRO require you to supply more information in the application for births and marriages within the last 50 years. The data set currently includes:. Also available are Overseas Marine Deaths , which have a separate search page and cover deaths at sea onboard British ships from , containing over , records. Once the results have been returned you can select overseas Births, marriages or deaths from the options available down the left hand side of the page.
The Standard Search allows you to search across all the record-sets or to select a specific set, e. Consular Births. The results displayed provide all the information given on the original image, including the official GRO reference, which you will need if you wish to order an overseas certificate at www.
There is also a link on the right which will allow you to view the original page if you wish to confirm the details on the transcript or print the image for your records. Keep me signed in. Toggle navigation Email Password Forgot? The Genealogist Research Guide Search! Topics Toggle navigation Topics:. Where Do I Start?
If you want your certificate posted back to you please bring a stamped addressed envelope or we will add the cost of return postage to the total we charge.
Remember to send a stamped addressed envelope or add the cost of return postage to the total you send. Skip to main content Accessibility Read me aloud. Certificates and research Home Births marriage deaths Certificates and research Copies of certificates. Copy certificates We hold records of all births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships that have taken place in Liverpool and the majority of West Derby, Toxteth Park and a small area of Prescot, since 1 July Exact date of the event.
Exact place of birth or death. Marriage entry — occupation or address of either party. Types of certificate Full birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates contain all information recorded in the register. How much will it cost?
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Family history certificates. Online Over the counter By post. You must supply the Lancashire BMD index reference for this service, or the full event details outlined above.
Ready for collection within one hour, or posted out the same day if ordered online.
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