British Isles DNA by County

Civil Registration

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Content by
Linda Jonas 2006

Civil Registration

Civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths began in England and Wales on 1 July 1837. The records are indexed nationwide. Many of the indexes are available on the Internet. For example, many of the indexes have been transcribed and are searchable at no charge from FreeBMD. The indexes are also part of Ancestry.com's UK and Ireland Collection. The complete indexes from 1837 to 2004 are available for a fee at 1837 Online.com The series is also available on microfilm and microfiche from the Family History Library.

Please note that the place listed in the civil registration index is the name of the registration district, not the name of the parish. You can find the name of the registration district for your ancestor's parish by looking up the parish in the Index of Places in England and Wales. There is also an online List of Registration District Numbers. If all you know is the county where your ancestor was born and you want to know the names of the registration districts for that county, you can find them in Registration Districts of England and Wales 1837-1930. To find the name of the registration district in a Family History Center, look up the name of the parish in the Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales on FHL fiche 6020308 to 6020327. You can find registration district maps in the following sources:

A Guide to the Arrangement of the Registration Districts Listed in the Indexes to the Civil Registration of England and Wales contains nineteenth-century maps. It is on FHL fiche 6020287.

Maps showing superintendent registrar's districts for 1870, film #1342387.

The civil registration indexes are arranged by event in chronological order by quarter year. The names registered in each quarter are listed alphabetically. For instance, if your ancestor was born April 30, 1883, you would first look for his name in the birth index for the June Quarter, 1883. However, this is not the date that your ancestor was born, married, or died, but the date that the event was registered. You need to check the quarter year when the event occurred and if your ancestor's name is not found, search subsequent quarters.

The microfiche indexes are faster to use than the ones on microfilm, but some of the fiche indexes were poorly filmed, so you may need to double-check the microfilm version.  The microfiche numbers are listed below:

Civil Registration Indexes for England and Wales

Type of Record

Years

Microfiche Numbers

Birth Indexes 1837 - 1983 6101914 - 6102499
Marriage Indexes 1837 - 1983 6102500 - 6103085
Death Indexes 1837 - 1983 6103086 - 6103671

 

Ordering Birth, Marriage, and Death Certificates

Only the indexes are presently available through the Family History Library because the General Register Office has not offered the microfilms of certificates for sale. Once you have the entry from the index, you can order a copy of the certificate from England. You can order birth, marriage, and death certificates online from the General Register Office.
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Project Administrators:  Roy Keys and Linda Jonas