What is Civil Registration?
- Civil Registration is the process of recording Births, Marriages and Deaths that are created and maintained by government. There records are also known as Vital Records.
When did Civil Registration begin?
- 1st July 1837
Where can I locate Civil Registration records?
- Local Register Offices record Births, Marriages and Deaths in the area that they occur. The Registrar at the Register Office is able to provide a certified copy of any record that is in their custody. The Register Office for an area is often contactable via the local council.
- The General Register Office (GRO) receives copies of all births, marriages and deaths for the whole of England and Wales approximately 6 months after registration (18 months for marriages). The indexes for the GRO are available online at Ancestry, FindMyPast and FreeBMD (incomplete) to name just a few. The references in the indexes can then be used to order certificates direct from the GRO.
What type of certificate do I need?
- When given an option of different types of certificate, a Full certificate should be requested for genealogical purposes. Short (birth) certificates provide limited info such as name, date and location for the individual being recorded.
What information is recorded on Civil Registration Records?
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Given names of the child
- Surname of the child (from 1997)
- Father's name (May be left blank if not married to the mother)
- Father’s occupation
- Mother's name
- Mother’s maiden names
- Informants signature
- Informants description
- Informants address
- Date of registration
- Registrars signature
- Names entered after registration
- Date of Marriage
- Location of Marriage
- How married (banns, licence, certificate)
- Groom's name
- Grooms age (May be recorded as a number, minor or full where full is over 21 years old)
- Grooms condition (bachelor, widower, divorcee)
- Grooms occupation
- Grooms usual residence
- Grooms fathers name
- Grooms fathers occupation
- Brides name (including all prior surnames)
- Brides age (as for groom)
- Brides condition (spinster, widow, divorcee)
- Brides occupation (frequently left blank on historical records)
- Brides usual residence
- Brides fathers name
- Brides fathers occupation
- Signature of groom
- Signature of bride
- Signature of 2 or more witnesses
- Signature of officiant
- Age (until May 1969)
- Date of Birth (since June 1969)
- Occupation (May include fathers name and occupation for a minor or husbands details for a married/widowed woman)
- Date and place
- Cause of death (including name of coroner and date of inquest if held)
- Usual residence
- Informants signature, description and address
Further Reading and Information
- Researching British Isles Roots - Part 2 (Scotland)
- Researching British Isles Roots - Part 3 (Ireland)