If you find your ancestor in an index, be sure to click on the database title and look at the description to learn how to request the actual record. The cause of death is also included in most death records. Vital records are a cornerstone of family history research because they were typically created at or near the time of the event, making the record more likely to be accurate.
This category includes indexes that can help you request copies from vital records keepers, and in some cases the images of actual records. To narrow your search, estimate birth dates using information found in census records and in other records. These relate to:. Before , there was no legal system of adoption and as such, any agreements prior to that date were usually made within the extended family. When looking through the indexes, the entry will be recorded for the year of adoption, which will not necessarily be the year of birth.
The certificate will also show details of the date and court in which the adoption order was made. After , the country of birth will also be shown where the child was born abroad.
We can supply a death certificate up to the present day, unless the death has yet to be registered in the event that an inquest is called for. Our beginner's guide is the best way to sow the seeds of your research and watch your family tree grow. Local public libraries in Scotland may also have microfilm copies of the old parish registers covering the area you are interested in. Year of Birth. These registers, which are held by the National Records of Scotland , were produced up until and provide details of:.
Although the certificate will contain the name of the child being adopted, this may not be the same as the name with which the child was first registered. In many cases, it is possible to find the child in the ordinary birth indexes but, for many, it will be necessary to comply with the requirements of the various Adoption Acts to allow the child to obtain details of their original parentage.
Stillbirths have been registered in this country since 1 July The records are not available to the general public in the form of indexes and application to the Registrar General is needed for a certificate to be issued. Records exist of births and deaths at sea and in the air where such an event took place on a British registered craft.
Marine events have been registered since 1 July , but air events only since Births and deaths on British registered hover-crafts, oil rigs and other offshore installations are also recorded. They relate to events anywhere in the world. Indexes are available and certificates can be obtained. They relate to events both in this country and abroad.
The Army registers commence in for marriages though are most comprehensive after Where a birth, marriage or death took place of a British Subject in a foreign country, it may have been recorded by the British Consul and certificates of such events are available.
Most returns commenced in July If similar events took place in Commonwealth countries then they are recorded in the British High Commission returns. Not all British High Commissions recorded marriages. The marriage may be recorded in any registration system operated by the country concerned.
Civil Registration birth, marriage and death certificates are available primarily from three sources The reference numbers in the nationally available indexes relate only to requesting a certificate via the GRO. They mean nothing to local register offices. You will need to find certain information to fill out an application form to obtain your certificate or contact the local register office with details to obtain a certificate via that source.
A word of advice, unless you can quote the exact date and place of marriage to a local register office, you are unlikely to be able to obtain a marriage certificate from there.
See below for information about obtaining information online. Access to indexes is now through online sites.
Most provide access to the original index volumes which are no longer available in paper form. The indexes are arranged on a yearly basis and each year is divided into quarters until The quarters relate to the date of registration NOT the date of the event. By law, a birth had to be registered within 42 days. If, therefore, an event took place on 17th March, it may not have been registered until 15th April in that year.
As such, the event will not appear in the March quarterly index but in the June quarter - see below.
As a death must recorded within the next 5 days, it is most likely to be included in the index volume for the quarter in which the event took place. The indexes are in strict alphabetical order. Deaths will normally be recorded under the married surname for a woman. The country is divided up into Registration Districts. Each district has a name and a volume number which shows in which geographical area it was situated. The names and numbers have changed over the years, the main change taking place in Up to that time, all districts were identified within an all-figure system originally using roman numerals.
As the indexes are replaced with computer generated lists, these are changing to normal numbers. Since , numbers have been suffixed by a letter. The numbers commence with 1 for the London area and increase as the districts fan out around the country. You may find registration district maps located in the place where you are searching. Alternatively use one of the online resources.
Certain other changes took place in and , consolidating many of the register offices, particularly in London and the larger towns when county boundaries changed. If you carefully complete each section of the application form, whether by post or online, you cannot go wrong. There are slightly more spaces for information on a birth certificate application than on the others.
Obviously the more information you can complete the better but don't worry if you cannot answer all the questions. The form is dual purpose i. If you know the name of the parties to the marriage then both names should be recorded on the application forms. If you only know the name of one party then you can still apply for a likely certificate by completing only the husband or wife section on the form. The entry in the index should match exactly for both parties. There are up to four marriages on a page. So finding a matching reference in an online version of the index will not always mean that those two parties married each other.
If a 0 appears as the age then this implies an infant dying under the age of 1 year. From the June quarter of , the date of birth of the deceased is included in the death indexes instead of an age. It is possible to view the national indexes to civil registration in England and Wales online or on microfiche. These are:. There are some independent attempts to make the indexes more accessible.
The database is not yet complete but the work is growing all the time. This site has images of the original indexes as well. Various sites offer different ways of searching the images of the indexes and each should be examined to discover their particular search functionalities. All these sites will give the references needed to obtain a certificate.
Prices to view the indexes vary. Some sites make using the digital images of the indexes easier than others. In addition to the internet, certificates can also be ordered by post and by telephone.
From 1 January postal applications will only be accepted on the new style application forms which will be available directly from the GRO, Local Register Offices and major city libraries throughout England and Wales which hold copies of the indexes on microfiche. The new style forms must be completed in full and returned by post to the GRO together with the correct payment either by cheque, postal order or credit card.
Please call There are copies of the indexes on microfilm at the Society of Genealogists in London. Images of the Scottish GRO certificates births , marriages and deaths can also be found on the Internet along with indexes up to via the pay-per-view website www. The General Register Office for Northern Ireland is within the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency and administers marriage law and the registration of births, deaths, marriages, civil partnerships and adoption in Northern Ireland.
Tel: if calling from outside Northern Ireland. See www. Online searches of the indexes and images of birth records in Northern Ireland over years old, marriage records over 75 years old and deaths records over 50 years old can be made at GRONI online: geni. Certificates for the remainder of Ireland from and Protestant marriages from can be obtained in person from the search room of the General Register Office located at Werburgh Street, Dublin 2, D08 E Indexes for some civil birth, marriages and deaths registered in Ireland up to can be found on www.
Tel: Indexes for some civil birth, marriages and deaths registered in Ireland up to can be found on: www.
If a reference cannot be found in the national indexes compiled for the Registrar General, it may be worth seeing if the information can be found in the relevant local register office. Occasionally bureaucratic errors occur in the reporting of the registered information from the local to the national level.
Some local records can be accessed online via www. One of the advantages of this particular system is that grooms and brides are matched and the name of the church is given. It is also noted if it was a civil or nonconformist marriage. If the local office has no web presence, addresses of local register offices can be found via www. Many times people have commented - "he's not there, I can't find him" Whilst this may be true in some cases, you will often find that from , in the case of births, he or she will have been registered. There are various reasons why someone is not recorded in the place we think they should have been.
In many cases, this has to do with our own assumptions rather than deficiencies in the registration system and its indexes. Very often we do not look in enough volumes of the indexes to locate our ancestors. The accuracy of the information you have will determine the span of years which must be searched. Ages in documents like the census or on death certificates can be inaccurate; ages "known" by relatives are often several years out.
Some marriages did not take place until after the birth of the first child and in some cases even later. Couples may not have married at all, particularly if, for example the husband left his first wife and did not obtain a divorce. Unless he committed bigamy, then he was not free to marry. Be prepared to make extended searches for a marriage up to 25 years before the birth of the first known child or at least as far back as the parents would have been legally able to marry.
The absolute minimum period for a search for a birth is 5 years either side of the calculated date. Occasionally it might be necessary to widen the search even further perhaps to 15 or 20 years beyond the assumed date. Families were large in the 19th and early 20th centuries and it was not unusual for children to be born over a span of 25 years.
Contrary to what you may think or how proud you are of your surname, variations will exist, as in most cases registrars and incumbents wrote down what they heard rather than paying any consideration to a standardised spelling system. Many people could not read so they were unable to correct a spelling as we do today. The indexes are in a very clinical STRICT alphabetical order, hence the name of Newbury and Newberry, Collins and Collings both sounding the same will not be in the same place in the index.
Certain capital letters can also be misinterpreted. Think about the different variants of the name that could possibly exist before setting out and write them down on your research sheet. That way you can look at all the most sensible alternatives in the indexes.