How to locate a birth certificate

Be aware of informal name changes. It was and still is perfectly legal for people to change names without officially informing the authorities. One of the most frequent causes of confusion is the habit of interchangeably using first and middle names; a man known as George William Newman on all other records may have been christened William George Newman. A completely different name could have been adopted intentionally.

Try searching a different quarter. Your ancestor's birth may be registered in a different quarter to the one you might expect. Until , the GRO birth indexes for England and Wales were organised quarterly, after which time they were arranged annually. Dates of birth can be discovered on death certificates issued from 1 April onwards.

However, the information is only as reliable as the person who provided it, which is usually whoever registered the death, so consider whether an error could have been made and alter your search parameters accordingly. Common name? Order a sibling's certificate instead. Not certain you've found the right person when ordering a certificate? You can request a three-year search for a certificate matching specific criteria, such as parents' names.

Rather than finding nothing at all, with surnames like Smith and Jones there are endless possibilities.

How to Order Birth or Death Certificates Online

Ordering certificates for siblings with less common first names is one way around this. Pay close attention to where they lived and focus your search on the registration districts covering those areas. The place index at ukbmd. Full refunds are given for unsuccessful searches. Watch out for illegitimacy. Mary Berry discovered that several children in her family tree had been born out of wedlock.

The mother could name an illegitimate child after their real father, perhaps bestowing his surname as a middle name. If she applied to the local authorities for financial assistance then they could have investigated his identity, which may be revealed in bastardy bonds and examinations at local archives.

Widen your time frame. In the census, everyone over 15 — including members of the Royal Family — was supposed to round their age down to the nearest five years. Our first clue for finding a birth usually comes from the age given on another document. People often stretched the truth about their age at marriage to appear older or younger. The earliest censuses showing an ancestor at home with their parents may be the most reliable.

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.

Where Can I Find My Original Birth Certificate? |

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.

Finding a birthplace with church records

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.

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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.

Vital Records

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.

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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.