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Quick Tip - Finding a,birth, marriage or death

To lay out any family tree we may need to use the information found on birth, marriage and death certificates.

This will usually be the most informative and accurate information you will find on your family.

In 1837 births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales were registered with the civil authorities for the first time. This was something previously undertaken by the church, beginning with baptism. In return, the civil authorities provided a certificate for the person concerned. The country was divided into registration districts, based on the existing poor law unions, each with its own superintendent registrar. Within these registration districts were sub-districts.

The original entries of births, marriages and deaths are kept at each register office and copies of the entries are sent quarterly to the Registrar General in London. The system began on 1 July 1837.

Part of the information from the certificates is indexed into large books and these books - known as the General Register Office or GRO indexes - are made available for the public to search.

Entries are arranged by surname in alphabetical order and divided into four quarters for each year:

  • January-March,
  • April-June,
  • July-September and
  • October
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