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This is the "British Isles Civil Registration Records" page of the "Genealogy and Family History" guide.
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Genealogy and Family History   Tags: family history, genealogy, history  

Explore your roots at VPL and beyond: resources and services for genealogists
Last Updated: Apr 26, 2017 URL: http://guides.vpl.ca/genealogy Print Guide RSS Updates

British Isles Civil Registration Records Print Page
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Introduction

Civil registration records are records of birth, marriage and death collected by the government. They are among the most useful primary records for researching a family tree. This guide provides basic information on British Isles civil registration records and how to obtain them.  

Please note that for the purpose of this guide, "British Isles" refers to the islands of Britain and Ireland. The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not included. The independent country of Ireland is referred to as the "Republic of Ireland" to distinguish it from the entire island of Ireland. "Northern Ireland" refers to the 6 counties in the northern part of Ireland that are a political division of the United Kingdom.

 

British Isles Civil Registration Records

BASICS
The Vancouver Public Library does not have birth, marriage and death records for the British Isles. The library does provide access to electronic indexes of English and Welsh records as well as useful secondary materials on English, Welsh, Irish and Scottish BMD records. Other services and resources available at the VPL, elsewhere in the Lower Mainland and online offer further help in locating these important records. As well, it may be worthwhile to consider hiring a local professional genealogist in England, Wales, Ireland or Scotland. In some cases, this will save you money. England and Wales share the same civil registration system while Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland each have separate systems. All British Isles civil BMDrecords since the beginning of registration are open to the public although there may be a delay in the availability of very recent records. Obtaining copies of birth, marriage and death records is a two-step process:
  1. Search birth, marriage and death indexes

    The indexes to British Isles BMD records are large sets of printed or computerized data which list all of the people who have been registered since the beginning of registration. The indexes do not provide all the particulars of a person’s registration. They just tell you that the person was registered and that a record exists.
    •  
  2. Apply for copies of full registration records

    Once you have found a relevant entry in the BMD indexes, the information can be used to obtain a copy of the corresponding full registration record. Full registration records provide much more information than is found in indexes.
KEY RESOURCES
There are multiple references to the following resources in this guide:

Family History Center (Burnaby)
The Burnaby Family History Center is operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The FHC provides free access to some British Isles BMD indexes and full registration records on microfilm and microfiche.

5280 Kincaid Street
Burnaby, BC
604.299.8656

Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Closes 6 p.m., 1st Tuesday of the month

Appointment required

Family History Library (Salt Lake City)
The collection of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City comprises a vast range of microfilmed genealogical data from around the world including some British Isles BMD indexes and registration records.

FHL microfilms can be borrowed for a fee through the Vancouver Public Library’s Interlibrary Loan department. For more information see: Borrowing Microfilms from the FHL.

FamilySearch
FamilySearch, operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, provides access to a vast range of free genealogical data. The site includes two components of particular interest to those searching for British Isles BMD registration records:

The Record section of the site provides access to a wide range of indexes and digital images of genealogical records for literally billions of people. Records include birth, marriage, death, probate, land, military, International Genealogical Index and much more. New genealogical data collections are regularly added to this quickly expanding site so check back regularly to see what is new.

The International Genealogical Index is a large online database of information compiled from a variety of information sources. It includes a significant amount of British Isles civil birth and marriage index information.

ENGLAND AND WALES

Administered by: General Register Office(GRO)

Start date: 1837


Searching BMD Indexes in England and Wales
The GRO indexes to births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales are compiled in large, heavy, printed volumes. If you travel to England and Wales, you can search the GRO indexes at several locations including The National Archives at Kew in London. Searching in person is free.


Searching English and Welsh BMD Indexes from a Distance

General Register Office
You can submit a postal or online request to the GRO for a search of English and Welsh BMD indexes for a fee. If an index reference is found, a copy of the full registration record will be provided. If a reference is not found, GRO will provide a full refund.

Ancestry Library Edition
Ancestry Library Edition is a vast electronic collection of genealogical records available to the public for free at all Vancouver Public Library locations (access from home is not available). The ALE collection includes 7 databases comprising English and Welsh GRO index data:

England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index: 1837-1915
England & Wales, Birth Index: 1916-2005

England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837-1915
England & Wales, Marriage Index: 1916-2005

England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837-1915
England & Wales, Death Index: 1916-2006

FreeBMD
FreeBMD is a massive volunteer project aimed at creating a full transcription of the GRO birth, marriage and death indexes for England and Wales and making it available for free on the Internet. As of June 2012, the database contained over 270,000,000 complete records. Coverage is complete for 1837-1929 while a very large number of 1930-1969 index entries have also been finished. The search interface is very good but response time is sometimes slow due to the popularity of the database.

Family History Center
The Burnaby Family History Center provides free access to English and Welsh BMD indexes on microfilm or microfiche for the following years:

  • Births, 1837-1945; uneven coverage after 1945
  • Marriages, 1837-1968
  • Deaths, 1837-1964

Getting the Full Registration Record - England and Wales

There is no direct access to full registration records for England and Wales. Records are only available by application to the General Registers Office for a fee.

Applications for full registration records can be submitted online, by telephone, by regular mail or in person.

For more information see the following web page on Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates.

SCOTLAND

Administered by: National Records of Scotland (NRS)

Start date: 1855


Searching BMD Indexes in Scotland
The GROS indexes to Scottish BMD records can be searched in person at the  ScotlandsPeopleCentre in Edinburgh.



Searching Scottish BMD Indexes from a Distance

General Register Office for Scotland

You can submit a postal request to the GROS for a search of Scottish BMD indexes. There is a fee for the search. Email enquiries@scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk for further information.

ScotlandsPeople
The computer indexes to Scottish BMD records can be searched directly online at ScotlandsPeople. There is a charge for using the website but it provides access to both indexes and printable digitized images of corresponding full BMD registration records.

Family History Center (Burnaby)
The FHC provides free access to Scottish BMD indexes on microfilm or microfiche for the following years:

  • Births, 1855-1954
  • Marriages, 1855-1956
  • Deaths, 1855-1956

Family History Library (Salt Lake City)
The FHL collection includes microfilm copies of Scottish birth, marriage and death indexes covering the period from 1855-1956. Some nominal indexes for Scottish births, baptisms, and marriages are available through FamilySearch.

FamilySearch - International Genealogical Index
The International Genealogical Index includes Scottish birth and marriage index information for the period from 1855-1875.


Getting the Full Registration Record - Scotland

General Register Office for Scotland
Records can be ordered in person at New Register House or the ScotlandsPeopleCentre. Records can also be ordered by telephone or regular mail. For more information see How to Order an Official Extract from the Registers.

ScotlandsPeople
As described above, the ScotlandsPeople website provides access to printable digitized images of full Scottish BMD registration records. There is a charge for using the site.

IRELAND
The following information applies to Irish BMD registration records for the whole of Ireland until 1921 and for the Republic of Ireland after 1921 as well. See the Northern Ireland tab for information on post-1921 BMD registration records for Northern Ireland.

Administered by: General Register Office (GRO)

Start date: 1845 - Non-Catholic marriages only.
  1864 - All BMDs, Catholic and non-Catholic.

Searching Irish BMD Indexes in Ireland

General Register Office Research Facility (Ireland)
GRO birth, marriage and death indexes for the whole of Ireland up to 1921 are available to the public at the General Register Office Research Facility. The Research Facility also holds post-1921 BMD indexes for the Republic of Ireland. There is a search fee.


Searching Irish BMD Indexes from a Distance

General Register Office Research Facility (Ireland)
You can request a search of the indexes at the General Register Office Research Facility by mail or fax. There is a search fee.

Ancestry Library Edition
Ancestry Library Edition is a vast electronic collection of genealogical records available to the public for free at all Vancouver Public Library locations (access from home is not available). The Ancestry Library Edition collection includes the following databases comprising Irish birth, marriage, and death index data:

Ireland, Civil Registration Births Index, 1864-1958
Ireland, Civil Registration Marriages Index, 1845-1958
Ireland, Civil Registration Deaths Index, 1864-1958

Family History Center (Burnaby)
The Family History Center in Burnaby holds the following Irish BMD indexes:

All of Ireland Republic of Ireland
Births 1864-1921 1922-1958
Marriages 1845-1863 (Protestant only); 1864-1921 1922-1926
Deaths 1864-1921 1932-1937

Family History Library (Salt Lake City)
The Family History Library collection includes indexes to Irish civil registration records for the following years:

All of Ireland Republic of Ireland
Births 1864-1921 1922-1958
Marriages 1845-1863 (non-Catholic only); 1864-1921 1922-1958
Deaths 1864-1921 1922-1958

FamilySearch
This site includes Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes, 1845-1958, a database derived from Irish civil registration records. Search results include full references to original records.

The International Genealogical Index includes birth and marriage index information for the whole of Ireland from 1864-1868. More information is available on the FamilySearch International Genealogical Index wiki page.

Performing a regular search on FamilySearch will search both IGI indexed records along with more recently indexed records. To search just the entries from the International Genealogical Index, select the "International Genealogical Index (IGI)" collection from the list of historical record collections. From the collection page you may choose to search either community indexed entries or community contributed entries.


Getting the Full Registration Record - Ireland

General Register Office
Irish birth, marriage and death registration records to 1921 (for the whole of Ireland) and from 1922 forward (Republic of Ireland) can be ordered in person at the General Register Office or by fax or regular mail. Downloadable forms are available on the General Register Office website.

Family History Center (Burnaby)
The FHC has the following Irish BMD full registration records:

All of Ireland Republic of Ireland
Births 1864-1913, 1930-1955 NOT AVAILABLE
Marriages 1845-1863 (Protestant only); 1864-1870 NOT AVAILABLE
Deaths 1864-1870 NOT AVAILABLE

Family History Library (Salt Lake City)
The FHL collection includes the following full Irish civil registration records:

  • 1864-1955 births
  • 1845-1870 marriages (1845-1863 records are non-Catholic only)
  • 1864-1870 deaths
NORTHERN IRELAND
For information about locating Northern Irish BMD records for the period prior to 1922, see the Ireland tab.

Administered by: General Register Office for Northern Ireland (GRONI)

Start date: 1922


Searching BMD Indexes in Northern Ireland
The GRONI has computerized birth, marriage and death indexes for Northern Ireland. These cover BMD records for Northern Ireland since 1864 (since 1845 in the case of non-Catholic marriages). They are available for searching at Oxford House in Belfast. There is a search fee.


Searching Northern Ireland BMD Indexes from a Distance
For information about remote searching of Northern Ireland BMD indexes prior to 1922, see the Ireland tab.

General Register Office (Northern Ireland)
Searches of the computerized indexes can be requested by mail or online. There is a search fee.

Family History Center (Burnaby)
The FHC collection includes the following indexes to Northern Ireland BMD indexes:

  • Births, 1922-1925, 1946-1950
  • Marriages, 1922-1937
  • Deaths, 1922-1929

Family History Library (Salt Lake City)
The FHL collection includes indexes to the following civil registration records for Northern Ireland:

  • Births, 1922-1959
  • Marriages, 1922-1959
  • Deaths, 1922-1959

Getting the Full Registration Record - Northern Ireland

General Registration Office for Northern Ireland
Full registration records for Northern Ireland (all BMDs beginning 1864; non-Catholic marriages beginning 1845) can be ordered online, by telephone or by regular mail. Records can also be ordered in person at Oxford House in Belfast. There are printable forms on the GRONI website that can be used to order records by mail.

Family History Center (Burnaby)

  • Births, NOT AVAILABLE
  • Marriages, NOT AVAILABLE
  • Deaths, NOT AVAILABLE

Family History Library (Salt Lake City)
The Family History Library collection includes full civil registration records for Northern Ireland births, marriages and deaths, 1922-1959.

 

Featured Booklists

Cover Art
Tracing Your Ancestors
Use any of the books in this booklist to help you find information about civil registration records in the British Isles.


 

 

Websites of Interest

Electronic Resources

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