Birth, Baptism & Christening

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Civil registration was introduced in the UK in 1837. For vital record information before the nineteenth century, parish records (primarily baptisms, marriages and burials) are the best source. They can go as far back as 1538.

Birth records can provide details about your family member's birth and for baptism records, religious affiliation. They typically contain the name, date and place of the event, parents' names, ages, birthplaces, occupation, and residence.

Birth, baptism, and christening records are primary resources for family history research because they were typically created at or shortly after the birth, making the record more likely to be accurate. This collection includes indexes that can help you request the record, and in some cases, actual images of the birth records.

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  • When a birth, marriage or death is registered, a certificate is filled out and the information is kept on file and added to the summary register, or Index, of all the events. As in books, the Indexes won't tell you everything, but will give you key information, such as names, dates (specifically quarters) and places (the district the event occurred). They also give you all the references you need to discover more - in this case, order a certificate.
  • Once you have found your ancestor's record, make sure you collect all the information about them by ordering a Birth, Marriage or Death certificate (BMD certificate). Our certificate ordering service is fast, easy and convenient to use. Once you have found the record you need on Ancestry.co.uk, simply click on the shopping trolley icon under the heading Order certificate. The order form will be automatically completed with the certificate details and it'll be delivered to you.
  • For any births, marriages or deaths before 1837, you should be searching through the Parish Registers, which you can find in our UK Parish Baptism, Marriage and Burial Records collection.
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