Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish

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Collection Information

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.

Our England & Wales Birth, Marriage and Death (BMD) Index collections (1837 - 2005) provide the most complete resource available online. All of these records are completely name searchable. For vital records before 1837, we have the Parish Registers, where you can find UK parish baptism, marriage and burial records.

Births, marriages and deaths are key events that mark the milestones of our lives and are the foundation of family history research. Civil Registration records, usually kept by a civic authority, Parish Registers, or church authorities, give you a more complete picture of your ancestor, help you distinguish between two people with the same name, and help you find links to new generations.

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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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