Q. How can I obtain information about births, marriages and deaths?
A. You have to apply for a certificate in every case; the fee for a certificate is £7-00.

Q. Is there no way I can look at the register entries themselves?
A. Sorry, no - the registers are covered by statute that prevents this. The Government does intend to change this law, to open up the older records to the public. We shall of course let you know when this happens.

Q. Do I have to apply separately to individual Register Offices?
A. Yes, because each local authority has to receive the appropriate fee.

Q. How do I pay?
A. Check with each Register Office - but for most, you can go there personally and pay cash, send a cheque or postal order, or pay by credit or debit card.

Q. When did registration start?
A. July 1837.

Q. How do I know if I am obtaining the certificate I want?
A. You are always welcome to ask the Register Office - for example: ask if the John Smith birth is the son of Joseph and Freda. The reply will be yes or no. Some Register Offices have an e-mail facility to do this.

Q. If I can't find the record I want on the index sites, where do I go next?
A. First - check the content of the site. Although there are millions of index references loaded, all sites are still in the process of uploading. If it is not yet on the site, you will need to phone. Second - the event might have taken place elsewhere. Try other regional sites, or the national index on

Q. What information is on a certificate?
A. Marriages - date and place, full names, ages, marital status, occupations, names and occupations of fathers.

Births - date and place, name, gender, parents' names and addresses; mother - any previous surname; father occupation.

Deaths - date and place, name, gender, address, cause of death; for males, occupation; for females name of husband, if any. Child death, details of father.

Content for births and deaths increased from new rules in 1969.

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