Saturday, September 22, 2007


UKBMD - Births, Marriages, Deaths Indexes & Census transcriptions for the UK, On-Line

There are two sets of Birth, Marriage and Death indexes in the UK; the original indexes held by the local register offices and a secondary index created by the General Register Office from quarterly returns

As always, you are recommended to look through the primary sources first, before looking through secondary records.

Since 1837 all births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales have had to be registered at the register office in the district where the event took place. In Scotland such registration became compulsory for all in 1855 and for Ireland it was 1864 for births & deaths and 1845 for marriages. Genealogists and Family Historians can make use of these registrations to help create their family tree, working backwards from the present day to the start of civil registration.

The original indexes to these registers are held by the local register offices and many of these indexes are now being transcribed by the local authorities in conjunction with Family History Societies, and the data placed on-line in a variety of web sites.
These web sites, with indexes based on the original registers,
Family History Factsheets:

"When I commenced my research in the mid 1970's the only way to locate a BMD certificate was to search the GRO indexes. These were originally located at Somerset House, London until they were moved to St Catherine's House in 1972 and in 1997 they were finally moved to the Family Records Centre. The indexes became more accessible once microform copies of them became available in local reposito

ries. More recently the indexes have become available on the Internet, for example FreeBMD or 1837 Online. However, the GRO indexes are based upon the copied certificates supplied on a quarterly bases from the Superintendent Registrars. Producing these copies were not without problems and there was no provision in the legislation to ensure accuracy of the copies. Even if any checks were undertaken it is unclear as to how effective it may have been.

This can accounts for some of the errors in the indexes. There is no documentation that explains how the GRO carried out the indexing and sorting procedures in the 19th century. Nor is it generally known when various parts of the handwritten indexes were typed. The first step in indexing must have been for a clerk to copy out the names, together with the district name, volume and page numbers. These names would then have to be sorted into an alphabetical order based on the names. In the absence of effective mechanical means of sorting, it would have been logical to sort each volume separately and then merge the volumes into a total index as the final step. There would be no room in such a process for checking on an apparent error."


Post a Comment

<< Home