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In Scotland records began in and in Ireland in n. Irish non-Catholic marriages were recorded from Therefore, a single tier registration system was introduced, based on the administrative poor law unions, which had been set up in , and previously the administrative hundreds. These became the registration districts. The Act also permitted marriages to be performed in Register Offices and outside the confines of the Anglican Church.
Many nonconformist chapels were authorised to perform marriages. Since there has been much fine tuning of the system and various new regulations and legislation have been introduced from time to time. Although civil registration was introduced in , it was not until that the registration of a birth became compulsory. Between these dates, children may not have been registered.
There was in fact a loophole as the act was not fully understood and people genuinely thought that to have a child baptised was to register that child. The Act made registration compulsory within a 6 week period and imposed a fine for non-compliance. These are considered to be prime evidence of someone's existence.
However, a common occurrence was the illegitimate child. From the reputed father HAD to be present at the registration to consent to his name being added. Illegitimacy may also be proved by a subsequent marriage of the parents but in such circumstances you cannot assume that this husband was in fact the father of the illegitimate child, unless there is some other known clue to confirm this. When a time is given, this may indicate a multiple birth, so look for another child born on the same day! When extracting the information from a birth certificate, pay special attention to the address as this will very often lead you to census returns, directories and poll books or the workhouse records.
This aspect will be discussed in greater detail elsewhere. Pay particular attention also to the registration and sub-district as this may give you additional clues enabling you to locate other family members. In , the format of the marriage register changed and significantly more information is recorded. Such registers remain unchanged to the present day. Ages on a marriage certificate can be inaccurate or at the very least suspect.
No exact age may be shown and it may simply be recorded that bride or groom was "of full age". This implies an age in excess of 21 years.
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That statement may have been false to avoid a minor having to obtain parental consent. Where an actual age is given, it is usually reasonably accurate but it may also have been altered for a variety of reasons.
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Be wary of an address which is the same for both parties. Marriages usually took place in the parish of the bride. This may be a good clue to two possibilities, that of illegitimacy or that the father was dead at the time of the marriage. In the latter case, the name was usually filled in and the word deceased written alongside it. The inclusion of the name of the father without the word deceased did not automatically mean that he was alive at the time of the marriage.
These carry the least information from a genealogical point of view but they are nevertheless important sources particularly with regard to genetic diseases and for the location of wills and other probate documents. They have undergone greater changes in format than the other certificates. From , the only information requested was date and place of death, name, age, sex, occupation, and cause of death.
From the middle of , the information shown includes additionally, date and place of birth, usual address and, if the deceased was a married woman, her maiden name. All of which is extremely useful to the family historian. Although up to , the onus of registering a death was placed on the registrar, the information was provided by an informant.
Later it was the responsibility of the next of kin or closest relative of the deceased to ensure the death was registered. You will find causes of death described in various ways, some often simplistically, e. Beware of inaccurate ages on death certificates. The Coroner is usually the informant in the case of a violent or unusual cause of death where an inquest took place. Such information will usually be quite revealing.
Besides the standard birth, marriage and death registration documents, there are additional sources also recording similar information. These relate to:.
Before , there was no legal system of adoption and as such, any agreements prior to that date were usually made within the extended family. When looking through the indexes, the entry will be recorded for the year of adoption, which will not necessarily be the year of birth. The certificate will also show details of the date and court in which the adoption order was made. After , the country of birth will also be shown where the child was born abroad.
Although the certificate will contain the name of the child being adopted, this may not be the same as the name with which the child was first registered. In many cases, it is possible to find the child in the ordinary birth indexes but, for many, it will be necessary to comply with the requirements of the various Adoption Acts to allow the child to obtain details of their original parentage.
Stillbirths have been registered in this country since 1 July The records are not available to the general public in the form of indexes and application to the Registrar General is needed for a certificate to be issued. Records exist of births and deaths at sea and in the air where such an event took place on a British registered craft.
Marine events have been registered since 1 July , but air events only since Births and deaths on British registered hover-crafts, oil rigs and other offshore installations are also recorded. They relate to events anywhere in the world. Indexes are available and certificates can be obtained. They relate to events both in this country and abroad. The Army registers commence in for marriages though are most comprehensive after Where a birth, marriage or death took place of a British Subject in a foreign country, it may have been recorded by the British Consul and certificates of such events are available.
Most returns commenced in July If similar events took place in Commonwealth countries then they are recorded in the British High Commission returns. Not all British High Commissions recorded marriages. The marriage may be recorded in any registration system operated by the country concerned. Civil Registration birth, marriage and death certificates are available primarily from three sources The reference numbers in the nationally available indexes relate only to requesting a certificate via the GRO.
They mean nothing to local register offices. You will need to find certain information to fill out an application form to obtain your certificate or contact the local register office with details to obtain a certificate via that source.
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A word of advice, unless you can quote the exact date and place of marriage to a local register office, you are unlikely to be able to obtain a marriage certificate from there. See below for information about obtaining information online. Access to indexes is now through online sites. Most provide access to the original index volumes which are no longer available in paper form. The indexes are arranged on a yearly basis and each year is divided into quarters until The quarters relate to the date of registration NOT the date of the event.
By law, a birth had to be registered within 42 days.
If, therefore, an event took place on 17th March, it may not have been registered until 15th April in that year. As such, the event will not appear in the March quarterly index but in the June quarter - see below.
As a death must recorded within the next 5 days, it is most likely to be included in the index volume for the quarter in which the event took place.