Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales began in July 1837. This was the first time births and deaths were recorded systematically though baptisms, marriages and burials had been recorded in church registers since 1538.
Records of birth, marriage and death provide names of relatives and other details that are vital for family historians, for example
The purchase of certificates is necessary because registers of births, marriages1 and deaths are held by Registration services and are not available for public consultation.
To get a birth or death certificate you need to provide the following essential details:
Use the free online index covering all births, marriages and deaths which took place throughout England and Wales between 1837 and the 1940s (later events are still being added). The index will tell you the registration district and also narrow down the date to a quarter of the year.
To get a marriage certificate you need to provide the following essential details
Use the free online index covering all births, marriages and deaths which took place throughout England and Wales between 1837 and the 1940s (later events are still being added). The index gives the registration district, but not exactly where the marriage took place. However, you can still obtain a certificate from the General Register Office by quoting the name(s), quarter, year, registration district, and volume and page reference from the index.
Churches also keep copies of marriage registers (and also registers of baptisms and burials) which are deposited in local record offices and are available for public consultation, e.g. Parish registers at Hampshire Archives and Local Studies.
If you know the church and other essential details, you can order a copy of a marriage entry using our copy order form , or else visit us and consult the relevant registers. NB: if you only know the registration district there may be many parish registers to consult (Winchester district covers more than 30 parishes) or the marriage may have taken place in a non-conformist church or the register office.