Reference Centre, Genealogy 101

Answers to Genealogy FAQs - Wales BMD Certificates

All civil registration certificates for birth, marriage and death events registered in Wales, as well as in England - birth, marriage and death events registered as of 1 July 1837 and after - can be obtained from the Home Office, Identity and Passport Service, General Register Office at Kew, Surrey, England.

You can order the certificate on-line.  Full details and blank application forms can be found on their website at:

the General Register Office

You can also order birth, marriage and death certificates by telephone from the General Register Office or you can contact the local register office where the event took place. To contact the General Register Office, call +44 (0) 845 603 7788, Monday to Friday 8.00 am - 8.00 pm, or Saturday 9.00 am - 4.00 pm.

If you wish to write, enclosing payment for a certificate, please write to:

Contact Centre,
GRO,
PO Box 2,
Southport,
Merseyside
United Kingdom
PR8 2JD

A certificate may also be requested from some local registrar's offices.  Costs of certificates are now about £10.00 or more, which are slightly more expensive than those purchased from the national office at Kew. Check with the local registrar's office for up-to-date pricing on certificates before you order.  This link will take you to an interactive map on the DirectGov.uk website where you can search of a local register office.  Birth and death certificates ordered from a local registrar's office generally pose no problems other than having to know the approximate date of the event.  Some offices will conduct a more extensive search for higher fees but many of the larger offices have been known to refuse extensive search requests.  Obtaining a marriage certificate through a local register office is quite different, however.  Due to the manner in which the marriages were recorded, one has to know the name of the church where the marriage took place in addition to the approximate date.

If you opt to order your certificate through the office at Kew you should first search the General Register Office index of births, marriages or deaths to obtain the full particulars of the registration.  The full particulars will include the full name under which he or she was registered, the registration district, a volume number and a page number.  If you are using the index on microfilm or microfiche you will also have to remember to include the year as well as the quarter of the year during which the event was registered. Once you have the particulars of the event you will then be able to request your certificate for the lower price of £9.25 per certificate.

Microfilm and microfiche editions of the G.R.O. index can be rented at a Family History Center from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Some Family History Centers may have the index which you require already amongst their indefinite collection.  For example, the St. Catharines, Hamilton and Brantford Family History Centres have some or all of the index available on-site.

Alternatively, you may wish to try a search for the registration on the FreeBMD website.  Although the FreeBMD index is not,as yet, 100% transcribed for all events as of 14 May 2015 the database contains 246,665,112 distinct entries with 314,117,056 total entries, allowing for duplications.  The FreeBMD site will provide you with the particulars from the G.R.O. index that you will require in order to purchase the lower cost certificate from the General Register Office.

Copies of the indexes can no longer be purchased from the G.R.O. but a complete set, including Births, Deaths and Marriages from 1837 - 2007, Overseas from 1761 - 2007, Civil Partnerships from 2005 - 2007, Adoptions from 1927 - 2007, and the provisional indexes for Births and Deaths for 2008, is available at:

  • National Archives at Kew

  • Greater Manchester County Record Office

  • Birmingham Central Library

  • Bridgend Reference and Information Library

  • Plymouth Central Library

  • City of Westminster Archives Centre

These locations get updates for you to view in person. This is expected to continue until free, online access can be provided.

To view the similarly full indexes online you can visit one of the websites listed below. However, none of these sites are free to use. The extent of free search results also varies from site to site. To view either an image of the microfiche index page or for a transcript from such a page, generally speaking, each of these sites does charge a fee.


Some indexes, although possibly not complete to 2015, are also available at other locations including libraries throughout England and Wales, family history societies, and local record offices. For the latest information available in your area please go to the link below, which will take you to an archived PDF file on the DirectGov.uk website:

Holders of the G.R.O. Indexes

The General Register Office makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and legibility of its index information, but does not guarantee it in all cases - some entries are taken from archive material and the quality of reproduction varies. If you experience difficulty in deciphering an entry in one of the indices you can send a email to:

unclearfiche@ips.gsi.gov.uk

You will have to type or copy the above address into your email program in order to use it.

The G.R.O. states that it will contact you within one working day of receipt of your request. It will check the information available in its' copy of the indexes, but cannot make any other comment as to the correctness of that particular entry for your research. In other words, you will have to purchase the certificate in order to view the information on that document.

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