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A Brief guide to Civil Registration
Civil Registration of birth, marriages and deaths
The civil registration of birth, marriage and deaths was first introduced in England and Wales on 1 July 1837. Prior to this date details of each birth, marriage and death were recorded locally in the Parish registers of the local church.
After 1 July 1837 for administration purposes the country was divided up into registration districts which were roughly based on the local area covered by one or more poor law unions. Each poor law district also contained a number of Church of England parishes which were grouped together for the relief of the poor.
The 1837 registration district boundaries were subject to change in later years as the population and city boundaries expanded.
The local registrar recorded all the births, marriages and deaths which took place within the boundaries of a particular registration district. At the end of each quarter the registrar was required to send duplicate copies of the registers they held to the Superintendent Registrar who then sent them to the Registrar Generals office, which was originally based at Somerset House in London and later moved to The General Registrars Office at Southport, Merseyside.
Once the birth, marriage and death registers were received by the Registrar General a national index was produced. Between 1837 and 1984 each year of the index was split into separate quarters of March, June September and December and the entries were then arranged alphabetically by surname.
The information contained in the index consisted of the year, quarter, surname, forename, registration district, the number of the register volume and the page where the register entry could be found.
The Master Civil registration index is only linked to the registers held by the Registrar Generals office and it is not connected in the same way to the registers held by the local Registrars Office who have their own systems. As the Registers held at the local registry offices are mostly unindexed and anyone making an application for certificates from the local register office may be required to give some additional family information to enable the correct entry to be found.
Thanks for that Alice, I must admit this is not a subject I personally follow, but this piece is very interesting.
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Alice, this and your other related posts are most welcome, I have just started to try and trace my mothers ancestors, I have all the info on my fathers side ,which was done by my younger brother Graham, for some unknown reason he never bothered with our mothers side.
These threads should be a big help, thanks.