FreeBMDFreeBMD Ordering Certificates

If you have found a record in the index and want more information then your next step is normally to order the certificate. If you haven't yet found a record but just need to obtain a certificate you first need to search the FreeBMD database to find the record as explained here.

Below we explain what you will find on the certificate and where you can get it from.

For further information on related topics about Civil Registration click here

What can be found on a Certificate?

The Certificates may contain some or all of the following:

Births :

District, Date & Place of Birth,
Child's ForeNames & Surname, Child's Sex,
Father's Name, Fathers Place of Birth, Father's Occupation,
Mother's Name, Mother's Occupation, Mother's Place of Birth, Mother's Usual Address,
Informant's Name, Informants Qualification, Informant's Address, Informant's Signature,
Date of Registration,Registrar's Name & Signature,
Child's Revised Name (if any, after registration).

Marriages :

District, Church, Parish, Location,
Date of Marriage, Forename & Surnames, Ages,
Marital Conditions, Professions, Addresses,
Father's Forename & Surname, Father's Occupations, for both parties present.
Witness names, Priest/Vicar's Name,& Signature

Deaths :

District, Location, Date & Place of Death,
Forename & Surname, Sex, Maiden Name,
Date & Place of Birth, Occupation, Usual Address,
Informant's Forename & Surname,
Informant's Qualification, Informant's Address,
Cause of Death, Signature of Informant,
Registration Date, Registrar's Signature.

Some useful tips about the information on the certificates can be found here

Where can I get a certificate?

There are two ways you can get a certificate: You need to bear in mind, however, that there are errors in the orginal indexes and in the transcription of the indexes carried out by FreeBMD. Great care has been taken by FreeBMD to ensure that the transcription is as accurate as possible but it is inevitable that there will be errors and FreeBMD cannot be held responsible for the consequences of these errors. You should check any entry with a copy of the index before ordering certificates. If there is a Scan available next to the entry you can do this check by viewing the original scan from which the transcriptions was made; click on the Scan available to view the scan.

Obtaining a certificate from the GRO

For current information on fees and current ordering procedures click here .

It is best to provide the GRO reference (also sometimes referred to as the GRO index reference), that is the year, quarter, district, volume and page number given in the search result, since that gives the fastest service - see here for more information. However the GRO will attempt to provide the right certificate if you do not give this information - see here for more details.

You are advised to verify the reference given from a copy of the GRO Index before ordering a certificate. If an entry has the symbol Scan available next to it you can click on it to view the scan of the GRO index page from which the transcription was made in order to verify the reference.

If the page number looks like "M/67" this is a late entry reference and you need to find the page number of the actual entry for the GRO Reference which you can do using these instructions.

You should be aware that there are a number of web sites that offer to supply certificates, however what they do is get the certificate from the GRO for a premium over the GRO cost. Unless they offer some added value that you require there is no benefit in using such services.

Obtaining a certificate from a local Register Office

You need to find the Register Office that is relevant to the birth, marriage or death you are interested in. This can be found here where you can look up the registration district which then has a link (Registers now in...) to details of the local Register Office.

In order to obtain the actual certificate it is best to ring the office and find out what their process is for ordering certificates, as it does vary from office to office.

Note that the GRO reference, in particular the volume and page number, is not relevant to ordering from a local office. This can be seen as a benefit as it means that possible errors in the GRO reference do not impact getting a certificate, offsetting the extra effort in finding the right office.

A registrar in a local Register Office has advised "GRO will provide you with a photocopy of the actual entry but if you apply to the relevant register office in most cases you will receive a handwritten copy. This is useful if the original is difficult to read. The registration staff have had basic training in deciphering the writing and will also have access to many more records written by the same person and so can compare."

Getting a certificate conditionally

If you are not certain that you have found the correct entry in the index you can make an application to the GRO using their non-quoted service, i.e. by specifying that you do not have the GRO reference number (for an online application check No for "Is the GRO Index Reference Number known?"). This service is available online, by telephone or post and allows you to provide information that will be checked against the entry (for instance mother's forename). The certificate will only be issued if the details agree with the information you have provided, If the details do not agree you will be issued with a partial refund. This service takes a little longer (despatched within 15 working days) than the quoted reference service, i.e. specifying the GRO reference number (despatched within 4 working days). It may also be possible to arrange with the local Registration Service to issue a certificate conditionally - contact the Office concerned to check.

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