FreeBMD transcribes the indexes of Births, Marriages and Deaths (which we call collectively events). Each entry in these indexes contains the name of the Registration District where the event was registered. Knowing this district is important for obtaining a copy of a certificate of the event - see here for information about ordering certificates.
It is important to understand that a Registration District is not the same as the town of the same name. Although the main register office is likely to be in the town with the name of the Registration District the area covered by the Registration District will be much larger than the town and may even cross county boundaries. Information on the current and historic districts for England and Wales, including dates of creation, changes and abolition, can be found on the UKBMD website. The GENUKI website contains gazetteers that may help you to find the Registration District for a particular location.
Spellings and abbreviations of the district names vary wildly throughout the indexes. For each district we have a name that we consider to be the official name. A list of these names can be found here, together with a link to other useful information about the districts.
For all other spelling variations we have a process of linking each spelling back to the official spelling. We classify these as alternate spellings or misspellings. The latter is used where we do not believe the spelling was intended or where it is not completely readable in our source for the index (but we have still managed to work out what district it refers to).
Having done a search, if you click on the district name you will find information about the type of district, that is whether the spelling is official, alternate or misspelt. You will also be told which county the district is in and be provided with a link to further information about that district.
There are three sets of information about districts
There is a special district we have created called illegible to which we assign those district spellings that we cannot satisfactorily link to a particular district. As a researcher you may be able to work out what the district is, for example is you have additional information about an entry.
We have extracted from the database a district to volume mapping, by year - it is here. Also, to save you the effort of looking for them, here is where there is a conflict between different entries.
Please note that these references involve a large amount of data which may take some while to download.
We have extracted the page ranges for each volume. Look here for an index by event type and year, or here for an index by District. Remember that these are generated from the data, and so have errors in them!
However, you need to take care with this facility since the counties do not necessarily contain the locations (e.g. towns) you think they might, in particular a location may be in the Registration District of a neighbouring county and therefore a search limited to a county may return results for locations in the neighbouring county. See the mapping of districts onto counties. This shows you not only which disticts are in which counties but also the dates between which they were in use.
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