FreeBMDFreeBMD Late Entries

What is a late entry?

Normally an event (Birth, Marriage or Death) will be registered soon after the event occurs and will be included in the index for the same quarter or the one following it.

However, if an event is registered later then it will be included in the register some time after the event occurred. In this case the quarter in which the event should have appeared is often annotated with a (hand written) entry (the late entry reference) that points to the quarter in which the event has been registered (the late entry). This is done by putting into the Page column text like

See D/39
which means that the event was registered in the December quarter of either 1839 or 1939 depending on the year of the entry.

Although late entries do occur for Marriages and Deaths, most of them (over 99%) are for Births.

An example of a late entry

An example will help to illustrate a late entry. In June 1909 we have
Late entry
which shows a hand written addition (at the bottom of the column) of
Smith John Liverpool 8B See M/31
which is a late entry reference which indicates that there is an entry in March 1931 which should have been recorded in this quarter and should appear as indicated by the insertion mark. Then in March 1931 we have
Late entry
where we see that there is an late entry
Smith John Liverpool 8b 154

How does FreeBMD assist?

By correlating together the reference to the late entry with the late entry itself FreeBMD provides important help you when searching for these entries. This enables information to be quickly retrieved and, in the case of the late entry, identifies the late entry which would otherwise not be evident unless the certificate was ordered.

Late entry references

So taking our previous example, the entry in the search results that corresponded to the late entry reference would look like this
Late entry reference

Since the page field contains the reference you could look at this quarter to find the entry. However, if you click on the button this is the information that will be displayed
Late entry reference information
and it will be seen that the information from the late entry is immediately available without having to perform another search. To see the whole entry (the Mother's name is not shown) just click on the entry.

Late entries

However, if you were search in March 1931 and came across this entry
Late entry destination
you would immediately be able to see that there was a reference to this entry because of the symbol. Clicking on the button would show this information:
Late entry destination information
which immediate shows you the correct date for the event. This is something you could not know without this advanced FreeBMD facility - unless you ordered the certificate only to find that the event did not occur in the year you were searching.

Late entry reference ambiguities

There are occasions where a late entry reference is ambiguous. While FreeBMD cannot resolve this ambiguity (because there is not enough information in the index) it does give you information to enable you to recognise the situation and help resolve it. Take, for example, the entry
Late entry multiple reference

If you click on the button for this entry you get:
Late entry multiple reference information
which clearly indicates that there are two possible entries that match this late entry reference.

Late entry ambiguities

The corresponding late entries are shown in the search results like this
Late entry multiple destinations

Clicking on the button for one of them would show you:
Late entry multiple destinations information

Note how the information provided by FreeBMD not only clearly indicates that there is an ambiguity but also gives you the alternative entry. It would be possible to overlook this ambiguity without the help of the advanced FreeBMD facilities, for example if the search were limited by the page number.

What are the problems with late entries?


It will be observed from the example that there is no indication in the March 1931 late entry
Smith John Liverpool 8b 154
that this entry should appear in June 1909. The presumption would be that the birth occurred in the first half of 1931 which is very misleading if you know the approximate age of the person you are looking for.

Legibility and Format

In the example given the reference is clear and follows a well understood format of the first letter of the quarter (M,J,S or D) followed by a slash, followed by the year. However, the references are sometimes very difficult to read and the clerks who did these annotations were not always consistent and numerous forms are found, such as


There can also be errors in the annotation; in the above example
Smith John Blackburn 8C See S/27
appears to be erroneous because the entry in September 1927 has the volume as 8e.


There can also be duplicate entries; there are actually two entries for
Smith John Blackburn 8e
with different page numbers, of course, but there is no way to tell which of them is being referred to from June 1909

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