Civil registration

Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began in England and Wales on 1 July 1837 and is ongoing. There is no free access to the actual certificates of births, marriages and deaths and the only way that information from these can be obtained is by buying the relevant certificate.

However, there is an index to registrations of Births, Marriages and Deaths called the General Register Office (GRO) Index and Archives Heritage and Photography provides free access to this.

We hold microfiche of:

  • Births - 1 July 1837 to 2021
  • Marriages - 1 July 1837 to 2020
  • Deaths - 1 July 1837 to 2021
  • Overseas/Miscellaneous Indexes (various dates) including army returns (such as Army Births, Army Chaplain Births, Chaplains Marriages and Army Deaths), Deaths Abroad and war deaths during WW1 and WW2.

The indexes are alphabetical by surname and are arranged quarterly from 1837 to 1983 and annually from 1984 onwards.

The GRO index is also available online up to 2005 on several websites including and at up to 2005/2006. Both of these websites are subscription based. The free website has partial indexes which can be accessed without charge.

Ancestry Institution Edition is available free of charge in all Birmingham libraries. Other library authorities may also provide this facility.

Page last updated: 16 February 2024

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