Did you know that the British civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths was recorded in duplicate? One copy was sent to the General Register Office (GRO) in London, and one was kept at the local registration district superintendent’s office. Projects are underway to index these valuable records at both the local and national levels.
The following websites provide indexes to civil records kept in the GRO:
- www.FreeBMD.org.uk. This project is creating one central index. It is mostly complete for the years 1837-1932.
Not all counties are currently involved in indexing their BMD records, but to see those that are indexed, visit this website:
Note: For Isle of Man, see http://www.manxbmd.com/
What’s the advantage of searching these county BMD indexes vs. the national index at FreeBMD.org.uk? Briefly, researchers may:
- Find a vital event entry listed in the county BMD indexes database when it cannot be located or found in the FreeBMD site (and vice versa).
- Usually find that the county BMD site has a single comprehensive index covering a larger range of years, i.e. 1837 to 2005.
- Find that a few county BMD indexes are more complete than the FreeBMD site.
- Some county BMD marriage indexes provide the specific parish in which the marriage took place, unlike the FreeBMD, which only indicates the registration district.
So, when you are searching for ancestors in Britain, remember to check both the county and the national BMD indexes.