The Register Offices in the county of Lancashire, England, hold the original records of births, marriages and deaths back to the start of civil registration in 1837.
The county's Family History Societies are collaborating with the local Registration Services to make the indexes to these records freely searchable via the Internet.
Although the indexes are not yet complete for all years and districts, it is hoped that in future all births, marriages and deaths post 1837 will be available to search online.
Lancashire BMD has been in continuous operation since 8 August 2002 and has over 6.5 million Births, 3.5 million Marriages and 3 million Deaths in the October 2010 database with new additions weekly as a result of the county wide transcriber teams efforts.
Coverage pages list the registration districts and events covered. (refer also to FAQs http://www.lancashirebmd.org.uk/faq.php
What information is contained in the indexes?
From the indexes, you can find out:
(a) The Name of the child, as shown in the registers. If the child's parents were unmarried, and both are named on the certificate, then the child should be indexed under both surnames. Some children had not been given forenames by the time of registration, and are simply recorded as 'Male' or 'Female'.
(b) The Year in which the birth was registered. Remember that the year relates to when the child was registered, and that a child born in December 1849 may not have been registered until January or February 1850, for example.
(c) The Sub-District where the birth was registered, which should be the same as where the child was born. There is a list showing the places within each Sub-District.
(d) The Register Office in Lancashire which now holds the records. There have been a large number of boundary changes between districts since the start of registration in 1837, and as a result many records have been moved around.
(e) The Registrar's Reference Number for the birth entry, which can be used to order the birth certificate. It is important to note that this is only applicable at the register office which holds the records, and is of no use anywhere else.
Please bear in mind that until recently the main purpose of these indexes was to supply certified copies of entries in registers. They were therefore written to help the registrar find an entry on information supplied by the applicant for the certificate. Consequently, they do not always provide information in an ideal form for family historians.