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Council Services:

Indexes of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales 1837-1983

Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began in England and Wales on 1st July 1837.

The Identity and Passport Service, Southport, is the central receiving office for all returns of births, marriages and deaths from local register offices and for returns of marriages from Church of England churches and other religious establishments (from 1899) licensed to perform marriages and keep their own current registers. The indexes of these copy registers are available to the public at the Family Records Centre and at many libraries and archives.

Indexes of births, marriages and deaths at Lincolnshire Archives

These microfiche indexes were kindly donated by the Lincolnshire Family History Society. The indexes available are the births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales 1837-1983.

The indexes are arranged by year and then by quarters within each year. Each quarter is arranged in sections alphabetically by surname and then by first name.

Events registered

1 January - 31 March = MARCH quarter
1 April - 30 June = JUNE quarter
1 July - 30 September = SEPTEMBER quarter
1 October - 31 December = DECEMBER quarter

Births have been registered some weeks after the event, so it is always worth checking the quarter following the expected date.  Names are not always given at registration.  Registration can be slightly haphazard until 1940, when registration provided the means to obtain a ration book for the child!

Deaths usually registered promptly as a death certificate is required before a certificate for disposal can be issued - the legal requirement being within 8 days from 1837 and 5 days from 1875. Unidentified bodies or suspicious deaths may not be recorded immediately under a specific identity.

Information given in the indexes


  • Surname of parent
  • Name(s) or sex of child
  • Maiden name of mother (from September 1911)
  • Registration District
  • Volume number) General Register Office Page number) reference


  • Name
  • Surname of spouse (from March 1912)
  • Registration District
  • Volume number) General Register Office    
  • Page number) reference


  • Name
  • Age at death (from June 1866 - but may not be accurate)
  • Date of Birth (from 1969)
  • Registration District
  • Volume number) General Register Office   
  • Page number) reference

General Register Office references

The registration district volume number can help to identify locations as they are coded by county. A list is displayed in the Search Room. The page number is unique to GRO records and does not relate to documents held at the archive or local registration services.

Information given on the certificates (England and Wales)

Births - Full certificate

  • Date and place of birth
  • Time of day for multiple births and sometimes for other children
  • Name of child (if given at registration)
  • Sex of child
  • Name of father and his occupation if married to the mother (or if he attended with the mother and signed the registration entry)
  • Forename of mother, her married name and her maiden name or previous name(s)
  • Date of registration
  • Name and address of informant and relationship to the child
  • Any name given at baptism and entered after being reported to the registrar
  • Birth places of both parents  (after 1969)
  • Previous surnames of mother  (after 1969)
  • If a date appears on the right hand side of the certificate, it may indicate that the child was later adopted.


  • Date and place of marriage
  • Whether by banns, licence or certificate
  • Current address, marital status and occupation of bride and groom
  • Names and ages of bride and groom (full age indicates that the person was over 21)
  • Names and occupations of their fathers
  • Names of witnesses


  • District and sub-district of registration
  • Date and place of death
  • Name and sex of deceased (name will be omitted in cases of unidentified bodies)
  • Given age
  • Occupation
  • Cause of death (these details can be a guide to nature and duration of contributing illnesses)
  • Confirming identity of person
  • Medical attendant’s name
  • Date and place of birth (from 1969)
  • Usual address
  • Maiden name if married or widowed woman (from 1969)
  • Date when registered
  • Name and address of informant

N.B. Giving extra information when ordering a specific certificate can prevent receiving items that do not relate to your family. Short birth certificates do not give the names of parents.

Research Services

Lincolnshire Archives offers an information search service. Staff will search through 12 quarters (3 years) of the indexes of births, marriages and deaths per application

Independent record agents advertise in genealogical magazines and through the Association of Genealogists and Record Agents (The Secretary, 29 Badgers Close, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 5RU; website:

Lincolnshire Family History Society have a list of paid searchers, contact Hon. Secretary Unit 6, 33 Monks Way, Lincoln LN2 5LN, website

Fuller sets of indexes are available at:

  • Birmingham Central Library
  • Bridgend Reference and Information Library
  • City of Westminster Archives Centre
  • Manchester City Library
  • Newcastle City Library
  • Plymouth Central Library
  • The British Library

These give details of:

  • Births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales since 1837
  • Legal adoptions in England and Wales since 1927
  • Births, marriages and deaths of some British citizens abroad since the late 18th century, including deaths in the two World Wars

How to obtain certificates

These indexes can be used to identify the details of the registration of an event within a registration district and a quarter of a year. The index reference given relates to the General Register Office, now part of the Identity and Passport Service, and is only necessary when applying to Southport (online, or by post, fax, telephone or e-mail).

Telephone:0300 123 1837

If you supply the certificate index reference, the certificate is sent within four working days. Without the reference, it will be sent within 15 working days.

A Priority Service is also available – please telephone the above number for details

Lincolnshire Registration Service

Certificate Applications

Lincolnshire Registration Service
PO Box 760

Telephone: 01522 782244

Other Local Registration Services

Addresses of registration services for other counties are available from Lincolnshire Archives, Lincolnshire Registration Service, libraries, local authorities, telephone directories and the Office for National Statistics website.

Notes on obtaining marriage certificates

Marriages performed in Church of England churches are recorded in 2 registers. When complete, one copy is sent to the Superintendent Registrar of the district and the other may be deposited officially at the relevant county record office. Marriages, which have taken place in other religious establishments, were recorded by the registrar up to 1899 (with the registrar being present at the ceremony).  After 1899, Methodist chapels were licensed to keep their own registers and when complete, they may be deposited at the relevant county record office or the appropriate Church Archives.

Lincolnshire Archives

Microfiche printouts (self-service in search room) or digital images/printouts to order from deposited marriage registers.

Local registrars without computerised indexes may only be able to supply copies of marriage certificates if the place of the marriage is given (church, chapel etc).

Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland

Send applications for certificates to:


The Registrar General
New Register House

Tel: 0131 334 0380

Northern Ireland

The Registrar General

Oxford House
49-55 Chichester Street

Tel: 028 90 252000

Republic of Ireland

The Registrar General
Joyce House
8-11 Lombard Street East
Dublin 2

Tel: (+353) 1 635 40 00

For further information please see the Lincolnshire Archive online catalogue which is included on the Lincs to the Past website at:


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Last updated: 18 February 2015

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