How to order an English or Welsh birth, marriage or death certificate

By Editor, 12 January 2016 - 12:30pm

Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths started in 1837 in England and Wales. They aren't online so you need to order certificates via the General Record Office (GRO) for £9.25 each

birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate

Birth, marriage and death certificates are the building blocks of genealogy

Birth, marriage and death certificates are an essential part of family history and anyone exploring their family's past will reach a point where they need to order one. Civil registration for England and Wales started in 1837 and you can order copies of certificates via the General Record Office (GRO) by following our six simple steps.

 

1. Search for free

FreeBMD.org.uk, search for free birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates

Go to FreeBMD.org.uk, click 'Search' and select birth, marriage or death. Fill in all the information you know already. Don't worry if you don't know where the event occurred, just leave it to search all areas.
 

2. Find the index entry

FreeBMD.org.uk order free BMD certificates

Hopefully, this will lead you to the correct entry in the quarterly indexes. Make a note of the year and the quarter the event took place (March means that the event was registered in the January to March quarter, June means it was registered between April and June etc), the district, and the volume and page numbers so you can order a certificate.
 

3. Visit the GRO website

gro.gov.uk order birth marriage death certificates online

Visit GRO.gov.uk, select 'Order certificates online' then 'Order a certificate now'. You will need to register and log in. When you get to the 'Certificate choice' page, select the certificate type you want. 
 

4. Type in the details

GRO birth marriage death certificates

For all events, you need to state whether you have the GRO Index Reference Number. If you found the event on FreeBMD, then select 'yes', type in the year and click 'Submit'. You will be taken to a page that will ask for the details you made a note of in step 2. 
 

5. Request a search

save money on birth marriage death certificates

If you found more than one possible option on FreeBMD, then select 'no' next to 'Is the GRO Index Reference Number known?'. Enter the year of the most likely option you found on FreeBMD and you will get a page where you can add more details, including names of family members. 
 

6. Order your certificate

order birth marriage death certificate GRO

The GRO will search events for the year you select and one year either side. It will only send you the certificate (and charge for it) if it matches your details (this can save you a lot of money in unwanted certificates). Choose 'standard delivery' and proceed to the payment.

Words: Sarah Williams

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