The registration of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales started in 1837 and legal adoptions have been registered since 1927.
Each local register office holds records of every birth, marriage and death which has taken place within their district and can provide copies of entries, in the form of a certificate, on request. Alternatively, because we hold a central index at the GRO in Southport, you can also obtain copies of these entries from us.
We now offer the facility to order certificates online, this can be used to place orders using the GRO index reference and for certificates dating from 1900 up to 18 months before the present date where the exact details are known. See Ways to apply for a range of other options.
If the event for which you require a certificate has taken place in the last 18 months, you should contact the register office at which the details were recorded, or, in the case of a marriage, the register office, church or other religious building at which the details were recorded, as our central records may not have been updated. To find details of your local or other register office, visit the appropriate county council (or London or Metropolitan borough) website. Please put the town or postcode into the search box on the right hand side of this page to return a link to the website you need. Alternatively, addresses and phone numbers for local register offices can be found in the local area phone book.
For costs, see Certificate fees.
If you are looking for certificates as part of your family history research, please see Investigating your family tree for more hints and tips.
Please click on a link from the right hand side of the page for more detailed information.