What is on the certificate ?

Not only did the new civil registration system provide a standard template for recording the birth, death or marriage, it also meant that more information was routinely recorded and not left to the whim of the minister.   From the genealogist's point of view, this made the information on the certificates of considerable value.

For births, along with the actual birth date and place, registration included

    •    the child's name or, occasionally, just their sex
    •    the names of both parents (where the father was known)
    •    the mother's maiden name
    •    the father's occupation
    •    the name of the informant and relationship to the child
    •    from 1969, the place of birth of both parents

For deaths, registration included

    •    name, sex, age and occupation of the person who died.  Sometimes, for women, it was their husband's occupation.
    •    when and where they died
    •    who reported the death – which can include their relationship, if any, to the person who died
    •    cause(s) of death.  If the registration certificate includes the word “certified” or sometimes “post-mortem” or “PM”, then the cause was determined by a doctor or a coroner.  In the early years of civil registration, the cause of death didn't have to be determined by a doctor, mainly because doctors were expensive and many people couldn't afford them.
    •    From 1984, date of birth is also included, which can help fill in gaps in a family history or can be used to confirm that you have the correct person.

For marriages, it included

    •    when and where the marriage took place
    •    names, occupation, addresses and marital status (bachelor, spinster, widow etc) of the bride and groom
    •    ages of the bride and groom.  This was sometimes just written as 'minor' (under 21) or 'full age' (21 or over).
    •    names and occupations of the bride and groom's fathers.
    •    Names of the witnesses

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