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English BDM images

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


William Report 8 Jul 2013 23:39

Hello all. I am located in Australia and am now researching my wife's family tree. For reasons of accuracy I do like to get copies of information contained in the records so I was wondering what is the most economical method of obtaining historical BDM information in English records. If I am reading the GRO site correctly it seems the only method to obtain such information as father's/ mother's name, place/date of birth/marriage/death etc is to purchase an actual BDM certificate for about £9.25 each. I would be grateful for any information as to whether there is a more economical method as I have quite a few I want to obtain.
Kind regards,


MarieCeleste Report 8 Jul 2013 23:45

Hello Bill, you won't get cheaper than that when it comes to copy certificates

Depending on who, when and where you're researching then you might hit lucky with parish records for baptisms, marriages and burials. Different sites hold different collections. It's always worth a look on FamilySearch too.

Another idea is to google to find out if there's an on-line parish clerk for the area you're researching.

If you want to give us an idea of timescale and location we can try to point you in the right direction.


William Report 9 Jul 2013 00:03

Thank you for the fast response Marie Celeste. I was hoping there may have been some type of uncertified image available at a cheaper price. After doing my Scottish side and obtaining a great number of births, death and marriage online images at low cost I guess I am a little spoiled. I guess I will just have to be a little more selective with the English one. I for the most part know the index details of what I want but I do like to attach a copy of their BDM registration to each ancestor.
Kind regards,


KathleenBell Report 9 Jul 2013 00:18

MarieCeleste is right - you won't get cheaper than ordering from the GRO. At least the £9.25p cost does include delivery costs, even to Australia.

There are some parish records on Findmypast website so it might be best to ask for a look-up on there if any of the marriage certificates you want are early ones as the details on the parish records for marriages is the same as on a certificate. Baptisms and burials won't always have the same information as a bireth or death certificate though.

It's a very expensive hobby in England and Wales - I often wish my ancestors were Scottish as I'm sure it wouldn't have cost be anywhere near as much.

Kath. x


Reggie Report 9 Jul 2013 09:20

Time-scale and location can make a difference

Some counties have their own BMD sites................access ukbmd to ascertain which

Those which do have their own sites include more info about marriage location than is on the GRO index


William Report 9 Jul 2013 10:37

Many thanks for the additional information and tips.


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 9 Jul 2013 10:51

Ancestry have a number of images for BMD. If you find a GRO reference, its always worth asking on here (or making a free search on Ancestry) to see iif there is a parish register image which someone with a sub can access,

Although as KathleenBell has said, baptisms and deaths on the PR don't have the same details as the full gro cert would have, some of the Catholic baptisms do state the mother's maiden name (sometimes in Latin)

eg Liverpool, England, Catholic Baptisms, 1802-1906
Name: James Kelly
Birth Date: 1 Feb 1838
Baptism Date: 11 Feb 1838
Parish: St Anthony's
Father's Name: James Kelly
Mother's Name: Margaret Coyle

If you found a marriage on one of the County websites where it gives the name of the church, I'm wondering, if you found out where the parish records were held, if the holders would copy and email the relevant entry to you for less than the GRO cost? It does vary from Archive to Archive so something they'd have to advise.

Some of the transcripts on Familysearch have a link to Findmypast for the image. If you come across one, then if GR doesn't hold it, someone with a FMP sub might be willing to get it for you.

Other general transcription sites are
Links from

The Medway area of Kent have books of PR on
It all boils down to your geographical area of interest!


William Report 9 Jul 2013 11:32

Mmm. This is not as easy as I was hoping.
are you saying a certificate from the local council registry office may contain more information then the central GRO. Do English certificates from this period contain each spouse's parents names?
I am looking for a marriage of one James Carruthers to a Mary Clough which took place in Durham (Lanchester?) 1898 Vol 10a page 533
Thanks for that information


Porkie_Pie Report 9 Jul 2013 11:49

Where a local registry office have a web site for searching BMD's then some often give more info such as Who married whom, The GRO index doesn't do that before sept 1911 where as SOME? local offices do

James Carruthers to a Mary Clough will be on the durham online site which does give spouse names before 1911$

Surname Forename(s) Year District
CARRUTHERS James 1898 DURHAM NORTHERN View results for James CARRUTHERS (including spouse details)

Number of records retrieved: 1





91% CARRUTHERS James 1898 Durham Northern
91% CLOUGH Mary 1898 Durham Northern

Also marriage locator web site lists where a marriage took place, although an on going projest so far from complete

For info on English BMD certificates see

NOT to be confused with the GRO index,......Its an INDEX and not a Certificate



+++DetEcTive+++ Report 9 Jul 2013 12:14

EDIT -most of the info below has been posted by Roy while researching, but I'll leave it anyway.

The certficate from the local registry office will hold the same information as that issued by the GRO. Errors in transcriptions do arise so the closer to the source, the more acurate it is likely to be.

This might help you understand what information is recorded on English BMD certificates

Only the father's names if known are recorded on marriage certificates.

Entry on the Durham site$

Details of your chosen Marriage certificate (including spouse) are as follows:

Surname Forename(s) Year District
91% CARRUTHERS James 1898 Durham Northern
91% CLOUGH Mary 1898 Durham Northern

(Durham Northern, as far as I can work out) is the modern version which includes Lanachester)

Their version of the certificate costs £12, meaning the GRO issued one is cheaper.

Can't find a Durham transcription site - perhaps some one else can.
This one might help pre 1837

Parishes in Lanchester


Thelma Report 9 Jul 2013 12:20

It is a fairly new innovation but researchers are putting images of certificates online.
I have had several from Ancestry public trees. I put a copy of my tree on there and images are available for FREE.
You may be aware that you can search/view Ancestry trees at Mundia.Com for free
Here is a birth cert,just log in.


Reggie Report 9 Jul 2013 14:01

No, I was not saying that certs have differing amounts of info..............I was saying that County indices often have additional info

No English/Welsh marriage cert has ever had the mother's info...........only the father's..............if known


mgnv Report 9 Jul 2013 22:46

As you now know, there are 2 places one can buy English BMD certs, the GRO and the local office that now holds the original regos.
The GRO index is at:
There are large gaps in the online local index coverage, see:
In this case, one can enter thru the latter portal into: and then click on Durham for your search.
Click on the postal application form link, and at foot of form is:

Register No. - Entry No. - District
DNRLAN38 - 22 - Durham Northern (1898)

Here's another - not yours:
Surname Forename(s) Year District
MILLER John 1898 Durham Northern
CLOUGH Mary A 1898 Durham Northern
Register No. - Entry No. - District
DNCA2 - 176 - Durham Northern (1898)

Durham issue no key (South Tyneside do and Newcastle usually translate the code for you), but my guess is:
DNCA=Durham Northern, St Andrews Stanley and
DNRLAN=Durham Northern, Lanchester registrar's own rego.

Until 1898, only C of E ministers (plus jews, quakers and C of W ministers in Wales) were trusted to keep official marr regos.
Unlike Scotland at that time, where I've seen marrs take place in the bride's family farmhouse, an English marr normally had to take place in a registered building (but many non-conformist churches fitted that), and the registrar had to attend so the couple could complete the marr by signing in his official rego, along with all the rego office marrs in there.
In 1898, non-conformist ministers were allowed to be authorized to maintain an official marr regos (but not RCs until the 1980s).
When full, these regos were sent to the local office to check their copy of the rego, and then it was deposited in some archive, usually the county records office.
A non-conformist minister could keep his own copy of the marr rego, and this would be deposited in some local archive by now.
[As a footnote to my earlier "there are 2 places one can buy English BMD certs", one can also buy a copy of a marr from the church minister, if the marr is in his current rego.]

The local records office might have allowed some of its records to appear online.
FS, FMP and Ancestry all have some OPRs (Old Parish Registers) online - usually from distinct LROs.
(FS works in conjunction with both FMP and Ancestry

I didn't see any births for Durham Northern online, so lets take this example:

Births Mar 1877
Clough Mary Newton Durham 10a 429

Surname: CLOUGH
Forename: Mary Newton
Year: 1877
District: Durham Central
Register No. - Entry No. - District
DCSO+60 - 66 - Durham Central (1877)

We can look Durham RD up at:

The key bit of info here is in the header:
Registration County : Durham.
Created : 1.7.1837 (originally "Durham & Lanchester").
Abolished : 1.7.1938 (to become part of Durham Central, Durham Western, and Durham Northern registration districts).
Sub-districts : Brandon, Durham, Lanchester, St. Nicholas, St. Oswald, Tanfield.
GRO volumes : XXIV (1837–51), 10a (1852–1938).
Registers currently held at : County of Durham.

We can now guess
DCSO= St. Oswald Sub-district
I don't know, but my guess is the S & W outskirts of the city of Durham, which is where the parish is. See:
[You can layer on the 1850 civil RD boundaries]

So the local index ref has 3 components
1) a church(M) or subdistrict(B/D) code
2) a register # within the previos category
3) either an entry # or a page # within the previous category.
Local indexes tend to use entry #s for marrs (so we know who wed whom), and page #s for B/Ds.
There are 500 entries in a rego, so 250(M) or 100(B/D) pages. [The local page boundaries don't necessarily align with the GRO pge boundaries - in the case of marrs, it's pretty much 50-50 after a couple of quarters, depending on whethere there were an odd or even # in all the previous quarters for that church.]

Scotland imaged the local copies of the regos, so you can see your ancestor's signnatures as informants on B/D certs, but usually not on m.certs, as these are usually from copies sent in by the minister.
In England, most local registrar's don't have imaging capability, so you usually get a modern copy (Birmingham's an exception).
If you order thru the GRO, you'll now get an image of their copy which was transcribed by the local registery office staff at the end of each quarter.

[several collections are unindexed, or only partly done]


William Report 9 Jul 2013 22:56

Thank you all for the explanations, they have been very helpful and you have made a lot of things much clearer. If I am now understanding the English registration system correctly then I will be facing problems identifying the correct people as I go back further . If, as Detective and Reggie have told me, when I obtain the marriage registration of James Carruthers and Mary Clough it will not record each spouses mother's maiden name. Likewise James and Mary's death registrations will not contain their parents names. So how can I be sure that in going back and seeking to obtain James' and Mary's birth certificates I have the right people. For example I know that Mary Clough was the daughter of George Clough and I should have her approximate birth year from the marriage registration. But without knowing the mother's maiden name how am I to know that I have the correct Mary, daughter of the correct George given that many extended families (cousins etc) used the same names.
Kind regards,


GlitterBaby Report 9 Jul 2013 23:09

Not been mentioned yet but might be worth a look

See if you can get a 14 day free trial on Ancestry, just to see what parish records are available, but you must remember to cancel it otherwise you will get charged.

Click ADD REPLY button - not this link!

Click ADD REPLY button - not this link! Report 10 Jul 2013 03:44


That's where the census information comes in handy. If you can find Mary's place of birth in 1901 and 1911, you can trace her back before she was married.



Susan Report 10 Jul 2013 06:20

Is this the family you are looking for William.

1911 England Census
about James Carruthers Name: James Carruthers
Age in 1911: 41
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1870
Relation to Head: Head
Gender: Male
Birth Place: Gateshead, Durham, England
Civil Parish: Elswick
County/Island: Northumberland
Country: England
Street Address: 163 Melson St, Newcastle
Marital Status: Married
Occupation: Wood Turner
Registration District: Newcastle upon Tyne
Registration District Number: 558
Sub-registration District: Elswick
ED, institution, or vessel: 27
Piece: 30605
Household Members: Name Age
James Carruthers 41
Mary Annie Carruthers 38 >>>>>bn Newcastle Northumberland
James Robert Carruthers 19
William Issac Carruthers 17
Ellen Carruthers 13
Louisa Carruthers 10
Edith Carruthers 7
Ethel Carruthers 5
Elsie Carruthers 1


Susan Report 10 Jul 2013 06:24

Or this one .

1911 England Census
about James Carruthers Name: James Carruthers
Age in 1911: 39
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1872
Relation to Head: Head
Gender: Male
Birth Place: Lambton, Durham, England
Civil Parish: Cramlington
County/Island: Northumberland
Country: England
Street Address: 35 Terrace Row Cramlington Northumberland
Marital Status: Married
Occupation: Coal Miner
Registration District: Tynemouth
Registration District Number: 559
Sub-registration District: Cramlington
ED, institution, or vessel: 4
Piece: 30841
Household Members: Name Age
James Carruthers 39
Mary Carruthers 42 >>>bn Wooler Northumberland
Hannah Carruthers 12
Ellenor E Corothers 10
William Corothers 8
George E Corothers 6
Annie Corothers 4


Susan Report 10 Jul 2013 06:35


Mary before marriage ,parents George and Ellenor,two of her children same names above Census.

1871 England Census
about Mary Clough Name: Mary Clough
Age: 3
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1868
Relation: Daughter
Father's Name: George Clough
Mother's Name: Eleanor Clough
Gender: Female
Where born: Ford, Northumberland, England
Civil Parish: Ford
Town: [Middle Flodden]
County/Island: Northumberland
Country: England
Registration District: Glendale
Sub-registration District: Ford
ED, institution, or vessel: 7
Household Schedule Number: 31
Piece: 5188
Folio: 6
Page Number: 6
Household Members: Name Age
George Clough 26
Eleanor Clough 28
Mary Clough 3
George Clough 1
Robert Clough 1
John Clough 1 Month


mgnv Report 10 Jul 2013 08:22

Repeating Susan's 6:24 post with more detail:

In England, you have to use the censuses a lot more to get circumstantial corroboration.
Hopefully, you can recognize the family on the 1911 census - maybe you recognize the addy, or the kids names.

Lets look at this h/h:
1911 England Census Transcription
Ecclesiastical District:
Registration District:TYNEMOUTH
Registration District Number:559
Registration Sub-District: Cramlington
SubDistrict Number:6
Enumeration District:4
Census Reference:RG14PN30841 RG78PN1762 RD559 SD6 ED4 SN327

JAMES CARRUTHERS 39 Lambton, Durham HEAD M Coal Miner Hewer
MARY CARRUTHERS 42 Wooler, Northumberland WIFE M
HANNAH CARRUTHERS 12 Lanchester, Durham DAUGHTER School
ELLENOR C CARRUTHERS 10 Anfield Plain, Durham DAUGHTER School
WILLIAM CARRUTHERS 8 Choppington, Northumberland SON
GEORGE C CARRUTHERS 6 Choppington, Northumberland SON
ANNIE CARRUTHERS 4 Cramlington, Northumberland DAUGHTER
[marr 13y; 6 live births; 5 still living]

Anfield Plain is 5km N of Lanchester; Scotland Gate is a neighbourhood in Choppington, 6km E of Morpeth; Cramlington is 7km S of Choppington; Wooler is 50km NNW of Morpeth and 25km S of Berwick-upon-Tweed; Lambton is 5km NE of Chester-le-Street.

Now lets look at FreeBMD:
Births Mar 1899
Carruthers Hannah Lanchester 10a 303

Births Sep 1900
Carruthers Eleanor Cleough Lanchester 10a 323

Births Dec 1902
CARRUTHERS William Morpeth 10b 449

Births Dec 1904
Carruthers George Clough Morpeth 10b 436

Births Dec 1906
Carruthers Annie Tynemouth 10b 348

Looking at the mid-names, I think this is your mob. With this as a starter, your should trace them back thru the earlier censuses.

FS has useful transcriptions for 1871 & 1881 - they're grouped into h/h's.
For 1861 in Co Durham, use:
It's complete, but for other years/places, check the "database coverage" link first.

You should check your local library to see if they have any online geneoligical access/subscription - my library (and 3 of the adjacent 4 suburbs) has an Ancestry sub, so I could get a free look there if i needed to.
Depending where exactly you live, check if you have any convenient access to an FS Family History Centre.
There's a search thingy at:
Offhand, I only recall 2 FHCs in Oz - Alice Springs NT & Mount Isa Qld - each is abt 1000 m to the nearest town, let alone another FHC.
I've not been to Alice, but Bill Bryson got it just right re Mt Isa - you've spent the whole day driving across the desert, and you're so pleased to get to Mt Isa, but after you've stopped for a couple of hrs and had a tinny, you wonder why you were so pleased.

PS 1911 image pm'ed to Wm