Genealogy Chat

Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

Welcome to the Genes Reunited community boards!

  • The Genes Reunited community is made up of millions of people with similar interests. Discover your family history and make life long friends along the way.
  • You will find a close knit but welcoming group of keen genealogists all prepared to offer advice and help to new members.
  • And it's not all serious business. The boards are often a place to relax and be entertained by all kinds of subjects.
  • The Genes community will go out of their way to help you, so don’t be shy about asking for help.

Quick Search

Single word search

Electoral Rolls

Looking for living relatives?

Search our UK Electoral Rolls (2002-2013) and find your living relatives today.

Search Electoral Rolls

New electoral roll records


  • New posts
  • No new posts
  • Thread closed
  • Stickied, new posts
  • Stickied, no new posts

Best websites for English relatives??

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Tina Report 19 Nov 2013 14:26

HI there,

I have been tracing my scottish side of my family for a couple of years and found the scotlands people site a godsend as it has nearly everthing there, Births, Marriage, deaths and such where you can pay to veiw the certificates.

Iam now starting on my mums side who are based around the Kent area and i dont know what site is best to get the most from, so any help from anyone on here would be very much appreciated in pushing me in the right direction.

Thank you for your time in reading this thread.



Diana Report 19 Nov 2013 15:27

Hi Tina

I live in Scotland and have been tracing my Scottish relatives. However, my grandmother's family hail from Kent and I've been researching there too.

You could try Centre for Kentish Studies, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1XQ - Tel: 01622 694371.

You could also try the archives at Canterbury.

I went to Canterbury and Maidstone to research personally, which is the best option. However, depending on where you live that may not be an option.

Good luck with your research.



Tina Report 19 Nov 2013 15:32

HI Diana,

That is so strange, as iam only 20 miles from canterbury, so i will try there first.

I have also visited the scotlands people centre in edinburgh which i found very interesting.

Thank you for helping me out.


Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 19 Nov 2013 15:54

Depending on the years you can look on FreeBMD for Births ,marriages and deaths


Tina Report 19 Nov 2013 15:57

HI shirley,

Thank you, i may try that first before i go searching for certificates and such.

Can you view the certificates online?? and order them when you know you have the right person?

Thanks for taking the time to help.



Penny Report 19 Nov 2013 16:31

nope, that's the advantage of scots rellies

English ones you have to buy ( almost £10 a go)

start with what you know and ask for help- people with ancestry subs will poke around and try and help you


Tina Report 19 Nov 2013 16:40

HI penny,


Yes i did think, my English side was going to be more work and money compared to my scottish side. ( the scotlands people site is so good with everything there to get you going with BMD - then adding on the interseting bits, with books and websites for what you need.)



Penny Report 19 Nov 2013 16:58

what info do you have to start you off?


Reggie Report 19 Nov 2013 17:06

Some older certs can be viewed on line.....but you have to subscribe to Ancestry to see them. And they don't include Kent, in any case

Probably cheaper to buy certs.....£9.25 each if ordered on line from the GRO

Use freebmd to get basic info..................

Chris Ho :)

Chris Ho :) Report 19 Nov 2013 18:10

(above can be useful)

(above, Find My Past)

Chris :)


Tina Report 19 Nov 2013 19:23


I have my mums, parents and siblings and mums grandparents on her dads side and thats where i stop ( at the moment)


Thank you thats interesting to know ancestry doesnt include kent!!, im just going to get on freeBMD in a mo


Thank you for the links, i will try them out.

Thank you to all who have responded to my questions.

Kind Regards Tina


mgnv Report 19 Nov 2013 22:54

The historic county of Kent lost some NE parts to London when the county of London was created in (I think) 1891.
Nowadays, it's also lost the Medway towns.
For their parish regos and other records, these now are held by the MLA (and echoed on Ancestry to some extent) and the Medway Ark:
[Check your local library - they might have a sub to Ancestry]

BMDs is the most useful resource. They aim to transcribe all the printed GRO indexes (i.e., thru 1983).
They have essentially completed thru the 1930s - the 1960s are half completed, and nothing is completed from 1970q1 on.
The incomplete 1940s & 1950s are:

Births Jun 1940 (85%) **************
Births Sep 1940 (0%) **************
Births Sep 1943 (71%) **************
Births Dec 1943 (1%) **************
Births Sep 1958 (71%) **************
Births Dec 1958 (0%) **************
Marriages Sep 1952 (63%) *******************
Marriages Dec 1952 (0%) *******************
[the % figure is the %-age completed]

There are only 2(*) places to buy an official BMD.cert - the local office that holds the original B & D (& some M) regos, or the GRO that holds the backup copies.
Most folk find the GRO more convenient - the price is 9.25 GBP and one can order online via:
[Postage is included for their mailing of the paper cert]
(*)Actually, one can also order M.certs from the church, too, if the marr's in their current rego.

One can also get companies like Ancestry to place the order for you, but it will more than double the cost to you.
One can do a free search at Ancestry, and click on the shopping basket to see the details of your potential order.
This is handy for the more recent regos that FreeBMD haven't covered yet - however, you won't see the mum's MS on births, nor the age on deaths (dob from 1969q2 on), (nor the spouse's surname on marrs, but you can get round this by playing around on the search).
These 3 items first appeared in the GRO index in 1911q3, 1866q1, 1912q1
From the order form, I know the date, so I can see the printed image via the klunky view link on FreeBMD's homepage - if it's transcribed, the spectacles are a much more convenient link to the image.

As I mentioned, one can also buy BMD.certs from the local office that now holds the original B/D. rego (and some M regos), and some local indexes are online - see
These are organized differently from the GRO, so need a difft ref.

Here's 3 FreeBMD look ups, and the matching local lookup via

Births Sep 1837 (>99%)
Smith Ann Maidstone 5 197

Deaths Dec 1837 (>99%)
Smith Ann East Ashford 5 5

Marriages Dec 1837 (>99%)
SMITH Ann Dartford 5 157

Now, one can click on therego district link, then the more info "here" link, to see a list of villages, etc in the RD.
In particular, one also sees:

Registration County : Kent.
Created : 1.7.1837.
Abolished : 1.4.2003 (to become part of Kent registration district).
Sub-districts : Cranbrook, Hollingbourne, East Maidstone, Loose, Maidstone, Malling, Marden, West Maidstone, Yalding.
GRO volumes : V (1837–51), 2a (1852–1946), 5B (1946–65), 5F (1965–74), 16 (1974–92).
Registers currently held at : Kent.

Registration County : Kent.
Created : 1.7.1837.
Abolished : 1.4.1941 (incorporated into Ashford and Folkestone registration districts).
Sub-districts : Aldington, Brabourne, Wye.
GRO volumes : V (1837–51), 2a (1852–1941).
Registers now held by : Kent.

Now here's the local lookups:

Birth Certificate Details
Name SMITH, Ann
Year Of Birth 1837
Entry Number 8
Register EM1
Location Kent County Council

Death Certificate Details
Name SMITH, Ann
Year Of Death 1837
Entry Number 19
Register EABRA1
Location Kent County Council

Marriage Certificate Details
Name SMITH, Ann
Year Of Marriage 1837
Entry Number 5
Register C44/1

One one rego's a B or D, one normally goes to the local subdistrict office, rather than treking all the way to the main district office, the the ref must identify this subdistrict in some way.
Here, they don't make it explicit, but one can guess EM=East Maidstone and EABRA=Brabourne.
Similarly, C44 identifies some church in Dartford RD, but there's no key provided.
(Pre-1898, only the CofE (CofW in Wales), plus Jews, Quakers, the the Registrar's were authorized to keep official marr rego's.
I've noticed Jews often have the prefix J or S, and Quakers often have Q or F - the Registrar often has REG or RO as their prefix.
If one had a non-conformist marr, the registrar would need to attend so one could complete the ceremony by signing his official rego, mixed in with all the rego office marrs.
Most non-conformists were authorized to keep official rego's in 1898 - the authorization process might take a couple of years - but RC's weren't trusted ubtil the 1980s (I think).)

Regarding local refs - some sites one has to look at the application forms to see the local ref, e.g., Newcastle:
1848 SMITH Ann
1848 O'NEIL Arthur
Marriage venue - Church unknown
Register No./Entry No.

Some sites, it's made explicit, e.g., LancsBMD:
Lancashire Marriage indexes for the years: 1841
Surname Forename(s) Surname Forename(s) Church / Register Office Registers At Reference
SMITH Ann BIRCHALL John Wigan, Register Office or Registrar Attended Wigan & Leigh ROW/2/12

Some sites show the mum's MS pre 1911q3, and the age of death pre-1866q1, but not here, it seems.

On FreeBMD, one can click on the page # link to see the other names indexed to that page
One would normally want to do this for marrs, as the spouse should be there.
One might want to do this for births also - suppose it were a Scottish name, not Smith, and I saw:

Births Sep 1837 (>99%)
Rennie Ann Maidstone 5 197
Rennie Christian Maidstone 5 197
I would strongly suspect I was looking at twins.

Abt 1875, the father's name starts appearing on b.certs of unwed parents (with the written consent of both parents). Ann's not really distinctive enough, but if I saw:

Births Sep 1877 (>99%)
Smith Francis Xavier Maidstone 5 197
Turner Francis Xavier Maidstone 5 197
then I would guess I was looking at such a case.

Anyways, back to the marrs:
Marriages Dec 1837 (>99%)
BOOKER Mary Dartford 5 157
BROWN David Dartford 5 157
COLE James Dartford 5 157
HIDER Ann Dartford 5 157
Inward David Dartford 5 157
Martin James Dartford 5 157
PRIME Ann Dartford 5 157
SMITH Ann Dartford 5 157

Now here Kent don't provide a short-cut, so I look up Ann's potential spouses:

Name BROWN, David
Year Of Marriage 1837
Entry Number 6
Register C44/1

Name COLE, James
Year Of Marriage 1837
Entry Number 4
Register C44/1

Name INWARD, David
Year Of Marriage 1837
Entry Number 5
Register C44/1

Name MARTIN, James
Year Of Marriage 1837
Entry Number 7
Register C44/1

And note that David INWARD has the same entry # as Ann, so must be her spouse.


mgnv Report 19 Nov 2013 22:54

The GRO indexes events by quarter of registration, not necessarily the quarter the event occurred in.
This is most obvious with births, where England/Wales has twice as long (6w) to rego a birth.
Some local indexes index by year of event, which can differ from the GRO index - I don't know what Kent does.
There are some differences with Scotland. SP imaged the local regos, so for Bs & Ds, one sees the informants actual signature.
Most local offices don't have the digitizing capability, so even if one orders thru the local office, one usually gets a freshly copied out cert.

Completed church regos would be sent to the superintendent to check against his copy, and he would then deposit the church rego in some archive, usually the county records office.
Some of these have images online (including Kent) - see:®ion=UNITED_KINGDOM_IRELAND
As of today, these are unindexed, so one has to "browse the images".
Here, it would really help to know what church C44 was if I were looking for Ann Smith.
I would maybe ask the Kent registrar if he could send me a xerox of his key to the codes, or put it online.
Also, note I know the entry # (=5) and the registrar# (=1) - some years a rego will change, so if the entry's near 500, it's the old rego, and if it's near 1, it's the new rego.
Knowing how many entries are on a typical image will let me calculate an image # to check out.

NB - The Bishop's Transcripts are the church's own back-up copy of the old parish regos - they should be identical, but sometimes fix (occasionally create) muddles.

One final bit of geography - in England, I replace
with Lewis

Suppose I wanted to know which RD Dymchurch, say, was in. A lookup in Lewis gets:
DYMCHURCH (St. Peter and St. Paul), a parish, in the union and liberty of Romney-Marsh, locally in the hundred of Worth, lathe of Shepway, E. division of Kent, 5 miles (S. W.) from Hythe; containing 613 inhabitants...

Now the 1837 RDs were based on the existing poor-law unions (Romney Marsh here). We know things were redistricted, so it's now in Kent RD, but one can look up the death of a John in 1837 Romney Marsh, and start tracking thru FreeBMD's RD blurbs.


Porkie_Pie Report 19 Nov 2013 23:02

A useful site for understanding the info on BMD certs in England and Wales



mgnv Report 19 Nov 2013 23:04

I forgot to say I could see all the parishes in 1851 Kent - go to:
Click on Kent, list the parishes, click on Dartford (or Dymchurch or whatever), then at top of list, use the layers tab to layer on civil registration districts.


jax Report 19 Nov 2013 23:19

Ancestry does include just doesn't have marriage certs from the parish register to view online

I think this is the list

? London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921? Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish 7,549,376
? West Yorkshire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935? Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish 2,525,369
? Birmingham, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1937? Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish 828,910
? Manchester, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930? Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish 1,437,698
? Liverpool, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1921 Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish 660,517
? Warwickshire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1910 Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish 576,830
? Surrey, England, Marriages, 1754-1937 Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish 543,595
? Lancashire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1936 Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish 640,534
? Dorset, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1921 Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish 401,567
? Manchester, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930 (Cathedral)? Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish 409,330
? Ireland, Catholic Parish Marriages and Banns, 1742-1884 Birth, Marriage & Death, including Parish 128,618


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 20 Nov 2013 10:53 are transcribing the images from Medwaycity Ark as mentioned above. It is a work in progress.

Freereg is a useful finding tool before delving into the Medway images
Coverage & progress can be found here

There are also non-conformist PR on

Although you can make a free search you do have to purchase credits to view the transcription or image. Check with Familysearch as well who may have more details. However, the image usually has more info than FS has transcribed
Many people who lived in and around Sheppey and the brick-fields of Sittingbourne/Faversham were Methodists or the such like


Tina Report 20 Nov 2013 20:27


Thank you for taking the time to give me all the info above, it is very much appreiciated.


Thank you for the link, im sure it will be useful.


Thank you for taking the time with the info above.


Thank you also for your info and advise.

Iam sure that for my English side of my family it will take a lot more work than what i had to do with my Scottish side, as that was practically all on one site ( viewing and printing BMD all under one roof)

But iam looking forward to tackling this side and i am sure i will be on here for more advise in the future.

Thank you all once again



+++DetEcTive+++ Report 20 Nov 2013 23:50

No problem :-)

You've mentioned that you live near Canterbury.

Before going there to look at relevant/parish records, it's best to check that they actually hold the ones you want. Kent isn't neatly divided into Diocese. Most of it is the Diocese of Rochester, with little enclaves dotted around the place in, but quite a distance from, Canterbury.

Surprisingly, some of the Parishes have still held onto their completed historical volumes although your ought to be able to find The Bishops Transcripts (assuming they have survived) in one of the Archives.
(Bishops Transcripts are copies of the original PR transcribed at the time and sent off to the relevant Diocese)

There are quite a few of us with interest in Kentish Research. If you get stuck start a new thread and everyone will chip in to help.