Births, Marriages, Deaths and DivorceBefore 1837
The civil registration of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales began on 1 July 1837. For records before this date you will need to rely on church records.
Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths for England and Wales
- Births, Marriages and Deaths are available on Ancestry.co.uk (1837-2005) and Findmypast.co.uk (1837-2006) [subscription web sites].
- Births, Marriages and Deaths are also available at FreeBMD (1837-1983, incomplete)
The Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths for England and Wales on microfiche for the years 2006-2010 is available at other major libraries and record offices across England and Wales.
Each district register office in England and Wales has its own indexes, which tend to be more accurate than the national indexes, and can be accessed for a fee. However, free access to large sections of the indexes is available via the free web sites LancashireBMD and CheshireBMD. Although the indexes are not yet complete for all years and registration districts, the databases will eventually cover Lancashire and Cheshire births, marriages and deaths for the years 1837 to the present day.
Once you have found the required entry from the index a copy of the original certificate can be purchased from the Manchester Register Office (for the City of Manchester), or from the appropriate district register office. However Manchester Register Office and the majority of district register offices will not supply marriage certificates if the church is not known.
Statutory registers of Birth, Marriage and Death for Scotland 1855-2006 can be viewed on-line at Scotland's People [pay per view web site].
We do not hold any divorce records, but Findmypast contains the index to Divorce and Matrimonial Causes 1858-1903. Free access to findmypast is available at any Manchester City Council library.
The National Archives have produced a good guide on Divorce records.