Wednesday, 8 January 2014

English and Welsh civil registration indexes on FamilySearch

FamilySearch ( has placed three very oddly titled collections online for English and Welsh vital events. These are:

England and Wales, Birth Index, 1800–1920

England and Wales, Marriage Index, 1800–1920

England and Wales, Death Index 1800–1920

So what's the problem? Well, errr, the year ranges don't make much sense! The wiki pages entries for each collection notes the sources to be FindmyPast. (The wiki pages are accessible from each of the search screen links noted above.) However, there are absolutely no entries for the period from 1800 to mid-1837 included - and that is because these are in fact the civil registration indexes for births, marriage and deaths, which did not commence until mid-1837. The cut off date respected for each database is indeed 1920 - but why?

The birth records wiki page notes that the father's name is included in the search results - it isn't from what I can see. It's the name, registration district, year, quarter, volume and page number only - as in other online presentations of the same indexes, including FindmyPast. With the marriage indexes, the prospective spouse's name is helpfully returned, and with death indexes the age at death is also included.

It's great to see the English and Welsh civil indexes freely available, despite the somewhat arbitrary 1920 cut off point - but somebody needs to look at the collection titles again!

NB: Images from the BMD index registers are not available on the site, only the transcribed data.

UPDATE Fri 10th: The collections have been renamed to start at 1837. Ahem...!


My latest book, Discover Scottish Civil Registration Records, is now available from (print) and (ebook), whilst Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet is available at


  1. Alas - just been alerted to a major fail on this data. So far as I can see, many (i.e. probably all) the letters have been dropped from the volume numbers. So where FreeBMD has Volume 8b, the FS data just reads Volume 8. Given the district name, one can work out the correct volume - but why bother? Why not use FreeBMD?

  2. Thanks Adrian, I'm doing a talk in a few weeks time on civil registration down under, so will feed that tip in, VERY useful to know. I see they have now renamed the collections to start at 1837!