Civil Registration in Gloucestershire


Civil Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths in England and Wales began on July 1st 1837. Copies of certificates may be obtained from either the General Register Office (GRO), or from a Superintendent's Registrar's Office of the District at which the event was first registered. If the District no longer exists, this would be the Office to which its registers have been moved. Obtaining a certificate from a Superintendent Registrar's Office.

The original records of events, completed by the Registrar of the time, have always been retained by the District Registrar. In Gloucestershire, these records were held in several different locations within the county, and in the past an application would be made to the Superintendent Registrar at one of these locations to search the local indexes he or she holds to the registers, and produce a certificated copy from the original record of the event. However in recent years all registers have been moved to the Gloucestershire Archives in Alvin Street, and applications should now be made to that office.

The details required for such a request are name and surname, the event type (ie birth, marriage or death), and the year the event took place, and a search will be made of 5 years either side of that year, if an entry for that year isn't found. For more details of this service see Gloucestershire BMD Indexes online. This also provides details of a collaborative venture Gloucestershire Registration Service, Family History Societies, and independent volunteers to index all births, marriages and deaths in Gloucestershire from 1837 to the present, to provide an online searchable index, to obtain copies directly. The cost of a certificate obtained this way is £9.00.

Details of all districts to handle Gloucestershire registrations prior to centralisation may be found in Brett Langston's list of Gloucestershire Registration Districts (1837-1974). Obtaining a certifcate from the GRO

Certificates from the GRO are issued from copies of the original records; however there is considerable advantage in being able to search indexes to the whole country in one place, so many people prefer to do this, rather than risk a protracted search locally. The first step is to obtain a GRO reference to the event. You can then order certificates online via the Certificate Ordering Service of the General Register Office website. From 6th April 2010, the cost of a certificate obtained this way is £9.25.

You can obtain a GRO reference in several ways:

  • Searching microfilm or fiche at a Library or LDS Family History Centre.
  • FreeBMD is an ongoing project to make the General Register Office (GRO) Indexes freely available online. More volunteers are needed and details of how you can help are available on-site.
  • findmypast.co.uk (formerly 1837online) - images of the complete BMD indexes from the GRO online. Fee payable
  • The images are also available on Ancestry.co.uk for which a subscription provides access to a wide range of other records.

Obtaining a certificate for a recent event

The cost of a certificates issued at the time of registration of a current birth, death or marriage is £3.50 for each copy. After registration (for instance, the following day) the cost is £7.00, providing the register is still current (within 28 days of the last entry in the register) After a registration book is complete, 28 days later, the register is deposited with the Superintendent Registrar of the district. Until recentl, this was one of the district offices referred to above, but since 2006, there has been just one district for the whole of Gloucestershire, and the place to apply to is the Gloucestershire Register Office in Cheltenham. From that point onwards, certificates will cost the same as any 'old' certificate obtained locally - £9.00.