How to find out Where to go for birth, marriage and death certificates

Why use this guide?

Use this guide to find out where you can order birth, marriage or death certificates of British citizens in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Birth, marriage and death certificates are not kept at The National Archives and cannot be viewed or ordered here.

For other records relating to births, marriages and deaths read our research guidance.

Essential information

This guide only covers births, marriages and deaths that happened since the beginning of civil registration.

Civil registration began at different times in different parts of the United Kingdom, as follows:

  • England and Wales – civil registration began in 1837
  • Scotland – civil registration began in 1855
  • Northern Ireland – civil registration began in 1864

England and Wales 1837 to present

You can order certificates either from the General Register Office or from the relevant local register office.

The General Register Office keeps all certificates of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales since 1837.

Scotland 1855 to present

You can order an official extract from the statutory registers held by the Registrar General for Scotland.

The Registrar General for Scotland keeps all statutory registers of births, marriages and deaths in Scotland since 1855.

Northern Ireland 1864 to present

You can order certificates from the General Register Office for Northern Ireland.

The General Register Office for Northern Ireland keeps all certificates of births, marriages and deaths in Northern Ireland since 1864, and all certificates of non-Roman Catholic marriages in Northern Ireland since 1845.

Births, marriages and deaths before civil registration

Before civil registration, births, marriages and deaths were recorded in local parish registers. For more details see our guides to birth, marriage and death records in England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland or the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.