England and Wales Civil Registration Index

England and Wales Birth, Marriage, and Death Records, Civil Registration Index: 1837 - 1983

There are multiple ways to search the FreeBMD records.

  1. Search and browse images of the actual pages of the complete Birth, Marriage & Death Index at Ancestry.com. The index is completed for the years 1837 to 1915. In addition, the index is fully transcribed for the years 1916 to 2005 by Ancestry. The transcribed index is available with a free account; images are available for a fee.

    FreeBMD Index:
    • Birth
      Ancestry.com has made 134 million General Register Office (GRO) UK birth records index for England and Wales dating from 1837 to 2005 fully searchable by name, registration date and district. Previously, the GRO Birth Index was only indexed by a surname range. A search would produce a list of all pages on which the searched name might appear, but was referenced only by the forename and surname on those pages. Now, every name in the GRO Birth Index is individually searchable. You can use the information found in the index to request a copy of a birth certificate.

    • Marriage
      The Search returns a Name Range that may contain the name you have searched for. If the search name falls alphabetically between the first name and the last name on a page, that page is returned as a possible match. You may then view an image of the page (which are the documents that are used for the transcriptions.)to see if the name you are searching for is indeed on that page. Last name and Approximate Year required for the search.

    • Death
      Like the Marriage Search, the Death Search returns a Name Range that may contain your searched name. You may then view an image of the page. The death records search requires Last name and Approximate Year.

  2. Search and Browse the actual pages of the FreeBMD index at Ancestry.co.uk. The nearly 100 million records are before 1900 and have been transcribed by the FreeBMD volunteers. You cannot view the actual certificates online, but the index has full registration details making it easier to buy BMD certificates.

    • Search the Free BMD using Ancestry's fast and flexible search engine. There are many ways to search the Ancestry Free BMD database:
      • The default search is phonetic. To search for exact spelling, choose "advanced search", and click on the box marked "Match all terms exactly"
      • Use wildcards (the asterisk "*" and the question mark "?") in place of numbers or unknown letters in search queries.
      • Enter any combination of query terms. Last name and year NOT required. For example:
        • Record type and district, with no first or last name.
        • First name only, no last name, all record types (B, M, and D), county, and district
        • View other transcriptions and view others on the same page.
        • Search others with the same surname to make family connections.

  3. Search the partially completed Free BMD at Free BMD

    • FreeBMD will display up to 3000 hits. To get better search results, do not start with all the boxes filled in. Enter just a name, then narrow your search by entering a little bit more info at a time. Entering too much info at first may lead you to miss the entry because the data may not yet have been entered.
    • The default search is non-exact match on first names and exact match on surnames. Both of these can be changed.
    • Search results show:
      • Event
      • Quarter
      • Year
      • % Completed
      • Surname
      • Given Name
      • Registration District * - Click on this link to get a list of all event entries in that registration district on that page in the index. For marriages clicking on the page gives everyone on that page married in that registration district and this will give possibilities for the spouse
      • Volume
      • Page - Click on this link for a list of all event entries in that registration district on that page in the index.
      • Info icon - Click on this link for information about this entry, the transcriber, aplace to post a postem note so others with same ancestor can contact you.
      • Glasses Icon - Click on this link for information about the entry and a place to click to see the original image that was transcribed.

    Registration Districts

    Each registration district usually contains civil and ecclesiastical parishes

Order Certificates

The original GRO (General Register Office) indexes for the birth, marriages, and deaths are each divided into quarterly volumes with the names listed in alphabetical order. If you find an entry in the index, you can use it to order of copy of a death, marriage or birth certificate. Learn more.

The index itself includes year, record type, quarter, district (each county in England and Wales was divided up into registration districts), volume, and page number.

Now if you find a name on the Ancestry BMD, you can double check and cross check with the Free BMD images of the original GRO before ordering certificates from the registration details provided, since Free BMD does not guarantee that their transcriptions are error free.

The huge job of putting the names contained in the GRO index online and making it searchable has been available thanks to the volunteers of the FreeBMD organization. Free BMD has already indexed more than 313 million names between the years of 1837 and 1983.

RootsWeb no longer offers the FreeBMD on its servers.