Photograph of a family wedding group, 1892 (Catalogue reference: COPY 1/409)

This is a brief guide to help you with your research. Records of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales are kept in various places, but not usually at The National Archives. This guide will help you to find out where else you can look.

  • What do I need to know before I start?

Did you know?

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

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

Civil registration began on 1 July 1837 and no central records of births, marriages or deaths exist before that date. 

If you are tracing a birth, marriage or death before 1 July 1837, look for parish registersparish register - a register of baptisms, marriages, and burials kept by a local church in local archives.

As most non-conformists were obliged to marry in the Church of England between 1754 and 1837, it is possible to find records of their marriages in Church of England parish registers.