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Finding Birth, Marriage, Death Certificates the World Over

  • Written by | 14 Comments14 Comments Comments
    Last Updated: August 4th, 2008

    Birth Certificate
    Depending on where you live in the world, it is still possible in most cases to order copies of the certificates that you’d like to use to help you in your genealogy. Among those which could be helpful are the birth, marriage, death and divorce (although these were less common) certificates that may be on file.

    Various countries began in their record keeping at different stages, however in some cases, even prior to formal registration you can find records of marriages with the church.

    United States

    In the United States, each state is responsible for keeping their own vital statistics and you will need to write to the individual state to receive them. To assist you there exists a full list of the states and where to write to obtain those records that you might find useful on the CDC site.

    Those individual states addresses are located here:


    England and Wales

    In England and Wales registration, or civil registration as it is called, began formally in about 1837, so seeking them through civil means is possible for any date post 1837.

    Wales and the UK have an online secure site where you can order your marriage, birth or death certificates, and you can find them using their GRO indexes. You can select certificates from the year 1900 up to 18 months prior to the current date if you know the details of what you are looking for.
    These can be ordered from the following site:


    If you are not able to find the correct name or referral in the GRO index, you can still attempt to access and order it by telephone. When you call, try to offer them as much information as you possible can. Information that will assist you greatly in the correct certificate will be the full name or names, the dates of the event you are seeking or as close to the date as you can get, and the town or area where that event, such as a birth or death took place.

    Find your ancestors at OneGreatFamily.com
    If you are not able to find what you need, there is a searchable online database that is completely free and run by volunteers, although it is not yet completed. That site is called the Free BMD and is located at:


    For birth, marriage or death certificates the national Library of Wales also has copies of those for both Wales and England.


    Formal registration of people’s live events began in Scotland in about 1855. That is to say that it was introduced at that time. In some cases there may be difficulty in finding what you want because although the civil courts mandated it, in some cases it took a few years before people saw the sense in the registering of births and marriages and began to comply.

    In Scotland, the birth, marriage and death certificates for that country are kept in the General Register Office of Scotland. These certificates can be ordered in person, by mail or by telephone order.
    To get your certificate that is under 100 years old you can get details on the cost of the certificates on the General Register Office for Scotland web site, which is located at:


    Some records such as historical births, marriages or deaths, indexes and images are also available on the internet if you seek them on the Scotlands People Website, which is located on its own site, separate from the GRO at:


    The Scotlands People web site is a joint venture between the GROS and the Scotland National Archives as well as the court of the Lord Lyon. It is a for pay site which features indexes and also digital images of births, marriages and deaths as well as some last will and testaments, and some Parish registers of baptisms and marriages.


    In Ireland you can find certificates of birth and death beginning from about 1864 and Protestant marriages beginning in about 1845, as well as all other marriages starting again, in 1864 for your ordering. These are held by the General Register Office of Northern Ireland, and you can find details of ordering them online, as well as costs for ordering by phone or mail on the website which is located at:


    India and former British holdings:

    Aden, Burma, China ,Macao and Whampoa, Kuwait, Pakistan, St Helena, Straits Settlements (Penang, Singapore, Malacca) and Sumatra

    Documentation of these countries birth, marriage and death certificates can be found if you use the Oriental and India Office Collections, which are housed at the British Library whose web site is located here:


    These documents can also be purchased in person, online, by telephone or by mail.

    Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes in the UK 1837-2004

    My Ancestry Guide - The Complete Guide to Uncovering Your Ancestry

    Related Articles:


  1. #1
    glyn evans
    January 3rd, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    im looking for my brothers death certificate who was born before myself around about 1945 nelson mid glamorgan south wales. he died when he was about 2 days old. my mother passed away many years ago my father pass away this week. and we want to find out the name of my brother no one seems to know. my father name is thomas evans and mother sarah jane evans. we think his name was john evans (unsure)please can you help.my father did live in abercynon south wales early day if this any help.

    please can you help

    glyn evans

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  2. #2
    January 3rd, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    HI Glyn. Thanks for stopping over. I do think we can likely help you. You have all of the necessary information to gather up your brothers info. Although your brother passed away before you, there will still be a record of his birth. I’m searching now in some online databases, but you may be able to find it better than we, since you are (?) still living in that area, is that correct?
    Failing a proper birth certification, the hospital where he was born will likely have the information that you want.
    Since we don’t have a name, really its a process of finding a child born to parents with the same name as yours, in the right time frame, in the right place, and at the right hospital, or home address, and playing match-up.
    Could you tell me where the baby was born, which part of wales and do you have any idea what time of the year, season wise?

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  3. #3
    January 3rd, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    One last comment. It is possible for you to order the birth and death certifications of people online if you know approximate dates of birth or death, as well as the parents names.
    That link is located here

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  4. #4
    March 13th, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    You can in fact order birth and death certificates from family members in most countries. For those you can’t order, I’ve found that even on the phone many countries will be very helpful in reading you the information that you want so you’ve at least got something to work from

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  5. #5
    Angela Wilbern
    July 30th, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Hi, I am having the worst time trying to connect ANY family on my fathers side. I have found through social security death index, that he died in May of 2000, in the Bahama’s?.
    I want to see a death cirtificate, and i would like to know who his mother was,I met her as a baby, but I have no name for her , or his father or syblings. Do I have syblings? I would love to find out what I can, the US search was a waste of money and I can only find his marriage/div to my mother , theres nothing listed on his parents, or other family. I know his ssi # was issued in Va, and I have that #, was he ever remarried? Why cant I find anything on him and do I have a right being his first born to see these at my request?

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  6. #6
    March 5th, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    I went to the website that you have listed under the United States to find Birth/Death Certificate in different states, but when I clicked on it, it took me to CDC – Page not found, and the site of the Center for Diseases Control. You might need to update the link. Thanks

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  7. #7
    March 11th, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I am looking for details of marriages in Burma in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. Can anyone recommend where to look?

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  8. #8
    May 8th, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    mail mine marriage certificate done on 18 DEC.2009

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  9. #9
    September 14th, 2011 at 10:33 am


    Where can i see 100 years before death,birth record can be viewed both tamilnadu,india and pondicherry,ndia

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  10. #10
    January 2nd, 2012 at 1:09 am

    I am in Australia and looking for information about my grandfather who was born in Malaysia (penang strait settlement in 1892) How do I go about obtaining a birth certificate? Also would his birth certificate show both parents birth dates and occupations?
    Any information would be greatly appreciated

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  11. #11
    January 12th, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I am a Indian resident born in kuwait 22.4.1969. I have the baptism certificate issued by the church in kuwait. Pls can you help me how to obtain birth certificate from kuwait

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  12. #12
    vivian tan
    March 3rd, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    hey ummm… i really want to find myself which is name;vivian tan(no middle name)birth;2001 may 17

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  13. #13
    May 28th, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Hello Elaine, we also have ancestors from Penang. If your family were members of a Church the easiest way is to visit the parish office and look through the old records.

    Advise you have an idea of the birth or marriages dates where possible.

    Our family Church was the Church of Immaculate Conception.

    Some records were destroyed but both baptism and marriage records tend to record the names of the parents which is very useful.

    We found my great grandfather’s baptism record from 1862. Advise you try and familiarise yourself with all sibling names too. This can help if you can’t find a certificate for our direct ancestor.

    The certificates are also in Latin so can be hard to read.

    In my experience, you do need to go into the office rather than email- I was previously told the records could not be found.

    All the best,


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  14. #14
    Bibiana Francis (nee Pereira)
    February 21st, 2017 at 12:04 am

    I am searching for any information about mu Great Great Grand Father

    Baxilio Pereira married Joanna Gomes

    Great Grand Father

    Donizion or Denizeus Pereira married Emily Thomazeus

    Grand Father

    George Donizion or Denizeus Pereira DOB 1/1/1879 married Lucretia Pereira (nee Varella) DOB 21/2/1888

    If you have any information on any of the above names, can you please email me the information.
    Anna Francis

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