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Wiltshire Community History

Registration Districts Introduction

The civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began on 1st July 1837 in England and Wales. A Registrar General was appointed in London, and England and Wales were divided into administrative districts with central register offices staffed by registrars. Over the years many districts have been abolished or amalgamated. Listed are the current registration district and any earlier one(s) for each community. Any register office will supply a copy of a birth, marriage or death certificate on payment of a fee if you can provide the name of the person and the year of the event. There is an index of all registrations held at the Family Records Centre in London and many local studies libraries, record offices and other institutions have a microfiche copy of this index. The index is in chronological order and you will need to search each year for your ancestor.

In the early days not all births, marriages and deaths were registered but from 1874 the onus was placed upon the public with fines for late and non-registration and records are fairly complete from this date.


From July 1911 the maiden surname of the mother is listed in the indexes.


Marriage registrations are indexed twice: under surnames of both bride and groom. From January 1912 the surname of the spouse is shown against entries for bride and groom.


From January 1866 the recorded age at death appears in the index but this may be unreliable. From April 1969 this was replaced by a record of the date of birth but again this may not be accurate. From 1875 all death certificates contain the cause of death.



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