General Registration Index Tips

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  1. When searching the indexes of General Registration, remember the entries appear under the date of registration, not of the event itself. A birth on 20 December 1950 might therefore be in the index volume for the December quarter of 1950 or the March quarter of 1951.
  2. On marriages certificates, you may find exact ages stated, or it may say 'minor' or 'full age'. This means the people concerned were under or over 21 respectively. But beware- if people wanted to marry without parental consent they sometimes just lied and said they were older than they really were.
  3. On marriage certificates the fathers are sometimes stated to be 'deceased'. However, there are many cases when the father was dead, but his child's certificate does not say so. Equally, people who said their father were 'deceased' sometimes did not know one way or the other, because they were illegitimate and had never met their fathers, and in many cases did not know who he really was at all.
  4. Generally where the parents of the child were not married to one another at the time of birth it should be registered under the surname of the mother. Where paternity was acknowledged and the name of the father is given in the register, the birth may in addition be registered under the surname of the father.
  5. As with the census, people were often hazy about ages on marriage and death certificates so itís common for ages not to be exactly what you were expecting.

General Registry Office.