England:- Civil Registration
Civil Registration of births, marriages and deaths (known as "Vital Records" in some countries) started on 1 July 1837 for England and Wales. For further information see Civil Registration in England and Wales.
Indexes to these records are no longer available at the Family Records Centre. In addition, the General Register Office (GRO) has been absorbed into the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) with a consequent change of URL for their web site – Identity and Passport Service – General Register Office or this page which describes the GRO with rather less orange!
For an overview of where the indexes can be seen, look at this GRO page Using the General Register Office to research family history wwhich explains the index references and the county codes used at different times. It also links to 22 page PDF file which, as well as web sites, lists locations worldwide where the indexes can be viewed Holders of the GRO Indexes. See also TNA Domestic Records Information 11.
Mike Wheatley has provided a mapping of the reference numbers in the registers to registration districts
The Registration Districts appropriate to particular towns have been listed on a county basis.
Barbara Dixon has produced a very comprehensive description of birth, marriage and death certificates and each field to be found on them.
Mike Foster and helpers have transcribed part of the St Catherine's House (General Register Office) Marriage Index for 1849 and 1856.
FreeBMD is an ambitious project to make the G.R.O. (formerly St Catherine's) birth, marriage and death indexes available online. Thanks to an enthusiastic band of 11,000+ transcribers, the searchable database now (October 2011) has more than 262,000,000 entries and is adding an amazing 46,000 new entries per day!
Advice from The National Archives on Copying of birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates.
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