Family History is one of the most popular leisure pursuits today. There are plenty of good books to guide you through the process and lots of internet sites to help you. The basics as they relate to our register office are described briefly below.

Step 1

The first step is to gather all the information you can from your relatives. As well as names and dates try and find out addresses, occupations, and the religion of your ancestors. Also try to obtain any documents which will give you further information, for example, wills, newspaper cuttings, birth, death and marriage certificates.

Step 2

The next step is to draw up a preliminary family tree, which should show you at a glance what information is missing.

Step 3

Start by confirming the earliest event of which you are certain. If, for example, this is the birth date of your grandmother, apply for her birth certificate. The birth certificate will give you the names of both parents, including her mother's maiden name.
How do I obtain a copy certificate?

Step 4

The next step is to search for the marriage certificate of the parents, in this case, your grandmother's parents. You need to search for both of her parents.  You can do this by a range of methods, including in the GRO (General Register Office) Index, on family history websites or the local library. Often, a marriage certificate will only give you the age of the person when they were married; this will give you an idea of when to search for their birth.  Once you have identified a parent, you can apply for their birth certificate from the relevant register where the birth occurred. 

Cost of Certificates

Please see our fees page for any costs.  You can buy certificates online, by phone, by post or in person at the Register Office.  Normally, this will take 15 working days to process or 24 hrs if you choose our priority service.

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Page last updated: 
16 July 2013
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