In England and Wales, official records of births, deaths and
marriages began on 1 July 1837, and Civil Partnership records from
5 December 2005. Separate systems operate for Scotland and Northern
The country is divided into registration districts. Each has its
own Superintendent Registrar, who is responsible for the original
registers belonging to the district. They contain the records of
births, marriages and deaths from 1 July 1837.
If you know the area where the event took place, you need to
apply to the Superintendent Registrar of that district. The
Superintendent Registrar will give you a certified copy of that
entry from his/her records. There is a charge for this service (see
Kent County Council (KCC) has a certificate centre at the
Mansion House in Tunbridge Wells which
holds all the completed registers for Kent and Bexley since 1
July 1837 and can supply a certified copy of any Kent and
Bexley birth, death or marriage entry from any register within
its custody or a Kent civil partnership registration from the
government online database.
Registers of births, deaths and marriages are either:
- Incomplete - still being used by a Registrar or
- Complete - stored in the Kent County Council
Certificate Centre in Tunbridge Wells.
(Please note: Kent does not include the Medway Towns (Chatham,
Gillingham, Rochester and Strood) or the London Boroughs
of Bromley and Greenwich who hold their own records for
births, deaths and marriages going back to 1 July 1837, and Civil
Partnerships from 5 December 2005.)
Find out how to apply for
What about births, deaths and marriages before 1837?
Events that happened before 1 July 1837 may have been recorded
in church baptismal, marriage and burial registers, which are kept
by the local county Archivist. Early census returns can sometimes
prove useful sources of information. Staff at the Kent
History and Library Centre in Maidstone will be able to
advise you on this.
A number of websites are offering certificates at inflated
prices and the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory
Services (LACORS) has issued the following press release.
LACORS today warned consumers against purchasing expensive
copies of birth, death and marriage certificates via the
A number of websites are offering users the chance to purchase
copies of certificates with prices ranging from £19 to £60.
However, contacting the council's Registration Service where the
event was registered will only cost you the statutory fee.
Councillor Geoffrey Theobald OBE says: "There is no reason why
people should be paying extra for this service. Obtaining a copy of
a birth, marriage or death certificate is relatively
straightforward going through a local authority. Not only is it
easier but also much cheaper and I would encourage people not to
waste their money".