Search the Birth Indexes

Users' Guide to the Birth Indexes

  1. What areas are covered by the indexes?
  2. What information is contained in the indexes?
  3. How do I order a birth certificate?
  4. Can I see the original records?
  5. Why are the reference numbers different from the national birth indexes?
  6. Why can't I find a birth in the indexes?
  7. What if the child was adopted?
  8. What should I do if I find a mistake in the indexes?
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1. What areas are covered by the indexes?

Our aim is to eventually cover all births which took place in Yorkshire between 1837 and 1950 and beyond.

These records are now held at many separate register offices:

The Registration Districts in Yorkshire have changed considerably since 1837, and very few records are now held at the offices where they were initially registered.

For the purposes of registering births, Yorkshire was divided into dozens of Registrar's Sub-Districts. A full list of the Sub-Districts included in the database so far can be found on the Coverage of the Birth Indexes page, which also shows the years for which the records have been indexed, and the places included within each Sub-District.

Because there are separate sets of records for each Sub-District, the dates covered will vary. But more information will be added to the database as soon as it becomes available, and the latest additions will be noted on the Updates page.

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2. What information is contained in the indexes?

From the indexes, you can find out:

(a) The Name of the child, as shown in the registers. If the child's parents were unmarried, and both are named on the certificate, then the child should be indexed under both surnames. Some children had not been given forenames by the time of registration, and are simply recorded as 'Male' or 'Female'.
(b) The Year in which the birth was registered. Remember that the year relates to when the child was registered, and that a child born in December 1849 may not have been registered until January or February 1850, for example.
(c) The Sub-District where the birth was registered, which should be the same as where the child was born. There is a list showing the places within each Sub-District.
(d) The Register Office in Yorkshire which now holds the records. There have been a large number of boundary changes between districts since the start of registration in 1837, and as a result many records have been moved around.
(e) The Registrar's Reference Number for the birth entry, which can be used to order the birth certificate. It is important to note that this is only applicable at the register office which holds the records, and is of no use anywhere else.

Please bear in mind that until recently the main purpose of these indexes was to supply certified copies of entries in registers. They were therefore written to help the registrar find an entry on information supplied by the applicant for the certificate. Consequently, they do not always provide information in an ideal form for family historians.

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3. How do I order a birth certificate?

If you find an entry you are interested in, it is possible to order a birth certificate, which is a copy of the full entry from the original register. This normally contains the following information:

Applications for certified copies of the birth entries should be made to:

OfficeAddressPayments to:Credit Cards
East Riding East Riding Registration and Celebratory Services
Walkergate House
Walkergate
Beverley
East Riding of Yorkshire
HU17 9BP
UK

General:01482 393600

  No
Bridlington Bridlington Register Office
Town Hall, Quay Road
Bridlington
East Riding of Yorkshire
Y016 4LP
UK

General:01262 422662

  Yes
Hull Hull Register Office
The Wilson Centre,
Hull City Council,
Alfred Gelder Street,
HU1 2AG
UK

General:01482 300 300

Hull City Council Yes
Harrogate The Register Office,
Bilton House, 31 Park Parade,
Harrogate,
North Yorkshire,
HG1 5AG
UK

General:0845 034 9482

  No
Pocklington Pocklington Register Office,
Burnby Hall,
Pocklington,
York,
YO4 2QQ
UK

General:01759 303614

  Yes
York York Register Office,
56 Bootham,
York,

YO30 7DA
UK

General & Phone Orders : 01904 654477

  Yes
Darlington Darlington Register Office,
Backhouse Hall
Bull Wynd
Darlington
DL1 5RG

General: 01325 346604

Darlington Borough Council Yes
Redcar Redcar and Cleveland Register Office
Westgate
Guisborough
Redcar and Cleveland
TS14 6AP
UK

General:01287 632564

  Yes
Durham Durham Register Office
Cockton House
35 Cockton Hill Road,
Bishop Auckland,
Co. Durham,
DL14 6HS
UK

General:01388 607277

  Yes
Barnsley Barnsley Register Office
Town Hall
Church Street
Barnsley, South Yorkshire
S70 2TA
UK

General:01226 773085

  Yes
Wakefield Wakefield Register Office
71 Northgate
Wakefield
West Yorkshire
WF1 3BS
UK

General:01924 302185

  Yes
Bradford Bradford Register Office,
22 Manor Row,
Bradford,
West Yorkshire,
BD1 4QR
UK

General:01274 752151

Bradford Council Yes
Leeds Leeds Register Office,
Leeds Town Hall,
The Headrow,
Leeds,
LS1 3AD
UK

General:0113 222 4408

Superintendent Registrar Yes
Dewsbury Dewsbury Register Office,
Dewsbury Town Hall,
Wakefield Old Road,
Dewsbury,
West Yorkshire,
WF12 8DG
UK

General:01924 324733

  No
Huddersfield Huddersfield Registration Office,
Huddersfield Town Hall,
Ramsden Street,
Huddersfield,
HD1 2TA
UK

General:01484 221030

  No
Pontefract Pontefract Register Office,
Town Hall,
Pontefract,
West Yorkshire,
WF8 1PG
UK

General:01977 722670

  Yes
Ribble Valley Ribble Valley Register Office,
Off Pimlico Road,
Clitheroe,
Lancashire,
BB7 2BW
UK

General:01200 425786

  Yes
Doncaster Doncaster Register Office,
Elmfield Park,
South Parade,
Doncaster,
South Yorkshire,
DN1 2EB
UK

General:01302 364922

DMBC Yes
Retford East Retford Register office,
Nottinghamshire County
Council Offices,
Chancery Lane,
Retford Nottingham,
DN22 6DG
UK

General:01777 708631

  Yes
Sheffield Sheffield Register Office,
Town Hall,
Pinstone Street,
Sheffield,
South Yorkshire,
S1 2HH
UK

General:0114 203 9423

  No
Goole Goole Register Office,
Council Offices,
Church Street,Goole,
East Riding of Yorkshire,
DN14 5BG
UK

General:01405 722379

  No
North Lincolnshire North Lincolnshire Register Office
92 Oswald Road,
Scunthorpe,
North Lincolnshire,
DN15 7PA
UK

General:01724 843915

  Yes
Halifax Calderdale Register Office
Spring Hall
Huddersfield Road
Halifax
HX3 0AQ
UK

General:01422 288080

  Yes
Keighley Keighley Register Office
Town Hall,
Bow Street,
Keighley,West Yorkshire,
BD21 3PA
UK

General:01535 618061

  Yes
Rotherham Rotherham Register Office
Bailey House,
Rawmarsh Road,
Rotherham,South Yorkshire,
S60 1TX
UK

General:01709 382121 X 3541/2

  Yes
Oldham Oldham Register Office
Superintendent Registrar
Chadderton Town Hall
Middleton Road
Chadderton
Oldham OL9 6PP
UK

General:0161 678 0137

  No
Kendal Kendal Register Office
County Offices,
Kendal,
Cumbria,
LA9 4RQ
UK

General:01539 773567

  Yes
Burnley Burnley & Pendle Register Off.
12 Nicholas Street,
Burnley,
Lancashire,
BB11 2AQ
UK

General:01282 436116

  Yes
Worksop Worksop Register Office
Queens Buildings,
Potter Street,
Worksop,Nottingham,
S80 2AH
UK

General:01909 535534

  Yes
Chesterfield Chesterfield Register Office
New Beetwell Street,
Chesterfield,
Derbyshire,
S40 1QJ
UK

General:01246 234754

  Yes

Family historians are requested to apply for certificates by post and not call casually at the Register Office. Whilst staff will always try to help, they do have other statutory duties to carry out every day and are often very busy with current births, deaths and marriages. Postal applications are normally dealt with promptly as they are received.

An application should include:

Do not forget to include all the information asked for in the application - the better the information supplied, the greater the chance of being supplied with the certificates required. And a stamped addressed envelope will help get the certificate back to you more quickly. Applications sent from outside the UK should enclose two International Reply Coupons with their self-addressed envelope instead of stamps.

The fee for each certificate is £10.00 and should be sent with the application. Cheques should be crossed "/&Co/". Do Not Send Cash.

Applicants wishing to pay by credit card should include in their applications the relevant details, i.e. type of card, name of cardholder, card number and date of expiry.
Please note that at present not all register offices can accept credit card payments

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4. Can I see the original records?

No. Original records of births, marriages and deaths held at register offices in England and Wales are not open to the public, and by law information can only be released in the form of certificates issued by the registrars.

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5. Why are the reference numbers different from the national birth indexes?

The national indexes of births in England and Wales at Myddleton Place (formerly at St. Catherine's House or Somerset House) list all children whose birth was registered in each quarter year from 1837. They show the name of the child, the mother's maiden surname (from 1912 only), the name of the registration district (as it existed when the birth was registered), and a volume and page number, which is unique to the General Register Office and of no use to local registrars.

Every three months since July 1837, registrars have been required to send copies of their birth register entries to the General Register Office. For various reasons, sometimes entries were missed, or details were copied incorrectly from the register; this can usually explain differences between certificates ordered by the GRO and those obtained from local register offices. Generally speaking, registers and indexes held by the local offices are less prone to error, and should therefore be more accurate than those at the GRO.

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6. Why can't I find a birth in the indexes?

A quick glance through the indexes reveals some unusual spellings of common names, and this often explains why a birth can be hard to find. In the early days of registration, and because of the high level of illiteracy, the mother or father told the name and surname to the registrar, who would spell them as he heard them. If the parentsn could not read or write, they would not know whether the names were being spelled consistently. For example, people looking for the Muir family may not yhink to look under 'Mewr', or 'Raleigh' under 'Rolli', and a degree of lateral thinking may be required.

To help overcome this problem the search pages have the ability to try to list names that sound similar but are spelled differently. Hint and tips about getting the best from the search of the indexes on this web site are available here.

As noted above, some children were still unnamed when their births were registered, and so they appear simply as 'Male' or 'Female'. Although it was possible in certain circumstances for names to be added to or altered on certificates after the initial registration, this was uncommon.

If you are satisfied that a name does not appear in the indexes, then your ancestor may have been born outside the area. It was not unusual for mothers to give birth away from home, particularly while staying with parents or other relations. The GRO indexes may be helpful in locating where the birth took place, but please remember that a lot of records have moved around due to boundary changes between districts.

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7. What if the child was adopted?

If a child was adopted, the record of its adoption would not be held at the local Register Office. Records of adoptions in England and Wales (adoptions since 1 January 1927 under the Adoption Acts) are held by the Registrar General.

A standard Adoption Certificate is a full copy of the entry in the Adopted Children Register which, instead of giving particulars of parents and birth registration, gives the date of birth (if known) and details of the adoption and adoptive parents.

Applications for Adoptions Certificates should be made in writing to: Adoptions Section, Office for National Statistics, Smedley Hydro, Birkdale, Southport, PR8 2HH.

If you know that the entry you require relates to a person who was subsequently adopted, and you wish to have a copy of the original entry, please state this in your application.

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8. What should I do if I find a mistake in the indexes?

Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of these indexes, it is possible that an occasional mistake or omission can occur. If you think you have found an error then please send an e-mail to: Yorkshire BMD Webmaster, giving as many details as possible.

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