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Times were certainly different: the ages a person could marry set at 14 for a boy and only 12 for a girl back in However, both parents needed to consent to their child marrying so young, until they were 21 when they no longer needed consent. In the age you could marry was raised to 16 for both sexes, with consent from parents still needed if under The age you can marry still stands at 16 today, although the age of consent has dropped to The other point about ages that needs to be considered is that in times of illiteracy and poor information some people simply didn't know how old they actually were.


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In cases like this they often guessed. Before , where the age was in doubt, the register merely states "of full age".

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This formula is also used where either bride or groom preferred not to disclose their age. Finally we have death certificates, which can be interesting in any case to learn how our relatives met their maker.


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Diseases, or at least recorded causes of death, that have enjoyed prominence include 'consumption' or just 'wasting'. If the form merely states the cause of death as 'Climacteric' it means either the death was unexpected, such as a heart attack, or quite simply that the doctor didn't know. Once again, you might have to do some work to uncover where your ancestor drew their last breath, as, for example, the hospital they were in could have been in a different district to where they lived and again, some of the details, such as age, may have been a guess.

This is the eternal problem, especially with older records. As well as the strange districts to keep an eye on, entries may be difficult to find due to human error, as details were copied from one index to another, with mistakes inevitably creeping in. Throw into the mix the problems of illiteracy, which meant that a lot of the details could never be checked, and that people's names often changed due to spelling errors, and you can see how certain records remain elusive. However, part of the joy of family history is carrying on when you feel you've hit a brick wall, only to suddenly make a discovery.

Ordering birth, marriage and death certificates When you've correctly identified the person, you can get hold of the certificate itself.

Getting a birth, marriage or death certificate in Ireland

Make a record of all the details you found in the index including the district, volume and page number, plus the year and quarter. As the original documents are not available to the public, the copy of the certificate is your primary link back to your ancestors. But be warned, each new copy is freshly made by the General Register Office and while every effort will be taken to ensure the information is correct, an error in the transcription may creep in.


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If the original data is too difficult to read, a photocopy will be provided instead. Please also note that certificates for overseas records may not contain as much information as the UK Birth, Marriage and Death certificates.

Simply use this site to search for index numbers for certificates and apply online registered users only. Cookies on Findmypast: We use our own and third-party cookies to improve your experience, for advertising purposes, and to understand how people use our website.

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Copy certificates for births, deaths and marriages

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Important information

Order a copy certificate. Please note that certificates ordered for standard service non priority will be issued for collection or posted after 7 working days from date of order. You must provide the details of the person on the certificate. Newborn babies must be registered in person at the register office before copy certificates can be ordered online. Adoption certificates must be ordered directly from the General Register Office on Order a certificate Book online Once your certificate is ready, you can collect it in person for free from the Westminster Register Office or pay a postage fee to have it sent to you.