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Kent Online Parish Clerks

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Guide to Civil Registration in England and Wales

Civil Registration of births, marriages and deaths (known as vital records in some countries, particularly the U.S.A.) for England and Wales commenced on 1 July 1837. For further information see Civil Registration in England and Wales.

By far, the most popular access point for viewing the civil registration indices is the website known as FreeBMD. FreeBMD is an ongoing project, the aim of which is to transcribe the Civil Registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales while providing free access to their transcription database. Thanks to thousands of enthusiastic transcribers, the searchable database was last updated on 1 November, 2013 and currently contains 233,278,246 distinct records representing a staggering 295,747,744 total records! The database contains index information for the years 1837 through 1983, but, that is not yet fully complete.

For an overview of other locations where the indexes can be seen, a 22-page PDF file lists locations worldwide where the civil registrations indexes of birth, marriage and death can be accessed:
Holders of the GRO Indexes.

Ancestry Solutions has on its' website a quick reference guide to the volume numbers found in the index of civil registrations that corresponds with each registration district. The guide is arranged numerically by volume number and covers volume numbers assigned from 1 July 1837 up to August, 1946. Beyond that time the volume numbers remain the same but are capitalised.

Ancestry Solutions also has produced a comprehensive quick reference chart describing the information to be found on the various birth, marriage and death certificates.

For further information concerning the evolution of the registration districts please visit the GenUKI web site.  The dates that each district was created and abolished, as well as the districts absorbed into new districts is set out on that site.

An alphabetical listing of the civil registration districts for Kent can be found here, which includes the dates of creation and abolishment of each district.

Civil registration events specifically occurring in certain parts of Kent can be searched on the Kent government website at Kent BMD indices

Civil registration certificates can now be ordered online at HM Passport Office, General Register Office. All types of certificates are now £9.25 for regular postal service, or £23.40 for priority shipping service. Priority service only includes mailing by first class mail not by courier. But, if you order a certificate before 4 p.m. on a business day, it is guaranteed tol be despatched from General Register Office on the next following business day.

Advice from The National Archives concerning their copyright with permission to use and copy civil registration certificates can be found here.

A less costly alternative method of obtaining civil registration certificates of birth, marriage and death is through the local District Register Offices. A list of the local district offices is set out below. One cautionary word: the volume and page numbers found in the nation-wide index of civil registrations does not apply in the local district office. Marriage records are recorded in separate volumes representing a particular facility or church. Consequently, for marriages, particularly, you will need to know the name of the facility or church at which a marriage was performed, along with the customary data of year, date and parties names, before you will be able to obtain a civil registration certificate of marriage from a local district office.

Post a completed application form to:

The Certificate Centre,
Kent County Council, Births, Deaths, Marriages and Partnerships,
39 Grove Hill Road,
Tunbridge Wells,
United Kingdom

Telephone:  +1 44 (0)300 333 5430 between 09:30 and 16:30 Monday to Friday and ask for the Certificate Centre

Or, apply in person at:

The Mansion House
(Certificate Centre)
Grove Hill Road
Tunbridge Wells
Kent TN1 1EP

Kent Registration Service includes Kent and Bexley back to 1 July 1837. However, not all indexes of registrations from 1 July 1837 are currently available. Please note that Kent does not include the Medway Towns of Chatham, Gillingham, Rochester and Strood; or the London Boroughs of Bromley and Greenwich, all of which hold their own records for births, deaths and marriages going back to 1 July 1837.


Medway Register Office,
Telephone:  +1 44 (0)1634 338899
Fax:  +1 44 (0)1634 338913
Website:  Medway Council

To apply by post see PDF application forms here.


The Register Office,
London Borough of Bromley,
Civic Centre,
Stockwell Close,
United Kingdom
Telephone:  +1 44 (0)20 8313 4666
Website: Bromley Borough


Prior to 1969 the register office was split into sub-districts. This office holds the information for the following sub-districts:

The Register Office,
Woolwich Town Hall,
Wellington Street,
United Kingdom
SE18 6PW
Telephone:  +1 44 (0)20 8921 5015
Website:  Greenwich Borough.