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Durham County Record Office: the official archive service for County Durham and Darlington

Birth, marriage and death records

This page contains information about birth, marriage and death records for County Durham and links to online indexes.

Records at Durham County Record Office

What we don't keep

Durham County Record Office does not keep birth, marriage and death certificates.

These records, produced by the civil registration system established in 1837, are held separately by Durham County Council's registration service and they are stored in a different location.
Search registrars certificates online.

What we do keep

The Record Office does keep church registers of baptism, marriage and burial, from the sixteenth century to the present day. 

Church registers are essential for family research before 1837, and they complement birth, marriage and death certificates after 1837.

Find out more about parish registers and nonconformist church registers

Use our church registers database to check what registers we hold.

You can order copies of baptism, marriage and burial entries from our online shop. See research service for more details.

About civil registration

Civil registration, that is the registration of births, marriages and deaths, was introduced in England and Wales on 1 July 1837.

For the purposes of civil registration England and Wales were divided into registration districts. 

There is useful information about registration districts between 1837 and 1974 on the GENUKI website. It includes a list of registration districts and the civil parishes/townships included within their boundaries. The list also includes the names of the districts which currently hold the records.

See our brief guide to Births, Marriages and Deaths (Civil Registration) (PDF, 161kb).

Online indexes to birth, marriage and death certificates

The Registrar General compiles alphabetical indexes, popularly known as the St. Catherine's House Indexes, from the information sent to him by superintendent registrars and these indexes cover the whole of England and Wales. 

You can search the indexes online on the websites of AncestryFind My Past and FreeBMD.  

In addition to the national indexes, many local registration services are currently indexing their birth, marriage and death registers and making the indexes available online. Here are the links to indexes covering County Durham:

County of Durham Registration Service

All certificate requests and enquiries are processed by the Bishop Auckland Register Office. Details of the office opening hours and location are included on the register offices list.

Registration services covering areas no longer in County Durham

Order copies of birth, marriage and death certificates

You can apply for copy certificates from the local registration services listed above.

There is also information about ordering copies of birth, marriage and death certificates for England and Wales on the website of the General Register Office (GRO).