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

Civil registration

About the registration of births, marriages and deaths, introduced in England and Wales on 1 July 1837.

From the first quarter of the nineteenth century the parish registers of the Church of England became less comprehensive as a record of the population as a whole. The growth of nonconformist churches and the migration of workers to large industrial towns created the need for a national system of civil registration in England and Wales.

The government introduced the civil registration of all births, marriages and deaths on 1 July 1837, under the direction of the Registrar General. 

Our Brief Guide to Civil Registration has more information about local registration districts and who to contact.