Order birth, adoption, marriage, civil partnership and death certificates from the General Register Office (GRO) to help you research your family history and family tree.

GRO has all the records registered in England and Wales from July 1837. You’ll need to look at parish records to trace back further.

It also has some other records, starting at a later date, for example for civil partnerships and adopted children. You can check which records are held by the GRO.

You can order certificates online from GRO for £9.25 each.

It will make the ordering process faster if you know the certificate’s GRO index reference number.

Find the GRO index reference number

All births, adoptions, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths registered in England or Wales have a GRO index reference number.

Find index reference numbers online

You can do a free search the GRO index of historic births (1837 to 1915) and deaths (1837 to 1957) then order a certificate.

You can also view index reference numbers for free on the FreeBMD website.

Commercial companies also have the index reference numbers online, but you’ll have to pay to search them and prices will vary.

Find index reference numbers in person

You can also search for index reference numbers for free at:

These are the only complete copies of the full sets of index reference numbers. They’re on microfiche.

View index reference numbers locally

Some of the index reference numbers are available at local libraries, archives and other locations.

You don’t have an index reference number

You can still order certificates from GRO if you don’t have the index reference number, but they’ll take longer to arrive and you’ll need to provide identifying information to help find the correct record.

Certificates in Scotland and Northern Ireland

In Scotland and Northern Ireland certificates are issued by the General Register Office for Scotland and the General Register Office for Northern Ireland.

Overseas records

GRO has records of births, marriages and deaths of some British citizens that have taken place abroad since the late 18th century.

These include births, marriages or deaths:

  • registered by the armed forces
  • recorded by British consulates or high commissions
  • at sea, or on British oil or gas rigs or aircraft

Divorce or civil partnership dissolution records

For copies of a decree absolute or final order of the dissolution of a civil partnership, you’ll need to contact either:

  • the court where the divorce or dissolution was granted
  • the Principal Registry of the Family Division

Principal Registry of the Family Division
020 7947 7016
Find out about call charges

Principal Registry of the Family Division
First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn

Further information

You can also search local archives and the National Archives to help research your family history.

The GRO’s guides to researching your family tree include details of the information you’ll find on certificates, and what to do if you can’t find a certificate.