Marriage Indexes (BMD Indexes)
The Birth, Marriage and Death indexes are lists of people, arranged by surname, in the quarter in which the event occurred (Jan - Mar, Apr - Jun, Jul - Sep, Oct - Dec), from 1837 to the current day. Different amounts of information are available depending on the type of index and the date it was recorded.
E.g. If Mabel Smith was married on February 2nd 1892 her entry would be found in the first quarter of the year 1892, under Smith. What must be remembered when using these registers, however is that you have 6 weeks to register an event and so someone married in December 1892 might also be found in the first quarter of 1893. Different events have different amounts of information available to view, as do different dates.
Mabel Smith, married in 1837, would have a Surname, Forenames (or initials), District of Registration, Volume and Folio Number. But Mabel Smith, born in 1912 (and later) would also have her spouse's surname listed.
Smith, Mabel S Jones Sittingbourne 2b 356
The letters and numbers at the end of the entry tell you the volume the event is registered in, and the page number. This is important to note if you wish to send off for the birth certificate.
If you are searching on FreeBMD or Ancestry, you can then find the spouse by clicking on the page number. Anyone on the same page were married on the same day, at the same place - this will then enable you to narrow down potential spouses. If you are viewing the original transcripts, however, you would need to know the spouse's surname in order to find them.
It is also worth mentioning that there are two versions of these indexes, from the General Register Office and the Local Register Office. The original lists are held by the Local Register Offices and were then transcribed into a central index at the General Register Office. As with all human transcriptions mistakes were made and omissions occurred. If you can't find your ancestor in the GRO index it is always worth consulting a LRO index!
Available to view at:
|FreeBMD Free BMD provide many of the national birth, marriage and death registers online for free. They have a search engine which makes finding your ancestors a lot easier. It should be noted, however, that the registers are not complete so if you can't find your ancestor it may not mean their birth, marriage or death entry doesn't exist. There are also transcription discrepancies as each entry has been typed into the database - e.g. if you're searching for the surname Jeffrey you might find it spelt Jeffery, Jeffrey, Jeffreys, depending on how clear the original was. It might be worth using wildcard characters to search, e.g. Jeff*.|
|BMD Index BMD provide access to all birth, marriage and death registers from 1837 onwards, by subscription. From 1837 to 1984 these are viewable as images arranged by date, and then alphabetically. From 1984 onwards the registers are in a searchable database.|
Ancestry.co.uk provide lots of useful resources to help you to research your family tree. BMD indexes, Census Returns, Military Records and lots more. You can also build your family tree online and share it with others. Most of these services are available by subscription only. There is a library edition that is free to access from your local KCC library and allows limited facilites to be used free of charge on the Ancestry.co.uk website.
Marriage records have been kept by English churches since the Sixteenth Century and while some have been lost or damaged over time many are available for researchers to view. These can be availble from your local archive centre, the National Archives at Kew, online, or can be purchased on CD.