Exploring Your Roots in the UK

I was asked recently on my Facebook page whether I trace family members from the UK.  I responded by stating that ‘more often than not, tracing Irish ancestors leads you to many countries such as UK and US’.  While I wouldn’t consider myself an expert at exploring family history in the UK by any stretch of the imagination, I have managed to discover with relative ease birth, marriage and death records for my own family members.  I will explain to you in a few short steps how to find your ancestors and the easiest way for me to explain it is to use an example of my own grandmother.

1. Go to /www.freebmd.org.uk/ and select ‘search’ option

2. Enter details for your ancestor – don’t worry if you only have some basic information


In the example here, I knew my grandmother was born in Newport, Wales in October 1900.  My knowledge of English geography is not the strongest so I didn’t know what district this was in so I just went to ‘Counties’ dropdown list and ignored the D’istrict’ dropdown list (had to use google maps to figure out Monmouthshire).

3. I was lucky.  Only one Dorothea Parkes was returned from my search.  The key information I am looking for is the index number / record details – Dec 1900, Vol 11a, Page 209


4. You can click on the ‘glasses’ icon to see the page from the index record but there is no additional information provided

5. If you wish to order the actual certificate, you have to go to the General Register Office website in the UK www.gro.gov.uk

6. From the home page, click on the option to ‘Order Certificates Online’ and register your details

7. Then select the option to ‘Place an Order’ and enter details for your ancestor as I have done for mine e.g. select option for Birth, select option ‘Yes’ to indicate you have a GRO index number and enter year which the event was registered


8. The following screen will be displayed – it’s looking for the index reference number etc. Once you have completed the required fields, you can proceed with the order as per standard practice of ordering anything online these days


Note: I know the ‘Quarter’ information and the ‘District’ information also from the index.

9. Please note that the key difference between ordering Irish and UK birth certificates is that;

  • Irish certificates cost € 4.00. UK certificates cost £9.25 and if urgent  £23.40
  • Irish certificates take about 4-5 working days to receive. UK certificates take approx. 3 weeks

I hope you find the information in this blog useful in your research….. even if not today or tomorrow, but down the line the information might come in handy

Warm wishes :-)


Exploring Your Roots in the UK
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