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Births unregistered after 1874?


Loyal Member
Staff member
I have often wondered just the amount of births that went unregistered after the 1874 penalty for late or non registration was introduced. Apparently some of them did slip the net but it could be errors in the index and how the lists were compiled. Some slips of paper may not have made it to the GRO. This is explained more in the book A Comedy Of Errors.

I cannot find a birth reg of my ancestor Isabella Stokes in 1852-1853 in Essex. This was before the 1874 fine so she probably was not registered but I wonder how many missing birth especially before 1874 were actually registered but not made to the index? Also before 1874 the onus was on the registrar and his deputies to register births and deaths not the parents or guardians or rellies of deceased.

I have two namesake cousins George and George Musgrave born in 1856 in the same village sons of Robert and Thomas. One was registered which was Roberts son.

I have a distant rellie called Joseph Houghton born 23 April 1883 in Bethnal Green, years after the 1874 penalty was executed. The DOB is from his baptism cert. I cannot for the life of me find a likely birth nor for one of his sisters born in 1877 or 1878 and she had a namesake cousin born in 1878 who appeared to be registered.


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