• Do you love Genealogy? Why not write for us? we're looking for volunteers to write articles for Family history. Please contact us for further information.

Collecting birth info pre 1875.

benny1982

Loyal Member
Staff member
Moderator
Posts
5,287
Likes
115
Location
Norwich
#1
The recent "registrar" thread inspired me to start one about how the registrars collected info of births in the district or sub district before 1875 when it fell on the parents to register the birth or death.

Marriages usually took place with a registrar present.

My guess is that midwives reported births in the district to the registrar or his deputies. Ie she kept records of births or told them "Mrs Elsie Marmaduke had a baby on 21 April in Ruskington and Mrs Smith had a baby in the farmhouse just down the lane 2 days earlier". Dont know if anyone know other ways they collected info but this seems the easiest.

Same for deaths, maybe doctors were in keeping with the registrars.

Or when the registrar made their weekly visit to the parish, parents came forwards perhaps.
 

Adam

Active member
Posts
60
Likes
0
Location
Southport
#2
I did check out the person who was present at birth, on a birth certificate I received last week, the birth was for 1900, I checked the 1901 census and the lady was a midwife living a few streets away, but she only registered the birth 3 weeks after the birth.
She must have had a day in the office now and again.

Adam
 

benny1982

Loyal Member
Staff member
Moderator
Posts
5,287
Likes
115
Location
Norwich
#4
The registrar and his deputies toured the district taking notes of any new births before 1875.

After 1875 it was on the parents, other rellies or close friends etc to register the birth themselves.

Say in 1854 a birth took place in a small village in Suffolk. The midwife probably kept a record and then when the registrar came calling to take notes of any new births or deaths, the midwife informed him. He would then visit the family and ask for info on the birth.

If a birth took place in 1875 or after, the parent or midwife had to go to the registry office and give the info.

It is common fact that registrars visited areas to collect birth and death info. It wasn't the responsibility of the parents or anyone to inform the registrar, but it was their responsibility to supply the info when the registrar came calling.
 

ptjw7

Loyal Member
Posts
1,660
Likes
182
Location
dovercourt but born Enfield
#5
Hi Benny,
From all the birth certs that I have
1843 mother b 16 Sep 1843 reg 20 Sep 1843
1844 mother b 15 sep 1844 reg 20 oct 1844
1851 mother b 22 oct 1844 reg 27 nov 1851
1853 mother b 29 jun 1853 reg 3 aug 1853
1861 father b 11 apr 1861 reg 17 may 1861
1866 mother b 23 jun 1866 reg 7 oct 1866
1867 mother b 10 feb 1867 reg 16 mar 1867
1872 mother b 21 jan 1872 reg 27 jan 1872
1876 mother b 21 jun 1876 reg 26 jul 1876
1877 father b 9 mar 1877 reg 7 apr 1877

All registered by a family member some quite soon after the birth date.
Peter
 

benny1982

Loyal Member
Staff member
Moderator
Posts
5,287
Likes
115
Location
Norwich
#6
Hi Benny,
From all the birth certs that I have
1843 mother b 16 Sep 1843 reg 20 Sep 1843
1844 mother b 15 sep 1844 reg 20 oct 1844
1851 mother b 22 oct 1844 reg 27 nov 1851
1853 mother b 29 jun 1853 reg 3 aug 1853
1861 father b 11 apr 1861 reg 17 may 1861
1866 mother b 23 jun 1866 reg 7 oct 1866
1867 mother b 10 feb 1867 reg 16 mar 1867
1872 mother b 21 jan 1872 reg 27 jan 1872
1876 mother b 21 jun 1876 reg 26 jul 1876
1877 father b 9 mar 1877 reg 7 apr 1877

All registered by a family member some quite soon after the birth date.
Peter
What are you saying that parents informed registrars themselves when they visited the areas for new info?
 
Last edited:

ptjw7

Loyal Member
Posts
1,660
Likes
182
Location
dovercourt but born Enfield
#7
I suppose they must have done.
after all it does say "signature, description and residence of informant" on the birth certificates.
Plus the fact that not all births would have been supervised by midwives, usually by a family member.

peter
 

benny1982

Loyal Member
Staff member
Moderator
Posts
5,287
Likes
115
Location
Norwich
#8
I would agree with that.

I know it is fact that before 1875 that the registrar was the person to tour the villages getting info on births and deaths and got some info off midwives and such but I do think a lot of families knew when the registrar came calling and summoned him over to collect the info. That may be why some new parents didn't bother hence why some births went unregistered.

I think I just read the 1836 enactment which says the parents must give notice to the registrar of such birth or deaths within 42 days of birth and 5 days of death. So I think the registrar did his rounds round the parishes in his district and was approached when families with a new birth not yet registered wanted the birth registered. Not forgetting they probably did hear about new births from word of mouth outside those families.
 

Guy

Valued Member
Posts
401
Likes
1
Location
Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Website
freespace.virgin.net
#9
It is one of genealogy's myths that parents did not have to register births before 1875, but I am afraid it is just that, a myth.

Whilst it is true the 1836 Acts did not specify a penalty for not registering and also used the wording

"...XIX. And be it enacted, That the Father or Mother of any Child born, or the Occupier of every House or Tenement in England in which any Birth or Death shall happen, after the said First day of March, may, within Forty-two Days next after the Day of such Birth or within Five Days after the Day of such Death respectively, give Notice of such Birth or Death to the Registrar of the District ; and in case any new-born Child or any dead Body shall be found exposed, the Overseers of the Poor in the Case of the new-born Child, and the Coroner in the case of the dead Body, shall forthwith give Notice and Information thereof, and of the Place where such Child or dead Body was found, to the Registrar ; and for the Purpose of this Act the Master or Keeper of every Gaol, Prison, or House of Correction, or Workhouse, Hospital, or Lunatic Asylum, or public or charitable Institution, shall be deemed the Occupier thereof..."

However earlier Acts required the parents to register the births & deaths on pain of penalty.
For example the 1696 Act
"...For Remedy whereof be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that from and after the four and twentieth Day of June, which shall be in the Year one thousand six hundred ninety and six, the Parents of every Child, which shall at any Time be born after the said Day and Year, and during the Continuance of the said Acts, or one of them, shall within five Days after such Birth give Notice to the respective Rector, Vicar, Curate, or Clerk of the Parish or Place where such Child was born, of the Day of the Birth of every such Child: And in case any Parent shall neglect to give such Notice as aforesaid, he or she shall forfeit the Sum of forty Shillings... "


There were other similar Acts at various times, I would suggest therefore that registering births & deaths was looked on as a requirement by parents.

Cheers
Guy
 

Similar threads

Top