Manchester City Council

Libraries Tracing your family history - using registration records

City of Manchester records only

Certificates for events registered prior to 1915.

Manchester Central Library now stores the records, and produces the copy certificates for births, marriages and deaths registered before 1915.

Manchester Central Library houses a wide range of family history resources including the General Register Office index, parish registers, and the Manchester & Lancashire Family History Help Desk.

Applications can be made by post or in person at Central Library, but the easiest way is online using a reference number from www. .

All the pre 1915 births and marriage records and 90% of the deaths records have now been indexed on

For more information visit the Library's Family History pages

Manchester Central Library will not be offering a priority service for the pre 1915 certificates. Certificates will be ready for collection or posted out within 5 working days

Certificates for events registered from 1915 onwards.

Manchester Register Office continues to produce certificates for events registered from 1915 onwards.

Tracing family history is an increasingly popular hobby. However, sometimes it can become a very complicated and time-consuming process. Here at the register office we receive countless enquiries from all over the world, not all of which we can provide answers to, but these are some frequently asked questions.

What information would I need to obtain a birth, marriage or death certificate?

If you are applying for a less recent entry (that is pre 1927 for births, pre 1950 for deaths and marriages) you will need to inform us of the name or names on the certificate, year, quarter and registration district.

Changes to family history certificate applications

Please note - Due to increased pressure on our service, Manchester Registration Service have changed the way that we deal with applications for certificates.

Certificate applications received by this office will be searched on the basis of name, year, quarter and district of registration. We are no longer be able to verify additional information such as parents' names, occupations, and street names before issuing a certificate.

In each case where the name, year, quarter and district correspond with those given by the applicant a certificate will be issued and fee charged without exception.

For applications containing a Lancashire BMD reference, if the name corresponds to that stated on the application, a certificate will be issued and fee charged without exception.

Please bear in mind that the General Search facility remains available for customers who wish to personally conduct their own searches of our birth, death or marriage indexes. This service is only available by appointment at a cost of £18. Please contact the Register Office for further information.

Where can I find the information?

In order to obtain this information you will need to search the General Registration Indices (also known as St. Catherine's House Indices). These indices are held at numerous locations including libraries, family history centres and record offices around the UK as well as in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The General Register Office publishes a list of public holders of the GRO Indexes at:

You can also find this information on-line. A number of websites are available. For example:

Free access to via Ancestry Library Edition and Findmypast is available through Manchester City Council libraries. For more information visit the Family History Pages in the Archives and Local History section of this website.

Can I obtain, from your office, a certificate of a birth, marriage or death that occurred outside Manchester?

Unfortunately not. Records of births, marriages and deaths are always held in the district where the event took place and can only be issued from the local office. Manchester Register Office holds records for the City of Manchester. This does not include Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and other areas of Greater Manchester.

Can I trace a long lost relative?

At the Register Office, we only keep records of births, deaths and marriage and the details given at the time of those events. We do not keep updated records of a person's whereabouts. Try contacting the electoral register for the district covering the person's last known address. Alternatively, telephone directories can sometimes be useful.

Can anyone come into the office for a certificate?

Yes, as long as they have the information necessary to find the entry. We do not need to see any identification.

Copy certificates for Family History

You can apply for copy certificates:

The following charges and standards apply.

Standard Service

Certificate cost: £10.00 
Postage: £1.00  (incl. VAT).

Certificates will usually be available for collection, or posted out, within 5 working days. If you are applying on-line or by post we aim to process your application within 5 working days.

Premium Service (not available for pre 1915 certificates)

Counter Applications:

Certificate cost: £10.00

plus a £11.00, non-refundable, same-day service charge per application.

Certificates will usually be available within 1 hour. Premium service applications must be received by 3.30pm in order to be processed the same day.

On-line / Postal Applications:

Certificate cost: £10.00

plus a £11.00, non-refundable, same-day service charge and a £7.50 (incl. VAT) next day delivery postage charge per application.

The certificates will be posted Royal Mail, guaranteed next day delivery, to the UK mainland and for overseas applicants will be sent Royal Mail Airsure or international signed for delivery. On-line and postal applications must be received by 12.00 noon in order to be processed the same day.

For what dates do you hold records?

Civil registration of births, deaths and marriage started on 1 July 1837 and our records are complete from this date to the present day. Before this date, baptisms, burials and marriages were recorded by the churches where they took place.

Many of the church records for Manchester Diocese prior to 1837 are held by Manchester Archives and Local Studies at Manchester Central Library which publishes a list of their church register holdings

Where can I get help tracing my family history?

There are many people interested in family history (or genealogy as it is also called), and many groups and organisations that can help. Try visiting your local library and take a look at some of the books written on the subject. Alternatively, you can conduct a search on the internet (but be warned! Prepare for thousands of search results), or take a look at the website for the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society.

The Manchester Archives and Local Studies pages on this web site contain useful information about Family History in Manchester.

Many thanks to Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society for their assistance in putting this page together.

To contact Manchester registration Service or to check our service times:

Contact Manchester Registration Service.

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