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Your Borough Of Poole

Family History Searches

Family History Searches

Civil registration of births, deaths and marriages in England and Wales was introduced on 1 July 1837, with registration of civil partnerships being introduced on 5 December 2005. Each time an event took place, a certificate was issued to record the event.

However, prior to 1875 records held by the Register Office may be incomplete, as many people did not bother with registration until strict penalties for non-registration were introduced. Records prior to 1837 and some until 1875 may be available through other local sources such as parish registers.

In 1997 Poole became a unitary authority. This meant that many of the outlying areas that were once held by Poole were transferred to Dorset Registration Services. Nowadays Poole Registration Services hold the records for Poole District, Canford and Branksome only.

Information you need to provide in your application

To help us trace entries in registers there are indexes that alphabetically sort the registers by name, year and sub-district. If you know the nature of the event, where the event occurred, the names of those involved and the date of the event (month, quarter, or just year), it should be possible for us to find that entry. The staff will make a search of the date you have supplied, and 2 years either side, even if your information is not complete, but our records are manually indexed and we do not have the resources to make wide searches.

Making an Application

You can send a letter giving the details, or download one of the application forms for a certified copy certificate and print it off and send to us. Please include a self-addressed envelope. If the entry is traced, the information will be supplied in the form of a copy certificate for which a fee is charged of £9. Applications should be accompanied with a cheques or postal order payable to ‘Borough Of Poole’. If the entry is not found a full refund is made.

If you are requesting more than one certificate please send us separate cheques/postal orders for each one, this means if we find one certificate out of two you requested we can cash one of your cheques and supply you with the certificate without having to request you cancel your first cheque and send us a smaller one.

National Index

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) holds a national, central register of birth, deaths and marriages dating back to 1837. The national index references (formerly known as St Catherine's House index) are different from those used in Register Offices so quoting their reference on an application to a Register Office is of no help. However, they do confirm that the event occurred in a particular registration district, although the sub-district is not indicated. It is very helpful for marriages in particular therefore to have a connection to a place, parish or religious denomination.

Public Access to the GRO Indexes In The London Area

The National Archive, based at Kew, are withdrawing the microfiche copies of the GRO index from their reading rooms at the end of 2009.

The London Metropolitan Archives, based in Clerkenwell, London, have recently introduced public assess to a full set of the GRO Indexes.

A full set of indexes, including recent events, the Adopted Children Register, Civil Partnership Index and events which have been registered overseas can now be found at:

  • London Metropolitan Archives
  • City of Westminster Archives Centre
  • Greater Manchester County Record Office
  • Birmingham Central London
  • Bridgend Reference and Information Library
  • Plymouth Central Library

Please note that you it is not possible to obtain a certificate at any of the locations listed above although some offices may provide Internet access to the GRO online ordering service.

Related pages

Contact us


01202 633744

The Register Office
The Guildhall
Market Street
BH15 1NF