Replacement Birth/Death/Marriage Certificates

We decided to take a bit of a nerdy look at replacement birth, death and marriage certificates in the UK.


Birth Certificates

In the UK a birth certificate is an official document that documents the birth of a child in the birth register.

This can refer to the original document certifying the circumstances of the birth originally, or a replacement document that certifies the birth.

There are two types of UK birth certificate:

  1. Full certificate – ‘CERTIFIED COPY OF AN ENTRY‘ – this is a copy of the original entry into the birth register and contains all details, such as name, sex, date and place of birth of the child, father’s name, place of birth and occupation, mother’s name, place of birth, maiden name and occupation.
  2. Short certificate – ‘CERTIFICATE OF BIRTH‘ – this is a shortened certificate that includes only information on the child, such as shows the child’s full name, sex, date and place of birth. It does not include information on parents, and therefore cannot be used as proof of parentage.

Death Certificates

Grave yard

Registrations are organised by the separate jurisdictions in the UK.

A register of deaths contains information provided by an informant, usually repeating the information provided by a medical practicioner in the Medical Certificate of Death (MCOD).

Death certificates can sometimes be updated if a death is subject to an inquest.

Marriage Certificates


Marriage certificates are given to couples who get married.

A copy of the marriage certificate is made in two registries, one in the location of marriage, and this record is then sent to the superintendent registrar of the registration district for a copy there.

The certificate lists the date of marriage, as well as the age and full names of the two people who are married.

Where can I buy a certificate?

You can order birth, death and marriage certificates online via the General Register Office or specialist services such as this one.

FAQ: Can I see a certificate before I purchase it?

No. In the UK the law does not permit the register agencies to provide this information online.

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