General Register Office records


From 1864, any person whose marriage was to be celebrated by a Roman Catholic clergyman was required to have the clergyman fill out a certificate containing the information detailed below, and forward it within three days of the marriage to the Registrar. In practice, as had already been the case for other marriages from 1845, the clergyman simply kept blank copies of these certificates, filled them in after the ceremony, and forwarded them to the Registrar.

It is still important to remember, though, that legal responsibility for the registration actually rested with the parties marrying, not the clergyman.

The information to be supplied was:

  1. the date when married;
  2. the names and surnames of each of the parties marrying;
  3. their respective ages;
  4. their condition (i.e. bachelor, spinster, widow,widower);
  5. their rank, profession or occupation;
  6. their residences at the time of marriage;
  7. the name and surname of the fathers of each of the parties;
  8. the rank, profession or occupation of the fathers of each of the parties.
The certificate was to state where the ceremony had been performed, and to be signed by the clergyman, the parties marrying, and two witnesses.

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