Events currently recorded:
BIRTHS: (2,379 records)
MARRIAGES: (1,877 records)
DEATHS: (1,859 records)
(Later records – particularly of births are in course of collection)
How to use these databases:
These databases were built up mainly by transcribing records on microfiche held at Birmingham Central Library. Those records are for the most part, photographed from the original indexes the majority of which are hand written and often difficult to read. (Here, where there is some doubt about an entry, comments have been made in the ‘remarks‘ column, and illegible entries marked ‘?’ in the text.)
As time went on more and more information came to be recorded in the indexes. For example the partner’s maiden name and mother’s maiden name was recorded from March 1912. This assists in assembling records of particular households and in checking if a particular marriage is the one you seek. However, for records prior to this date the only certain way to check on a marriage for example, is to go back to the index itself and search for the party marrying an Empson at that place and time. I can do this for overseas researchers, but remember it takes time as it is somewhat tedious and involves a trip to the library.
If a field is blank you may be confident that no information is recorded for that entry in that field.
Services for Empson researchers:
Because of the size of the original database it has been necessary to load the data as smaller files. If you want a report about names or places that interest you just email me with the details and I will produce a custom report around your specific requirements. If you find an error or can amplify any of the information let me know and I'll amend the data for the benefit of everybody. In the various lists I have only included those columns (see below), in which information is actually recorded.
The index is recorded in units of three months:
March Quarter = January, February & March
June Quarter = April, May & June
September Quarter = July, August & September
December Quarter = October, November & December
Note: A birth for example, in December 1832, might not be registered until the following month, so it would then be recorded in March Quarter 1833.
2) Month: (Events registered after January 1985).
4) First Name:
5) Other Names: (It is clear that second names were not always recorded fully if at all. Do not discard an entry if a second name is missing without further research – the additional names would normally be recorded on the certificate).
6) Mother’s Maiden Name: (Events registered after March 1912)
7) Date of Birth: (Events recorded after September 1866)
8) Age: (Deaths only after September 1866) (see below).
9) Registration District: (Where registration was recorded)
10) Reference 3: (Records reference numbers introduced after February 1993)
11) Reference 1: (Records the reference recorded on the index. These are only needed if you order certificates in person from the Family Records Centre). I did not record some of the early records and they need to be checked as they are difficult to read and prone to error.
12) Reference 2: (See Ref 1 above)
13) Partner: (Events recorded after March 1912)
14) Notes: (I have used this to record any relevant information – usually about the legibility of the record. Assistance to eliminate such problems would be much appreciated)
15) Check: The bulk of the records have not been double-checked. Where I have confirmed that a record is correct, ‘Y’ appears in this column. If users can confirm the accuracy of any records it would help very much if you could let me know so that it can be confirmed as accurate.
How to obtain certificates:
If you are serious about your research it is of course essential to be able to refer to documentary evidence for your information. The best way to prove family connections is therefore to obtain copies of the relevant birth, marriage or death certificate. These however are often much more useful than merely confirming names, marriage certificates will provide the names of parents and the occupations of the parties; death certificates rarely give much genealogical information but provide a time, place and cause of death. They might help users decide whether to search for coroner’s records if the death was in any way unusual; birth certificates provide the mother’s maiden name, details of the father (well not always!) and information about who reported the birth - a useful way of extending information about contacts.
For researchers in England, obtaining certificates is simply a process of applying to the relevant local Register Office or by writing directly to the Registrar General (see below). You need to make a choice. Generally local Register Offices provide a hand-written copy of the certificate. It is terribly easy to look at such a document and rely upon it utterly without remembering it is in reality only a copy and therefore subject to human error. (I once had to return a certificate several times because of obvious errors). When writing to Register Offices I always ask for a photocopy of the actual record, but in my experience they will rarely admit to having the resources to do this. Copies are less elegant but more trust worthy and provide the additional bonus of seeing the actual signature of the parties involved. The GRO at Smedley Hydro however will send a more reliable computerised copy of the entry in the records.
This is all set out for you at www.statistics.gov.uk from which you can download copies of application forms, details of fees etc. You can also use this site to identify the address of local Register Offices. Certificates can be ordered in person at the Family Records Centre. The address for the Registrar General is: General Register Office for National Statistics, Smedley Hydro, Trafalgar Road, Birkdale, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 2HH. You can also telephone the details through, 0870-243-7788 and pay by credit/debit card. You will need the full reference to order from Southport otherwise the charge goes up from £8.50 to £11.50. (These references are of no use when ordering from local Register Offices.)
If you want help obtaining certificates I can assist – particularly if you are researching from overseas. All you need to do is to let me know the certificate(s) in which you are interested and I will obtain them. I only ask to be reimbursed the cost of the certificates (£8.50), and that you are patient as it involves a trip to the library to double check the index and then writing to the Registrar. I will forward the certificate by first class mail as soon as it is arrives, (about 28 days but usually more quickly) – you can send me the cash when you get round to it. This works well for me as I keep a copy of the certificate on file here and will use it to help any other researcher that comes along. If I know that a researcher has already obtained the certificate and if the 'owner' agrees, a photocopy can be provided to save on costs.
Can’t find your Empson?
Bear in mind that this index covers only England and Wales. Records for Scotland are held elsewhere (and fully accessible over the web at a modest cost), see: www.scotsorigins.com. Records for the republic of Ireland (Eire) are another problem, but see: www.groni.gov.uk for information about records from Northern Ireland.
If your Empson was born/died before 1st July 1837 (when civil registration began), your best bet is to go back to parish registers for the place where the family lived. Remember churches only maintained records after c1550 and you will be lucky to find many which predate 1600. (The earliest Oxfordshire Empson for example, is a record of John Empson’s marriage in 1602.)
Did he/she emigrate? There are useful sources of information about migration to America, Australia and New Zealand in particular on the web. These are outside the scope of these web pages. There are however Empson researchers in those countries that may be willing to help you.
Recognise that it is easy for people to change their identity and so their recorded name may differ from their official one or that which they habitually used. When people died, those around them might not necessarily know their official name or be sure of their actual age or true marital status. If the facts don’t fit, try to corroborate the information in some other way.
I would welcome any suggestions as to how this database can be improved or extended.
I will add to the records as and when the indexes are made available.
I hope to add a column that would begin to assemble the events into family groups and to link them to particular researchers. This would help put people interested in particular lines in touch with one another - where those individuals have agreed for their interests to be shared.
I gratefully acknowledge Pam Downes' expert advice with this information.
complaints or queries to: