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Can I get information without paying?

(32 Posts)
KatyK Wed 15-Apr-15 17:49:51

Does anyone know if there are any sites where I can find details of marriages and births in my area (Birmingham) from the 1940s. A very large skeleton has just jumped out of our family cupboard shock I am trying to find out a few more details but I don't want to pay. Thank you.

durhamjen Wed 15-Apr-15 17:53:54


KatyK Wed 15-Apr-15 17:55:37

Oh thank you jen.

NotTooOld Wed 15-Apr-15 17:56:05

You can get two free weeks on, KatyK. How intriguing about your very large skeleton!

KatyK Wed 15-Apr-15 18:03:25

Thank you. Yes nottooold, the family is in shock. Nothing criminal! Sorry not to elaborate.

pompa Wed 15-Apr-15 18:17:59

Births, marriages and deaths are free to view. Go to this web site ;-

Subscription sites like Ancestry or FindMyPast will only have the same data, they come into their own for Census data.

Elegran Wed 15-Apr-15 18:24:29

There is a sister site at but I don't know whether they have transcribed them all - it is done by volunteers. (so is freebmd - I did some for a while)

Anne58 Wed 15-Apr-15 18:32:01

I'm going to put this in here, as I do not want to start a thread about it. My relationship with my mother has become non existent, don't want to go into details but just to say that during a phone conversation, I said "This is silly, I'm your only daughter!" to which she replied "That's what you think!" and put the phone down.

How easy would it be to find out if she did indeed have another child, and preferably without having to pay to get the info?

If anyone with ideas would prefer to PM me, I would be very grateful.

durhamjen Wed 15-Apr-15 18:37:01

You could do the same thing as KatyK, using her maiden name as well as married name.

pompa Wed 15-Apr-15 18:51:49


Elegran Wed 15-Apr-15 18:54:57

On FreeBMD you can search for a birth without putting in a name, using the approximate date and the name of one or more parent. If you know the possible date and/or place of birth it helps. It found my birth without me putting in my surname or my christian name - just my mother's name. (I did narrow it down by using the exact year)

Elegran Wed 15-Apr-15 18:55:57

You only get what is in the index - with the reference so that you can order the certificate if you want to.

KatyK Wed 15-Apr-15 19:09:16

Thanks everyone. Oh phoenix what tangled webs we weave as we are finding out.

Nelliemoser Wed 15-Apr-15 19:55:17

Only if you are looking at births after 1911 do you get the mothers name on the Birth certificate indexes.
Before that it was just the fathers name and he is whoever the mother says he is.

NotTooOld Wed 15-Apr-15 20:29:42

Phonenix - that's a wonderful story. Do hope you find out more - perhaps a long lost sister or brother???

My grandfather did not find out until his father died that he was not his 'father's' son. I would love to find out who his father was and I contacted Somerset House (as it then was) years ago but there is no birth certificate as in those days it was not compulsory to register a birth.

durhamjen Wed 15-Apr-15 22:11:58

Phoenix, why do you think your mother said that? Does she want you to ask more?

Ana Wed 15-Apr-15 22:16:06

I don't think it's a 'wonderful story' at all! shock Why would you say that, NotTooOld? I'm sure phoenix was devastated...

ninathenana Thu 16-Apr-15 08:04:32

I've just had a quick look at the site pompa recommend. I found it slightly difficult to negotiate and gave up when the said there was no record of my mum.

Nelliemoser Thu 16-Apr-15 08:52:49

NotTooOld Birth registration in the UK began in 1837 and been compulsory since 1875.

Your Great Grandfather should be on a census though. Have you tried that. It might give some clues about a wife or when he married?

Have you tried looking for him on census records?

My PGM is totally unknown, my PGM kept that a secret. Only I do suspect a lodger.

Katek Thu 16-Apr-15 09:01:03

Don't do what I did KatyK......signed up for free Ancestry trial, forgot to cancel and got stiffed for £89!

Elegran Thu 16-Apr-15 09:04:00

Nina Did you try all variants of your Mum's name and surname - including her mother's maiden surname in case she was registered under that name? Was she known by a different name to the one she was registered under? That may be a middle name (or something completely different!)

Do you know the area she was born and if not did you include the whole of the country? If it was not in England, perhaps she was registered in Scotland or Irteland, or maybe further afield?

FreeBMD has the registration indexes, from 1837 up to date, so if she was registered in England she will be there somewhere. I'll have a look for you if you pm me all the details you know.

pompa Thu 16-Apr-15 09:09:29

Freebmd can be difficult at times, usually because you have incorrect information, AS Elegran says every birth since 1837 in England will be there somewhere. Try name, age & place variations.

The main problem I come across is where the birth is registered.

Elegran Thu 16-Apr-15 09:10:26

NotTooOld Same with your grandfather. Was he known by a different name to the one he was registered under? Was he the eldest child? My grandmother was - and she was born and registered before her parents married, so had a different surname. I had found her parents marriage, so I knew the name I was looking for.

The registration (and birth certificate) of a younger brother or sister may produce the maiden name of their mother, which then can be used to search for a possible registration of your grandfather under her name.

Nelliemoser Thu 16-Apr-15 10:07:45

Pompa It was not compulsory to register births until 1875. There are a lot BMDs which were not recorded my the Reg Office records. I have had to dig into the parish records.

Even my literate Chester relatives did not register the BMDs until the 1840s. The East Midlands Ag Labs had no chance.

KatyK Thu 16-Apr-15 10:53:39

Thanks for the warning Katek!