View Full Version : How many certificates haven't you bought yet?

Merry Monty Montgomery
05-02-08, 11:06
When I started this lark I decided apart from those certs required to solve mysteries, I would also buy all the certificates for my directline ancestors, whether I thought I needed them or not, for completeness.

*places begging bowl in front of thread*

The trouble is, there have always been more mysteries to solve and getting those certs has tended to take precedence over the rather more boring ones........

So, 20 years after starting, I have gone through my tree today and I need nearly £120 to get the remaining direct line certs :(

How many certs do you have on your "required" list???

*rattles bowl in hopeful manner*:)

Barbara Dodds
05-02-08, 11:15
*rattles second begging bowl*

I realised the other day that I hadn't bought any of my grandparents birth certificates:eek: I knew who they all were and who their parents were, and where they came from so ignored those certs in favour of the mystery ones. All were born before 1901 which was helpful.

Also wondering if there's any point in buying an uncle's birth cert - he only lived an hour according to the death cert.

There are lots of death certificates I haven't got too.

Merry Monty Montgomery
05-02-08, 11:24
My list consists of three marriage certs and 14 death certs :(

Helen Smith Too
05-02-08, 11:24
I have 3 direct line birth certificates missing - 1 grandmother, but I have a baptism certificate with all the relevant info: One gr-grandmother, but she landed from Venus, so no chance of finding her, but have her sister's : Similarly a gr-gr-grandfather, where there is 2 choices, but again have a siblings.
Don't think I'm missing any direct marriage certs, but have a few 1st or 2nd marriages to get, and one I found the other day for a umpteenth gr-uncle which will confim a father's name (hopefully).
Death certs - I keep finding more to get - just got 6 last week. Have 10 on my list at the moment

This only relates to my family - on my hubby's side, I've barely scratched the surface.

Grampa Jim
05-02-08, 12:02
I think I worked it out a few month's ago that I still need to spend about £210 to complete my BMD Certs in the direct line.

"Scribbles on a piece of cardboard and sits on the pavement by a begging BUCKET."

Margaret in Burton
05-02-08, 12:17
I think my total to get all of OH and mines direct line certs is about 9 certs.
I do have it written down but not with me at the mo.

The main reason I haven't got them is not the money, but the fact I can't find them for sure in the indexes.

Merry Monty Montgomery
05-02-08, 12:17
*Hands Grampa Jim a can of Carlsberg Special Brew*

05-02-08, 12:52
Apart from

James Newman's death cert - he had the bad taste to die in the same quarter as another James Newman
Henry Sworn's dc (which I'm sure I've got, but cannot locate)
John Hawkins's dc - too common a name and I've no idea where or when he diedI think I have all the C19th names but I don't have full house on the C20th ones.

My wish list for the non-essential ones is huge, though. I keep hoping that MAGPIE when complete will see certs come down in price, because I'd like to know witnesses at siblings weddings and what all the extended family died of.

05-02-08, 13:18
Having read this thread I have realised that I need to get TOOOOOOOOOOOO many to think about. What has been nice is that along the way I have found some living relatives mainly 3rd cousins and we have been sharing our certs has helped with the costs.
*places begging wheelbarrow on pavement with big sign*

Olde Crone Holden
05-02-08, 13:42
I have three direct line ones still to get - if only I could find them! As this will require doggedly sending for cert after cert in the hope that I hit the correct one then it will be an expensive job.

*starts arranging Charity Fete*


05-02-08, 14:14
lol Merry - I could answer that question with hundreds!

On my Direct line, I have quite a few. I only have 1 death cert, so there's at least 15 more of those to get. I have a few marriage certs, so about 10 of those. As for births - about 16 lol

So, if anyone has a spare £300+, it would be gladly received here :D

Rosie Knees
05-02-08, 14:14
masses lol, and that's just my side. OH doesn't show a huge amount of interest in his so I will only get a cert if it might prompt more than a "oh yes yawn" from him.

*lobs buttons and rusty washers in receptacles and hands Jim a blanket to sit on*

05-02-08, 14:58
There are probably loads of my direct line ones that I haven't got, but I'm not particularly bothered about getting them unless they are going to tell me something. The one I would like the most is a German one and would be very difficult to get.

Cath RJ
05-02-08, 15:07
Oh you lucky people!!

I just wish I had your problems - Mum was illegitimate and so can't "do" maternal grandfather's line. Paternal grandmother appeared from nowhere so her line's a dead end too.

Having said that, my paternal grandfather was born in Scotland so I've been able to get loads of certs. for £6 per group.


Merry Monty Montgomery
05-02-08, 15:21
There are probably loads of my direct line ones that I haven't got, but I'm not particularly bothered about getting them unless they are going to tell me something.

Ah yes, but you don't know what they will tell you unless you get them!! lol

05-02-08, 15:33
Being a permanently skint student I only order a cert if I'm pretty certain it's going to tell me something significant that I don't already know - by that criterion I've more or less completed my set on my maternal lines, as I've traced all of them back to before 1837. The paternal ones are trickier due to the preponderance of ridiculously common Welsh surnames, but thanks to KiteRunner's help on WDWTYA I've just ordered another batch on that side.

05-02-08, 15:35
Sorry, but what is MAGPIE- and how much money will it save me !!??


Lynn The Forest Fan
05-02-08, 15:40
I don't have my grandparents' birth certs either, but I do have their marriage certs.

*Joins,everyone with the begging bowls sat on the pavement*

05-02-08, 15:43
I supose I'm cheating, my cousin is doing my Mums side & I'm leaving him to it, so only have Dads side & I have all the direct line certs back to 1837.
I also have 5 of my Grandads 6 siblings birth certs & marriage certs.

Olde Crone Holden
05-02-08, 15:53
I'm just in the process of checking, but think I have ALL the Scottish side as far back as 1855, thanks to SP.

I have gone much further sideways with the Scottish contingent as it is so cheap to get the info (£1.20 if you are clever) and this has answered a lot of puzzles.

It is more or less an instant decision to get these,(and an instant result!) whereas with the English side I tend to think "ooh, seven quid, no, I don't need that one yet".


05-02-08, 16:34
Sorry to take a bit of time to get back to this thread.
MAGPIE - if it happens! - will be the new GRO Index of vital events - which will have ages at death, mothers maiden name etc from 1837 onwards. (At least, I think it's MAGPIE and not EAGLE!)
When this was first mooted, about a decade ago, the index would be online, and certs would be half the price they are now. GRO has gone very quiet over the index, so goodness knows when or even if they will have the funds to complete it.

Little Nell
05-02-08, 17:17
***pushes other begging bowls aside, places large wheelbarrow with "give generously" in front***

I too decided I should get certs for direct ancestors but am stuck with my gt gt grandfather William Williams (i've already bought 2 certs that haven't been the right one). No idea when (other than post-1901 census) or where he died.
And don't start me on my gt grandmother Emma's 2nd marriage....!!!

And I have all these intriguing side mysteries I think could be solved with certs, but they aren't my direct line.

Please give generously. Your support is valued.

05-02-08, 17:23
*Pushes wheelbarrow aside and places JCB bucket...*

Margaret in Burton
05-02-08, 17:33
2 of my wanted death certs are George and Mary Smith died post 1901 lol

I have looked, but as I have no idea of how long they lived after that it could be a very costly experience.

*borrows a JCB and pushes everyone elses begging bowls etc out of the way.
probably get more JCB's than Michael as I live nearer to the factory where they are made*

05-02-08, 18:08
DOVE is the digitisation of Vital Events - getting the actual images into digital format. I've lost track of what the other acronyms mean and have only a faint hope that anything useful will come in my lifetime.

05-02-08, 18:55
I haven't a clue when many of mine died - and since post-1910 most of them aren't on FreeBMD, even the rarer names could entail checking every quarter of about 30 years until I find them, so in most cases I've put them on hold for the time being to concentrate on more tractable problems.

05-02-08, 19:06
my grandfather's and great grandmother's originals were in my great Aunts loft after I had ordered and paid for copies and after Great Aunt had died.(so impatient!) My great grandfather didn't have one! ( or it isn't on the gro )

On gmother's side her grandfather goes by three different spelling and 3 different ages on censuses - so near impossible. Have great grandfather's who she swore was never registered!

I have just got My Great great grandfather's German (Prussian) birth cert from 1824 - so that was dead exciting. But paid a lot more than the £7.00 (for researcher) !

I haven't seen my grandmother's she only died last year. So hopefully will find it in her stuff. She kept all ration books etc.

My father's side most of the grandparents married more than one so have had 5 to buy for just two people, and great grandparents also married twice.

Very expensive hobby -and I'm not adding up all I spent because it would scare me!:o

Olde Crone Holden
05-02-08, 19:34
Like Phoenix, I have losy track of the DOVE< MAGPIE and EAGLE (and parrot and canary, lol???)

All I know is, all these projects are running behind schedule - they have hit serious problems with the digitalising - and they are all being done for the benefit of government agencies, not the public.

In addition to this shortcoming, it is the records held by the GRO which are being digitised, not the records held by the local ROs.

Considering that there are an estimated one MILLION errors in the GRO records, I am not sure that the end product will be an improvement on the present system.


Rosie Knees
05-02-08, 19:44
*calls Mr Plod to move away all these vagrants and their begging bowls. What has the neighbourhood come to?*

05-02-08, 20:10
Oh dear there are far too many that I need and some are important, but as I get more mysteries, so the the number rises. My parents Marriage Cert and first sibling Birth cert from Malta should be high on my list, but overseas BMD are a pain. My grandparents' marriage cert cannot to be found, so that must have been overseas. Now I have found some sideways marriages and births on Free BMD and really should go after their certs. I have two born in Italy that cannot be found, though I have just found one of those marriages and a birth on Free BMD before takeoff for Canada and all my father's Irish siblings are awaiting the arrival of the 1911 digitised census for Co Cork and Co Offaly, so I can determine the year and place in which they were born before getting their certs from GRO Dublin. If only they had all stayed in the UK at least to be born, married and died as well as being on all the Census, which they are not!!

I have picked up many from Free BMD and really need Certs to confirm. Will get around to it soon! In the meantime three cheers for Free BMD!


Helen Smith Too
05-02-08, 21:33
I started scanning my certificates, and making notes of missing ones as I went along.
Of the 6 I've just received, 5 are related, and the last of these has given me much more info than I expected.

1 & 2 - married couple John (1899) & Mary Ann Dent (1906)- I'd had the references for ages, but not got them. There were my gr-grandfather's grandparents
3 - Agness Nicholson (1868), sister of the above John Dent. Not really necessary, but their father Christopher had lived in Shap his entire life, but died in Penruddock, a bit further north. I trace Agness to Penruddock, and realised that Dad had moved there after his wife died. I found that Agness's death was registered on the same page as her father's, so had to get the cert - he died on the 10th July 1868 of throat cancer. She died on the 24th from Inflammation of the Lungs. 12 days duration, aged 39. Wonder if she caught something at the funeral.
4 - Isabella Abbott (1859), sister of the above Mary Ann Dent. She was only 18, and I try to get as many of the 'young ones' as I can. Her death was registered by her grandfather John Latton.
5 - John Latton (1867). From his certificate, I've been able to track his family back 2 more generations - because his death was registered by his sister-in-law Agness. I didn't have any info on the Lattons before this, now because Agness married Joseph Latton in 1842, I've another marriage certificate to get to hoepfully confirm the father's name.

Shirley silver surfer
05-02-08, 21:36
I would like to get my mother's birth certificate but have no idea how. She was born in Ireland and her father was an English soldier. I know roughly where and when but would she be registered locally or through the Army? I do have her baptism certificate which she used instead of a birth certificate for official purposes.
As her mother was Irish that line of research is very difficult anyway.

05-02-08, 23:08
Shirley, mine who were born in Ireland with an army father are registered with the GRO of Ireland. But you can easily check the army births indexes on findmypast or Family Relatives to see if they are on there.

Richard in Perth
06-02-08, 02:50
Well I think that I'm getting very close to a complete set! I have copies of all birth & marriage certs for all my direct line ancestors - at least, all those who were born/married in UK since 1837 of course! For death certs, I'm missing just three ggg-grandparents and four gggg-grandparents, of the ones that I know were still alive by 1837. And for the ones who were born/married/died prior to 1837 I'm trying to get copies of the baptism/marriage/burial entries from the original PR's. Counting up the total number of BMD events per generation, compared with the total number of certs/PR copies that I have, then my gggp generation is 98% complete, ggggp generation is 90% complete and gggggp is 53% compete. The next generation back from there (ggggggp) is only 20% complete, however! With this hobby you can never ever say you've finished :)

06-02-08, 12:08
*sneaks along and steals out of peoples begging bowls*

I need heaps. I haven't got one death, not for English rellies anyway. My side are ok but I've tended to neglect certs on my OH's side.

Sue at the seaside
06-02-08, 12:44
Interesting thread! I thought I must be one of the few who didn't have "The complete set" now I find I'm in good company!

I had just decided I have to get this sorted, I didn't have the certs for things I was sure of, but just before Christmas I got Grandparents marriage cert (Dad wanted to see it!!!) and it was really interesting, I didn't know they had married in the biggest fanciest church in the area (and her being up the duff!!) and had both lived in the same tennement block. It really put some meat into the event!

Got quite a few more to get........how about if I get one every day for Lent? Is that allowed?

Chris in Sussex
06-02-08, 14:14
13 direct line

9 Death
1 Marriage (Overseas and not in the overseas index)
3 Birth (1 overseas and not in the oversea index)

The other 2 births I am 99.999% sure were not registered.
The deaths include 2 common fore and surname combinations and as for the others.....They must still be walking this earth, all aged well over 100 :D

And if I can find the marriage it will give me my ggrandmother's maiden name and then I am into Irish research and all the BMD certificates for her line. :eek:

Shirley silver surfer
06-02-08, 15:27
Sue - You are supposed to give something up for Lent! Maybe you can count the cost as something to give up - after all you won't be able to spend the money on choccies!

Mavis by the Moor
06-02-08, 21:13
Got quite a lot of my immediate family when father died, other than that have only afforded, where it moves the line along, so mainly marriage. Hardly any deaths yet. Now if GRO gave a refund for the ones that it turned out weren't mine ........

06-02-08, 22:27
How much time have you got? Don't think I'll be 101% satisfied till I've got them all.

Olde Crone Holden
06-02-08, 22:36

Thing is - what constitutes "all"? A full set for every sibling and their children, or what? It's knowing when to stop that is the hard part.

My 2 x GGF was married twice. I catch up with him at his second marriage - he is a mystery before that. He brought to his second marriage a son, born in 1855.

I cannot find his first marriage, nor the birth of his son. I have made a short list (although short isn't really the correct word) of all possible marriages and all possible registrations of birth.

I started to send for these, three at a time, then quickly realised that I won't actually KNOW if I get the correct one or not - very common name at the time and in the area.

However, if I ever win the Lottery I shall send for the lot all at once and play with them!


06-02-08, 22:52
Yes, I really mean all, unrealistic I know, unless as you say, you win the lottery or something. I try to be reasonable and be content with what the census shows me is 99.99% true. But then there's just that little inkling doubt which niggles me. I do tend to do all lines as fancy takes me and fellow reseachers turn up. Am having a great time at the moment with a 2nd and 3rd cousin! But then once you've got the cert there's no absolute proof that the father was really the father unless you get involved in DNA testing I suppose, which I haven't as yet.

06-02-08, 22:58
I've just realised there is one I need that I haven't got. :o
My 3xgt grandmother outlived her daughter who died in 1850 & I lost touch with her after my gt grandmother left her houshold between the 1851 & 61 census.
You prodded me into looking for her & I think I have found her death in 1867 so that is the next cert to send for. lol:D

Olde Crone Holden
06-02-08, 23:03

Oh definitely, a cert doesn't PROVE that the daddy on the cert was REALLY the daddy - but it does prove that's what the family was SAYING.

My 2 x GGF was the fifth of ten children. I got his birth cert, all correct. Decided not to get his siblings certs, but to look for baptisms for them instead, which I found, again all correct.

Except my 2 x GGF. He wasn't their child, even though they had registered him as if he were. He was the illegitimate child of his "father's" sister and Mr Unknown.

I have no idea if he ever knew the truth. The Registrar certainly didn't!


06-02-08, 23:04
Luxery Tom.
I tend not to get the deaths unless very close ancestors or situations that need elucidating. After all, dead ancestors don't get married and produce children.

Peter Evans
06-02-08, 23:33
I need three death certificates for a full-house of direct line ancestors. I am aiming to collect a full set for all the siblings of my direct line; I have about 300 certificates in all and reckon I need another 30 or so. As others have said, the problem is finding them.


Olde Crone Holden
06-02-08, 23:40
But sometimes death certs can be unexpectedly informative!

The informant turns out to be a married daughter you knew nothing about, or an unrelated name that nevertheless pulls together some sketchy guesses, or in one case, a third wife who nipped in between censuses and was remarried before the next, taking two of the children of this marriage to a new name.

I never would have known of her existence any other way because I was not expecting another marriage!


07-02-08, 02:40
I've bought a very few on my side but am about to go really mad - Dad's side I need about 20 mostly birth and deaths. Rather less on the other - Unfortunately too many born in Ireland too!!!!

07-02-08, 08:27
If you're lucky enough to find entries for your ancestors in the National Probate Calendar (i.e. they left a will which went to probate or an estate large enough to require administration to be granted) then you will probably get quite a lot of the info that would be on the death cert for free - date and place of death, occupation and residence. And if you get a copy of the will it actually costs less than a death certificate and may well give you more names than the one informant's name you would get from the cert. Of course, it might just say "my wife" and / or "all my children", name the bank manager as the executor and be no help at all!

07-02-08, 08:52
Trouble is you never know what a certificate can tell you. I decided to get all my g.grandmas brothers and sisters birth certs, as I was trying to connect to another line. On one of these mum has a different maiden name, so thats put a spanner in the works. If I hadn't decide on getting these I would never have known this.

Mind you I am an SCC (serial certificate collector).

Stands outside Tescos rattling a tin.:):)

07-02-08, 12:25
Wills are definitely worth getting, as Kite Runner says. I got Daniel Marsh's address, married names of the girls, who he left the silver spoons to....

I also had seen the cemetery records, so knew where he was buried, how deep the grave was and what the family paid for it.

The death certificate came as a real shock: he had dropped down dead in a police court! I was only buying the cert to "complete the set" but that lead to the newspapers and the whole lurid story.

Anthony Camp always said "kill them off" and until you actually have the death certificate, you don't know that you have made away with the right person. (And okay, sometimes you have your doubts even then!)

Olde Crone Holden
07-02-08, 12:52

Yes, that was the rule I learned too - kill em off first. Saves you endless hours of frustration looking for them, if they turn out to have died aged 5!

Wills are invaluable too as Kate says, even more so pre registration and have helped me to reconstruct many a wobbly sketch family.


07-02-08, 16:56
I've only managed to find wills for two of mine, despite knowing the exact dates of death for numerous others. Anyone know of any particular reason why someone might not have left a will, or if they did, why it might not appear in the probate indexes? Doesn't appear to have anything to do with the size of the estate, since although one of my two left an estate valued at over £4000 in 1914, the other was under £100 (1872). The latter also suggested that his death wasn't entirely unexpected, since the will was made less than a month before.

vikki brace
07-02-08, 17:10
Don't know how many I need, but if I am ordering one to solve a mystery or to help with a wall, I also order a cert for my direct line (usually deaths). That way I get 2 certs and that will ususally keep me busy for a while.

Also can I also agree with Kiterunner about the Probate - I managed to visit the office in London, and came away with loads of info, I only ordered 1 will and 1 Admon but the info you find from the books is invaluable

07-02-08, 17:44
Michael, it seems that some people gave all their money etc away while still alive, to avoid death duties.

07-02-08, 17:52
i dont have at all. the wish list is much bigger than the got list. but hilst the kids keep flooding my bathroom (£115 electricians bill) and daamaging their school shoes after 4 weeks (£30 per pair) i cant buy them.

considers leaving kids dirty for few days and sitting in a shop doorway in hope of money and sympathy...

Glen in Tinsel Knickers
07-02-08, 18:02
In my direct lines i have four outstanding death certs and several marriages (not the important marriages, more the first marriage or the re-marriages etc),

That puts me in a quandary really, my birth mother married twice before i was born, as yet i haven't ordered either cert but from my birth cert and her death and birth cert it is obvious that i have the correct details. I don't really want to order the certs because of the living descendants from those marriages but things aren't "complete" till i do.

Also both my maternal grandparents ancestry is slightly complicated because of re-marriages for their parents, (both were raised or lived with older half siblings/uncles). I really need to get the certs for the half sibs to show the relationships and interfamily marriages to clarify things (i know what happened but others don't !!!).

If i get all the certs mentioned above then the total stands at around 12 or 13.

08-02-08, 01:20
Thanks KR, that might tie in with my theory about the 1876 one - if he'd been ill he might not have been in much of a state to go round distributing his stuff, and just scribbled down the will and let someone else sort it. I doubt there'd have been much duty to pay on an estate that small anyway.

Olde Crone Holden
08-02-08, 01:41

Just as today, some people thought they were never going to die and didn't make a will.

My 4 x GGF died in 1817. He was a very comfortable farmer aged 73 - but he didn't leave a will.

This turned out to be greatly to my advantage in fact, because there was an Admon, which of course, didn't tell me much, except that admon was granted to his widow, and then regranted, after her death, because she couldn't be bothered with the admon.

However, someone must have got to her because she herself left the most fantastic will, in which she detailed every spoon and bucket, named all her children ( a nice checking point) and all her grandchildren too, many of whom I didn't have. I also got the information that most of the children had had their share long before their father died.

I got 37 names out of that will, all for £3.50!