British Overseas

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Statutory Registration at the GRO

England and Wales, mainly 1837+, at Registrar General Office in separate registers, some now online, some fiche. Find something in the index then order it from the GRO.

Army Chaplin returns - Boer, WWI and II BMD. Army B indexes. Army M indexes (1914-1925). Ships, planes and oil rigs - Marine B&D (1837-1965), Air B&D (1947-1965), rarely have a specific year just ranges.

British Consuls and High Commissions records include Consular BMD (1849-1965), Ionian Island B (1818-1864), High Comm. B&D (b4 1966) and M (1966+), Abroad BMD (1966+)

Indexes to these registers found at:

  • The Genealogist -'Overseas BMDs', inc. marine B (1837-1915), army BMD (1747-1980), consular BMD (1849-1915)]
  • FindMYPast
  • Free at Family Relatives, 'Overseas Records'. Not inc. ships,planes, oil rigs.
  • Ancestry has army birth indexes, registers of BMD at sea 1844-1890

Local Civil Registration

Ask when it did civil reg. start in that country? Is it at the Federal or State level?

FamilySearch Browse by Country.

Cyndi's List has country links.

Generally indexes are not as good as the UK ones.

Ancestry has USA census 1790-1940 and Canada 1851, 1891-1911.

LDS has USA 1880, Canada 1881, Australia 1828 & Ontario 1871 (on CD), several US states (on CD).


Miscellaneous paperwork and originals might be sent to England and end up at TNA. Ended up as Foreign Office (FO) & Non-Statutory (RG).

RG32-36 are indexed in RG43.

Search the TNA catalogue for FO and Tientism.

Ancestry has UK BMD from British Consulates 1810-1968 and RG32-36 indexes and images.

BMD Regsiters has RG32-RG36 (these are indexed on FamilySearch).


SoG has a variety of papers which may be of use inc. school, college and uni. registers and alumni records; Australian wills 1800-1982 on fiche; 'missing heirs and next of kin' notices from colonial solicitors. Lower library has special collections eg: Smith Index for the Caribbean, Teacher Registration Council reg. 1902-1948 for many OS teachers.; merchant seamen and families 1780-1890 inc. Napoleonic POWs in the 'Trinity House Petitions'.

'Andrews Index' on Ancestry is of miscell. notices.

Try social media and societies.

Anglican Church

Collections exist at the Guildhall, London, deposited for the Diocesan Record Office for the Bishop of London. People could register events they deemed of importance. Includes returns from 1816-1925 of British chaplins, embassies, missions and some factories. Later these were sent to the Diocese of Gibraltar (1921-1969). These later ones came from Algeria, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Romania and Yugoslavia but not Gibraltar. Also copied of Bishop Transcripts from foreign lands.

Indexed online at FamilySearch with author as 'Church of England'. Foreign Registers 1785-1891, index 1861-1865. SoG and London Met. Archives have films of these.


Published lists are at SoG and include Nth America, Caribbean, Australia, Canada, S.A., N.Z. and others.

TNA has BT26 (border trade) for outward bound passenger lists.

FMP & Ancestry has immigration/emmigration records.


BL has India Office Records.

FIBIS. Families in British India Society.

SoG has India index 1780-1857, Anglo Indian correspondence research, army lists, East India Co. and civil servants documents.


'Tracing births, deaths and marriages at sea' by Christopher T. & Michael J. Watts.

'International Vital Records Handbook' byThomas Jay Kemp.

'The British Overseas', Guildhall Library Research Guide 2.

'Abstract of Arrangements respecting registration of births, marriages and deaths'. HMSO (GRO) 1952.

'Tracing your ancestors in TNA' by Amanda Bevan.