If you have searched for records on Ancestry.com, you have used their BMD Indexes for your UK ancestors. BMD stands for Birth, Marriage, and Death. The indexes cover both England and Wales. Included on these records are the Registration Districts.

My very first search, over ten years ago, was for a birth record on my grandfather, James Lemon Aldous, born in 1914. The registration district listed was Blything, Suffolk. I knew he was born in Chediston, but I wanted to make sure I had the correct James Aldous.

I went to the website, UKBMD, entitled Registration Districts for England and Wales. Under this heading was a list of counties, so I selected Suffolk. Under Suffolk County was a list of registration districts, between the years 1837 to 1974.

Blything Registration District began in 1837 and ended in 1935. I opened this menu, and it showed me all the civil parishes under this registration district. Chediston was on the list, which helped confirm that I had the correct record.

There are six sets of civil BMD records on Ancestry.com. Three of them are birth, marriage and death records from 1837 to 1915. The other three are birth, marriage and death records from 1916 to 2005. There is another death index for 2007 to 2015, but this is not viewable and not complete.

The newer sets of records give you more information to make your search easier. The older ones give you less information. One fact is that many people did not include middle names on these records. I have found a lot of James Aldous’ in these older records but was lucky my grandfather had a middle name.

I have used the UKBMD website many times to verify that I have the correct record. The link listed above will take you to The Registration Districts of England and Wales.

You will notice the creation of new districts, over time, which meant the old ones ceased to exist. There was also a shift in boundaries that sometimes overlapped into other counties. When you use the UKBMD to verify your BMD records, please be aware of the “From” and “To” dates. And, a Suffolk parish could be in another Registration County, like Norfolk or Essex.

I hope you have time to view the link above. It can be a handy tool in the search for your English or Welsh ancestors.

If you have any additions you would like to make to this article; please feel free to leave a comment below.