National Archives
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More overseas birth, marriage and death records available online

Records from the General Register Office: Miscellaneous Foreign Returns, 1831-1964 (RG 32) have been added to the online service at BMD Registers. Searching the records is free, but there is a charge to download images of the original documents.

The records contain largely non-statutory documents relating to births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials abroad, and on British as well as foreign ships, of British subjects, nationals of the colonies, the Commonwealth and countries under British jurisdiction. Events affecting some foreign nationals are also included.

Records consist mainly of certificates issued by foreign registration authorities and copies of entries kept by incumbents of English churches and missions, chaplains and burial authorities. While many are in local languages, these have been translated for this service. The records also contain documents sent voluntarily by individuals to the Registrar General.

The records were previously only viewable on microfilm at The National Archives, Kew as the RG 32 series. This latest release further opens up these fascinating and intriguing records for family historians.  

For the Second World War: 

  • Notifications of deaths of some members of the British armed services, prisoners of war, civilians, internees and deaths through aircraft lost in flight
  • Records covering deaths in Japanese and German prison internment camps (including executions)
  • One message marked 'secret' covers Manila and the Japanese massacre of both internees and non-internees

Other notable records:

  • Notifications of some post-war deaths of civilians in mining service
  • Material relating to the Channel Islands and a return for births on Lundy Island (Devon)
  • The baptism of Constance Georgina Bulwer-Lytton, whose grandfather Lord Lytton wrote 'the pen is mightier than the sword'. Constance later became famous as a suffragette who carved a V (for Votes for women) over her heart while in prison

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