CHESHIRE-L ArchivesArchiver > CHESHIRE > 2001-11 > 1005695773
From: Brett Langston <>
Subject: Re: [CHS] Too Easy
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 23:56:13 GMT
The message <>
from contains these words:
> A lot of folks do not realise that between 1837 and 1875
> registration of births, marriages and deaths was voluntary. Because of the
> need to call banns and the need to bury people, most marriages and deaths
> were registered, but over 20% of births were not registered.
Just to be clear on this point, registration *was* compulsory from
1837, but fines for failing to comply were only introduced from 1875.
The original loophole existed because the 'informants' could be the
parents, or someone present at the birth, or the occupier of the
house or institution where the birth took place. If none of these
notified the registrar of the birth, it couldn't be established which
of them was at fault. But from 1875 onwards it became the parents'
duty to ensure that the birth was registered
We should also remember that from 1837 to 1875, the registrars were
paid according to the number of births they registered, which was a
great incentive for them to do their job thoroughly! Many of them
scoured the local villages and hospitals, and If they found out that
a birth had taken place, the parents were obliged to answer the
registrar's questions or face a hefty fine.
In Cheshire it's estimated that around 10% of children evaded
registration, mostly in the period before 1845. But this included
those who died within the first six weeks of infancy, and therefore
have a death certificate but no birth registration. If our ancestors
made it to adulthood then their birth is much more likely to have
been registered, even if it was done when they were approaching
pensionable age (which did happen!).
Hope this helps,
The Family History Society of Cheshire
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