The death indexes for England and Wales between 1837 and 2005 will help you get hold of death certificates for ancestors who died during this period. Finding out the circumstances of their death may also tell you more about how they lived.
If you’re looking for deaths between 1837 and 1915, search the FreeBMD collections – there’s a separate transcription of these indexes from 1916-2005. However, they’re both in the same place on our site and easy to find.
Relatively few deaths are missing from the registers, even though registration wasn’t compulsory until 1875. The main reason people have difficulty finding a death record is they have inaccurate date or location information. Deaths before 1837 in the United Kingdom should be found in parish register burials, so try searching our parish records collections.
Death indexes include the surname, first name, the year and quarter the event was recorded in, the registration district and the volume and page number where the death certificate information is recorded at the General Register Office. After 1866, the age at death is also listed, helping you work out the person’s year of birth. Be careful, though – the age shown may have been estimated by whoever reported the death, and they may not have accurately known the person’s age.
Using the information in the indexes, you can order a certificate that will tell you their name, age, sex, date and place of death, occupation, cause of death, and the date of registration. You can order the certificate through Ancestry.co.uk by clicking the trolley icon on the left when viewing the transcription.