You can get so much from a single line of text. First, there's the excitement of finally tracking down your ancestor. You can discover basic details about them, as well as attach the official record to their entry in your family tree.
You may also discover some amazing family secrets. For instance, if your ancestor's birth has been registered solely under their mother's surname, it could mean that the birth was illegitimate. If not, birth indexes after September 1911 also include the mother's maiden name and once you have this you can start searching for more information about her.
Sample records: [+] Click to magnify
A brief history of the BMD Indexes
The formal registration of births in England and Wales began on 1st July 1837 with the introduction of Civil Registration. Before this, each individual parish was responsible for maintaining their own Parish register - so for events before 1837, check our Parish Records.
While Civil Registration was meant to bring all births together in one place, it's important to know that registration was only made compulsory by law in 1875. So if you can't find your pre-1875 ancestors here, this could be why.