Place:Penzance Registration District, Cornwall, England


NamePenzance Registration District
TypeRegistration district
Located inCornwall, England     (1837 - 2007)
the following text is copied from an article in Wikipedia

A registration district in the United Kingdom is a type of administrative region which exists for the purpose of civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths and civil partnerships. It has also been used as the basis for the collation of census information.


Origin and development (England and Wales)

Registration districts in England and Wales were created with the introduction of civil registration on 1 July 1837 and were originally co-terminous with poor law unions. Their existence as autonomous entities came to an end in 1930, when the relevant administrative county or county borough was made responsible. A subsequent series of reforms of local government has resulted in the responsibility today being held by the relevant county council, unitary authority, metropolitan district, or London borough.

Each district is divided into sub-districts, each of which has a registrar responsible for the registration of births, marriages, civil partnerships, and deaths in his or her area. Overall responsibility for a district is held by a superintendent registrar.

Registration districts are not always co-terminous with county boundaries, and so in the past were grouped into "registration counties" for statistical purposes. They remained in use for the census from 1851 to 1911.

end of Wikipedia contribution

A registration sub-district was made up of several civil parishes (ancient parishes before 1866). Due to changes in population density, some civil parishes were formed during the period 1866-1930 from earlier parishes with different names and covering a somewhat different geographical area.

Sub-Registration Districts and Civil Parishes

(Sources:A Vision of Britain through Time and GENUKI)

Research Tips

Births, Marriages and Deaths

FreeBMD is a voluntary project aiming to transcribe and provide online the indices of births, marriages and deaths from the Civil Registrations of England and Wales. These are the indexes to the Civil Registers (vital statistics), not the individual registrations. The registrations themselves can only be obtained by applying to the Registrar General and paying the appropriate fee for each registration. (This process can be carried out online from anywhere in the world.)

FreeBMD orders its database firstly by surname and first name and then adds in other variables such as date, parents' names and registration district. The index is produced by the Registrar General four times a year and the closest date estimate obtainable is the quarter of the year (i.e., Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep, Oct-Dec). These are often expressed as "quarter ending Mar [year]", etc. Directions as to how to use the index are given under How best to Search.

The accuracy of the results from the index depends on the popularity of the name and one's knowledge of the family and the area in which they lived. The Advanced Facilities pages within Free BMD advise, amongst other things, the approximate number of births, marriages and deaths found per quarter in a registration district.

Currently FreeBMD states that it has in its database entries from 1837 until 1983, but there are sections of that period not covered for different parts of the country. Earlier periods have been transcribed more thoroughly than later periods.

Most other databases (paid or unpaid) providing indexes to the Civil Registers work on the same principles as FreeBMD. Church registers which stretch into the period of Civil Registration may provide more details, but these may not be obtainable for all denominations in all localities.


UK censuses are taken every ten years in the years ending in "1". There was no census in 1941. Details are not made available for 100 years after a census. The latest census available is 1911.

A number of online databases (both paid and free) provide transcriptions of censuses up to 1911. Most of these provide information for an individual or a family. Many also provide images of the originals and thus allow browsing of a page or perhaps a whole enumeration district.

The Cornwall Online Census Project is a complete line-by-line transcription of all the 19th century censuses for Cornwall plus three sections from 1901. The formal Registration District Numbers (those starting with RG) and the Enumeration District Numbers (which start with ED) are included.

The 1841 census differs from the later ones in two different ways.

  • The question "where born" was to be answered either with the words "in county" or a more specific place in the case of those born outside the county.
  • Ages for adults (usually those over 15, though some enumerators gave specific ages up to 20) were rounded down to the nearest 5 years. (i.e., for persons aged 15 years and under 20 write 15; 20 years and under 25 write 20; 25 years and under 30 write 25; and so on up to the eldest interval.

From 1851 onwards people were asked for the county and civil parish in which they were born whether in or out of the county, and ages were expressed exactly (in months for infants).

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Registration district. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.