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“As an amateur genealogist, I've looked at many...”

Written on: 02/05/2005 by bluenovember (2 reviews written)

Good Points
Finding birth, marriages and deaths for certificates.

Bad Points
Costs money, can take time.

General Comments
As an amateur genealogist, I've looked at many websites for research purposes. Some that I use are local area websites, like for Hampshire (where I live). Others are national research facilities. is such a site.


What Is 1837online?

1837 is the birth, marriage and death index for England and Wales from 1837 to 2002. This gives details of surname, name(s), year and quarters, and registration districts. This site also includes the births, marriages and deaths of British nationals abroad from 1761 to 1994; I've never used this so won't be commenting on it. You can apply for certificates, but you are referred to the General Register Office website.


Registering & Payment

Registering is free. You are asked for the usual information: name, address, email etc. Like a few sites I've found, it's not entirely free. To view the pages means payment. To buy the units for viewing the pages you click on the 'buy more units' on the left of the page. Each unit purchased views one page. The tariff is as follows:

£5 for 55 units @ 10p per unit valid for 45 days

£10 for 122 units @ 9p per unit valid for 60 days

£15 for 194 units @ 8.5p per unit valid for 90 days

£25 for 345 units @ 8p per unit valid for 120 days

£60 for 891 units @ 7.5p per unit valid for 365 days

£120 for 2640 units @ 5p per unit valid for 365 days

Although the units are for limited time-spans, once you start researching, it's amazing how quickly the units disappear. As you use the units you can view how many you have left on the main page (the viewing pages come up as a separate window). If it doesn't seem to be going down, press F5 on your keyboard or 'Refresh' on your internet browser. You can use a credit or debit card to pay; they accept most major cards. An alternative way is by BT Click&Buy; you simply register and, by using your 1837 username and password, purchase units.


Searching For Names

There are three searching categories:

England & Wales 1837-1983

England & Wales 1984 to present

Overseas 1761-1994

For the England and Wales categories, you need at least a surname to start with. There is a drop down box for whether you are looking for a birth, marriage or death. Then you need to choose the year(s) you want to search. Remember, the more pages you look at the more units you use, so try and find as much specific information as possible. This isn't always possible, as you may only have only an idea of who, when and where, so having good guess-work comes in handy. The quarters are: January-March, April-June, July-September and October-December. If in doubt put Jan-Mar in the first box then Oct-Dec in the second. Then 'search.' A list of the relevant pages that you asked for will then appear. Click on 'View' to the page you want.


Viewing The Pages

It's a good point at this stage to tell you about DjVu. This is a plug-in you can download to view the page images; you cannot see them without it. At the top of the website page is a 'Download' link for this. DjVu is compatible with the following:

Netscape Navigator

Microsoft Internet Explorer

Windows 98 and later

Mac OS X

Mac OS 9


Simply choose your operating system and follow the instructions.

So now when you click on a page to view the image will appear and you can search through the list. There is a tool available to be able to zoom in, which is valuable when the pages aren't all that clear.


To Order Certificates

To order you will be referred to the General Registration Office (GRO) website. To use this you will need to register with them; this is free.


This website is a good resource for finding information, but, like genealogy, it can be time consuming to search. This isn't because of the site, but rather, if you haven't got enough information about an ancestor you're looking for then it can take up time and money. My suggestion is to look for other relevant information through the census returns and parish records before embarking on the index. That way you'll make the most of this facility.

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