Final form in a set which takes you from the cradle to the grave

The third, and final, certificate that applies to all people in the UK is the one issued after their death.

The area above the main part of the certificate indicates the year of death, the registration district in which the death occurred, the sub-district and the county, in this case Norfolk.

The main body of the certificate offers a range of information which can be checked against other sources to ensure you are tracking the right family member.


This details the full date of death and full address of the deceased.


The full name of the deceased. This again is information which can be checked off against other information. In this case the first and last names correspond with other information but the middle name has the same initial as a previous certificate but here it is Vyrnwy whereas a previous certificate listed the name as Vernon.


provides the information regarding sex of the deceased.


This reveals the age of the deceased and is something which can be checked off against other information including the known/ date of birth.


This is another important piece of information which can be used to check against other sources – occupation of the deceased. In this case it can be compared to the occupation listed form the same name in other sources and in this case confirms we have the right person, a minister of religion in the Presbyterian Church of Wales (retired) which corresponds with the information provided on his son’s marriage certificate.


The cause of death can reveal a good deal of information. As well as the actual cause of death this may also include the letters P.M. which indicates that a post mortem examination was made. This is not normally the case in death from a long-term illness, especially if the deceased was seen not long before death. It might be carried out if there are indication that death might have been from a different cause. The name and qualification of either the family doctor or the person who carried out the PM will also be included.


Identifies the informant including their address. In many cases this will tend to be a relation and can be very useful again in identifying the correct family. In this case, however, the informant was clearly the senior person at an institution, probably a hospital, in which the death had occurred.


Gives the date on which the death was registered. Normally this occurs on the day of death or within a day or two. If there is a long gap between the date of death and the date of registration it might be worth investigating.


This is simply the name of the registrar who has noted the details.

The three certificates which track your life and death might appear very basic and lacking in information, but they are important in confirming details of the person whose lineage you are tracing.

An error early in the research could end up with you tracing a family who have no connection with your root person and could be very costly.

Tracing ancestry can be fun but you must remember to check every detail and then check it again.

Published by Robin

I'm a retired journalist who still has stories to tell. This seems to be a good place to tell them.

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