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Durham County Council

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Historic certificates online

You can request a historical birth, death, marriage or civil partnership certificate that was registered in County Durham from us. All enquiries for certificate requests should initially be made to the Bishop Auckland Register Office.

We've made it easier for you to apply for copies of certificates using our online search facility. You may find this particularly helpful if you are looking for birth or marriage records.

You will be given a certificate reference number which will help to speed up the response to your request.

The search facility will only work on registration service records that have been stored on our computer system.

You can find more than 1.2 million records using the search facility.

These include all of our records relating to more than 1.1 million marriages registered in County Durham and more than 375,000 records relating to births in the county. We are working to ensure all of our remaining birth, marriage and death records are stored on our computer system so that you'll be able to find them all using the search facility.

Only birth, marriage and death registrations relating to the current geographical boundaries of County Durham will be stored on computer.

Records for areas that are no longer part of County Durham, such as Sunderland, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Hartlepool, Stockton and Darlington, are not available using the search facility. You can find these records by contacting the relevant local council.

If you wish you can view details of the records indexed to date.

Once you have found your record using the search facility and made a note of your certificate reference number you have three choices on how to pay. The fee listed on the application form, which can be downloaded from this page, is incorrect, so it is advisable to check before sending your payment with the completed application form. 

Payment online using a credit card/debit card

You should only use this payment method if you are certain that the certificate you have asked for is the one you want.

When you use a credit or debit card the money will be taken from your account immediately and we will normally issue the certificate within seven days from the date of application.

If you discover you have bought the wrong certificate after paying by credit or debit card we will not be able to refund or exchange your purchase. Your statutory rights are not affected.

If you are totally satisfied that the certificate you have found is the correct one and you want to pay over the internet using your credit or debit card, follow the instructions on the search facility.

If you prefer not to use the online payment system using your credit or debit card you can choose one of the other options.

Payment by post using a cheque or credit/debit card

You should use this payment method if you are not sure whether the certificate you have found is the right one.

When you use the search facility you will be given an option of completing a form where you can list further details you would like to be checked before going ahead with your purchase.

Print out the form and send it to Bishop Auckland Register Office where all registration records for County Durham are held. Please enclose your cheque and a stamped addressed envelope.

Addresses are given on the guidance notes.

If you haven't been able to find the certificate you're looking for using the search facility you can still send us your completed form with the details you have, your cheque and stamped addressed envelope.

We will search the records that are not yet on the public search facility and send you the certificate you have asked for. If the certificate is not held in County Durham we will return your cheque.

If you prefer to pay by credit card please quote your credit card details on the application form instead of enclosing a cheque.

Sending an enquiry without payment

If you are not sure whether we have the certificate you are looking for you can check with us by completing an application form, printing it out and posting it to Bishop Auckland Register Office.

You should make sure you include enough information for us to be able to check whether we have the certificate you want.

We will search for the certificate using the date you have given us. If we can't find it we'll check the records for up to two years either side of that date.

If we find the certificate you want we will send you confirmation of the details you provided. If you want further information at that stage you will need to buy the certificate.

Registrars certificates online