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At Bristol Register Office we have many varied queries from customers at the counter and on the telephone. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.
Q: How do I apply for a replacement birth, marriage, civil partnership, or death certificate?
A: You can apply for a replacement certificate for a birth, death, marriage, or civil partnership if the event took place in Bristol - you will need to know exactly where the birth, marriage, civil partnership or death took place.
- By post.
- In person at the Old Council House.
If the event was not in Bristol, let us know exactly where the birth, death or marriage happened and we will tell you which office to apply to.
Q: How much does a certificate cost?
A: On the day of registration a birth, death or marriage certificate costs £4 and any extra or replacement certificates cost £7 while the register is in the custody of the Registrar, usually about one month. After this time, full and short birth certificates, marriage and death certificates cost £10 each. The shortened birth certificate has limited use, as it is not widely accepted. Civil partnership certificates cost £4 on the date of registration and £10 thereafter.
Q: How can I pay for a certificate?
A: If you apply for a replacement certificate in person at the Register Office, we can accept payment by cash or by credit or debit card.
If you apply for a replacement certificate online we can accept payment by debit and credit card.
If you apply for a replacement certificate by post, please make your cheque or postal order payable to Bristol City Council or The Superintendent Registrar and enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope for the reply. At present we are unable to accept payment by credit or debit cards for postal applications, as the cardholder must be present with their card and enter their PIN into our card machine. We hope to introduce card payments for postal applications in the future.
At present we can not accept card payments for certificates issued at the time of registering a birth, death, marriage or civil partnership.
Q: Can I apply for a certificate on the phone?
A: No. We cannot accept orders for replacement certificates without prior payment. At present we are unable to accept payment by credit or debit cards except where the applicant is present in the office with their card and can enter their PIN on the card machine. We hope to introduce card payments for applications by phone in the future.
Q: Can I apply for a certificate online?
A: Yes, please use the links below to order certificates online:
You can also make online applications through the General Register Office website if GRO index reference is known, or the exact date of the event (post 1900). Certificates ordered from the General Register Office cost £9.25 and may take longer to arrive.
Q: I would like to pay for a replacement certificate by credit or debit card?
A: We can accept payment by credit or debit card if you apply for a replacement certificate online, or in person at the Register Office with your card and PIN.
At present we are unable to accept payment by credit or debit cards for postal applications but we hope to introduce this method of payment in the future.
Credit and debit card payments can be made for certificates ordered from the General Register Office where the GRO reference number or the exact date of the event (post 1900) is known. Different fees and time scales may apply. See the General Register Office website for more information.
Q: How long does it take to get a replacement certificate?
A: This depends on whether you are collecting the certificate and whether you are using the standard or priority service. Find out more about how long it takes to get a certificate.
Q: Can I apply for a certificate on behalf of someone else?
A: Yes, so long as you know their full name, date and place of birth, father's full name, mother's full name and mother's maiden name.
Q: What if the birth, marriage or death was not in Bristol?
A:If you know where the event took place you can apply to the Register Office in that area. If not, you can apply to the General Register Office who hold birth, death and marriage records for all of England and Wales from 1837 to present.
Q: Can I apply for a certificate if I do not know where the event took place?
A: You may need to do some research using the national indexes of births, deaths and marriages. These are held on microfiche at Bristol Central Library, or are available on the internet on websites such as the Ancestry website, (a fee may be payable to access indexes online). Alternatively you can apply to the General Register Office who hold records for all of England & Wales and they may be able to help you.
Q: What is the difference between a standard birth certificate and a short birth certificate?
A: A standard birth certificate is also known as a full birth certificate, or a long birth certificate. It shows full information including parents' details and is the type of certificate accepted for everything where a birth certificate is required.
A short certificate basically only shows the name and date of birth, and is not accepted everywhere.
Q: Can I apply to the Bristol Register Office for family history certificates?
A: We cannot search the indexes for family history applications while you wait unless full information is known.
Birth certificate applications should show the name and surname of the person, the date and place of birth and parents names including the mother's maiden surname.
Death certificate applications should show the name and surname of the person, the date and place of the death and approximate age of the deceased.
Marriage certificate applications should show the name and surname of both parties and the date and the precise place of the marriage. If it is a church marriage you should give the name of the church.
If you are unable to supply the above information then we will ask you to leave your application with the register office and we will contact you within 7 working days. If the search has been successful we will request a payment of £10 per certificate before we make the certificate. We are unable to accept payment for certificate applications until we have identified the entry.
If you prefer, you may apply in writing, enclosing a separate cheque for each application, and a stamped addressed envelope for the reply.
You can also enquire by email. Contact us with your details at email@example.com. We will look into your enquiry within 7 working days and let you know if we are successful or not by email. You may then apply with your fee in person or by post and your certificate will be made in the normal way.
If the information held is very vague we suggest you apply directly to the General Register Office, PO Box 2, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 2JD You may be able to speed up your application through the General Register Office by obtaining the GRO index reference. This reference is available on microfiche at Bristol Central library or online on websites such as the Ancestry website. A fee may be payable to access online indexes. Websites such as FreeBMD are free and easy to use but may not always hold a complete set of records.
Q: Do you have records of wills?
A: No. The Bristol Probate Registry is at The Bristol District Probate Registry, The Civil Justice Centre, 2 Redcliff Street, Bristol, BS1 6GR
Tel: 0117 366 4960 or 4961
Q: How can get I information on inquests and the Coroners Court?
A: Contact the Coroner's Office at The Courthouse, Old Weston Road, Flax Bourton BS48 1UL Tel: 01275 461 920
Q: Do you have divorce records?
A: No. The Divorce Court is at the Civil Justice Centre, 2 Redcliff Street, Bristol BS1 6GR. Tel: 0117 366 4880.
Q: How do I change a name?
A: If it is a change of name for a baby less than a year old please telephone the register office 0117 922 2800 to discuss this matter with a member of staff.
If it is a change of name for someone older you can get a change of name deed poll from a solicitor. It may also be possible to get a statutory declaration from the Magistrates Court at Marlborough Street, Bristol BS1 3NU. Tel: 0117 930 2400.
A change of name deed poll or a statutory declaration will not change the name on a birth certificate.
Q:Do you have a complete set of records?
A: Until the Second World War, Bristol Register Office was situated on what is now Castle Park. In November 1940 this area was destroyed by bombs, and sadly many of our historical records of births and deaths prior to this date were destroyed. While no marriage records held at the Register Office were destroyed, many were lost when churches were bombed. Also, although civil registration began in 1837, it wasn't compulsory to register a birth, death or marriage until 1874.
Q: Do you hold records other than birth, death, marriage and civil partnership registrations?
A: No.For other types of records you may need to contact the Bristol Record Office or the Crematoria at Canford or South Bristol. Many useful records are also held at the Central Library on College Green and the Mormon Church in Whitchurch.
Q: Where is the Land Registry?
A: There is no Land Registry Office in Bristol. The nearest one to Bristol is in Gloucester. Tel: 01452 511 111.
Q: Where do I register to vote?
A: Find out more on our'How to register to vote' page.
The Bristol Register Office The Old Council House Corn Street Bristol, BS1 1JG Opening Hours
Entrance on Broad Street.
- 9am to 4pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
- 10am to 4pm on Wednesday, evening appointments from 5pm to 7pm.
- Saturday mornings by appointment only.
The call centre for making appointments is open between 8.30am and 6pm and closes on Wednesday afternoons between 12pm and 1.30pm
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Work: General: 0117 922 2800. Naming Ceremonies and Renewal of Vows: 0117 922 2800.
- Fax: 0117 903 8877