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Thursday, 13 March 2008

Understanding Death Certificates (UK)

In 1837 a death had to be registered within 8 days, this was reduced to 5 days in 1875. At the start of 1866, the indexes to deaths give the age of the deceased at death. Again, the information on the certificate is only as good as the informant's knowledge of the deceased. Women often shaved a few years off their age and this "revised" age might be the one recorded. If there was no body a death cannot be registered. In 1875, to get a death certificate, you needed a certificate from the Doctor with the cause of death. This allowed you to get the Civil Registration Death Certificate and a Certificate of Disposal to take to the undertaker.

A death certificate will contain the following information:

Place and date of death
Name and Surname of the deceased
Age at death
Occupation of the deceased
Cause of death
Signature, name and address of informant (and sometimes relationship to the deceased)
Date of registration
Signature of registrar

On 1st July 1927, registration of the death of stillborn commenced. After 1 April 1969, the date and place of birth of the deceased and the maiden name (in the case of a married woman) are also given.