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Anguline Research Archives.
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New researchers often ask what is the difference between a certificate purchased from the GRO and from a Parish Register; or between a Parish Register and a Bishop's Transcript.

The images below will help you see differences that may occur, and allow you to decide whether to simple check one or the other.

We advise researchers always to check all available sources as on may have vital details the others miss.

These certificates may have been reduced in size to fit on the page and are not in scale with each other.

GRO Certificate and a copy of an Entry from a Church Marriage Register.



If you look closly at the two images below you will see the first has been written by one person and the second has been signed by different people.


Example of a GRO Marriage Certificate

Click on the image to enlarge

size : 347mm. x 164mm.

The above entry has been completed by one person (this could be the Rector, Vicar, Curate etc. for church weddings or the Registrar, for civil weddings)

Example of a Marriage entry in a Parish Register.

Click on the image to enlarge

size : 347mm. x 164mm.

The above entry has been mainly filled in by one person (the Minister), but the signatures have been each made by a different person.
The Bride and Groom, the two witnesses and by the minister, these are "your" ancestors signatures.


Parish Register versus Bishop's Transcript.


It can be seen from the following images that in this instance the Bishop's Transcript contains far less information than the Parish Register entry (Bury, St. Mary, Lancashire) ; this is not always the case.

In some earlier instances the vicar took the opportunity to tidy up his register and sent the original pages to the Bishop, other vicars added details to the Bishop's Transcript that were not on the original register.

A Bishop's Transcript of 1784

The Parish Register the Bishop's Transcript originated from.



Compare a "short" Scottish birth certificate to a "long" Scottish birth certificate

Note also the date of Frank's baptism was almost three and a half years after his birth.

size : 245mm. x 200mm.

Abbreviated or “Short Birth Certificate” 1944


Long or “Full Birth Certificate” 1944