Late Registrations.

Anyone who has spent hours in the GRO sifting through the indexes will be aware of the phenomenon of ‘late registrations’. Like a product from the Ronseal factory, they are exactly what they say on tin, late registrations of births, marriage or deaths.

These are indicated in the indexes of the year in which the event actually took place, either as annotations on the page or at the end of the index. These annotations vary between hand-written and printed entries (sometimes both), depending on the index, and contain a reference to which quarter and year the event was registered.


For instance, the birth of Joe Blogs (b. 12 May 1904, Castlebar), but not registered until December 1906, might appear in the 1904 index like so;

Blogs, Joe , Castlebar, Dec 1906

For the most part, late registrations are an uninteresting inconvenience to the researcher. The product of tardy practices on the part of their ancestors!

However, in some instances late registrations can hint at other goings on. For instance, a birth registered a year or two after the actually event is far from cause for intrigue, but a birth registered 20 years or so after the event poses a whole other question, why then?

I recently came across such a late registration, registered 17 years after the birth took place. This again posed the question why in this year? Upon further investigation it became clear.

This individual was born in 1906, the birth went unregistered for whatever reason, was eventually registered in 1923 and in 1924 they set sail for America to begin their new life.

So when dealing with late registrations of more than a year, always question what is motivating this desire to have the event registered.

By Expert Researcher,

Stephen Peirce,