REGISTRATION OF BIRTHS. DEATHS, AND MARRIAGE& Par ish registers were not kept in England till after the dissolution of the monasteries. The 12th article of the injunctions issued by Cromwell, Henry the Eighth's secre tary, in 1538, directs that every clergy man shall, for every church, keep a book wherein he shall register weekly every marriage, christening, and death, any neglect being made penal. This measure was surmised to be preliminary to a new levy of taxes, and therefore caused much alarm. In the first year of the reign of Edward VI. (1547) ecclesiastical visitors were sent through the different dioceses in order to enforce various injunctions, and, among others, that of Cromwell with re spect to parish registers. In the begin ning of Elizabeth's reign this injunction was repeated, when the clergy were re quired to make a protestation in which, among other things, they promised to keep the register-book in a proper and regular manner. In 1694 an Act (6 & 7 Wm. III. c. 6) for a general registration of marriages, births, and deaths, was passed merely for purposes of revenue ; it is entitled " An Act for granting to his Majesty certain rates and duties upon Marriages, Births, and Burials, and upon bachelors and widowers, for the term of five years, for on the war against France with vigour." It is a very long Act, in which the duties are minutely set down. A supplementary Act was passed (9 Wm. III. c. 32), entitled " An Act for preventing frauds and abuses in the charging, collecting, and paying the du ties upon marriages, births, burials, ba chelors, and widowers. The 52 Geo. III. C. 146 (28 July, 1812), entitled "An Act for the better regulating and preserving parish and other registers of births, bap tisms, marriages, and burials, in Eng land," made some alteration in the law, chiefly with reference to having the books made of parchment or strong paper. and to their being kept in dry and well painted iron chests.
The Registration Act (6 & 7 Wm. IV. c. 86: 17 Aug., 1836), entitled " An Act for registering Births, Deaths, and Marriages, in England," came into operation July 1, 1837. By the 44th section of the 6 & 7 Wm. IV. c. 85, entitled "An Act for Marriages in England," the provisions of this Registra tion Act are extended to the Marriage Act. [MARRIAGE, p. 322.] The most important provisions of this Registration Act are the following :—A general registry-office is to beprovided in London and Westminster (§ 2). Lord Treasurer and Lords Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury to appoint officers, and fix salaries, to be paid out of the consolidated fund (§§ 3 and 4). Regula tions for conduct of officers to be framed under direction of the Secretary of State (§ 5). Annual abstract of registers to be laid before Parliament (§ 6). The guar dians of the poor of a union or parish, shall on the 1st of October, 1836, if the board is established at the passing of the Act, or, if not, within three months after its establishment, divide the union or parish into districts as directed by the registrar general, and appoint registrars and super intendent registrar, if the clerk of the guardians will not or cannot execute that office (§ 7). Register offices to be pro vided in each union by the guardians, and to be under the care of the superin tendent registrar (§ 9). Temporary re gistrars and superintendent registrars to be appointed, for parishes not having guardians under the Poor-law Act, by the Poor-law Commissioners ; but in case of subsequent unions, previous appoint ments to be vacated (§§ 10 and 11). Deputy registrars may be appointed by the registrars (§ 12). All books, &c. to be transferred on removal of registrar or superintendent, under a penalty of com mittal to gaol (0 15). Registrar and deputy to dwell in the district, and their names and additions to be put on their dwelling-houses (§ 16). Register books to be provided by the registrar-general, for making entries of all births, deaths, and marriages of his Majesty's subjects in England, according to the forms of schedules (A, B, C) annexed to the Act (§ 17). Registrars authorised and re quired to inform themselves carefully of every birth and every death which shall happen within their district after the first day of March, 1837, and to learn and register as soon after the event as conveniently may be done, without fee or reward, save as hereinafter mentioned, in one of the said books, the particulars re quired to be registered according to the forms of the said schedules (A and B) respectively, touching every such birth or every such death not already regis tered (§ 18). After March 1, 1837,
parents and occupiers may, within forty two days after birth and five after death, give notice thereof to registrar ; and owners and coroners must do so forth with in cases of foundlings and exposed dead bodies (§ 19). Parents and occu piers, on being required by the registrar, within forty-two days, must give all the particulars required to be registered re specting birth (§ 20). Children born at sea must be registered by the captain (§ 21). After the expiration of forty two days from the birth of the child, it can only be registered within six mouths, on the solemn declaration of the par ticulars before the superintendent re gistrar, who is to sign the entry, and to re ceive 2s. Gd. and registrar 5s., extra fee ; and no registration, after forty-two days, shall be made otherwise than as above, under a penalty of 501. (§ 22). Births not to be registered after six months, under a penalty not exceeding 501, and no registration after that date shall be evidence (§ 23). Name given in bap tism may be registered within tax mouths after registration of birth, on production of a certificate by the minister (˘ 24). Some person present at death, or occupier of house, required to give particulars of death, on application by registrar, within eight days ; regis trar to make entry of finding of jury upon coroner's inquests (§ 25). Re gistry of persons (lying at sea, containing particulars, to be kept by the captain (§ 26). Registrar to give certificate of death to undertaker, who shall deliver the same to the minister or officiating person, and unless such certificate is de livered the minister must give notice to the registrar ; but the coroner may order body to buried, and give certificate thereof ; and if any dead body shall be buried without certificate of registry or of inquest, and no notice given to the registrar within seven days, the party shall forfeit la (§ 27). Every register must be signed by the informant (§ 28). Registrars to make out accounts quar terly, to be verified by the superin tendent, and are to be paid by the guardians, as directed (§ 29). Marriage register books to be provided by the re gistrar-general for ministers (§ 30). Mar riage registers to be kept in duplicate, containing the several particulars of schedule C ; and every entry shall be signed by the clergyman, or the register ing officer, or secretary of Quakers and Jews, and by persons married, and by two witnesses (§ 31). Certified copies of registers of births and deaths to be sent quarterly, and the register-books, when filled, to the superintendent-registrar (§ 32). Duplicates and certified copies of registers of marriages to be sent to superintendent-registrar (§ 33). Super intendent-registrars to send certified copies of registers to the general register office (§ 34). Searches may be made and certificates given by the persons keeping the registers, on payment of the fees pre scribed (§ Indexes to be made at the superintendent-registrar's office, searches allowed, and certified copies given (§ 36). Indexes to be kept at general register office, searches allowed, and certified copies given (§ 37). Certi fted copies given at general register office to be sealed, and shall then be evidence 'without further proof at 38). Ministers, &c. may ask parties married the particulars required to be registered ; and wilfully giving false information is perjury (§§ 40 and 41). Penalty for not duly registering births, deaths, and mar riages, or for losing or injuring the re gisters, not exceeding 50/. Penalty for destroying or falsifying register-books, or entries therein, or giving false certifi cates, is felony (§ 43). Accidental errors may be corrected, within one month, in the presence of the parties (* 44). Modes of recovering penalties and of making appeals are provided for by §§ 45 and 46. Registers of baptism and ' burials may be kept as heretofore 49). Registrar-general to furnish notices to guardians of unions, &c. specifying acts required to be done by parties register ing, and which are to be published in conspicuous places of the unions or parishes (§ 50).