Registration Service

Family History Services

At the Isle of Wight Register Office, we hold original deposited registers for births, deaths and marriages that have taken place in the County since 1 July 1837 when civil registration began.

How to begin the journey of looking into your family history

The first step is to gather all the information you can from relatives such as:

  • Names.
  • Dates.
  • Addresses.


Look at documents such as:

  • Wills.
  • Family bibles.
  • Newspaper cuttings.
  • Any birth, death or marriage certificates already held.


Draw up a basic family tree to give you an idea of the gaps that you will need to fill. Then work backwards using information known already about relatives.

Census records are very useful in finding out the names of other family members.

If, for example, you know your grandmother’s date and place and birth, apply for her birth certificate and this will give you her parent’s full names including her mother’s maiden surname. Your next step would then be to search for her parent’s marriage certificate which you should find through searching the family records indexes. These indexes are available to search on various websites, some free of charge.

Records at the IOW Register Office’s

  • Civil registration of births, deaths and marriages started on 1st July 1837 and so our records go back to then (please note, we only hold records for the Isle of Wight area). 
  • Before July 1837, the Churches recorded baptisms, burials and marriage banns, some of which are held at the County Records Office, Hillside, Newport, Isle of Wight.
  • In addition the specialist IWC Library services provide access to the family history collection, this may be of use to you when researching your family tree.


Information you need to bring in order to obtain an old birth, death or marriage certificate

  • You need to know the name of the person.
  • Year of birth, death or marriage.
  • The registration district.
  • Any other information you may have that may help to identify the person(s) you are looking for.