Free BMD is a site run by volunteers, who are transcribing the indexes to birth, marriage and death certificates for England and Wales. It is the best site to begin your search for BMD certificates for your English and Welsh ancestors from 1837 to around 1912. The site enables you to find a reference number to order a certificate from the General Register Office (GRO).
This site is easy to use, and, of course, free. Just click on the picture, and search for your ancestor. Then return here for more information.
Free BMD is an ongoing project. Not all the indexes have been transcribed yet. To see how it is progressing, click here for the Free BMD progress page and select births, marriages or deaths. It’s regularly updated, so do check back. When you find your ancestor, you can check on the actual image from the GRO to ensure there hasn’t been a transcription mistake. Then you can order your certificate.
Tip: Ancestry also has a copy of the FreeBMD database, although it is not as up-to-date as on the FreeBMD site. However, searching here is more flexible, particularly for searching for just first names rather than last names. If you think your ancestor may have been mis-transcribed, it’s worth searching on Ancestry’s database, using wild cards etc.