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Family History

General Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths
Civil Registration of births, marriages and deaths in the Island of Guernsey (including Herm and Jethou) began in 1840. Registration in Guernsey of such matters in Sark and Alderney followed in 1925.

The Office of Registrar-General of Births, Marriages and Deaths is held by Her Majesty's Greffier.

Each register is indexed on an island-wide basis, except in the case of deaths prior to 1963, which are indexed parish by parish.

Staff at the Strongroom at the Greffe will be happy to assist with enquiries about family history. The Strongroom is open to members of the public for such research between 2pm and 4pm on Mondays to Fridays.

Below is a guide to some of the registers, archives, resources and organisations available to assist with family history research.

General Register of Births
Each entry on the register provides the following information:

  • Date of Birth
  • Christian names of child
  • Sex
  • Name of father and name of mother before marriage
  • Place of birth
  • Rank, profession or occupation of father
  • Date of registration

There are instances, especially prior to 1900, of births apparently having occurred in Guernsey without being registered. Reference to records of baptisms held by the Island's churches may assist in these cases. When a father's name is not declared at the time of registration, a child will be indexed under the mother's surname only.

General Register of Marriages
Each entry on the Register provides the following information:

  • Date of marriage
  • Surname and Christian names
  • Age (although prior to 1919, this entry indicated only whether or not the parties were of full age, that is to say, 20 years)
  • Condition (Bachelor, widower etc)
  • Rank, State or Profession.

Marriages solemnised by the Church of England were not registered with the Registrar-General until 1919.

Each entry is signed by the parties, by at least two witnesses and by the person solemnising the marriage. Further information about marriages in Guernsey can be found here.

General Register of Deaths
Each entry on the register provides the following information:

  • Date and hour of death (date only prior to 1907)
  • Name and surname and, where applicable, the husband's name and surname (prior to 1949, married women were indexed under their maiden name only)
  • Age
  • Name of father and mother before marriage
  • Place of death
  • Rank or profession and usual abode
  • Place of birth (not recorded before 1907)
  • Cause of Death
  • Date of Registration

The records of the cause of death may refer to an Inquest or 'Levee de Corps' and, from 1907 onwards, the name of the medical practitioner certifying the cause of death will also be recorded.

Census Returns for the Islands of Guernsey, Alderney and Sark
Census records for the years 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891 may be searched on microfilm at the Strongroom. The original records are held by the National Archives, please see the related website link.

From 1851, the census records gave the name, age, sex, marital status, place of birth, occupation and relationship to the head of the household (where appropriate) of all persons present in the Islands, or on board ships in the harbours, on census night.

These records are not indexed and may only be searched by applicants in person at the Strongroom. The returns are arranged in street order within each enumerator's district and it is therefore essential to know the approximate address of the persons that are subject of the search.

Miscellaneous Non-Parochial Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths
There are a number of miscellaneous non-parochial registers that have been deposited at the Greffe, together with transcripts of certain Anglican Parish registers. These include the Register of Baptisms and Burials maintained by the Garrison Chaplain at Fort George between 1794 and 1810, the Registers of the Society of Friends between 1791 and 1841 and transcripts of the Parish registers of St Peter Port between 1563 and 1794.

First and Second World War Records
The Greffe maintains lists of Guernseymen who died in the British and French armed forces during the First World War. It also maintains lists of births, marriages and deaths among Guernsey people evacuated to England or interned in Germany during the Second World War. Records of Allied and enemy servicemen and forced labourers of the Organisation Todt buried in the Islands during the German Occupation may also be consulted at the Greffe.

Please note that these are not official Greffe records and may not be wholly accurate or comprehensive.

Other Records
Other records which may assist with family research include the Registers of Court Proceedings (including Inquests) from 1527 onwards, Conveyances of Realty from 1576, Wills of Realty from 1840 and Naturalisations of Foreign Nationals from 1920.

General Information
Staff at the Strongroom at the Greffe will be happy to assist with enquiries about family history. The Strongroom is open to members of the public for such research between 2pm and 4pm on Mondays to Fridays.

Searches may be conducted in person. Alternatively, you may write to or email Her Majesty's Greffier to request a search of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registers, for which a minimum charge of £5 is payable.

It should be noted that duplicates of 19th Century Greffe birth, marriage and death records are held at the Priaulx Library. The Library is a local one that retains records of well established Guernsey families.

Registers of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials are held, in some instances, from the mid 16th Century. Copies of all these registers are held on microfilm at the Priaulx Library.