Family history and genealogy

The Surrey History Centre has a variety of sources to help if you are researching your family history

Tracing your family

Researching your family history can be very interesting and you might be wondering where to begin. It can be a very long, time-consuming process.

Where do I start?

In the first instance you should write down any thing you can remember and talk to older members of your family to find out what they can remember including information about births, marriages and death. They may even have old photographs, certificates or family documents.

There are various websites that can help with your search including the National Archive or Ancestry.

There are lots of books that you can buy or borrow from your local library.

You can also contact or visit the Surrey History Centre which is based in Woking. They have a supervised search room where staff are on hand to assist your research.

Surrey County Council provide a list of  family history websites that may be able to help you with your search.

Register Office

The Surrey registration district has seven offices across the county. The three main offices in Guildford, Leatherhead and Weybridge.

Most of our Church of England parish registers 1538 to 1987 (baptisms to 1912, marriages to 1937 and burials to 1987) are now available to search and view online on More parish registers from 1900 onwards, recently deposited registers and some of the early registers will be added later.

Surrey County Council's website provides information on nonconformist records eg Baptists, Congegrationalists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Quakers and Unitarians.

You can also search on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints website.

What information do I need to obtain an old birth, marriage or death certificate?

Copies of old certificates can be obtained from your local Register Office. Surrey County Council's website provides further information about this.

To order a certificate you will need the following information:

Birth certificate: Full name at birth. Date and place of birth. Parent(s) name(s) including mother's maiden surname (if any).

Death certificate: Full name of the deceased. Date and place of death. Include the maiden surname for a woman (if any).

Marriage certificate: Full names of both parties at the time of the marriage. Date and place of marriage.

Census information

The census has been carried out every ten years since 1841. The details of each census are not available to the public until 100 years after their compilation. The censuses of 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 should record all people living in the country on census night in that particular year.

They are very useful and provide information such as who was living in the household, their ages, places of birth and occupations.

Local census information can be found on the Surrey-i website.

You can find census records for the whole country at the Family Records Centre in London and on-line for 1901 at