Marriage certificates in England and Wales will include mothers’ names in future.

Posted on 10 April 2021

Marriage certificates in England and Wales are to include the names of both parents of the Bride and Groom for the first time in over 180 years. The change is part of the introduction of a new digital system which brings in changes to the way marriages are registered in the future.

This is the biggest change to marriage records since the introduction of Civil Registration in 1837. In Scotland marriage records have always included the names of both parents since registration was introduced there in 1855.

Marriages were always registered by the couple signing a register book, either at the Register Office, or in the a Church or Chapel where the marriage took place.

The change began as a private member’s bill introduced by the Bishop of St. Albans and was talen forward by Conservative MP Tim Loughton who proposed a move from a paper-based system to registration in an electronic register.. It received Royal Assent in March 2019. The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc.) Act 2019 is included in the new Registration of Marriages Regulations 2021 and is an amendment to the Marriage Act 1949.

Although this change could benefit Genealogists in the future it won't help researchers looking at past records so present day Genealogists will still use the method of tracing the female line of a person's ancestry using a marriage certificate in conjunction with a birth certificate (which does include the mother's maiden surname).