Registrar General

Registrar General

The Registrar General is the Government official responsible for the registration of births, deaths and marriages in England and Wales. There are similar officials in Scotland and Northern Ireland, so the Registrar General is properly called the Registrar General for England and Wales.

The post was created in 1836, as head of the General Register Office, and registration began in 1837. The first holder of the post was Thomas Henry Lister.

The Registrar General was soon given other responsibilities, such as the conduct of every Census in England and Wales since 1841, and eventually came to be head of a primarily statistical organisation. In 1972, with the creation of the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, the General Register Office became just one division of the new office, headed by a Deputy Registrar General.

In England and Wales, birth registration with the state began on July 1, 1837. The birth was registered in the birth district and at the end of each quarter, the registrar sent a copy of all entries to the Registrar General. However, registration did not become compulsory until 1875. Until 1875 there was no penalty for not registering a birth; after that a fine of £2 was introduced. Between 1837 and 1875 some births were not registered so a child could be sent out to work, or, after 1853, to avoid the compulsory vaccinations of children over three months old which began that year.

With the creation of the Office for National Statistics, the post of Registrar General was merged with that of Head of the Government Statistical Service, who is now also the National Statistician.

The Australian states and territories and New Zealand also have registrars general with broadly similar functions. The Hong Kong Government also established a registrar general after the British acquired Hong Kong in 1841; the post finally became part of the Home Affairs Bureau in the 1940s.

The Registrar General of Canada is a government minister with entirely different and unrelated functions.

External links

* [ The Registrars General 1836-1945] (pdf) from the Office for National Statistics.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • registrar-general — noun (plural registrars general) : the head of a general register office …   Useful english dictionary

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