Tracing your family tree

First steps

Before you start, it will help to read about the subject - there are good books in the library and monthly magazines for sale. Start with what you know for sure and be ready for different spellings of even the most common name.

Your family members

What do you know for certain about a family member? A birth, death or marriage certificate will give you clues to more information.

A birth certificate will:

  • show at least one parent and the place of birth
  • show the mother's maiden name (if married)

A marriage certificate will tell you:

  • where the marriage took place (traditionally in the bride's home area)
  • age of bride and groom
  • status (bachelor, spinster, widow, widower, etc)
  • occupation of the bride and groom
  • occupation of bride and groom's father
  • addresses - sometimes this showed where they planned to live

See our information on applying for copy certificates.

Local register offices

Local register offices only hold the registers for their own district. They can't issue certificates for events outside their district but should be able to help with addresses for other register offices.

Parish registers (before 1837)

Civil registration began on 1st July 1837 in England and Wales. Before that, births, baptisms, marriages and deaths were recorded in parish registers.

For parish registers try:

After Civil Registration, two marriage registers were completed by the church. When full, one was passed to the local Register Office, the other stayed with the church.

To find the year, quarter and district in which an event took place, use:

Historical boundaries

A number of sub-districts have, at various periods, made up the Tynemouth Registration District over the years. These are:

  • Tynemouth
  • Tynemouth First
  • Tynemouth Second
  • Wallsend
  • Earsdon
  • Whitley
  • Blyth
  • Cramlington
  • Longbenton

Not all the registration events that are described in the GRO index as "Tynemouth" are held at North Tyneside Register Office. Some of the sub-districts on the northern (Blyth and Cramlington) and the western fringes (Longbenton) of the registration district are held at the Morpeth and Newcastle ROs respectively.

Discover at North Shields Customer First Centre

Discover at North Shields Customer First Centre offers free access to Ancestry, Find My Past and National Newspapers Online.