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Index search for registers of births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships

You can do a general search of our indexed records if you don't have enough information to apply for a copy certificate.

What is an index search?

All the registers of births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships that we hold are indexed. This means there is an alphabetical list of all the names held in each register. 

If you're not sure whether a reference to a named person found in the indexes relates to the entry you are searching for, a member of our staff will check the actual entry in the register for you.

We only hold indexes for events that took place in registration districts within the county boundary of Dorset. The boundaries of the registration districts and the county have changed over time. Before arranging an appointment to search the indexes, please check with us that we hold the indexes that you are interested in.

Book an appointment

Contact Dorset Registration Service to make an appointment to conduct an index search.


Index searches cost £18 for up to 6 hours and includes the cost of a member of staff checking up to 8 references in the registers for you.

Where to find us

The indexes are all held at the Dorset History Centre and can be accessed during our opening hours.


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