Birth, marriage and death records are an essential resource for family historians, and this handbook is an authoritative introduction to them. It explains the original motives for registering these milestones in individual lives, describes how these record-keeping systems evolved, and shows how they can be explored and interpreted. Authors David Annal and Audrey Collins guide researchers through the difficulties they may encounter in understanding the documentation. They recount the history of parish registers from their origin in Tudor times, they look at how civil registration was organized in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and explain how the system in England and Wales differs from those in Scotland and Ireland. The record-keeping practiced by nonconformist and foreign churches, in communities overseas and in the military is also explained, as are the systems of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Other useful sources of evidence for births, marriages and deaths are explored and, of course, the authors assess the online sites that researchers can turn to for help in this crucial area of family history research.