Monday, 18 August 2014

Hong Kong Birth, Marriage & Death Certificates

Birth, Marriage & Death certificates ARE available from Hong Kong.

The Registration of Births and Deaths Ordinance enacted in 1872 required the registration of all births and deaths within the Colony.  Prior to this details for statistical purposes had been maintained by the Registrar General.

The Hong Kong Government Gazette dated 27th. July 1872 further stated that:

“The Registrar General shall cause Indexes of the Register Books in his Office to be made and kept with the other Records of his Office; and every Person shall be entitled at all reasonable Hours to search the said Indexes, and to have a certified Copy of any Entry or Entries in the said Register Books under the Hand of the Registrar General on Payment of the Fees hereinafter mentioned; that is to say – for every General Search the sum of Two Dollars, and for every Particular Search the sum of Fifty Cents, and for every Certified Copy the sum of One Dollar”

Unfortunately, at some point during the 20th. century the entitlement for every person to be allowed to search these indexes was withdrawn.  In the 21st. century it is still possible to have a General Search and Particular Search performed but this has to be performed by staff at the relevant registry – and naturally comes at a cost.

The types of search available and the fee structure are given on the following web page:

The Registration of Marriage Ordinance followed in the mid 1870s.  Likewise, in the 21st. century, the indexes are not open to the public for searching.

Many registers were lost during the Second World War resulting in gaps within the records so it is worth enquiring about the period you are interested in prior to paying for a search.

One last point to bear in mind is that payment from overseas (i.e. outside of Hong Kong) has to be by Bankers Draft – online payment via credit card is not yet acceptable.  At least this was still the case when I enquired earlier in year – but one is ever hopeful of change.