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At long last: Marriage certificate to include mothers’ names in England and Wales

It seems absurd that only now, in the year 2021, mothers of brides and grooms in England and Wales will be finally added to marriage certificates for the first time in history.

Beforehand, only the names of the fathers of the couple appeared on the document. But a recent change to the Marriage Act means both parents will now be included – a move that the Home Office said will “correct a historic anomaly”.

Another huge change is that marriages are going to be recorded electronically – gone are the days when the event would be written by hand in a registry book, of which there are roughly 84,000 held at churches, chapels, temples and register offices.

The “single electronic register” is apparently the biggest change to the system since 1837. It went live this week and is going to make everyone’s lives a lot easier as you’ll no longer need to rely on hard copies of marriage certificates.

Of course, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, this has already been the case for marriage documentation. This week’s announcement brings England and Wales into line with the rest of the UK. One would assume that decades from now when people are carrying out their family tree research, life will be a lot easier. I wonder also if they’ll ask the question (like us), why did it take so long?

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