General Registration is where most people start when tracing their family tree. English, Welsh and Irish records provide both parents names, including mothers’ maiden surnames, on birth certificates, as well as address and occupation of father (or sometimes mother is she is unmarried). Marriage records give the age of parties, occupation, address and the father’s name and his occupation. Death certificates provide an age, occupation and residence.
Apart from additional information gleaned from witnesses or informants names, this tends to be the limit of information provided. But when looking into General Registration, or vital records, of other countries, extra information can be given.
In terms of the UK, Scottish General Registration is particularly useful, for marriage certificates also provide the mother’s name and maiden surname, and death certificates (should) give both parents’ full names. This can be particularly useful if dealing with a death in the 1850s for example, of an elderly person perhaps in their 80s: if known, their parents names should be stated.
When considering General Registration from further afield, again additional information is often given when compared to English records. Australian and New Zealand certificates include place of birth on marriage and death certificates, as well as place of birth of the parents on birth certificates. This information is invaluable, particularly due to the large number of incomers to these countries in the nineteenth century.
Other countries with particularly good civil registration records, include Holland. So if you find links to other countries, investigate their records of civil registration and see what additional information can be found.