Genealogy Britain (soc.genealogy.britain FAQs NEW site)

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Submitting new data for the UK Marriage Witness Index

In preparation for the MWI search engine's appearance on this site, we welcome all comers to contribute additional records to the database. Here's how.

The MWI database, to be hosted on this site, is stored in a MySQL database. The good news is that you don't have to know SQL to submit more data - although we won't complain if you do!


File formats

We can accept contributions in these forms:

  • Comma-separated values (.CSV);
  • MS Access (.MDB);
  • Excel spreadsheet (.XLS);
  • SQL (see later);
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice database or spreadsheet (.ODS, .SXW).

If you want to submit in a different format from these, please contact us to discuss it. We can probably work with more-or-less anything, provided we understand it.

The long and the short of it is: we can accept contributions in more-or-less any format, but it would be nice if you could help us by getting as close to ours as you can before submitting, as we've a lot of work ahead of us, and anything that can ease our burden is very, very welcome! With that in mind, please read the rest of this article before submitting, as it gives a lot of tips on how to provide us the data in the best possible format.


Database or spreadsheet structure

It will help us hugely if you can structure your database/spreadsheet to mirror ours. Because Ted Wildy's field names (SURNAME1, SURNAME2, and so on) were a bit opaque, we've used our own, more reader-friendly, ones.

You can download an Excel spreadsheet template that includes all the correct field names. You can submit Excel spreadsheets, made using this template, to us without having to worry about converting to CSV first.

If you're using our template, please use the value "0" for the "tag" field, and enter all dates in the format YYYY-MM-DD. Don't convert the "married" or "date_entry" fields to Excel's "date" format - that starts in 1900!

Here's the field structure that we use.  It's written in SQL, but the same field names apply to spreadsheet submissions too:


witfirst VARCHAR(50), # Witness's personal name
# Unknown - leave as 0 (zero)
witsur VARCHAR(50), # Witness's surname/family name
groomfirst VARCHAR(50), # Groom's personal name
groomsur VARCHAR(50), # Groom's surname/family name
bridefirst VARCHAR(50), # Bride's personal name
bridesur VARCHAR(50), # Bridge's surname/family name
married DATE, # Date of marriage, in YYYY-MM-DD form
church VARCHAR(50), # Name of church or other wedding ceremony venue
town VARCHAR(50), # Name of town where wedding ceremony held
cty CHAR(3), # Three-letter abbreviation for county (or country or other location if outside UK)
remarks VARCHAR(50), # Any relevant comments - ideally the origin of the entry data (e.g. source of marriage cert.)
entered_by VARCHAR(255), # Contributor's name
member_no VARCHAR(50), # Membership number of contributor in their genealogy society (optional)
gensoc VARCHAR(50), # Contributor's genealogy society (optional)
date_entry VARCHAR(50) # Date of creation of this entry

This should be fairly self-explanatory, but note that the "cty" field is for the county, not the city, and uses the three letter abbreviations for county given at the end of this article. For locations outside the UK, the "cty" field can represent the country or location within a country.

VARCHAR and CHAR mean text fields (the number's the maximum length). I have absolutely no idea what the "tag" field is for: it was in the original data with no explanation. The DATE format is "YYYY-MM-DD". If your software can't export a date in exactly that form, please try to get it as close as possible (numeric only, with obvious year, month and date) to make our conversion process easier.


Exporting in SQL

If your software can export in SQL, use the above schema, and create lines like this sample:

INSERT INTO ukwit97 (witfirst, tag, witsur, groomfirst, groomsur, bridefirst, bridesur, married, church, town, cty, remarks, entered_by, member_no, gensoc, date_entry) VALUES ("John","1","ABDALLA","Abraham","ABBOTT","Bridget","JORDAN","1857-05-26","Cathedral","Manchester","LAN",NULL,"CURRAN Bryan, 7 Liston Cres, Hillcrest, Hamilton, NZ","434","NZ","89060");

If you need to include double-quotes in the text itself, put a backslash before them. So, for example:

"This contains a \"double-quoted\" string."


Submitting your data

Please email us (at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )to let us know in advance that you want to send us a file - and tell us how large it is. Please don't send the file until we say you can, as our mailbox isn't infinitely elastic!

Whichever the original format of the file, we strongly recommend that you send it in a .ZIP attachment (we can also deal with .tar.gz, .tgz, .tar.bz2 and .tbz2), to save our mailbox space, and to ensure that the email process doesn't danage the file in transit. If you don't know how to create a .ZIP attachment, please ask!

When you get the go-ahead, please email the file to the same address.

Thank you for helping and contributing to this project!


County abbreviations

The "cty" field needs a three-letter county abbreviation. These are the valid values:

AbbreviationCounty (or country)
ABD Aberdeenshire, Scotland
AGY Anglesey, Wales
ALD Alderney, Channel Islands
ANS Angus, Scotland
ANT Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
ARL Argyllshire, Scotland
ARM Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland
AVN Avon, England
AYR Ayrshire, Scotland
BAN Banffshire, Scotland
BDF Bedfordshire, England
BEW Berwickshire, Scotland
BKM Buckinghamshire, England
BOR Borders, Scotland
BRE Breconshire, Wales
BRK Berkshire, England
BUT Bute, Scotland
CAE Caernarvonshire, Wales
CAI Caithness, Scotland
CAM Cambridgeshire, England
CAR Co. Carlow, Ireland
CAV Co. Cavan, Ireland
CEN Central, Scotland
CGN Cardiganshire, Wales
CHS Cheshire, England
CLA Co. Clare, Ireland
CLK Clackmannanshire, Scotland
CLV Cleveland, England
CMA Cumbria, England
CMN Carmarthenshire, Wales
CON Cornwall, England
COR Co. Cork, Ireland
CUL Cumberland, England
CWD Clwyd, Wales
DBY Derbyshire, England
DEN Denbighshire, Wales
DEV Devon, England
DFD Dyfed, Wales
DFS Dumfries-shire, Scotland
DGY Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
DNB Dunbartonshire, Scotland
DON Co. Donegal, Ireland
DOR Dorset, England
DOW Co. Down, Northern Ireland
DUB Co. Dublin, Ireland
DUR Co. Durham, England
ELN East Lothian, Scotland
ENG England
ERY East Riding of Yorkshire, England
ESS Essex, England
FER Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
FIF Fife, Scotland
FLN Flintshire, Wales
GAL Co. Galway, Ireland
GLA Glamorgan, Wales
GLS Gloucestershire, England
GMP Grampian, Scotland
GNT Gwent, Wales
GSY Guernsey, Channel Islands
GTM Greater Manchester, England
GWN Gwynedd, Wales
HAM Hampshire, England
HEF Herefordshire, England
HLD Highland, Scotland
HRT Hertfordshire, England
HUM Humberside, England
HUN Huntingdonshire, England
HWR Hereford and Worcester, England
INV Inverness-shire, Scotland
IOM Isle of Man
IOW Isle of Wight, England
IRL Ireland
JSY Jersey, Channel Islands
KCD Kincardineshire, Scotland
KEN Kent, England
KER Co. Kerry, Ireland
KID Co. Kildare, Ireland
KIK Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
KKD Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland
KRS Kinross-shire, Scotland
LAN Lancashire, England
LDY Co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland
LEI Leicestershire, England
LET Co. Leitrim, Ireland
LEX Co. Laois, Ireland
LIM Co. Limerick, Ireland
LIN Lincolnshire, England
LKS Lanarkshire, Scotland
LND London, England
LOG Co. Longford, Ireland
LOU Co. Louth, Ireland
LTN Lothian, Scotland
MAY Co. Mayo, Ireland
MDX Middlesex, England
MEA Co. Meath, Ireland
MER Merionethshire, Wales
MGM Mid Glamorgan, Wales
MGY Montgomeryshire, Wales
MLN Midlothian, Scotland
MOG Co. Monaghan, Ireland
MON Monmouthshire, Wales
MOR Morayshire, Scotland
MSY Merseyside, England
NAI Nairn, Scotland
NBL Northumberland, England
NFK Norfolk, England
NIR Northern Ireland
NRY North Riding of Yorkshire, England
NTH Northamptonshire, England
NTT Nottinghamshire, England
NYK North Yorkshire, England
OFF Co. Offaly, Ireland
OKI Orkney, Scotland
OXF Oxfordshire, England
PEE Peebles-shire, Scotland
PEM Pembrokeshire, Wales
PER Perth, Scotland
POW Powys, Wales
RAD Radnorshire, Wales
RFW Renfrewshire, Scotland
ROC Ross and Cromarty, Scotland
ROS Co. Roscommon, Ireland
ROX Roxburghshire, Scotland
RUT Rutland, England
SAL Shropshire, England
SCT Scotland
SEL Selkirkshire, Scotland
SFK Suffolk, England
SGM South Glamorgan, Wales
SHI Shetland, Scotland
SLI Co. Sligo, Ireland
SOM Somerset, England
SRK Sark, Channel Islands
SRY Surrey, England
SSX Sussex, England
STD Strathclyde, Scotland
STI Stirlingshire, Scotland
STS Staffordshire, England
SUT Sutherland, Scotland
SXE East Sussex, England
SXW West Sussex, England
SYK South Yorkshire, England
TAY Tayside, Scotland
TIP Co. Tipperary, Ireland
TWR Tyne and Wear, England
TYR Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland
WAL Wales
WAR Warwickshire, England
WAT Co. Waterford, Ireland
WEM Co. Westmeath, Ireland
WES Westmorland, England
WEX Co. Wexford, Ireland
WGM West Glamorgan, Wales
WIC Co. Wicklow, Ireland
WIG Wigtownshire, Scotland
WIL Wiltshire, England
WIS Western Isles, Scotland
WLN West Lothian, Scotland
WMD West Midlands, England
WOR Worcestershire, England
WRY West Riding of Yorkshire, England
WYK West Yorkshire, England
YKS Yorkshire, England
IND India