I am often asked whether it is possible to obtain birth, marriage and death certificates from Hong Kong – the answer is YES, but you have to be prepared to pay a hefty price and you will need to be extremely patient. I am sure that many of you will have been annoyed earlier this year when our own GRO increased the price of certificates. Well, I have to say that the price we pay here is very reasonable when compared to Hong Kong. First I will give you a bit of background.
As we all know the key to finding a birth, marriage or death certificate from 1837 is to search the indexes. For those of us in the London area this used to be done at the Family Records Centre (previously at St. Catherine’s House – and even earlier at Somerset House). Although it was extremely heavy work lumping those huge volumes back & forth I have to admit that I did get a wonderful feeling of satisfaction when I eventually found the entry I was looking for. These days the indexes are all available online and the search process is very much easier and quicker. The main point here is that the Indexes ARE made public for us to search – not so in Hong Kong.
The indexes do exist but unfortunately you will need to pay for a search and, if the entry is found, you will then need to pay for a certified copy of the certificate. You will find a link to the HK Government web page on the subject listed to the right under Genealogical Repositories. This details the types of search which can be made, together with costs of both search and certified copies. If you know the date of the birth or death then the overall cost will be somewhere in the region of £25. For a search of the marriage registers and a certified copy of the certificate the cost will approximately £36. You will then need to enter into correspondence with the Immigration Department on how to get the certificate to you because their system is set up for the “personal collection” only. It IS possible to have it posted to you but this is not within the automated online system. You will need to be prepared for a wait of up to 3 months for your certificate to arrive.
Another factor which has to be taken into consideration is that there are large gaps in the records – especially for the period just prior to the Japanese Occupation.
Good luck with your research.