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GRO Search Changes

Discussion in 'England & Wales BMD registers' started by DavidP, Nov 25, 2019.

  1. DavidP

    DavidP LostCousins Member

    My apologies if this has been raised before: I have had a quick look and can't see any likely topics.

    A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the search screen for the GRO website had changed: the birth or death registration field has now moved to the top of the screen. That's OK, but now whenever I change the date, the screen refreshes and you have to wait for the refresh to finish before you can enter new name or change the sex etc. A minor thing but it is making searching a little longer (wasting precious seconds!)

    I have also started using the death search screen for the first time in ages and see that in the search results there is a column headed "Age at Death (in years)". Now, I know that originally this age field could be years, months, weeks, days etc with no clue as to what the age actually was. Has this changed? It now looks like that if a child died at a very young age (less than a year), their age is shown as 0. I have an uncle who died aged 7 weeks and his age is showing a 0 in a search - I wish I could remember what it used to show, say, a year ago! I'm going through one of my trees and trying to put in death dates for as many of my names as possible and it would be nice to know how much reliance I can put on the "Age at Death" field.
  2. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Superstar

    It seems to have done. I guess because it seems they use only numbers in the age field, after the initial feedback it was reckoned better to give the age of a 7 week old infant as 0, rather than somewhat ambiguously as 7.

    I agree with what you say about the page refreshing issue.
  3. Liz-W

    Liz-W LostCousins Member

    Although not directly linked to the previous query, I would like some help. Looking for the birth registration of a child I knew had died, I found one I'm sure is correct but with a comment
    "Occasional Copy A". Can someone explain the meaning of this please.
  4. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    See my newsletter article.
  5. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    See this page on the GRO website.
  6. Liz-W

    Liz-W LostCousins Member

    Thank you Peter. - I can't imagine what changes had to be made to the original birth registration, but this child died the following year at 11 months old.
  7. DavidP

    DavidP LostCousins Member

    I see now that the GRO has expanded their search criteria for the Births and Deaths registrations. The last tine I looked (some months ago) you could only search for Birth Registrations from 1837 to 1920 and then from 1984 onward. The 1920 date was increased each 1st January to allow for the "100 year" rule. Today I see that I can now search Births up to 1934 and from 1984 onward. The only drawback seems to be that they do not provide the Mother's Maiden Name for birth registration after 1920. Death registrations now cover 1837 to 1957 and 1984 onward - I can't recall what the date limitation were previously. Anyway this is a welcome expansion of their search criteria and obviously part of their 'rolling programme' of improvements.

    (Mind you, I have a couple of people from the 1939 register who were allegedly born in 1924 and 1929 respectively and I still cannot find their births in GRO!)
  8. DavidP

    DavidP LostCousins Member

    Update: I've just had a closer look at the search results for Post 1920 Births and Deaths and while it is still mandatory to select a Sex , the results do not differentiate - you get both male a female names whatever sex you are searching for. So, I wonder if this is a bug or an intended feature....
  9. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    That's not correct - it's only the entries from 1984 onwards where the sex selected is ignored.

    As I've mentioned previously, it's probably because the data wasn't captured when those later indexes were created.
  10. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    The GRO site is not the best place to search for birth registrations because of the poor fuzzy matching - Findmypast is a much better choice (and searching is free).

    But also bear in mind that someone recorded in the 1939 Register might not have been born in England or Wales.

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