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GRO survey 2015

Discussion in 'England & Wales BMD registers' started by peter, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    When I went with my father to register my stepmother's death we weren't expecting to be asked where she was born - I'd never registered a death before, and I don't suppose my father had done since the death of my mother, 27 years earlier. Fortunately I guessed correctly that she was born in the same hospital as me. But if I'd got it wrong I'm not sure that I would have wanted to take my father back to correct the entry - it certainly wouldn't have been very high on our list of priorities.
  2. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    I also made a mistake when registering my mother's death! :eek:
    Her DOB was 6/Sep but for some reason I gave it as 9/Sep (my wife's was 9/Dec). At least I did get the year correct. I checked it and approved the entry before the certificates were printed. It was only as I was about to leave that I 'woke up' and admitted my mistake. The registrar then reminded me that I would have to pay another fee to have it corrected and I decided to leave the challenge for a future genealogist to sort out as the difference was only a few days!!

    The lesson to be appreciated would seem to be that no single 'fact' should be assumed to be correct, no matter what the source. Two independent identical 'fact' details probably are correct.
  3. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    The challenge is knowing which facts are truly independent - for that you need to know where the information came from. For example, if someone lied about their age on their marriage certificate this information might well influence the age shown on their death certificate.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Prairie Girl

    Prairie Girl LostCousins Member

    I would be happy if Canadian certificates were as cheap as English ones! Prices range from $20 -- $65 (about £9.60 -- £31.20), depending which province you want, and whether you want the short form certificate, which gives only the name of the person, the date of the event, and the place it was registered, or the long form, which gives parents' names, along with varying combinations of the parents' place and date of birth, etc.; death certificates may or may not contain the cause of death, and you may have to order a separate medical certificate, at added cost of course, to find out what it was. Some places have no such thing as historical certificates; it's the same price regardless of when the event took place. Here in Alberta, there is no facility for on-line ordering, or even ordering directly from the vital statistics office: you have to go through a provincial registry office, which adds its' own fee on top of the government one.

    I have to agree that Scotland's People has it right regarding BMD certificates, but given our mish-mash of varying provincial systems, there doesn't seem to be any hope of the like appearing here in Canada any time soon. That said, I did follow Peter's link, and his advice, to give the GRO my opinion of what they should do.
  5. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    Australia's access varies a lot across each state and territory depending on how they run things - they also vary greatly on price, starting at about $20 and the most expensive being more like $30 - but they are for the "image", which is simply a scan of the page from the register book; getting an actual certificate is much more expensive. Luckily though, all of the Australian states have digitised theirs, almost all of them are instantaneous access, with NSW the only one you have to wait for.
  6. wattie38

    wattie38 New Member

    I have to say that the Australian certificates do give much more information than the English ones. Generally there is information about where the person is born, how long they have been in Australia, even parents names too. Then again the death certificates still have to rely on the person giving the information having it correct.
  7. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Certificates are certified copies of register entries. If they are facsimile copies (as they mostly are in England & Wales), the cost shouldn't vary significantly according to the amount of information, provided it all fits on one page. However, if they are handwritten or typewritten it's understandable that the cost would be more expensive.

    I can only think of one GRO certificate I purchased which was typewritten, presumably because the microfilm was hard to read. But it is more common for local register offices to provide handwritten and typewritten certificates, probably because for one-off orders it is quicker and easier. All certificates have the same legal status, but for family historians the most interesting certificates are the ones that bear our ancestors' signatures, and these can usually only be obtained from the local registrar; they're also more likely to be accurate (for marriages that took place in a church the church register is the most likely to be accurate).
  8. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    I think in Australia it's the certification that is the part that costs money - in Victoria the "image" that you receive when searching online is a scan of the page of the register book, which can include up to 5 other individuals, in much the same way as Scotland does, although their entries after 1838 are three to a page. The hand written script in these cases can both be cramped and difficult to read as they are writing in a small space - one death entry for a member of my family extended over more than one "line", because she had been the mother of about 14 children and all of them (as well as their ages/or the notation "deceased" had to be added and they didn't fit within the box given).

    New South Wales and Queensland seem to have scanned each entry separately, and that's the entry they give you access to when you ask for the "image". QLD's are automatic, while NSW's can take a couple of days because they add a lot of official additions (official stamps and other rigamarole), almost like a proper certificate. All these states give you the document - either page or single entry, as a PDF rather than the TIF that ScotlandsPeople allows you access to.

    South Australia, the only other state I have ordered from (although I have searched the index for Western Australia), doesn't give you access to scans of the register books themselves (which I think is a big shame). All their information is available on the website for the South Australian Genealogical Society transcribed - whether or not you have membership to their organisation determines how much information you can see when searching their online database. If you then want a PDF copy, they will send you a transcription typed and presented in a PDF document.
  9. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    It's likely to depend on whether certificates have a facsimile of the register page (as in England & Wales), in which case the cost of the producing the certificate should be fairly low assuming they handle reasonable volumes, or have transcribed information, which is likely to be significantly more expensive.

    However the cost to them and the cost to you could be wildly different - in England & Wales the selling price of certificates is calculated to cover the costs of production without any profit element, but it's possible that in other countries they aim to make a profit to fund other aspects of registration.
  10. Liberty

    Liberty LostCousins Megastar

    I entirely agree. There are postings from me elsewhere on this forum about my GGF who certainly misrepresented his date of birth throughout his life. This 'wrong' date again appears on his death certificate, but then, his son/daughter-in-law would have had no reason to give a different one, would they?
  11. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I asked my Granddaughter when she visited today to enlarge on how she deals with people who lack information about the deceased when registering the death. She said that whenever anyone applies to register a death they are asked to bring whatever information they have relating to the deceased, in particular a Passport which has quite a bit of information including place of birth. If they do not have same with them it is a matter of recording the best they are able to provide. So in order of preference for a place of birth: a city/town/village; a county; the country of the UK (England, Wales etc); and if this is not known then UK is acceptable.

    If born outside the UK then the same order of preference ending with just the country if necessary. If none of this is known she would stike through the area on the registration form where such information is recorded. She said it is quite rare for someone not to know at least a county of birth and most people come armed with a Passport or a Notebook where they have collated information gained from family sources.
    • Useful Useful x 3
  12. Bazza43

    Bazza43 LostCousins Member

    It varies by state/colony. Tasmanian marriage certificates contained very little till 1897 when parents' names were added. I think NSW and Victoria had fairly complete details, at least for marriages, from the start of Civil Registration, which in these cases was 1856 (van Diemen's Land/Tasmania started in 1838.) South Australia to my knowledge has the most variation apart from Tasmania. There is a document available for download giving the details available by State or Territory over the years. I'll have to hunt up the details.
  13. Bazza43

    Bazza43 LostCousins Member

    Tasmania's Register Office doesn't have a search at all. At present, all available Tasmanian BDMs to 1899 and births to 1908 at least can be searched and are available for free on the Tasmanian Names Index maintained by the State Library of Tasmania, and also on familysearch. They are in the process of adding births to 1921 and marriages and deaths to later dates, but I don't think the records have been scanned yet for the most part. This is as a result of approaches by the Tasmanian FHS. Official certificates from Tasmania cost $58.25.
    South Australian records are not provided by the Register Office (unless you pay for a certificate.) The transcriptions are provided by the State's Family History Society (https://www.genealogysa.org.au)
  14. Bazza43

    Bazza43 LostCousins Member

    These details are available at http://www.jaunay.com/bdm.html
  15. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

  16. Bazza43

    Bazza43 LostCousins Member

    The document she is describing is the short birth certificate. My dad had one of these, but he obtained a full birth certificate around 1937, possibly when he enlisted in the RAF or when he got married although these were a couple of years later, and as Jeremy states, the full birth certificate contains exactly the same information as later ones including mine and my brothers (obtained when our births were registered) and these details have not changes to the best of my knowledge since 1 July 1837.
  17. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I wonder if there were any births registered on 1st July 1837? It seems fairly unlikely.
  18. Now we've got my gender sorted out :) take a look at the attached. These are both my parents, with names blocked out of course.

    Attached Files:

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