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Missing entries - GRO Online Index

Discussion in 'England & Wales BMD indexes' started by At home in NZ, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    I am looking at the GRO Index to ascertain a mother's maiden name but the entry is missing
    I can see the quarterly return in Ancestry and hope the typist had it right.

    There is information about missing entries in the newsletter of 25 Dec 2019 but I cannot find an update.
    Is there an available list of the blocks of missing entries?
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    No, only the blocks that that LostCousins members found have been listed - there are many more missing blocks according to the GRO.

    But it's easy to check whether your entry is part of a missing block if you use FreeBMD. Start by checking whether other entries on the same page are missing.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  3. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    This is about a different person from the one in thread #1.
    I have found Sarah Pithers registered in Beaminster in 1843 in Ancestry and in FreeBMD, both have recorded Vol 8 p 31.
    However, I think the image has Vol 1 p31 which is why she is not in the GRO.
    Just to be sure, using FreeBMD I have checked the entry from the same page for a person in Blandford and he is in the GRO.

    My question is, where to/what to do next?
  4. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Ancestry's information for that period came from FreeBMD, so they'd normally have identical information. The FreeBMD entry shows the following entries for this page:


    The fact that the registration district is shown in italics indicate that the volume/page references are outside the expected range for this district. However it's the page number that is wrong, not the volume.

    Findmypast reckon that the volume is 1 but have transcribed the page number as 51. They give the district as Bloomsbury. If you search at FreeBMD using these parameters you'll find another entry for the same Sarah Pithers, so I suggest you ignore the Beaminster entry, which has clearly been mistranscribed.

    I imagine that the GRO have mistranscribed the surname - this would explain why you can't find it in their index.
  5. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    I don't normally use FreeBMD so I didn't know about the italics.

    She IS in the GRO, name is correctly transcribed and registered in ST GILES IN THE FIELDS & ST GEORGE BLOOMSBURY Volume 01 Page 51.

    Thanks very much Peter.
  6. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Perhaps it's time to ditch Ancestry's BMD indexes for this period? For pre-1911 births Findmypast is by far the best site, whilst Ancestry is by far the worst of the main sites. FreeBMD is somewhere in the middle for searching but essential for queries. GRO is good provided the many limitations of their search aren't a problem.

    EDIT: I'm a great believer in using the right tool for the job. If you have tabs open in your browser to all of the main sites there's no reason to use the same site for every task.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    I always switch my computer off when I have finished using it. My Chrome is set to automatically open with tabs, including Ancestry for my trees, FamilySearch, GRO UK, Lost Cousins forum.

    For the case in question I was using Ancestry, FamilySearch and GRO. FreeBMD never enters my head as many years ago when I first heard of it I could not make it work for me so have steered clear ever since.
  8. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    It's never too late to learn a new skill, especially one as valuable as this.

    FamilySearch get their BMD indexes from Findmypast (as they do their England & Wales censuses). But FamilySearch don't have maiden names in their birth indexes for the period up to 1911, which is a big disadvantage, nor do they offer the same range of search options as other sites. For these reasons FamilySearch wouldn't be in my top 4 sites for searching the GRO indexes, though like Findmypast they do have the correct transcription of the entry for Sarah Pithers (but without the maiden name, of course).
  9. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Has anyone noticed that one of the fuzzy matching options has disappeared from the GRO birth and death index searches?

    For the surname the only options now are:

    However for the mother's maiden name there is an extra option, which I'm sure was previously available for the surname:


    In my experience fuzzy matching of surnames at the GRO site is disfunctional - I can only remember one instance in 5 years when it picked an entry that had been differently transcribed. But if they have removed one of the fuzzy matching options it does suggest they're at least thinking about this issue at long last.
  10. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    Yes I'd noticed but I've never had good results using the fuzzy matching. When I do eventually find the record and check fuzzy matching again, it was never listed.
  11. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Well, let's hope they have something better planned.
  12. Sue_3

    Sue_3 LostCousins Member

    Yes, I noticed this yesterday when I tried to explore the query raised by @At home in NZ. I don't like having my options limited, but, as @Tim says, these options haven't always been very useful anyway. It's frustrating that it can be so hard, or impossible, to find entries on the GRO site because it is often the only way to find the mother's maiden name.
  13. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Not very often - most of the time Findmypast has the maiden name.
  14. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    Are you talking 1911 onwards or in general?

    Reason I don't use FMP is cost, £79.99 for the Starter version might not sound like much to people living in UK but when you double it to get the NZ approximate equivalent, it sounds like a lot of money.
    The same analogy was used in the press a few weeks ago when looking at the cost of tourist activities and why locals do not spend as much as foreign tourists do when on holiday in NZ.
    Say for instance something costs $100. A UK tourist would look at it and say that's only £50 but a local would look at it and say 'that's expensive'.
  15. Sue_3

    Sue_3 LostCousins Member

    My understanding, which may be incorrect or just out-of-date, is that FMP has only uploaded some of the mother's maiden surnames. More importantly, I believed that FMP were sourcing the maiden surnames from the 'new' GRO index? If that's so, how will they be able to record the maiden name if it can't be found on the 'new' GRO index? Perhaps possible if they are uploading the new index entirely, rather than just adding MMN to the pre-existing index?
  16. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    I’m wondering if it’s actually just an error. Hovering over the ? alongside the drop-down box suggests there should still be all 3 options available. There’s also something amiss with the first page you get to after signing in, so maybe they’ve done some updating and not checked properly afterwards.
  17. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    The first page looks OK to me. Oddly enough I had never looked at the ? beside the fields, the hover for 'Year' is very informative and if I'd bothered to look at it when I first started to use it I would not be making a fool of myself by asking about missing years, elsewhere in this forum. :rolleyes:
  18. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I'm talking pre-1911.
    You don't need a subscription to search at Findmypast, you only need a subscription to view transcripts and images. And £79.99 for the Starter subscription is an awful lot of money - I wouldn't advise any LostCousins member to buy a Starter subscription.
    That's a fallacy - it has nothing to do with exchange rates, but I wouldn't expect the press to understand that. If you've spent thousands of dollars travelling to the other side of world then (a) you're probably more affluent than most, and (b) if you were prepared to spend that much money on a holiday your budget for holiday expenditure is likely to be higher.

    Japanese tourists are amongst the biggest spenders, but there are 77 yen to each NZ dollar.
  19. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    You're right, they've done some updating and not checked properly afterwards.

    The same thing happens at LostCousins sometimes I'm afraid; in fact, it probably happens at most sites from time to time. (The problem you have is that people who are familiar with a website tend not to notice any errors, whilst people who aren't familiar with the website may not know enough to be able to spot them.)

    But let's hope that they're planning to provide a better search - I've been recommending changes for over 5 years, starting even before they launched the indexes.
  20. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Nobody knows for certain how Findmypast got their maiden names, but it's certainly true that if you can't find an entry in the GRO birth index then Findmypast probably won't have a maiden name.

    But their coverage is now close to 100% which is why it's usually the best place to start looking for births to a particular couple, even if you don't have a subscription.
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