Tag Archives: general register office

GRO certificate price rise

2 Mar

I suppose it had to happen, I have always thought that £7 a certificate was remarkable value, in fact too good to true.

As has already been noted by various bloggers and on mailing lists, the GRO have announced a restructuring of their charges. This has simplified the range of price options, but also means a price increase in most cases.

Instead of spending £7 per certificate it will now cost me £9.25 and I suppose that is still quite good value, but no one likes having to pay more for the same service, myself included.

I can’t help wondering if we are going to be paying for the failure of the digitisation project, and I wonder whether if the project had been completed on time and within budget, this increase might not have been necessary.

I have to be realistic though and accept that as the press release says "GRO certificate services are self-financing and costs must be recovered to ensure taxpayers do not subsidise them". As a taxpayer I feel that I am certainly getting my money’s worth by making use of libraries and archives.

So, what will this mean to me?

I don’t think I will be rushing to get any extra orders in before the 6th April 2010. What will probably happen however is that instead of limiting myself to three certificates a month, I shall probably limit myself to two certificates a month after April.

I am in the fortunate situation that at the moment that I don’t think there are any certificates I actually need. Recently the certificates I have been ordering have been solving specific problems with relations rather than direct ancestors.

Also I am fortunate that I don’t feel the need to find exact birth, marriage and death dates for all my ancestors. I know that before 1837 I am probably not going to get an exact date anyway.

What effect will this price rise have on your research? Will you try and get your orders in before the 6th April? Will you order fewer certificates or carry on as normal?

February GRO certificate order

3 Feb

Birth, marriage and death certificates are one of the key sources in English family history, but are also one of the most expensive as well. At £7 a certificate, a genealogist on a budget (like me) can’t afford as many as they would like.

I try and ration myself to just three certificates a month, so I need to make sure they are not only the correct ones (my relations, not someone else’s), but also that they are going to benefit my research more than just providing an exact date of birth or cause of death.

After some careful thought this month’s lucky winners have been selected:

  • BIRTH – Walter Henry BOXALL (Q2 1897)

Walter Henry BOXALL is one of the orphans in my database, he is described in the 1901 census as the grandson of my 2x great-grandparents James and Caroline BOXALL, but there is no indication of his parents.

Tragically his life was cut short by the First World War. Interestingly his birth was registered in Wales, not Sussex, where I would have expected it. I really would like to be able to correctly place him in my family tree and try to piece together the reason why he was in born in Wales.

  • MARRIAGE – Ernest John TROWER and Emma P WILDING (Q1 1913)

Ernest John TROWER was the son of Mercy TROWER, who should need no introduction by now. I am hoping that the marriage certificate will identify his father, whose identity has so far remained a mystery. This may give me a clue to the identity of Mercy’s husband.

Interestingly I cannot find any details of Emma WILDING. I was hoping I could find out where she came from so that I might find a record of their marriage locally, but so far she has remained elusive.

  • DEATH – Jane K TROWER (Q4 1922)

Jane TROWER is another daughter of Henry and Jane TROWER, making her the sister of Mercy TROWER, she was my 3x great-aunt. There is a large gap in my knowledge of her life between the 1881 census and her death in 1922 and burial in Henfield, Sussex.

I am hoping that her death certificate will give me a few clues, at least it should tell me where she was living, and the identity of the informant might give me another clue. Even the cause of death may help me identify where she had been hiding.

How to find the cheapest English and Welsh birth, marriage and death certificates on the internet

28 Apr

Everyone should already know this, this is nothing new and there is no big secret to paying less for birth, marriage and death certificates, but I feel it cannot be said often enough. The cheapest and easiest place online to order copies of English and Welsh civil registration documents is the General Register Office website.

The Directgov website will give you all the details including cost, references needed, alternative methods of ordering and delivery times etc. on the Order birth, marriage or death certificates page.

Certificates can be supplied even if you don’t have the index reference (for a slightly higher price) but many of the indexes have already been transcribed on FreeBMD so it should be possible in many cases to find the reference yourself, free of charge also.

Birth, marriage and death certificates are one of the most important types of record for English and Welsh family history researchers, but please don’t spend a fortune on them, use the official website.

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