This morning before work I spotted on their Recent Genealogy Databases page that Ancestry had updated the England & Wales, Death Index: 1984-2005. When I clicked on the link it took me to the search page for the 1984-2005 Death Index, but when I searched for the surname GASSON it came up with lots of entries, not just the 1984-2005 date range.
The search results pages shows that the index now covers 1916 to 2005. Like they have previously done with the births and marriages, Ancestry have now made the entire GRO Death Index searchable by name and linked to the page images (with the help of FreeBMD for the earlier ones). They just haven’t made it very obvious yet!
This is fantastic news for those of us with English and Welsh ancestry, what was previously a long search through the indexes, page by page, quarter by quarter, year by year, can now be done in a matter of seconds.
I didn’t have much time to try it out, but my first thought was try and find the death of Moses FARLOW, my great-grandmother’s second husband. This is quite a typical situation, you know a rough date (1940s or 50s) and you have an idea of the location (somewhere in the Chichester, Sussex area) where the event occurred.
Until now it would mean searching all the FARLOWs for a range of years until you find a match, so for an uncommon name like FARLOW that is four pages a year (one for each quarter) for however many years it takes. With the new index I was able to find his entry in a matter of seconds and easily check the image. For the record Moses died Q4 1946 in Chichester Registration District.
This early Christmas present from Ancestry is going to help me “kill off” a lot of people in my tree, for which I have not had the time to search for manually before now. My efforts to extract all GASSON and TROWER entries were put on hold last year, once it became obvious that Ancestry were going to index the whole lot and I only needed to wait a little bit longer.
If you have trouble finding the Death Index, just head for the 1984-2005 link and search from there. Despite what the pages may say, it will probably actually be the 1916-2005 index, alternatively just click here. I am sure Ancestry will get their titles sorted out in a couple of days. In the meantime get in there quick before everyone else realises!