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BMD indexes

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BMD indexes

Postby junkers » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:44 pm

I can't recall if this has been raised before but the General Register Office are only going to allow microfiche copies to a few libraries, not any company, for the period from 2005/6. This will bring family history back to the dark ages where you will have to go through microfiche by microfiche. Fortunately Scotland are not going to change. It makes you wonder why such a decision has been made.
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Re: BMD indexes

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:46 pm

In all honesty, I can't see any material impact from this for family historians. Exactly why do people want to see certificates from a few years ago? If they don't know the people concerned, does anyone else feel a little queasy about these people looking into details of very current families?

Certainly, the legal profession and legal-linked queries might be impacted more, and it would also be a problem if in X years times the data still wasn't on general release.
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Re: BMD indexes

Postby Guy » Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:39 pm

The decision was made because they were told they did not have the authority to sell the BMD indexes to private companies.

It comes under the same legislation as the BMD registers.

What they are not revealing is that they are in breach of the legislation by not allowing public access to the indexes at the GRO.
The legislation was first put in place in 1836 and has been amended a few time since but always required access to the indexes at the GRO.

Unlike the registers themselves holding the indexes in another location does no confer the location as a GRO.
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Re: BMD indexes

Postby Guy » Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:48 pm

AdrianB38 wrote:In all honesty, I can't see any material impact from this for family historians. Exactly why do people want to see certificates from a few years ago? If they don't know the people concerned, does anyone else feel a little queasy about these people looking into details of very current families?

Certainly, the legal profession and legal-linked queries might be impacted more, and it would also be a problem if in X years times the data still wasn't on general release.


There are a number of good legal reasons why the GRO should be compelled to allow access to the indexes.
First if a person dies intestate the executors need to determine who is entitled to their estate that requires access to accurate and complete indexes of BMDs so that the correct certificate may be purchased. The poor quality inaccurate indexes containing errors and omissions deprive the heirs what they are entitled to by law.

Second not all people know their parents and extended family. Under E.U. law they have a right to know.

Third access empowers an individuals to make representations if they find an intending marriage would be bigamous.
Just three of many reasons, I could go on but I am sure you get the gist.
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Re: BMD indexes

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:43 pm

Guy wrote:Just three of many reasons, I could go on but I am sure you get the gist.


Totally agree with you, Guy. Those are examples of what I was intending to cover by the term "the legal profession and legal-linked queries." My use of the term was an attempt to split off consideration of the impact on the family-history hobby from that on non-family-historians.

I suspect (from gut feeling) that there are many more family-historians who might want access to these later indexes than non-family-historians such as executors, orphans, estranged family members, etc. As far as impact goes, and this is why I posted first, if a family-historian hasn't got access to those records, I find it difficult to get too concerned about their access to such recent records, whereas, if a non-family-historian can't get access, then the impact on them is potentially much more serious - it's not a question of their hobby.

I think it important that we do understand the impact of the reduced access and that has to be analysed. Whether my logic is the best analysis, I don't know. What I have no opinion on is whether the reduced access to the post-2005 indexes has a material impact on the non-hobbyist access, given their greater need for such access but (presumably) reduced numbers.

Incidentally, Guy, you refer to "poor quality inaccurate indexes containing errors and omissions" - in the context of this thread (post-2005 indexes), does that apply, since surely data for those years was entered into computer systems and has been mechanically transferred to the GRO and automatically indexed?
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Re: BMD indexes

Postby junkers » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:48 am

The issue is that for future family historians that it will be difficult to do research. It is a bit late to decide that they can't sell the indexes to companies at this late stage, why didn't they establish this at the beginning and why don't the GRO do what they said they were going to do, i.e. to have digital images online?.
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