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Campaign to Open Historic Registers now

PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:34 pm
by Guy
Anguline Research Archives is running a campaign to open historic registers now.

for further details see our website at
http://anguline.co.uk/ohrn.html

Almost 100 years ago a Royal Commission on Public Records appointed to inquire into and report on the state of the public records and local records of a public nature of England and Wales stated in their report-

“We see no good reason in principle for forbidding searchers to take copies at their own risk. The existing restriction rests merely of financial grounds and we think that it should be removed.”

That being the case why are they still restricted now?
These registers are your heritage.
They are archived for your information
Please help to make it Easier and Cheaper to access them

Thank you.
Cheers
Guy

Re: Campaign to Open Historic Registers now

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:30 pm
by junkers
It is my understanding that BMDs are not Public Records and therefore not subject to the Public Records Acts and the suggestion that private companies would want to digitise the images and make them available free seems to me not a starter. The General Register Office would soon come to a halt if no fees were received. What family historians have been arguing for are uncertified copies as have been available in Scotland. The current situation is unsustainable but until Government amends the Victorian system nothing can be done, at least Scotland has a vision and is much more helpful to researchers.

Re: Campaign to Open Historic Registers now

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:36 pm
by AdrianB38
Peter Calver of Lost Cousins secured the cost breakdown under FOI rules and in 2010, "Buying the special paper and printing the certificates costs just 16p per certificate." There is, therefore, no pot of gold by going for uncertified documents.

Re: Campaign to Open Historic Registers now

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:26 pm
by Guy
You both seem to have missed the point of the campaign, but thank you for your comments.

Yes, it is true Historic Civil BMD registers are not Public Records, but neither are the Military BMD registers (from 1761- 2005) available online on pay to view sites.
The Military BMD registers are supposed to be held by the GRO the same as civilian BMD registers.

The main work of the superintendent registrars and the GRO is concerned with modern registers not historic registers.
The campaign would benefit them in at least two ways.
1. It would release them from the sometimes time consuming task of interpreting the historic registers. Sometime the handwriting is so poor it takes a long time to accurately find and if need be transcribe the entry.

2. Rather than losing money they would be receiving a licence fee for no effort.

If a small charge was made for access to the online digital registers or even by selling digital copies of registers the 7% income the local registrars estimate (estimated in 1987) they would lose from the sale of historic certificates could easily be exceeded.

In addition the public would benefit by being able to access the registers free of charge at the archives or county record offices or by paying a small fee to view an image online.

Cheers
Guy

Re: Campaign to Open Historic Registers now

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:56 pm
by AdrianB38
No I didn't miss the point of the campaign, I was simply anxious to point out that the uncertified copies angle is a red-herring that would gain nothing.

There is an interesting point to consider - I remember a conversation somewhere, where it was suggested that the Superintendent Registrars of Staffordshire had explored the possibility of sending their historic registers to Staffordshire RO. (I don't say it was legal, I just say they explored it!) Apparently when the RO asked about the physical size of the theoretical acquisitions, they blanched and said, "Thanks but no thanks". (Many Staffs historic registers are now at Newcastle under Lyme's Registrar instead).

Nevertheless, I am in total agreement that historic registers should not be a millstone round the necks of the current Superintendent Registrars. Maybe they have to be digitised then sent down the salt mines at Winsford to join the censuses.

Re: Campaign to Open Historic Registers now

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:41 am
by junkers
Nice idea about using the salt mines, but as they are not public records they could be sent there. I agree it makes no sense to hold the 100 plus years records, but it needs the political will to do something. Interestingly the quarterly returns were once destined for the Public Record Office but were returned.

Re: Campaign to Open Historic Registers now

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:52 am
by Guy
AdrianB38 wrote:snip.

There is an interesting point to consider - I remember a conversation somewhere, where it was suggested that the Superintendent Registrars of Staffordshire had explored the possibility of sending their historic registers to Staffordshire RO. (I don't say it was legal, I just say they explored it!) Apparently when the RO asked about the physical size of the theoretical acquisitions, they blanched and said, "Thanks but no thanks". (Many Staffs historic registers are now at Newcastle under Lyme's Registrar instead).


Yes many record offices considered the option in or around 1975; some were in favour some against
Some were worried about space implications; some were worried about how certified copies could be supplied to comply with the laws in place others thought they should proceed carefully to ensure all the legalities were in place before approaching the Registrar General who was seen as an obstacle to overcome.
With the advent of digitisation the majority of the objections have been overcome and the possibility of a share of licence fee forms a good incentive.
The registrars could still produce certified copies, for those who need them, via digital images. The public could have the choice of a free access at the record office or archive or pay to view access online.

junkers wrote:Nice idea about using the salt mines, but as they are not public records they could be sent there. I agree it makes no sense to hold the 100 plus years records, but it needs the political will to do something. Interestingly the quarterly returns were once destined for the Public Record Office but were returned.


Yes there is no bar on the National Archives accepting records that are not classed as Public Records.
If we are being really pedantic the salt mines could even be classed as part of the GRO simply by sending the GRO copies there. Under current legislation any place the GRO copies are held is automatically classed as part of the GRO.

The Board (the entity who have inherited responsibility for civil registers from the registrar general) have almost unlimited powers

Statisticts and Registration Services Act 2007 (c.18) section 26
26 Ancillary powers
(1) The Board may do anything which it thinks necessary or expedient for the
purpose of, or in connection with, the exercise of its functions.
(2) Anything required to be published by the Board may be published by it in such
manner as it thinks fit.

Cheers
Guy

Re: Campaign to Open Historic Registers now

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:54 am
by Guy
There is now a petition online at
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/62779

Please sign this petition and share the url with your friends and contacts

Apathy will destroy any chance of success.

These registers are your heritage.
They are archived for your information
Please help to make it Easier and Cheaper to access them

For more information about the campaign see
http://anguline.co.uk/ohrn.html

Cheers
Guy

Re: Campaign to Open Historic Registers now

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:59 am
by Guy
Have you signed petition online if not please do now.

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/62779

Please sign this petition and share the url with your friends and contacts.
If you are a member of a family history society or the Society of Genealogists please contact them.
If you are a member of Genes Reunited please mention the petition there and on any mailing list you subscribe to. We need to get the word out to everyone.
Cheers
Guy

Update Re: Campaign to Open Historic Registers now

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:52 am
by Guy
There has been some movement towards gaining access to BMD records without having to purchase certificates.
The House of Lords passed an Deregulation Bill on the 05/02/2015 which will allow the Registrar General to provide copies on entries of BMDs without the need to purchase certificates.
The deregulation will also allow the records to be made available in a digital form rather than having to wait for paper copies to be posted out.

Deregulation of BMD records passed in the Lords
http://tinyurl.com/ppqakvd
Scroll down to amendment 33a

This is only the first stage in the process but is a very welcome first stage
Cheers
Guy