GRO begins trialling digital civil registration records

By Jon Bauckham, 9 November 2016 - 12:14pm

Family historians can now request PDF copies of selected birth, marriage, death and civil partnership records for a limited period

PDF GRO index

The General Register Office for England and Wales (GRO) is trialling a new online system that enables researchers to access digital copies of civil registration records for the first time.

The trial, which began this morning (Wednesday 9 November), currently allows users to order PDF versions of the following records:

  • Births: 1837-1934 and 2007 onwards
  • Deaths: 1837-1957 and 2007 onwards
  • Marriages: 2011 onwards
  • Civil partnerships: 2005 onwards 

The records – costing £6 each – will not be immediately viewable, but sent directly to the customer’s email address. This process is estimated to take around five working days.

The trial will end on Wednesday 30 November, or when 45,000 PDFs have been ordered.

A second trial, allowing users to request digital copies of records and have them delivered within three working hours, will cost £45 per PDF.

Although the dates for this trial have not yet been confirmed, the GRO has stated that it will run for approximately three weeks.

A third and final trial, lasting an additional four weeks, will enable users to request PDF copies of entries not already held by the GRO in a digital format.

Each document will cost £8 and take around five days to be delivered. Again, precise dates for this stage of the project are not yet finalised.

The latest developments come just five days after the GRO added two fully searchable indexes to its website, providing details of births and deaths registered in the years 1837-1915 and 1837-1957 respectively.

Unlike indexes on third-party websites, the GRO indexes allow users to search for births by mother’s maiden name prior to July 1911, and deaths by age all the way back to 1837.

To try out the GRO’s new digital services, click here.

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