Over 79,600 PDF 'certificates' ordered as GRO extends pilot

By Rosemary Collins, 15 January 2018 - 4:38pm

The pilot, originally intended to run for three months, allows family historians to order birth and death records


An example of a PDF copy of a birth certificate

The General Register Office (GRO) has confirmed that its latest pilot scheme to deliver PDF copies of birth and death records has been a success and will be extended.

A GRO spokesperson told Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine that over 79,600 PDF applications had been processed in the three months from the introduction of the pilot on 12 October 2017.

They added that the pilot scheme would be extended past the minimum three month period, and “further changes” would be “communicated in due course”.

The pilot scheme applies to births from 1837 to 1916 and deaths from 1837 to 1957, but excludes marriage records.

By allowing family historians to order digital copies of records at £6 each with a 5-working day delivery period, it provides a cheaper and quicker alternative to ordering print copies, which cost £9.25 each or £23.40 for priority deliveries.

The GRO previously conducted a three-phase PDF pilot between November 2016 and April 2017, but has yet to establish a permanent PDF scheme.

Sarah Williams, editor of WDYTYA? Magazine, said: “I’m delighted to hear it’s been extended and I hope the pilot will lead to a permanent, affordable solution.”

WDYTYA? readers also gave positive feedback about the pilot on Facebook.

Moira Bell said: “I've ordered and received many PDF copies of birth and death certificates and have nothing but praise for this service, receiving them all before the stated date or on date but never late. Hope it can become a permanent feature.”

Helen-Clare Pope commented: “It’s a fantastic service and environmentally friendly as no need to print out certs, please keep it going and extend it.”

Diane Lea explained that she lives in the Australian state of Queensland and she was “extremely impressed” with the service, which allowed her to receive orders “far, far quicker” than by post.

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