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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Legal go-ahead for online historical GRO registers

Just for the record, the Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2014 completed its passage into law last week, five days ahead of schedule. You can download a pdf of the amendments here.

Much of the deliberation has been about registration issues relating to stillbirths, deaths abroad, forced marriages and civil partnerships; for genealogists, the important element of the Bill is the approval for online access to both the civil registration indexes and the civil registration registers, the latter providing images of birth, marriages and deaths that took place 100, 75 and 50 years ago respectively. You'll find these issues dealt with on page 35 of the pdf, in section 61(b) 2A.

It's good to have had the path cleared for these records to be placed online. However, as this year's debacle over the online civil registration indexes has proved, actually getting the records to a screen near you make take some time. Don't hold your breath, in other words.

Note also that the Bill refers to payment of fees. Let's hope this means the records will be professionally presented and indexed and not an in-house bodge job.