Friday 27 January 2012

Northern Irish death certs to record parents' names

The General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI) has announced that future death registrations in Northern Ireland will include provision for noting the names of the deceased's parents. New regulations are to be drafted for implementation later this year and will be modelled on the Scottish system; provision of the information will be voluntary, and requires informants only to provide information they have knowledge of.

Confirmation of the change to Northern Ireland's civil registration system was sent to CIGO, the Council for Irish Genealogical Organisations, which has long campaigned to improve the data recorded on death registrations across the island of Ireland.

Informants of death in the Republic of Ireland have been required to provide the names of the deceased's parents since December 2005. It followed a change in the law secured when CIGO appealed to the then Minister for Social Welfare, Mary Coughlan TD, drawing attention to the fact that the United Nations had long promoted the need for universal registration of 'vital' events and had produced a 'Model Civil Registration Law’ to assist developing Third World countries!

While the Republic responded quickly, GRONI was slow to move on the issue. However, the campaign received a huge boost in 2009 when CIGO executive liaison officers Steven Smyrl and Robert Davison appeared before the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Finance & Personnel Scrutiny Committee to give evidence about civil registration practices in Northern Ireland. They made a convincing case for Northern Ireland to follow the Republic’s lead and to begin noting the name of each deceased person’s mother and father.

Across Britain and Ireland, this now leaves only England & Wales to recognise the value of, and commit to, this important provision for future generations and future genealogists.