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GRO Indexes

Policy used in the Bolstridge One Name Study

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General - From 1837 - 1983 All index years are subdivided into quarters i.e. March, June, Sept and Dec, the March quarter containing all registrations during  Jan, Feb and March. From 1984 they are arranged annually stating the moth of registration. Although all are published on Microfiche at the moment the easiest way of searching the post 1983 indexes is by the On line Database which is available for a small charge at Family Research Link.

Place-names given in the indexes are the district where an event was registered, not necessarily the actual place of birth, marriage or death. The names and boundaries of districts may have changed over time and not within the scope of this document to list. Genuki has an informative page with many links here.

Births had to be registered within 6 weeks, perhaps thereby putting the registration into the next quarterly index; deaths had to be registered within 5 days, except where a coroner was involved. Penalties were introduced for non-registration from 1875, so the index is more reliable after this date. Neither the civil registers nor the indexes created from them are infallible. Errors creep into the original local registrations and through transcription for the central records. It is not unusual to find errors in names transcribed from local indexes to the National ones and sometimes neither match that on the original certificates. This page has a brief description on the arrangement of local indexes.

Information given by the Indexes

Birth - The  index gives for each child: surname, Forename, 2nd name or initials of further names; maiden surname of mother (from September quarter 1911); National Health Service number and date of birth (Jan 1976 to Dec 1983 only).

Marriage - Each party is indexed separately  giving  Surname, Forename, initials of further names and from March 1912  the  spouse's surname. The combination of registration district and reference is the same for each spouse. A widow remarrying will generally use her previous married name, not her maiden name however  in some cases alias is given but you have no way of knowing which is which as she is indexed twice.

Death - The index gives for each deceased person: Surname, Forename, 2nd name or initials of further names; age at death (from June quarter 1866 to March quarter 1969); date of birth (from April 1969). The age given is provided by the informant and so cannot be guaranteed as accurate.

Policy adopted For this Study

All the indices are held in a Microsoft Access Database, a standard lookup table is used for Registration Districts to enable consistency. All Bostridge entries are extracted although the London ones are not believed to be Bolstridge related, these however are not published on line. The field "Assigned" means the entry has been added the main linked database. Warning : the spelling of the Surname in the main database may not be the same as in the GRO database especially in early years.

Births - are transcribed as written.

Deaths - include a  year of birth, (from June 1866),  which is automatically calculated from the age stated in the index, this should be treated with caution see above. Post 1969 the date of birth is given as per the index.

Marriages - It has been attempted to include the full name of the spouse for marriages entries, all full names have been cross checked in the indexes. Extensive use of census data paired with the Free BMD database has been used to find the spouse.

Free BMD and spouses - One page will display a number of marriages. Prior to 1852 a full page should show 4 marriages i.e. 8 entries after that 2 marriages, 4 entries. There are rare exceptions to this notably where there is an alias in the original index see above. If the forename is known for the spouse it can be possible using census data to narrow the choice. I some cases where forename cannot be found I have eliminated the other pairs by checking their census data. It is always worthwhile  in difficult cases to ask Free BMD to display all entries for that quarter and registration  district as the page number is usually the most difficult to read on the original microfiche and can be be either wrong or entered with queries.

Martyn Parsons July, 2008

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