Friday, 23 January 2015

Recent UK death indexes released on Ancestry

Ancestry ( has released a couple of interesting, if not somewhat bewildering, death indexes on its site, as follows:

Scotland and Northern Ireland, Death Index, 1989-2013

England and Wales, Death Index, 2007-2013

The source has simply been listed as 'Various sources', however, genealogist Karen Cummings (@CummingsPFH) has contacted Ancestry via Twitter to ask what the source is, to which they have responded "The source of this collection is GreyPower Deceased Data, compiled by Wilmington Millennium". Wilmington Millenium appears to be this company online at, noted as offering "intelligent consumer data suppression and lead generation products created in conjunction with leading industry partners". There is no mention of a partnership with Ancestry on its site however.

A typical search yields the following info - name, gender, age, birth date (variously reported as a year or with the full date), death date, residential place at death, and a postal code district.

Without a decent provenance for the source, i.e. any understanding of what it is, I would suggest that any entries on this be treated simply as a finding aid that should be pursued via the usual sources through the three respective General Register Offices of the UK. These are as follows:

Scotland - records can be ordered via (£12 each)
Northern Ireland - via (£15 each)
England and Wales - via (£9.25 each)

Scottish finds can be partially corroborated online via ScotlandsPeople (, which does index death records within the last 50 years, but does not provide the digitised register images, as with earlier records. (All records, including up to the present day, can be accessed at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, or at other centres in Scotland providing access to the same database, for £15 unlimited access). No online GRO indexes are available for Northern Ireland in this period, nor for England and Wales.

I have read many reports from users saying that the databases are not complete. Scotland seems to be better covered than Northern Ireland, and my own mother's death, in Manchester, England, in November 2013, is not included. I have found my grandmother's death in Carrickfergus - her date of death is given as 22 JUL 2011, and her birth year as 1922, both correct. her name is simply given as Mrs Martha Graham though - her full name was in fact Martha Jane Elizabeth Watton Bill Smyth, so don't be expecting too much in the detail!

So it is an interesting resource, one that needs handling with caution, but potentially useful. But no substitute for the placing of indexes online by the English, Welsh and Northern Irish GROs, as has been done by Scotland via ScotlandsPeople.


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  1. I have just found the info for a relative's death that I personally registered: it gave his DOB as 1992, when it was in fact 1921. I wonder how many more such mistakes there are?

  2. It's also not comprehensive. Several expected results did not exist