Saturday 7 April 2012

Lost Cousins on English & Welsh BMDs online

Peter Calver's latest Lost Cousins newsletter has an interesting piece on why the creation of a plain copy based service for BMD records, rather than formal certified extracts - as offered at present with the GRO in the Republic of Ireland - is not likely to happen or necessarily a good idea. He again makes the point, widely felt by many, that a ScotlandsPeople type service for England and Wales would be desirable. The newsletter is available at

The GRO in Northern Ireland is already looking at creating such an option, so why is the UK Government so deaf to its citizens in England and Wales, when other parts of the UK are actively looking into it, or already have it? It's worth reiterating that the past attempt by the GRO in Southport to digitise and index its records in the birdbrained MAGPIE, EAGLE and DOVE projects was never designed to create a ScotlandsPeople type service - it was merely to help expedite order productions. A classic case of supply and demand, where the demand was ignored and the supply being delivered was itself botched and only half-completed. Sadly, it's a farce that may take some time to deliver a solution for those wishing to avail themselves of such a service.

As Peter wisely states "What we really need is for the GRO to focus on what might be done, rather than what can't be done". It's extraordinary to think that the National Archives, another government body, can be so forward thinking and proactive - unlike the GRO.

(With thanks to Peter Calver)


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