Friday 7 December 2012

Nightmare on GRO Street

Geoff Swinfield has posted an extraordinary account of the hassles he has just experienced trying to locate 200 death certificates from England and Wales from the years 2011 and 2012. In the end, he was forced to contact 36 different registration offices across the two countries, as the online indexes for the national GRO at Southport only go as far as 2006. Read Geoff's account at

The GRO at Southport tried some time ago to digitise its records and to create a new index through a series of bird-brained initiatives called DOVE, EAGLE and MAGPIE, with the job only half-completed and successor attempts to pick up the pieces falling flat on their face.

Compare Geoff's experience with Scotland where all records are indexed online up to 2011 via, and where we can go into any centre hosting the ScotlandsPeople Centre computer system and gain unlimited access virtually to the present day to additional indexes and digitised images of the original returns.

The Westminster Government really needs to pull its finger out on this one, and to start getting creative.

(With thanks to Geoff)


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