Author Topic: A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION  (Read 16993 times)

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A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION
« Reply #9 on: Sunday 20 February 11 17:50 GMT (UK) »

A GUIDE TO CENSUSES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION




CIVIL REGISTRATION



FINDING ENTRIES IN THE GRO INDEX


To register a death, a cause of death was necessary. This modern example taken from a British newspaper in 2005 the BRADFORD TELEGRAPH AND ARGUS illustrates the difficulties if there is no body found.
In the GRO index at the end of each quarter are listed all the unnamed and unidentified deaths, registered usually with only approximate ages. There can be large lists in each quarter, though in more recent times these numbers have dwindled.


The GRO index gives the name/s as the clerk deciphered them from the certificates. Spellings of names on certificates can vary because of the levels of literacy of many of the people supplying the information to the officials.


Parents had up to 6 weeks to register the birth of the baby, so the registration could occur in the following quarter to the birth. There were no fines for non-registration of children’s births imposed until 1875. If parents were late registering the birth it is not unknown for them to re-adjust the child’s birth date to avoid paying the fine.


When births were registered, it was not a requirement to name the child. Most unnamed children have a subsequent death registration in the same quarter, but some children particularly in the early registers survived. Children could be registered in their mother’s maiden name if the marriage was ‘delayed’, or as legitimate when they were not, whether there was a later marriage between their parents or not. For the person registering the birth, usually the mother, it was just a matter of bluffing it out with the registrar. There were no real checks in the system until the second half of the C20th. Depending on their circumstances, particularly in the case of those born illegitimately, the details given to the officials and written on marriage certificates may not be completely factually correct. Full names (if remembered) were not necessarily used on marriage or when registering deaths. If the death was not registered by someone who knew the person, names and ages may not be correct. Not every couple chose to get married. Some did not because there was an impediment to them marrying, such as the existence of an earlier marriage.


The National Archives podcast on SEX, LIES AND CIVIL REGISTRATION gives more details on some of the reasons information on certificates may not always be factually correct.




The GRO will issues certificates from the information supplied from the index if the event took place over 50 years ago. If it did not further information is required before a certificate will be issued.





Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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