Don't pay too much to buy Birth, Marriage and Death certificates

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Michael J Hulme
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Last seen: 1 hour 32 min ago
Joined: Saturday, 4-06-2011

The following information has just been circulated by the Federation of Family History Societies and might save some of our readers some money.

"The Identity & Passport Service has warned: don't pay too much for your replacement birth certificates.  This appears on the internet here. This applies equally to other certificates.

When using commercial websites to find an index entry for a birth, marriage or death registration it can be tempting to click on a conveniently placed link to order a certificate.  However, it can be much more costly to take this route rather than going to the official website.

In due course it is hoped that the General Register Office will complete its digitisation and indexing project so that finding entries in the indexes and ordering certificates can all be done from an official website.  I understand that around 50% of civil registration records have already been digitised and that plans for completing this will be drawn up within the next six months."

Mike

 

Gulielmus
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Last seen: 6 years 22 weeks ago
Joined: Tuesday, 1-11-2011

Michael,

        Further to your information 'Don't pay too much'

   I wonder if you, or any one else with experience of the various Web Sites used for information when researching ancestors, would be prepared to put forward their opinions on the pros and cons of these sites.

  This should not be based on cost other wise this could be construed as advertising, more on ease of use, content and accuracy of information offered.

    Many thanks Gulielmus. 

 

Michael J Hulme
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Last seen: 1 hour 32 min ago
Joined: Saturday, 4-06-2011

Hello Gulielmus

I think the first thing you need to consider is what information are you looking for. If it is Births, Marriages and Deaths or the Census then you have several choices but if you want some specialised data because your ancestors were involved in something unusual then you might only have one choice. In fact some sites may only cover one subject. Sometimes you can limit the cost by subscribing for a short period, may be a month but you want a subscription that is not limited to a minute number of searches. This is a good way to get a feel for a particular site so you can make you own decision as to how good or bad it is. If you do decide to try this you may well have to subscribe with your credit card and it is vital that you cancel your subscription quickly to stop it being renewed at the end of the period. You will need to read the small print on each site to determine how much notice each requires. You could in fact do all your research like this - save up all the searches you want to do for a few months then pay for a one month subscription to get all the answers.

Ease of use is to some extent a personal thing and anyone who has done any census indexing will know how difficult it can be to read some entries so transcription accuracy is a combination of the original handwriting and the ability of the transcriber. As time goes on this will be less of a problem as users submit corrections or alternatives to the transcriptions. I have submitted several including one for the 1911 census where the page was virtually unreadable due to water damage but I already knew the names from other research so it was easy for me once I managed to find the page by a round about route.

Talking about the 1911 census all the data will be viewable from January 2012 and at the moment the whole census is only viewable on the 1911 Census web site and the Find my Past web site both of which are owned by the same company but they operate quite differently. On the 1911 Census site you can only buy credits (not subscribe) but the search facility on this site can sometimes be more helpful. If you wish to subscribe (which is by far the cheaper option in most cases) you will need to use the Find my Past site which also has lots of other data sources.

Ancestry have the Enumerators books for the 1911 census including some that do not appear on Find my Past for some strange reason. No doubt they will get the remainder of the 1911 census in due course. If you wish to try Ancestry before you buy then many archives and libraries have their library edition available, probably free or for a small hourly charge. In some cases this can have a distinct advantage if they have the international version because you will then be able to search records outside the UK if that is useful to you.

One note of caution I would offer is to do with a site which calls itself the "National ?????? Index" when it is far from national and will remain so for many years. Do check any site you are searching actually has the data in the first place. Some have information for certain c o u n t i e s which may, or may not, include the one your ancestors lived in. Of course more and more data is being added to all sites all the time so it is important to check round them from time to time to see if any has that vital piece of information that you need.

From time to time you might find some special offers including free trials for 14 days so it is well worth looking for these while you make your decision as to which site(s) to use but as I said above you will almost certainly need to give your credit card details so it is vital that you cancel quickly if you don't want the subscription renewed automatically.

Mike

 

sparklingtechie
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Last seen: 9 years 34 weeks ago
Joined: Sunday, 27-11-2011

I've learned from hard experiance only to buy Certs from the GRO direct.

Gulielmus
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Last seen: 6 years 22 weeks ago
Joined: Tuesday, 1-11-2011

           Hello Michael,

   Well what can I say, your answer to my question was way beyond expectation, many thanks.

   Your comments were so helpful, I had never thought of going along the lines you suggest, in the past I have always subscribed to the (most expensive) most well known site.

   I feel with  such a comprehensive answer it would be an excellent and worthy article to publish in the SFHS  magazine, there must be many members who receive the magazine, but who do not, on a regular basis read, or may not have access to this message board.

   You put in a lot of time, thought and detail into your reply and this is much appreciated.

  Thank you.

     Gulielmus.