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Eighty-six full time staff registered 77, births, 38, deaths and 29, marriages in the past year. Half a million certificates, of which fifty per cent were unrestricted, were issued. A team of volunteers help in transcribing the historical records which are vital to us as genealogists. Prior to 1st July , the date the Registry was established, the only records of christenings, marriages and burials were those kept by churches.

The Early Church Records Project was a task which involved indexing and digitising these records. There had been a requirement for churches to provide their records to the Registry back in but many churches did not and so these records are incomplete. Even so, 76, records were digitised externally and another 4, records which came from the Anglican and Catholic churches in Geelong were digitised in-house by volunteers.

The records varied in quality and they varied as to what information was provided depending on whether the records were church returns of the actual church registers. Obviously the digital images captured were only as good as the original. The idea was to have this information in a DVD-Rom format with additional information about the actual churches included for historical interest. The project took about 10 years and had mixed success because many records were missing, the records held didn't necessarily provide much information and there was a limited market.

In hindsight the project was probably too ambitious.

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Technology has moved on so quickly that the format of the DVDs produced, and similarly the format of the 'Digger' indexes cannot be used on new bit computers. Some people have been lucky enough to keep an old computer in order to access these records otherwise they can only be searched at libraries which hold genealogy records. It has become apparent that it is not viable for the Registry to produce programs for a limited audience and so it is unlikely that further DVD-Roms will be made.

In the s the Registry sent 13 million records to data entry organisations to be copied into a digital format which was then stored on the BDMs first computer system. The records were originally held in books and index books were used to tell you which book to look at. Some of the index books were hand written and others typed. Transcriptions of hand written indexes, and electronic scanning or character recognition OCR of typed indexes produced errors at a rate of about 2.

Researching your Victorian ancestors

The 'Digger' DVDs were produced from these indexes. Baptisms, marriages and burials were recorded in parish registers maintained by Church of England Anglican clergy. However, with the great increase in nonconformity and the gradual relaxation of the laws against Catholics and other dissenters from the late 17th century, more and more baptisms, marriages and burials were going unrecorded in the registers of the Anglican Church. The increasingly poor state of English parish registration led to numerous attempts to shore up the system in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Marriage Act of attempted to prevent 'clandestine' marriages by imposing a standard form of entry for marriages, which had to be signed by both parties to the marriage and by witnesses. Additionally, except in the case of Jews and Quakers, legal marriages had to be carried out according to the rites of the Church of England. Sir George Rose 's Parochial Registers Act of laid down that all events had to be entered on standard entries in bound volumes. It also declared that the church registers of Nonconformists were not admissible in court as evidence of births, marriages and deaths.


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Only those maintained by the clergy of the Church of England could be presented in court as legal documents, and this caused considerable hardship for Nonconformists. A number of proposals were presented to Parliament to set up centralised registries for recording vital events in the s but none came to fruition. Eventually, increasing concern that the poor registration of baptisms, marriages and burials undermined property rights, by making it difficult to establish lines of descent, coupled with the complaints of Nonconformists, led to the establishment in of a parliamentary Select Committee on Parochial Registration.

This took evidence on the state of the parochial system of registration, and made proposals that were eventually incorporated into the Registration and Marriage Acts. In addition, the government wanted to survey matters such as infant mortality, fertility and literacy to bring about improvements in health and social welfare.

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The medical establishment advocated this because a rapidly growing population in the northern industrial towns — caused by the Industrial Revolution — had created severe overcrowding, and the links between poor living conditions and short life expectancy were now known. The answer was the establishment of a civil registration system.

It was hoped that improved registration of vital events would protect property rights through the more accurate recording of lines of descent. Civil registration would also remove the need for Nonconformists to rely upon the Church of England for registration, and provide medical data for research. This took effect from 1 July England and Wales were divided into registration districts from , each under the supervision of a Superintendent Registrar.


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  • The districts were based on the recently introduced poor law unions. The registration districts were further divided into sub-districts there could be two or more , each under the charge of Registrars who were appointed locally. Although the GRO was not specifically established to undertake statistical research, the early Registrar Generals, Thomas Henry Lister —42 and George Graham —79 , built up a Statistical Department to compile medical, public health and actuarial statistics.

    Under these men the Annual reports of the Registrar General became a vehicle for administrative and social reform. During the First World War the GRO was responsible for co-ordinating National Registration, which underpinned recruitment to the armed forces, the movement of workers into the munitions industries, and rationing. National Registration was not, however, continued after the war and the GRO was absorbed into the Ministry of Health in Until then it had had several statistical functions, including the conduct of population censuses and the production of annual population estimates; all these were moved elsewhere within the new organisation.

    The move followed changes to make Office for National Statistics ONS more independent of the British Government, which included relinquishing the registration role. For a short time after the move the death records were stored at Alexandra House , until room was found for all the records at St Catherine's House. This facility was jointly operated by the National Archives so that public access to census returns was also available at the same location.

    The FRC was closed in , in response to steadily decreasing visitor numbers caused by the increased online availability of the records. In the early days of the system, it was up to each local registrar to find out what births, marriages and deaths had taken place in his sub-district. Births had to be registered within 42 days at the district or sub-district office, usually by the mother or father.

    If more days had elapsed but it was less than three months since the birth, the superintendent registrar had to be present and if between three months and a year, the registration could only be authorised by the Registrar General. Until , there were no registrations at all of still born children. For illegitimate children, the original legislation provided that "it shall not be necessary to register the name of any father of a bastard child.

    In a child father could also be recorded on the birth certificate, if not married to the mother, without being physically present to sign the register. Clergy of the established Church of England are registrars for marriage. In each parish church two identical registers of marriages are kept and when they are complete, one is sent to the superintendent registrar.

    In the meantime, every three months it is required that a return certified by a clergy person detailing the marriages that had taken place, or else that no marriages had taken place, in the preceding three months, be submitted directly to the superintendent registrar. The Marriage Act also permitted marriages by licence to take place in approved churches, chapels and nonconformist meeting houses, other than those of the Church of England. Marriages were only legally binding if they were notified to the superintendent registrar by the officiating minister so in effect, this required the presence of a local registration officer as the authorising person.

    When a nonconformist minister or other religious official, such as a rabbi, performed the ceremony it was necessary for the local registrar or his assistant to be present so that the marriage was legal. This legalisation was not repealed until , after which date, nonconformist ministers and other religious leaders could take on the role of notifying official, if so appointed, and on the condition that their premises were licensed for the solemnising of marriage.

    A Victorian lady

    The civil authorities, i. Changes in marriage laws since have also affected how marriages are registered, for example, civil partnerships for same-sex couples were introduced by the British Government in and the GRO records these ceremonies through its civil registration system.

    http://kick-cocoa.info/components/duvikilo/tab-come-controllare-la.php A death was to be registered by someone who had been present at the death or during the final illness. If that wasn't possible, it could be registered by the owner of the building the person died in, or if the dead person was the owner, by some other occupier of the building. There were more complicated arrangements for eventualities such as unidentified bodies being found, and cases where there was a coroner's inquest. A death was supposed to be registered within eight days. Since there wasn't necessarily a unique person clearly responsible for registering a death, in order to make sure deaths were registered, clergymen were made responsible for checking the death certificate before performing any funeral or burial service.

    However, they were given some leeway in case the death hadn't been registered yet, and could go ahead with the service provided they notified the registrar themselves within seven days. If they failed to do so they were liable for a ten-pound fine. From the cause of death had to be certified by a doctor before registration. A death would normally be registered in the district in which it occurred.

    Once a death has been registered, the registrar would normally issue a Certificate for Burial or Cremation, unless the death were being investigated by the coroner or there were an inquest. This certificate would give permission for the body to be buried or for an application for cremation to be made.

    The Births and Deaths Act tried to ensure all deaths were registered, by placing a duty on the persons who were supposed to register the death to do so. No specific penalty was imposed if they failed to do it, but if the registrar became aware of any deaths that hadn't been registered within the past year, then the registrar had a duty and was empowered to summon the negligent parties to the register office to get it registered.

    If the death had occurred more than a year previously, it wasn't to be registered late without special permission. A different registration system operates today in other parts of the United Kingdom. Every three months, at the end of March, June, September and December, the superintendent registrars send a copy of each entry of birth, marriage and death registered by their office in that quarter, to the Registrar General in London. From these returns the General Register Office produced indexes to its records which are open to public inspection and the indexes can be used to order birth, marriage and death certificates.