Index Data Quality & Error Reporting

You can now search some of the GRO birth and death indexes online, 24/7, free of charge via the GRO Certificate Ordering site; and if you wish also purchase a certificate. These cover birth records from 1837 to 1919 and from 1984 to 2004; and death records from 1837 to 1957 and from 1984 up to the current year.

Online Indexes

The GRO online birth and death indexes have been created using our 130 million digitised records (rather than microfiche indexes) and enable us to enhance the indexes, such as mother's maiden name in birth records, and age at death in death records. However, there are circumstances where we have identified that this information is not shown in the online indexes; and this is outlined below.

What if there is a dash against details in an index entry?
A dash is recorded where the details have not been data captured in the index. Not all information will have been provided by the informant when the birth or death was registered, or in some cases the information may not have been data captured. In these circumstances there will be a dash against the field when the search results are displayed.

Why is Mother's Maiden Name shown in most, but not all birth indexes?
In some cases, Mother's Maiden Name was not data captured, and will appear in the online index as a dash.
For historic indexes, we have where possible enhanced the indexes to include Mother's Maiden Name where it has previously not been provided on the microfiche indexes.
For modern birth indexes, the mother's maiden name will only be included in the returned index if it was already entered as part of the online search.

How is the age at death for infant deaths (i.e. died within 12 months of birth) recorded in the indexes?
Generally, age at death for 'infant deaths' will be shown as 0, in line with the microfiche index. However we are aware of a number of records where the age at death is showing a different value e.g. 9. If this is the case, it is likely that the information held in the online index relates to the age in minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months (recorded this way on the original death registration) rather than in years. It is not possible to identify which records maybe affected but we will continue to correct any errors that we do become aware of, or those reported to us.

Why do the search results contain a name which appears to relate to the opposite sex from what was requested?
Sex was not data captured for some of the records. In order to ensure that all relevant records are included in the search and to present as much useful information as possible, those records where sex has not been data captured are searched every time a request is made. On occasion therefore, a search for a male may return a female sounding forename and vice versa.

Reporting an error in the online indexes?

I think I have identified an error in the online indexes. How do I report it?
If you think you have discovered an error, please use the online index error form (link is also located at the bottom of the search results page), and provide us with details.

How do I view the error queries I have raised?
You will be able to view any errors you have raised here. Once we have finished investigating the record you have reported we will update the status of the query to Investigated and indicate if the error has been amended.

How do I receive a progress update on the error queries I have raised?
Once we have finished investigating the record you have reported we will update the status of your query which can be viewed here.

Why has my error query not been actioned?
All error reports will be investigated within 10 working days and where an error is found, we will update the Index to reflect the correct information. If our records show that there is no error to the indexes we will inform you of this and explain why no further action has been taken. Updates to the indexes will be made on a weekly basis.

Further Details about our Online Historic Indexes is available in the FAQ Section of the site.

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