LONDON-L ArchivesArchiver > LONDON > 2002-01 > 1012168592
From: "Tony Mitchell" <>
Subject: Re: [Lon] Re: Civil Registrations: Vital Change
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 22:01:53 -0000
It has now been established that the availability of the consultation
document 'Registration: Modernising a Vital Service' was publicised at the
Family Record Centre in September to December 1999. The FRC is, of course,
the mecca for family historians, visited by an average of almost 2,000
people each day - obviously the ideal place to publicise it. At the same
time, the document's availability was announced on the ONS website, and on
some Rootsweb lists. It cost 5GBP to obtain a full copy - less than the
cost of a BMD certificate, and money well spent in my view. (And if the last
person to borrow my copy is on this list, will they please return it to me!)
If anyone has written to their MP asking him/her to take up the lack of
publicity for the Civil Registration review, in the light of the above facts
they may wish to retract their request.
In response to my earlier posting on this thread, both Guy Etchells and Liz
have suggested that the Registrar General has been acting unlawfully by not
allowing searches to be made of BDM registers. Recently, I had an amicable
off-list discussion with Guy on this very subject - in conclusion, we agreed
Liz has now quoted information apparently from Guy that access to such
registers was provided for in an 1812 Act. Sorry Liz and Guy, but I don't
understand - in 1812, the Registrar General and Civil Registration were
unlikely to have been even a twinkle in the legislators' eyes - the RG and
Civil Registration were both introduced in an Act 24 years later.
The 1812 Act relates to Parish Registers for baptisms and burials (never
part of any Registrar General's jurisdiction) and marriages (for which the
RG has little responsibility in relation to Church of England and Church in
Wales marriages). If there are problems concerning access to information in
Parish Registers, why blame it on the Registrar General?
My former discussions with Guy and his latest posting are based on his claim
that the Registration Acts since 1836 "require that searches are allowed to
be made of the REGISTERS of Births, Marriages, and Deaths".
Provision for such searches, except in current registers being used by
Registrars for new entries, has never been in any Act. Here are relevant
extracts from the 1836 Act (which can be viewed in full on Guy's website
"............; and the Registrar shall keep safely each of the said Register
Books until it shall be filled, and shall then deliver it to the
Superintendent Registrar, to be kept safe by him with the Records of his
(So, as soon as the Registrar fills a B, D, or M register, he passes it into
the custody of the Superintendent Registrar. The Registrar's responsibility
for that register ceases forthwith.)
"And be it enacted, That every Rector, Vicar, or Curate, and every
Registrar, Registering Officer, and Secretary, who shall have the keeping
for the Time being of any Register Book of Births, Deaths, or Marriages,
shall at all reasonable Times allow Searches to be made of any Register Book
in his keeping, ...................."
(So, a Registrar must allow a search of any REGISTER in his keeping - i.e.
only those current registers that have not yet been filled.)
"And be it enacted, That every Superintendent Registrar shall cause Indexes
of the Register Books in his Office to be made, and kept with the other
Records of his Office; and that every person shall be entitled at all
reasonable Hours to search the said Indexes, ................"
(So, only the INDEXES of registers in the custody of the Superintendent
Registrar may be searched - not the REGISTERS).
Incidentally, how accurate are the indexes held at Register Offices? At the
end of the index, there is a reconciliation page on which the Superintendent
Registrar has to state the number of entries in the index for each surname
initial letter. Then these numbers are totalled, and the overall total must
agree with the number of entries in the register to which the index relates.
Simple, but effective.
If anyone is contemplating asking their MP to follow up the allegation that
the Registrar General is acting against the law in relation to searches, it
would surely be courteous to show the MP the above facts so that he can best
judge what he may be letting himself in for.
|Re: [Lon] Re: Civil Registrations: Vital Change by "Tony Mitchell" <>|