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Never believe the GRO index?

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

Chris in Sussex

Chris in Sussex Report 8 Nov 2012 16:25

Not a question but an interesting tale about registration.

In 1892 the birth of Albert Brunt, the illegitimate son of my GGAunt Sarah Brunt, is registered.
1892 Q3 Wandsworth 1d 673

Birth certificate ordered and the original is not issued. In its place is a certificate which states....‘Re registration under the Legitimacy Act 1926 on the 14th April 1939'

7th August 1892
Father: Albert BRUNT
Mother: Sarah Brunt formerly MULLINGS

A quick check of the GRO index for 1939 shows
Albert Mullings 1939 Q2 Battersea 1d 477 MMN Brunt

So the index is not a true record of the information contained in the re registration....And anyway the certificate is not a true record of Albert's parent's surnames!

Now if I hadn't thoroughly researched this family I would be very confused....To say the least!

A lesson in not believing everthing you read!!!!



JustDinosaurJill Report 8 Nov 2012 18:43

Hi Chris.

Another excellent story to keep us on our toes.



Kay???? Report 8 Nov 2012 19:52

Are the two 1892 registrations for Albert Brunt and Albert Mullings Wandsworth and Battersea the same person?

If parents arent married the man needed to be present to sign a declaration he agreed the child also carry his surname but due to the single status of the mother it also required the child carry her surname aswell....Albert and Sarah didnt marry till 1895...


mgnv Report 8 Nov 2012 20:00

Births Sep 1892 (>99%)
Mullings Albert Battersea 1d 31
[the image shows the page # is "See J 39" - correct'n subm'd to FreeBMD]

I think this is the longest gap between registration and re-registration I've ever seen in England.


mgnv Report 8 Nov 2012 20:22

Here's another cautionary tale

The GRO index shows:
Births Sep 1837 (>99%)
Leigh Female Leigh 21 347
[I've checked the FreeBMD image, and it is transcribed correctly]

However, the local registrar's index shows:
Lancashire Birth indexes for the years: 1837
Surname Forename(s) Sub-District Registers At Mother's Maiden Name Reference
LEIGH Elizabeth Alice Culcheth Wigan & Leigh URMSTON CUL/1/8

I haven't seen the GRO copy of the b.cert, nor the local original - one can tell the entries pair up by looking at the other entries for page 347.

In this case, "Elizabeth Alice" was added in column 10 of the b.cert (one of several similar cases - I asked this one be checked).
It's not clear to me this counts as a re-registration, nor is it clear that the GRO was informed of this addition.


InspectorGreenPen Report 9 Nov 2012 06:04

There are two errors in the GRO index entry for my own marriage.

Both have now been corrected on the official index, but will remain for ever in the copies of the index held by the likes of Ancestry, FMP Free BMD etc.


Potty Report 9 Nov 2012 15:03

Personally, I am amazed that given the complexity of compiling the index that there aren't more errors and omissions.

I have often wondered how they did it. Did they first file all the pages from local offices in the relevant volumes (and the pages would not have been in alphabetical order) and then compile an alphabetical index of every volume and finally an alphabetical index of those indexes? My mind boggles at the thought!


Robert Report 9 Nov 2012 15:04

Legitimacy Acts 1926 ,1959 and 1976 allows a child to correct there birth entry when a child later in life learns who there true father was. these acts were brought into being because women who had affiars, and wanted to avoid a family scandle offten lied who the father was, and it allows a child to be legitimsed, if the marrage was void for some reason

these were later replaced by the Family Law Reform Act 1987


Maryanna Report 10 Nov 2012 10:49

When my Dad died I found two marriage certs for him and Mum, on one, presumably the original given to them by the Vicar, my gt grandad and a friend are the witnesses. At some time in the 1980s they must have mislaid the original and sent off for a copy. The witnesses on this one are both my grandads.

Whoever copied the original onto the record that goes to the GRO must have made a mistake, lucky it was only the witnesses not one of my parents.

When I got my Mum's cousins BC it had been altered about two years after his birth. His second name had been changed and there was a note in the margin stating that Mr ....... had acknowledged him as his son although he and my great aunt never married she took his name but apart from that note there is no other record of him anywhere at all. Ah, Robert that is interesting because it was changed in 1927.

I agree Potty, all those bits of paper and books in all those different places. M


Geraldine Report 11 Nov 2012 21:33

A person can only be born once and Registered once in their original birth name. The Law allows for Corrections and Re-registrations.

After a Correction or Re-registration has taken place the original birth certificate is superseded and any subsequent birth certificates will be issued in the Re-registered name.

However, the original entry will remain the same... kind of etched in stone.