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Can anyone answer this please?

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


jax Report 14 Sep 2013 19:09

Yes I know it normally says his mark (X) but I would have thought that at least one of the four wouldn't have been able to write in 1846...with not being able to see the original I don't know if that was the case


mgnv Report 14 Sep 2013 18:03

Most Registration Districts have several subdistricts. Each of these hold a local register for Bs & Ds, so if I lived in Hindley, say, 5 km outside of Wigan, I would go to the Hindley office to rego a B or D, and that is the register I would sign as informant. At the end of each quarter, the Hindly registrar had a copy made of all the Bs & Ds rego'ed in that quarter, and sent these in to the superintendant registrar in Wigan. The superintendent checked them over, and then bundled the births from his half dozen subdistricts together and shipped them off to the GRO, originally St Catherines House in London, but latterly to Southport. Deaths were similar.

Marrs are a bit difft. Here, the official register that was signed is usually the church reister, and the vicar (or authorized keeper of the rego) has a copy made out and sent to the superintendent registrar (in Wigan in my example) and at the end of each quarter, the superintendent has a copy made out for each church in his district. There are also rego office marrs recorded in his district, and these too are copied, and all the copies are bundled together and shipped off to the GRO like the B/D cert copies.In the case of churches, the original rego that was signed is in the possession of the vicar. However, when that rego is filled, it's sent in to the superintendent registrar to check against his copy, and then deposited in some archive, usually the local county records office.

Although non-conformists (other than jews/quakers) initially weren't authorized to keep official narr registers, the superintendent registrar could authorize non-conformist churches and chapels as places where marrs could be held. In these cases, the registrar would have to attend with his official rego for the couple to sign, and these marrs would be mixed in with all the rego office marrs. (Whether the church recorded this event in their own regos was up to them.) The law changed in 1898, and then most non-conformist could be authorized to keep official regos (but not RCs until 1980ish). Authorization wasn't necessarily immediate - my wife's grandparents were wed in the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Standishgate Wigan in Aug 1901 with the registrar attending, but the church only had it's first authorized entry in its own rego in 1902q1.

One can buy a BMD.cert from either the local office that holds the rego, or the GRO. One can also buy an m.cert from the vicar, if it's in his current rego. 50y ago, any cert was copied from the rego in their possession, either as a hand-written copy or a typed copy. Nowadays, a copy from the GRO is a scan of their copy. A copy from the local rego office is usually a copy of their copy, and I think Birmingham was the first local office to routinely issue a scan of their copy, but scans are slowly becoming more commonly issued by local offices.

The same basic procedure is followed in Scotland, but it's worth noting that SP decided to scan the local copies for their website, rather than the GROS copies, so there one routinely sees original signatures of informants.

Note for jax - if the signer made a mark, this is recorded on the copy, and one reads: John Smith His mark (X) in the signature slot - sometimes modified depending where the mark is in the slot, e.g., John His mark (X) Smith


Maryanna Report 14 Sep 2013 17:23

Slightly different but I found several London Certs where the Bishops Transcript date is a year later than the Parish records.

Eg, John Smith baptised 1st June 1805 on the Parish record same date but 1806 on the Bishop's transcript.

Same for marriages. If both versions were not available then people could end up with baptism or marriage dates a year later than they actually were.



jax Report 14 Sep 2013 12:45

I ordered a marriage cert recently from 1846...the writing is bad but it is all in the same handwriting.

Four signatures of the bride, groom and witnesses....where probably they couldn't even write


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 14 Sep 2013 11:43

As I understand it, only the local Register Office will hold the originals, the ones ordered from GRO are transcribed copies sent to them. You only have to look at the handwriting on say MC's to see that even the signatures are the same.

I'm not entirely sure if Church marriages are copied over to the RO or if triplicates are signed at the time of the event with one copy being sent on.


Porkie_Pie Report 14 Sep 2013 11:16

All the hand written certs I have were purchased from local registry offices,

All the certs that came from the GRO are photo copies of the original image but as Ken says Where the original data is hard to read (faded over time) so doesn't photo copy very well the GRO may issues typewritten versions



KenSE Report 14 Sep 2013 10:56

The certificate data held by the GRO was copied by the local registrar and sent to the GRO. Only after copying machines were in use will you get true copies of the original image.

Where the original data is hard to read the GRO issues typewritten versions.

For marriages the most likely place to see the original signatures is in the parish registers.


AnnCardiff Report 14 Sep 2013 10:10

Am posting this for a fellow member

"I have noticed your general help that you give so thought perhaps you may help with this question.

I have noticed when I send off for a certificate sometimes it is a copy of an original but at other times it is handwritten by someone in the office or perhaps typewritten, do you know why that could be ?

I prefer a copy of the original as this gives signatures etc. "