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GRO Certificate Discrepancy

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Slartibartfast Report 31 Aug 2019 08:29

I paid the outrageous £11 for a marriage certificate a few weeks ago of my 3 x great-grandfather (1841).
Last night I discovered I had a free 1-month subscription to FMP (that's another story).
I have had an Ancestry subscription for many years so I thought I'd take the opportunity to look on FMP for things I couldn't find on Ancestry.
I found the aforementioned certificate which was an actual scan of the register. It is easy to see that all the signatures were written in a different hand whereas the certificate I got from the GRO - everything was written in the same hand (a transcript of the original). The dates of the marriage were 4 days apart, both clearly legible.
I was wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience? It's bad enough having to pay £11 for a sheet of A4 paper but when the information given is incorrect, that really gets my goat.


ErikaH Report 31 Aug 2019 09:29

If you have a complaint about the GRO, surely you should address it to them. They are the only ones who can deal with it

Gwyn in Kent

Gwyn in Kent Report 31 Aug 2019 10:20

GRO would receive returns each quarter from the various registration districts.

These would be copies of the ledgers held in the individual offices.
Unfortunately, the more times something was copied, the more chance there is for errors.
I have had certificates where names were different, ie. Maud instead of Maria, but viewing a fiche of the original parish records, it was easy to see how this came about.

My own sister's birth is wrongly logged by GRO, although by then the index was typed. I can see how poor handwriting would have been wrongly interpreted and so the GRO index is wrong.

It is always best to go back to an original document or scan, when possible to hopefully get correct information.

Like Erika says, you could take it up with GRO but they can only send a certificate with the information as it appears in their index.


greyghost Report 31 Aug 2019 13:00

Great Aunt married and had a daughter 1903, family story says hubby then upped and offed to America. Only possible was post 1911, so had a hunt on the census - well, there he is (I think at this point) a couple of Counties away, married with 3 kids and another 13 to follow !!

I sent for their marriage cert. which was all in one hand, but it gave me where they had married, so I was able to send for a local copy of the certificate (not online, so it cost me twice, but well worth it).

Caught !! Same signature. No reply from an Ancestry tree holder who was related via that second "marriage" ......... and news to Great Aunty's descendants.


Amokavid Report 31 Aug 2019 16:58

Well I do not think £11 is outrageous for purchasing a BMD certificate!
The said records have to be looked out, checked for accuracy re what has been requested, then scanned & sent off to the customer IF it is the correct one

We are VERY lucky to have these records accessible to us in the first place AND available to order online in the comfort of our homes, I well remember the days when we would have to actually visit (travel costs) the said Record offices to order them OR pay someone else to do that for us if a particular office was too far from where one lived, & as well as the cost of the sertificate pay that persons fee for helping as well!!

Genealogy id a Hobby & ALL hobbies need money spent on them in order to do them!



ErikaH Report 1 Sep 2019 12:42

I agree wholeheartedly, Joan.

The primary purpose of the GRO isn't to benefit people pursuing their hobby of researching FH.

As with any hobby, one has to pay for one's 'fun'


Kense Report 5 Sep 2019 09:11

Surely you can get a PDF of the certificate for £7. That has all the certificate information but is not a legal document.


ErikaH Report 5 Sep 2019 09:29

No, Ken, the PDF scheme does NOT include marriage certs

Check the GRO site


Kense Report 5 Sep 2019 10:13

Oh, sorry. I haven't had to buy any for several years. I knew the PDFs had been introduced but didn't realise it was not for marriages.