During November 2016 the GRO trialled the first of 3 pilot schemes, allowing the purchase and emailing of PDF copies including birth records dated 1837-1934 and death records dated 1837-1957. These copies can only be used for research purposes not for official identification purposes as they are not certified. Marriage certificates were not included in this trial. Phase 2 would pilot the delivery of the PDF records within 3 hours, and phase 3 the delivery of PDF copies of civil registration entries that are not held by GRO in a digital format.For the indexes
To assist in the ordering process a free online searchable database was also introduced. To access this you must register and login into the GRO website. Unlike the original GRO indexes, which many UK based family history researchers are familiar with, these indexes include the mother’s maiden name for most birth registrations prior to 1911, and ages of death prior to 1860. Both of these will be a huge boost for researchers. Sadly, the birth index only goes up to 1915, although the death index continues to 1957. This means that in order to purchase a PDF copy of a post 1915 birth record, the reference details must be found on the FreeBMD website or other partner databases. There is currently no searchable GRO index for marriages.The linked arti9cle has useful tips on how to use the sire.