Why search the new Birth Indexes at the General Register Office?

“Masterclass: Tracking female relatives who married between 1837-1911” in the December issue of the Lost Cousins Newsletter – a short article that is well worth reading.

Most us are familiar with sites such as FreeBMD or other onine indexes and are grateful for such tools.  We often struggle to find the maiden names of our female ancestors.   What I usually do is go to find a marriage index entry which often tells me that my ancestor married one of 3 or 4 people.  Then I go to the first census after the marriage and look for the family – often with children.  This will often help.  Often works.  Often doesn’t .  And then we don’t always want to spend $20 on a certificate.  If we do order a certificate we want to make sure we order the right one.

Now there is a new strategy if you are trying to do find a British ancestor.  Try the newly released indexes to Births at the General Register Office (GRO).  You do need to sign in – it is a free account.

What has changed?  The big change is that a search of the Birth Index will indicate the maiden name of the mother.  A further change is that the new index uses full names and not just initials – this alone may help you find your ancestors. 

Let me give you an example:  I recently found that I have an ancestor James Henry Darby born in Worcestershire in 1898.  Not easy to find when there are two people with the same name in the same county in the same year. 

Note the helpful  information from the index – 2 identical names but the maiden name of the mother helps us recognize our ancestor.  Often we know the name of the child and are seeking help to find the maiden name of the  mother.


For more information read:




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