07 February 2007

BMD Index Update - England and Wales

The Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) has informed members that the General Register Office (GRO) is developing a system to enable BMD indexes to the digitized records to be searched via the internet. These should be made available progressively from early 2008.

The FFHS has accepted the GRO's invitation to take part in user testing of this Multi Access to GRO Published Index of Events (MAGPIE) system. By early 2008, the historic birth indexes will have been loaded and the historic death records (those from 1837-1957) should also have been loaded. Those indexes will be accessible via the MAGPIE system on screen terminals at The National Archives at Kew, as well as via the internet, when the Family Records Centre at Islington closes. Loading of the historic death records will be followed by the modern birth and death records, then the historic marriage records (those from 1837-1945) and the modern marriage records.

That means that although the original vellum and paper indexes will be moved to Kew, they will eventually not be on open access. By April next year the experience of manhandling heavy index volumes around, and elbowing yourself some space in the search room at the FRC will be history. Better plan a trip soon if you want to relive that experience.

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