09 December 2019

Genealogists' Magazine: December 2019

Volume 33, Number 4 of the Society of Genealogists quarterly magazine features a long read "Civil Registration and Clergymen on Trial" by Gwyneth Wilkie.  The article documents cases where clergymen failed to report on marriages they conducted and the efforts, including legal, to remedy the situation.
In case this detailed description of transgressions leads to the belief that BMDs are significantly deficient Wilkie quotes from a July 1839 report by the Statistical Society of London.
Important and obvious as are the applications of the registered facts, the measure had to encounter considerable opposition. Its advantages were scarcely perceived at first by the multitude; and some of the clergy of the Established Church thew obstacles in its way, under an erroneous apprehension that the registration of births might interfere with the administration of baptisms. By taking active steps to make known in every way the nature, advantages, and obligations of the Act, and by firm, but conciliatory conduct, the Registrar-General appears to have exceeded beyond the most sanguine expectations, in obtaining, during the first year of its operation, an almost complete register of deaths and marriages. The register of births is less complete; but this is owing to the want of a clause in the Act to render the information on births imperative. 
Shorter items in the issue are:

Further Observations on the Form of the Bride's Signature in Marriage Registers 1754-1837, by John Wintrip
Improving indexes to sources over time, by Barney Tyrwitt-Drake
Leutnant J N Meiser - follow-up, by Karen J Douglas and Dr Colin R Chapman FSG
RootsTech London 2019, by Emmy Jolly and Else Churchill

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