Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Singing the Praises of the U.K.'s Government Register Office

Yes, yes, yes!   A scanned image of the original marriage record for my third great-grandmother arrived today!  While it took some time, I'm thrilled to have it and thrilled that the employees of the U.K.'s Government Register Office (GRO) are so accommodating.  Singing their praises, for sure!

To explain why I'm so pleased and excited about this record (in addition to the fact that it's for one of my ancestors), here is a review and timeline of the process for obtaining it.  You need to know the the GRO makes digital scans of birth and death records available online (with purchase) but they send marriage records through the regular post.

April 19.  I placed an order for two marriage records, one for Martha and Thomas, one for Andrew and Elizabeth. 

May 9.  The certificate for Andrew and Elizabeth arrived.  Martha and Thomas's record was not with it.  After a week I was still waiting its arrival.

May 17.  I used the GRO's contact form to tell them that Martha and Thomas's record had not yet arrived and to ask about it.

May 23.  A GRO representative responded that the certificate had been mailed on April 26 and asked that I check with my local post office to see if the envelope could be found.

June 4.  I responded that the post office had no knowledge of the envelope and asked if they could resend the marriage record.

June 11.  I received an email stating that the GRO was investigating my inquiry and that I would "receive a response in due course."

June 14.  The marriage record arrived.  Sadly, it was a typewritten transcription instead of a scan of the original record as others had been.  I was disappointed but guessed that would be the best I would get.  But it kept bothering me that one of the surnames on the transcription was different than I thought it should be.  A few days later it finally occurred to me that I could at least ask the GRO if it would be possible to get a scan of the original.

June 20.  Once again I contacted the GRO, explained my dilemma, and asked if I could have a scan of the original record.

June 26.  The GRO responded saying, "We are currently investigating your enquiry and you will receive a response in due course."

June 27 (Today!).  My response came when Martha and Thomas's marriage record arrived in the mail, as shown above.  It is a printed image of a digital scan.  And I can read it clearly!

The power of persistence pays off, but only because the employees at the U.K.'s GRO are helpful, generous people.  I am singing their praises.  Wonderful people!


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