Royal assent paves way to online access

The Deregulation Act 2015, which received royal assent on 26 March, paves the way for online access to historic civil registration records in England and Wales.

Scotland’s historic civil registration records have been available online since 2002, and those of Northern Ireland since April 2014. Meanwhile, in England and Wales, family historians pay £9.25 for certified paper copies of birth, marriage and death records which must either be delivered by post or collected in person.

Now, however, a clause in the Deregulation Act 2015 will allow the General Registrer Office to explore alternative ways of delivering the information.

“There’s every likelihood that this will result in digital access to historic civil registration records within the next couple of years,” comments Anglia Research’s Peter Turvey.

“This will make things faster and cheaper for family historians, although for probate researchers such as ourselves legal evidence requirements mean that certified copies of birth, marriage and death records will remain central to our work.”

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