How large is the Gooderson Archiveís Civil Registration Death Index database?


The version housing the entries for England and Wales currently contains approximately five hundred individual sets of records. It is normally updated following the annual release by the G.R.O. of data for the previous year.


What sources were used to compile the database?


The entire Gooderson Archiveís English and Welsh Civil Registration Death Index database was compiled using only extracts taken directly from the index books originally held by the Registrar General at Somerset House (then at Saint Catherines House and more recently The Family Records Centre at Islington). Other sources such as, for example, the published microfiche copies that are held in many reference libraries, were found to be incomplete or only partly legible.


Since the G.R.O. (General Register Office) only make routine amendments to the master-copy, now held in the search-room at the Family Records Centre, this has the added advantage of enabling the Archive to include in its database the many official additions and alterations that have been made to the index in recent years.


Since the index records were no longer divided into quarters after the year 1983 how can I tell in which parts of the years 1984 onward that deaths took place?


From 1984 until 1992 the first four figures in the results column headed "Reference" indicate the month and year of registration of each death. (For example "0492" indicates a death registered in April 1992.)


From 1993 onward, the last four figures in the results column headed "Reference" serve this purpose.


Which surnames are covered by the database?


The database contains an exact transcription of the complete entry for all instances of the Gooderson surname that are listed in the G.R.O.ís death index for England and Wales.


The majority of entries for variant surnames (such as Goodeson) have also been included, together with a number of similar sounding but non-variant surnames (such as Goodison).


In addition to this, entries for other surnames are gradually being covered for cases where the name Gooderson (or a variant) has been given as a forename.


Which registration district in the database should be searched in the case of a death that is known to have occurred away from home?


The law requires all deaths in England and Wales to be registered in the districts in which they occur and not in the home registration district of the deceased. Without information to the contrary, it is therefore unwise to discount death search results for other areas, since the deceased might well have been away from home on business or on holiday.


Why was no use made of the "FreeBMD" website as source of information for the death index database?


Work began at St Catherines House in London on the extraction of Gooderson entries from the G.R.O. Death Index long before computers came into general use. Although FreeBMD has undoubtedly offered a significant advance in genealogical search facilities in recent years, it is still far from complete. It has also been proved to contain an unacceptably high number of transcription errors, thus rendering it too inaccurate for use by the Archive as a source.


Does the database carry any indication of which of the deceased left Wills?


No. Such information can only be obtained by carrying out a separate search of the Gooderson Archive on-line probate index.


Why canít I specify gender in my search?


Unfortunately, when Civil Registration in England and Wales began in 1837, it was not thought necessary by the authorities to include an indication of gender in the index produced by the G.R.O. Consequently it has not been possible to include gender information and to provide a gender search facility in the Gooderson Archive database.


[N.B. By the year 1855, when Scottish Civil Registration commenced, many of the shortcomings of the English system had already become apparent and the Scottish G.R.O. death index has included gender information from the outset.]


Can I add an entry for a person who has recently died?


No. The database is intended to be an accurate reflection of entries for the surname Gooderson (and its variants) exactly as they appear in the death index at the G.R.O. and not as they actually exist.


Is there any significance in the background colour of the database pages?


Yes, the background used throughout the Archiveís deaths database pages is meant to represent the colour of all of the original G.R.O. death index books, the death certificate application forms and the actual death certificates themselves, all of which are normally coloured or printed in black in order to avoid confusion.


Are the entries in the Archiveís death index database linked to burial records?


No, but it is very likely that this will change in future.


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