Researching British Family History No Longer Possible With Paper Records

from the looking-through-the-past dept

Though geneaology is one of the most popular activities on the Internet, family historians in the UK are used to going to the Family Records Centre in London and doing research the old fashioned way, by looking through the written records of births, deaths and marriages. So, their decision to cease all access to paper records this weekend has caused quite an uproar amongst researchers. The records are still available via microfiche, but researchers claim that the microfiche is illegible for many of the records on file. The project to provide online access to all of the records is slated to complete sometime in mid-2009, but that timeline, as with most IT projects, could slip further. The question remains though, while searching through the records may be aided with its digitization — the project will create an online index of 250 million births — how accurate will the digitized data be? The paper records are being stored permanently in Christchurch, so the project, outsourced to India are using the same illegible microfiche currently available in place of the paper versions. Or, perhaps the researchers will find that the ease of use afforded by online technologies will actually lead to them finding data more easily, which not only make their jobs easier, but also expose many more people to the joys of researching their pasts.

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Comments on “Researching British Family History No Longer Possible With Paper Records”

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Mike F.M (user link) says:

Hang on...

…Why, if they aren’t using all of the paper copies, has access been shut of this far before a digital alternative is put in place? Surely this has just cut people off from alot of information for a number of years?

Personally I don’t go in for the whole ‘tracking down my family tree’ thing, but if I did, it would be nice to know that I had access to decent records

Haywood says:

Until Ancestrydotcom gets control of it

All of the information for genealogy used to be on free sites. Ancestry bought them up and now charges $300 per year to access them. That may not seem like a lot to some, but it does put an unfair burden on a lot of people, especially since it is all submitted by private individuals. I hate, and hope they burn in hell.

Max Powers at (user link) says:

Why were the paper records unavailable?

Was there a problem with so many people handling the paper records? Were they becoming damaged?

If that is the case they must protect them from further degeneration. If this means everybody has to wait or use the Microfiche that’s the way it goes. The wait would be worth the ease of access if they pull it off.

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