Not good news. The General Register Office (GRO) is altering its charges for certificates of birth, death and marriage from 6th April 2010.  There will now be only two charges, one for standard service and one for priority.  If you order a certificate online it will cost you £9.25, up from the present £7, and this applies whether or not you have the GRO reference.  The priority overnight service will fall to a flat fee of £23.40.

Marriage certificate Louis Grant to Fanny Cox, Challock, Kent 1891

In effect, this means that anyone who provides the certificate reference (which means GRO staff don’t have to look for it) will be subsidising not only all those who haven’t bothered to provide one  or who have several possibilities which need checking, but also those requiring priority service.  Am I missing something here?  Are those who use the service which is the least-demanding to  GRO staff being penalised?

If these changes are implemented I can see no reason for paying to view the indexes online to provide a GRO reference any more.  I may as well  send the name and a rough date and request GRO staff do the searching instead.  Hang on, is this then GOOD NEWS because  I can save myself  the online GRO index  fee to Ancestry  or Origins or wherever, and save myself the search time to boot? Hmm, I don’t think that’s what the GRO intended somehow.

I rather think this plan will raise hackles  (although probably not among those who will be gaining – are there fewer of them? There must be).   I’ll keep you posted on how this evolves. Meanwhile if you’ve been wanting to order a certificate and just haven’t got around to it, now might be a good time to send off your request.