Less gives More


Researchers are strongly advised to always carry out a preliminary search by specifying only the first two letters of the required personís forename (leaving all other boxes empty and the Surname choice set as "All").


This will inevitably cause a much larger number of results to be returned but will give a considerably better indication of the overall structure of the available records, thus suggesting the parameters to be specified for a second, more targeted, search.




It is generally unwise to search by specifying a second forename because such forenames are often either not recorded in the database or are represented by a mere initial, despite the fact that all entries contain an unabbreviated first forename.


This situation has arisen because great pains have been taken to ensure that entries in the database accurately reflect the information available in the original birth index compiled by the General Register Office, which often recorded second and subsequent forenames as initials only.


Consequently, searches that specify a second forename will of course fail unless the second forename was actually recorded in full when the original GRO index was produced.


[N.B. If it does become necessary to use a second initial during a very large search, it is important to realise that following such an initial by a full stop will prevent the return of all entries that include the second name in full.]




Whilst there is no foolproof way of identifying the records of brothers and sisters from their entries in the birth index, it is nevertheless possible to narrow down the probable entries of siblings if their motherís maiden surname is given in the index.


The simplest way to do this is to instigate a search of the database by specifying only the motherís maiden surname and leaving the remainder of the search boxes empty.


Date ranges


When specifying a range of dates as a search parameter, it should be borne in mind that entries in the G.R.O. births index are listed under the date upon which the birth was registered and NOT upon the actual date of birth. Thus a child born, for example, on the 26th November 1884 may well not have been registered until January 1885 and will therefore not be listed in the index under its actual year of birth.


Furthermore, although technically against the law, it was not entirely unknown for a birth to remain unregistered until some years after the event. However, children born before 1st July 1837 (the date upon which Civil Registration began in England and Wales) were not allowed to be registered subsequently.


Simultaneous searches


The Archive search engines offer a facility whereby simultaneous searches may be carried out by specifying more than one parameter in each search field. This can be quite useful when it is required to compare the results of a search for alternative forms of a name (for example "Kate" or "Catherine"), or for different mothersí maiden names, or even for more than one registration district, at the same time.


All that is necessary to carry out such a search is to enter the required alternatives in the appropriate search box, separated by the horizontal line symbol, as shown in the notes on the search page. (N.B. The horizontal line symbol " | " is normally located above the backslash " \ " near the bottom left-hand corner of most computer keyboards.)


The forenames Goodinson and Goodison


All records in the database for people who have "Goodinson" or "Goodison" as their first forename may of course be viewed by simply entering the name in the forename box on the search-page and then conducting a search whilst leaving all of the other boxes empty and the choice of surname set to "All".


Records may also be viewed of people for whom the second forename "Goodinson" or "Goodison" has been listed in the database. This can only be done by inserting the character "*" followed by a space and then the name "Goodinson" or "Goodison" in the forename box. A search should then be carried out whilst leaving all other boxes empty and the choice of surname set to "All".




Since all entries in the Archive database are exact copies of the corresponding entries in the G.R.O. birth index, it follows that where Goodinson, Goodison and similar names were recorded with supersigns in the G.R.O. index, these naturally appear in the same format within the database.


Searches carried out for such names will therefore fail unless their correct supersign spellings (for example André, François or Noël) are specified.


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