What sources were used to compile the Gooderson Civil Registration Births Index database?


The entire Gooderson English and Welsh Civil Registration Births 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 Gooderson Archive to include in its database the many official additions and alterations that have been made to the index in recent years.


How many records does the database contain?


The database currently houses well in excess of seven hundred individual sets of birth index records. It is normally updated following the annual release by the G.R.O. of data for previous years.


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 birth index for England and Wales.


Some entries for similar surnames, such as Goodeson, Goodinson and Goodison, have also been included.


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


Does the database list births under the registration district in which the child was actually born or the registration district in which the parents live?


Births in England and Wales should, by law, always be registered at the register office that covers the district in which the child was born, irrespective of the home address of the parents. There are, however, a small number of instances of a childís birth being registered by each of its parents in both registration districts simultaneously. Entries in the Archive database simply reflect this when it occurs.


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


Work began at Somerset House on the extraction of Gooderson entries from the G.R.O. Birth Index in the early 1980s, 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 as a source for the Gooderson Archive.


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 for the Archive to include gender information in the database and so provide a gender search facility.


[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. birth index has included gender information from the outset.]


Can I add an entry for a person who has not been included in the database?


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 birth index at the G.R.O. and not as they actually exist.


What are the names that sometimes appear in the end column of the search results, under the heading "Mother"?


These are the mothersí maiden surnames, which the G.R.O. did not start recording in their national index until the middle of the year 1911.


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


Yes, the background used throughout the Archiveís births database pages is meant to represent the colour of all of the original G.R.O. birth index books, the birth certificate application forms and the actual birth certificates themselves, all of which are normally coloured or printed in red in order to aid identification.


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