View Full Version : GRO Reference Checking - how does it work?
26-01-2007, 3:23 PM
Can anyone explain how the GRO reference checking works and how much it costs? I'm looking for a death certificate for a Mary Jane Davies who died in Cardiff between 1962 and 1973. The registers obviously only show Mary J. so would putting the middle name and date of birth into the reference checking make it easier to find? I have narrowed it down to two possibilities - she must have died before the introduction of putting the date of birth alongside, as none of them match. The two possibilities are in Q4 1966 (West Glamorgan) and Q4 1967 (Cardiff) - if I was just ordering certificates, I'd order the latter first, but wondered whether in this instance it was worth using the reference checking function?
26-01-2007, 4:15 PM
Date of birth is of no use - it is not shown on a certificate for those dates, so they cannot check it. All the certificate has is the age, the same as the index.
If you put the middle name, Jane as a checking point, they can check that as part of your order - "reference checking" is not a separate offering that allows you to enquire without placing a certificate order, it just saves a bit if it doesn't match, as you get a partial refund instead of a dud cert.
Personally I've never bothered, as the possibility of the information given being slightly inaccurate could result in not getting one that was, in fact, the one I wanted, which, if I had it, I may have realised from something else - e.g., if the informant turns out to be someone I recognise. In your case, the chances are they're both Jane anyway, so I doubt if you'd gain anything.
26-01-2007, 4:30 PM
As an example of what I mean, let's theorise ...
Your lady has the depressingly common first name of Mary and the equally depressingly common surname of Davies. She's not the only one around there called Mary Davis/Davies, so she's known as Jane to avoid confusion. In time, "Jane" becomes "Jenny" - that's what everyone knows her as.
She is either single or, by the time she dies, a widow. She dies at home and one of the neighbours is the informant. They vaguely remember that her real name is Mary, so they give that as her first name - but forget that the second name is actually Jane not Jenny, so "Jenny" is how they report it.
You specify "Jane" - you don't get the cert because it doesn't match.
26-01-2007, 4:48 PM
I see what you mean, so it's probably just worth ordering up the most obvious of the two certificates I've found. I should think she was widowed by this point, though she was actually known as Mary-Jane, eventhough these were her first and middle names.
26-01-2007, 5:03 PM
Yes, I'm afraid it's largely a matter of luck with things like this.
I had one where I was told (from my contact's aunt's memory rather than his own, I think) that the lady had died in the 1970s.
I could not find a reasonable match - but it was suggested that she may possibly have died in Ireland.
Undaunted, and knowing how unreliable memory can be, I found one in 1967, theoretically much too early, which was in their traditional patch.
I stuck my neck out, ordered it, and not only was she "Widow of [correct husband's name]" but the informant was her married daughter, who she'd evidently moved in with when hubby died.
:) - but that was a lucky one, other days, you are the statue not the pigeon.
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