View Full Version : GRO certificates
22-09-2007, 11:56 AM
I've just had a batch of certificates through from the GRO, and they have all been folded - is this a new idea, as previously they've been sent in A4 envelopes. They are now folded and sent in A5 envelopes. Some are sent together, but most are sent in separate envelopes. At £7 a certificate it's a lot of money - I see they are send 2nt class too (I can't remember what happened previously). These took just over a week to come, so not bad, but it is a very 'hit and miss' service!
22-09-2007, 12:13 PM
Presumably to do with the way the Post Office has started making different charges for different sized envelopes?
It costs a lot more to send A4 these days. Having said that, for 7 quid, they should be able to afford the extra postage!
22-09-2007, 12:23 PM
Having purchased the majority of my certificates in the 70's and early 80's, they all arrived folded in long thin envelopes and by 2nd class post. The certificates are longer than A4 and would not have fitted flat in such an envelope. I was surprised, when I ordered a couple more certificates last year, to find that they arrived flat in C4 envelopes.
1st class, 2nd class - doesn't seem much difference in the Post Office's ability to deliver letters.
22-09-2007, 12:25 PM
Learn to live with it, because it will only get worse.
In the past, I have ordered mine over the counter at the FRC and collected them - no danger of Postman Pat at Willesden Sorting Office chucking it in the Grand Union Canal when he doesn't feel like walking round our way, or scrunching it up to either make it fit his bundle better or reduce the accuracy of aim needed when prodding vaguely at the letter box while he tries not to drop his white stick. I did suggest to the FRC years ago that they might like to give us the option of paying an extra 50p to have it sent in a card backed envelope, but, of course, anything sensible like that just falls on deaf ears when you're dealing with a government department.
In preparation for the withdrawal of the "collect" service, in the last few weeks, I have been ordering online and waiting for Royal Snail to condescend to put in an appearance in our road.
On average, this is adding 3-4 days to the process, and I'm then having to stick the cert under a heavy World Atlas for a couple of days to try and get the thing to look like a sheet of paper rather than an origami creation.
And, of course, we have the probability of more postal strikes looming, plus the usual delays at Christmas.
But, of course, patience is the name of the game. ;)
It will all be wonderful when the "oops, this is going to take longer than we thought" new, all-singing, all-dancing "DOVE" project is completed and we have a nice shiny new index created by people whose only previous experience of the English language is probably a rejection slip from Ancesspit.con. when they applied to be a census transcriber. :rolleyes:
In certain areas of the country, where there is a local index or a helpful local office, you may be better off using that local office rather than Southport - unfortunately that doesn't apply to most of mine, but, nonetheless, I think I may stump up £18 at one office which does not have a local index, to look the darned thing up myself rather than spend £7 on a GRO version which, unless it's just a typo in the index, has the death age ten years out then another £7 to get the correct version when I'm armed with the exact death date and address.
22-09-2007, 2:40 PM
I've just had a batch of certificates through from the GRO, and they have all been folded - is this a new idea, as previously they've been sent in A4 envelopes. They are now folded and sent in A5 envelopes.
Personally I'd rather have them neatly folded and put in an A5 envelope that fits nicely in my letter box (and the postie's bundle of letters) rather than an A4 one that invariably gets screwed up somewhere along the line.
At £7 a certificate it's a lot of money
I seem to remember a time just before the online service was introduced when the GRO charged something like £13 per certificate, and it was generally better value to engage a record agent who would order the certificate in person at a much lower rate. Compared to that, £7 still seems quite good value to me.
22-09-2007, 5:59 PM
I Just received 6 certs folded up inside an envelope with 1 pink sheet outlining the contents which only listed 1 of the certs. the first 1 of the 7 ordered came the previous day again folded up in the smaller envelope. When I do the conversion from Canadian to Sterling, 7 pnds=$15, what I consider expensive for the type of service which is now taking about 18 days. When I first ordered certs a few months, they arrived flat with a detailed insert slip as well as a governmental thank you slip. So thanks for mentioning it as I also wondered what was going on.
I also agree that to receive them at all is a feat unto itself as sometimes things go missing.
22-09-2007, 6:39 PM
I also agree that to receive them at all is a feat unto itself as sometimes things go missing.
I have only ever had one occasion where a certificate went missing, I reported it to the GRO & they sent out a replacement with no quibbles.
I haven't used the service recently although I did have a splurge last year & ordered 10 certificates at once. There was a gap of over a week before the first & last certificate arriving. They were all supposedly dispatched on the same day so I strongly suspect that Royal Mail was the delaying factor.
22-09-2007, 9:55 PM
I was also surprised that one I received last week came folded in a smaller envelope. My first thought was it was because of the change in postal charges on size of letter. I've been very lucky - with over 100 certificates, I've only had one that has been a bit chewed up when it was a rainy day and the envelope got wet and was forced through letter box.
I don't mind the £7, but it is a lot when I can get the same information in a Scottish GRO entry for about £1. Though I do get carried away with the Scottish ones and end up downloading all sibling's records!!
22-09-2007, 10:54 PM
I have just received 7 birth certificates. They were ordered together online, and the first batch of 4 arrived individually, in flat envelopes. The missing 3 were reported by email, an immediate response said that it would be looked into. An email request as to whether they had arrived by the following week. Was notified that they were being sent, and lo and behold, they arrived in individual flat envelopes 2 days later, in Australia!
Can't fault that.
I ordered 8 certificates recently and they arrived separately in A4 envelopes. They took a long time to arrive here in Australia, about 4 weeks which is a little frustrating. They cost 7 pounds too so I guess I'm getting a good deal because the postage would be more to Australia. The certificates were ordered on line at the same time, I dont know why GRO dont put them in the same envelope since they are coming to the same address. I have a letter box that is large enough for A4 items because I subscribe to magazines and didn't want them wrecked. The certificates usually arrive in ok condition, occasionally they have 'dog ears'.
23-09-2007, 7:51 PM
The way to obtain an unfolded certificate is to make that part of the order.
I.E. Please supply unfolded the following certified copy...
If the GRO then send a folded copy send it back with a claim for postage and costs.
If one asks for an unfolded copy then they either have to supply an unfolded copy or refuse to supply.
As they cannot by law refuse to supply they are compelled to comply with the terms of contract.
23-09-2007, 8:59 PM
Does that work, Guy? I hope so, as it is a great suggestion which I will follow.
23-09-2007, 9:52 PM
I can't see why it wouldn't work if you're applying by post (£8.50 instead of £7), the same as some of the things that I used to write on the application form when applying over the counter, but I don't think there's any "Special instructions" box or similar in the online ordering system, is there?
Not that it would solve the problem here. We don't have the traditional "friendly local postman" in this part of the world, just some sullen thing they found in the dole queue that can't read the addresses, sometimes can't be bothered to do the delivery, and couldn't give two hoots about the customer so scrunches everything up anyway, whatever the size of the envelope, just to show its resentment when its superiors have been told off for leaving the phone off the hook, so had to deal with an irritating number of complaints and insisted on it going out for once.
23-09-2007, 10:00 PM
Interesting as a recent newbie to the family tree thing I have only ordered 2 certificates so far. Both arrived within a week of paying for them and they were folded once. Both were readable (apart from the naff writing of the clerk who originally wrote it out...why didn't they stipulate that the filler-inner write in BLOCK CAPITALS IN BLACK INK EH???)
We are lucky too that our postmen (we have a few who do our road) are all nice chappies who sometimes will come back if they see my car has turned up in the drive and remember they left me a"sorry you were out" card and hand me the parcel/packet or whatever.
It seems from the above replies that its best to order them all seperately, that way you get three lots of post and get yer money's worth!!! ;) ;)
I most certainly cannot complain.
Ordered four certs online on the 13th Sept and received them Fri 21st Sept by airmail here in Melbourne, in four seperate envelopes. That's pretty good service.
I took a punt on three of them and got two positve results. That cost me 28 UK pounds all up. I'm quite pleased.
01-10-2007, 1:23 AM
Spoke (wrote) too soon about flat certificates. My last 3 arrived folded once, so will have to follow Guy's advice. Although based on the state of some old documents I've been able to glean from various sources since I started this family business, a single fold in a certificate isn't the end of the world!
01-10-2007, 2:24 AM
The last one I received was folded. It doesn't bother me really because I have to fold them anyway to get them into an American size folder for storage.
The only bad experience that I've had was a thank you note that was put on the wrong side of the sheet with the mailing label. It blocked the view through the window. The post office had to tap the side of the envelope to see my address. It was delayed slightly in getting here but it arrived in good shape.
01-10-2007, 8:59 AM
I ordered 2 marriage certificates a couple of weeks ago and was very surprised when I had a phone call from GRO to explain why they were only sending one. (It was because the two different names were actually the same person). They refunded the other £7.I thought that this was pretty good service in these impersonal days.
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