The following announcement was written by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations:
The Presentation of the certificate for CIGO’s 2012 Award for Excellence in Genealogy has been made to the General Register Office of Northern Ireland
The formal presentation of the certificate commemorating GRONI as the sixth (2012) recipient of CIGO’s annual Award for Excellence in Genealogy took place on Thursday, 20th December 2012. On behalf of CIGO, the Award was presented by Northern Ireland's Finance Minister Sammy Wilson to Northern Ireland’s Registrar General, Dr Norman Caven. The event was attended by GRONI staff, a number of representatives of CIGO and other guests representing genealogy from across Northern Ireland.
NOTE: In the picture above, Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, presents CIGO’s 2012 Award to Dr Norman Caven, Northern Ireland Registrar General.In making the Award, CIGO recognised that GRONI had completed the digitisation of all Birth, Marriage and Death (BMD) records for the six counties of Northern Ireland in 2011. This allowed for new and more informative indexes to be created which can be searched on computer within the Belfast-based Public Search Room. A new Public Search Room was then set up with 22 PC positions for researchers. CIGO recognised that this new computerised system is extremely user-friendly and allows for many varieties of searches of the indexes including 'wildcard' searches.
Currently, GRONI is working towards creating a new online access service to its historical records to start in 2014, the tendering for which is under consideration. When complete, it will allow access to historical BMD records from anywhere around the globe. This will include births which were registered 100 or more years ago, deaths 50 or more years and marriages 75 or more years ago.
At the event the Minister said how pleased he was: “to be able to present the award to Dr Caven and his staff in recognition for the hard work undertaken in bringing the organisation through a modernisation programme of reform. The benefits of this modernisation will provide a first class service to the people of Northern Ireland when undertaking family history and genealogy research.
“As we all move forward in this digital era it is important that government services keep up to date and meet the demand and expectations from our customers. Through this modernisation programme there has been significant improvement in the research facilities available with a new and modern Public Search Room facilitating up to 22 researchers at any one time.
“The digitisation of eight million paper records has allowed for new and more informative indexes to be created. Together with the improved facilities those researching their family history or those researching genealogy will no longer have to endure a lengthy wait – the new computerised records will enable faster, more accurate information enabling the identification of the correct registration.”
Other news from GRONI is that new registration regulations came into force on the Monday, 17th December which, amongst other things, provided for the recording of parents’ names when registering deaths. The importance of this is something that CIGO has long called and lobbied for and is delighted that GRONI was able to use the introduction of the new regulations to facilitate this vital change.
Steven Smyrl, one of CIGO’s two Executive Liaison Officers, said that: “These new regulations bring Northern Ireland into line with the Republic, which has noted such data since 2005. There can be no doubt that genealogists of the future will greatly benefit from this change.”
In a statement GRONI acknowledged that CIGO had: “lobbied the Northern Ireland Assembly to have the legislation amended to allow for this addition to the records. We hope this extra information will prove to be a useful resource for our genealogical customers.”