Petition Launched for Early Release of England & Wales Birth, Marriage, and Death Records

A campaign has been launched to enable greater public access to historical English and Welsh birth, marriage and death records, and your help is needed.

Alona Tester has published an article in the (Australian) Genealogy & History News that says, in part:

“Guy Etchells, the man who is behind the push to get the 1911 Census released early, for which we are all eternally grateful, has now started an online petition asking for the UK’s civil registration records … to be made open for public inspection, online and at local record offices. Sounds awesome doesn’t it?

“Currently the main way that English and Welsh BDM records can be accessed is by certificates posted out by the General Register Office (GRO) – a process that costs £9.25 per certificate, and obviously takes time in the mail, anything from a few days to weeks.

“According to Mr Etchells this whole process could be alleviated if historic registers were made available, as other historic records are, through the National Archives – as instant downloads. “

You can read more in Alona’s article at and in Guy Etchells’ online petition site at

My thanks to newsletter reader W David Samuelsen for telling me about this online petition.




It’s important to note that only UK citizens or residents are allowed to sign the petition. The online form requires you to give your (UK) address.


The title for this post is misleading. This is not about the “early release” of certificates – the UK does not have date-related embargoes on the release of BMD certificates. I wouldn’t want anyone to read the title and think – no point in applying to the UK, we can’t get the certificates. You can.
What Guy is campaigning for is the improvement of the process by removing restrictions on the physical access to the historical registers. Currently only designated staff can access the registers, meaning all requests have to go through them. If the old registers (say, those birth registers closed over 100y ago) were moved into public archives or onto web-sites, then it would actually reduce the workload on the register office staff, who are not there, after all, to support our hobby.


I think this is great cause and I have signed the Petition and it deserves to succeed.

And if it should it not achieve critical mass this time I would suggest there needs to be a well planned and publicised campaign – a joint call to action published repeated in all Family History Magazines and Journals and mentioned at all Family History meetings … and other societies and groups (not just family historians) who would stand to benefit with a view to getting the campaign further publicised by the mainstream media


When are we going to have the BMD records since the mid-2000’s released online?
SInce the dysfunctional Passport Office took over responsibility for (don’t laugh) reasons of ‘National Security, the only way the infomation can be accessed is by physically visiting one of the few repositories of the relevant microfiches – usually Kew, or London.
It’s not good enough.


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