August 18, 2008

Plan to Digitise Vital Registrations England & Wales back to 1837, Fails

A government website, which promised direct access to 171 years of family records, had been delayed indefinitely following the failure of a Whitehall computer project.

An attempt to scan, index and digitise 250m records of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales from 1837 to the present day was supposed to result in a new public website that would let people trace their ancestors at the touch of a button next February. Now, three years after the government awarded the £16m contract to German computer giant Siemens, the deal has been terminated with only half the work done.

The General Register Office (GRO), which is responsible for the records, said only 130m had been scanned, and plans to make the index public had been shelved. Missing are details of birth records from 1837 to 1934 and death records from 1837 to 1957. The Identity and Passport Service (IPS), which runs the GRO, said it had only paid half the fee as a result.

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To search other English records see AllEnglishRecords.com

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