birth, marriage and death certificates from the GROEngland’s General Register Office (GRO) is the place that “maintains the national archive of all births, marriages and deaths dating back to 1837” for England and Wales, and is also the place to order English and Welsh BDM certificates dating back to 1837, when civil registration was introduced.

Late last year the GRO ran a short trial period offering PDF copies of certificates which were not only cheaper (£6 instead of the standard £9.25), but were also emailed to you, rather than having to wait weeks for paper copies to arrive in the mail.

Now a second trial period has just been announced – and this time it’s going to run for “a minimum of 3 months”, so you have time to work out what you want and need.

The announcement says the following:

The GRO is piloting a service from 12 October 2017 to provide portable document format (PDF) copies of digitised historical birth and death records. The pilot will run for a minimum of 3 months to enable GRO to assess the demand for this service over a prolonged period.

Applications for each PDF cost £6, must be made online, AND include a GRO index reference.

England and Wales records which are available as PDFs in this extended pilot include:
Births 1837-1916, Deaths 1837-1957 [note, no marriages].

Note, there is a slight change to the previous trial, as the PDF will be available to download from your account page on the GRO site for a period of time (3 months), rather than sent as an email attachment. And once the 3 month period is up, it will simply be removed.

You can search the GRO indexes for free, and to do so simply click on this link and login (or create an account if you haven’t one already), then click on “Search the GRO Indexes”. The new index has been created from the records digitised at GRO. and currently includes births from 1837 to 1916 and deaths from 1837 to 1957, but not marriages, which have not yet been digitised. Also note, their indexes allow you to use maiden name when searching for females.

For more FAQs in relation to ordering certificates (including PDF certificates), from the GRO, please click here.