The big deal about this is that the Births and Deaths have been re-indexed from the original records, and can be searched on the GRO website. The Birth records now include the maiden name of the mother. That is a big deal. The index provides the year and quarter of the event - you have to order the certificate or PDF in order to get the exact date and, in the case of Births, the parents names.
I have several ancestors and their siblings in the Civil Registry, and need the exact birth and death date for some of them. One of them is Thomas Richman, my great-grandfather who was born in June 1848 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, England.
I followed the instructions in the newsletter article about registering on the GRO website, and was successful. After being authorized, I clicked on the link for the GRO website - http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/ - and saw:
On the screen above, I had to click on the "Order Certificates Online" link in order to search the system. That opened the "Certificate Ordering Service" page:
I want to search the indexes, so I clicked on the "Order Certificates Online and Search the GRO Historic Birth and Death Indexes link, and saw:
You can enter a forename (even two of them) choose Exact matches only (or phonetic or similar), the mother's maiden name if known, the year and quarter if known, and GRO reference details of volume and page number. The required fields are only surname, gender and year. You can vary the year only up to plus or minus two years. You have to select either male or female.
On the screen above, I entered the surname Richman, selected the gender Male, selected the year 1848 plus/minus 2 years, and entered the District as Melksham (I knew this).
I clicked on the "Search" button below the input fields, and saw the result below the search fields:
There were five male Richmans born in Melksham district between 1846 and 1850 (1848 plus/minus two years). My Thomas Richman is listed in the 1848 S[eptember] quarter, in Volume 08, Page 375, with mother's maiden name of Rich.
To the right of the match list are links for "Certificates" and "PDF." I want the PDF to be sent by email. I clicked on the PDF link and the order summary page appeared (two screens below):
I reviewed the details, and made sure that I clicked on the choice of "Standard PDF by Email" and clicked the "Submit" button at the bottom of the screen above, and the I had to confirm my email address, and accepted the terms, and the "Basket Summary" appeared for my order:
From the screen above, I could "Checkout," "continue shopping," or "Return to the GRO Indexes."
I chose to Checkout and saw the "Proceed to payment" screen:
Finally, I clicked on ""Proceed with checkout" and was able to enter my credit card information and successfully ordered the one PDF for £6.00 to be sent by email. I think the system said I should expect my PDF by 21 November.
That is a bit cumbersome, but it works. You need to plan ahead for some things; for instance, it helps if you know the GRO District and at least a birth year for the person. Peter Calver's newsletter provides much more information and some examples of how the website has helped him and many of his readers find their ancestor's records.
Note that the £6 for the PDF is for a trial period only - the price may rise soon to the standard £9.25 for a certificate.
My thanks to Peter Calver for his weekly newsletter with all of this helpful information.