Any study that ticks of matches between people and FreeBMDRecords

+7 votes
Is there any study/website that ticks of matches between people and the UK FreeBMDRecords, i.e lastname-x matches record y in FreeBMD Birth, record z in FreeBMD Death ectera.

Of course citations can match people to these records, but would be great to have a way of listing these , or saying 20% (if only) of FreeBMD birth records have an associated person in wikitree
in WikiTree Tech by Paul Taylor G2G6 Mach 1 (15.8k points)
retagged by Keith Hathaway
Doo other  genelogists at least locally keep as a record, for example I was going to create a spreadsheet with one row per person I have in wikitree, with columns for birth, death, marriage and census records.
20%? More like 0.2% I'm afraid. I always include the BMD links where possible to my wikitree profiles but many don't.
yeah sure only 0.2% currently have links but if every person on wikitree was linked to its BMD records what percentage would it be then. And if that linkage is entered somewhere else, then it could be added by someone who wasn't on that persons trusted list, I think this could be a great project.
I meant that only 0.2% of BMD people have a wikitree profile so, although adding links from here to BMD is of course good, it would be much better to increase the number of profiles here.

My back of the envelope calculation: 11 million profiles here, guess 1 million are British, and half of those are on BMD so 500,000, current population of England & Wales ~ 50 million so going back to 1838 perhaps 250 million total, and 500,000 in 250 million is 1 in 500 or 0.2%. [Of course this is just educated guessing and could be way off.]

Of those 250 million people a much higher percentage (5%? 10%) appear in some UK genealogist's family tree. So what we really need to do is persuade UK genealogists to upload their data here.
Right agreed. Trouble is there seems to be an active discouragement of adding gedcom profiles, seemingly based on the assumption that readding all the people manually from your other (i.e ancestry)  is somehow going to be more accurate than uploading your completed gedcom tree.

To me the key things seems to be to ensure the data is accurate before exporting gedcom tree into wiki then I see no problem with gedcom.

The other push seems to be for people to use wikitree INSTEAD of ancestry but in my view because wikitree is public you should only load data into wikitree when reasonably sure it is correct, therefore you need another place to store your tree when it contains hunches and possible leads that have yet to be confirmed. So I will continue to use Ancestry tree do my research and upload the data into wikitree when I am happy with it.
i agree with you Paul, use both wikitree and Ancestry to their strengths. Ancestry can only be used as a guide to possible records. You have to interpret each one according to it's merits. The amount of mistakes that Ancestry has currently in my home county of Leicestershire is astonishing.I could spend all of my research time just responding to their mistakes.

Gedcoms are a quick way of getting your ancestors onto wikitree but you have to keep working on them, we all make mistakes!

1 Answer

+3 votes
Best answer
I haven't seen any study of this. Then again, a lot of people don't use FreeBMD directly but use Ancestry, FamilySearch or FindMyPast to access the index. I suspect that they don't even know FreeBMD, FreeREG and FreeCEN exist (at least that's the impression I get from queries on the FaceBook Genealogy Groups).
by Rosemary Jones G2G6 Pilot (244k points)
selected by Paul Taylor
It would be good to publicize it seeing as it has similar goals to wikitree (freely available information). I myself often use Ancestry to find the record but I plan to add FreeBMD links to all the people added. Even if you do use Ancestry its worth using FreeBMD and FreeCEN as well as sometimes there are transcriptions differences with only one set correct, I have found a number of records this way.
Yes I always give the FreeBMD and familysearch links precedence as they aren't behind a paywall.
We're of one mind here.
Oh, I most definitely agree.  What's the point of WikiTree going on and on about how it is FREE, when a person then finds a link to a behind-the-paywall source?

However, I disagree with putting a link to FreeBMD.  Much quicker and easier to type the reference, such as:

UK birth registration: Kingsbridge 5B 123, June quarter 1850

That's the same information as you would get if you went to FreeBMD.
But without a link you cant so easily check it, even if you go on FreeBMD you might not find the record if there is a spelling difference between the persons name on FreeBMD and on wikitree. There is enough information with your example to purchase the actual birth certificate, but it would be prohibitvely expensive to do this all the time and cannot be done for living people anyway.

Why would you not want to put a link to FreeBMD ?
Because that's all the information you would find there:

Kingsbridge 5B 123, June quarter 1850.

If I linked to FreeBMD, then why would I bother typing out the reference?
1. It protects against you making a mistake when typing the information

2. Its make its easy for others to check with a simple click, you could have just made up the information otherwise.

3. It would make it easier for machine tools (like the idea I had) to process this data, understanding its semantic meaning

I think a mention that you viewed the index on Free reg is good but if you merely link to the actual page as here  that link doesn't provide you with any useful information.(this has been discussed before and I know others disagree!)  Who knows if it will work in the future?

 Does it help you to know that I viewed the index for  most of my close ancestors  at Somerset House, or some at it's later incarnations.  ?

If you put  Dunkley, Charles, Towcester 3b 27 in the Free BMD search box you will come to the right person. I originally found that entry at Somerset House in the 1960s when I was still at school and the reference number continues to be valid. Yes, I suppose I could have made it up  but that applies to very many records that are still not available on the internet.

The GRO indexes are also  just a finding aid   I agree that the cost of certificates  is prohibitive to do for everyone but on it's own the GRO index is not a brilliant source. You may find that when you get the certificate that it is not the right person. (hence certificate exchange websites and adverts in magazines)

Free Reg and Free Cen are slightly different in that they include transcriptions but  even then says "The FreeREG database is just a finding tool. It should not be considered to be *proof* that such event was recorded.
Always confirm its content with the actual register at a County Record Office, local Family History Society or LDS Family History Centre. "  And indeed it you check the originals there will sometimes be times where you disagree with the transcription.


Sorry Helen, I dont get your point about Mr Dunkley, is there something specific about this record that you are trying to tell me.

'The GRO indexes are  just a finding aid  and  FreeBMD is  an extremely useful  method of searching  the indexes at the moment but it's just one means' - but it is the only online totally way which is free with no commercial connotations and no account needed isn't it ?

I a bit unclear about what you say about the  index since you can see images of the index on FreeBMD and if I actually went to the county record office wouldnt it just be the same image, they wont give free access to the actual birth certificates that the indexes link to will they ?, and why would a LDS History Centre be better then the FreeBmd image.

But in general although it might be better for the original creator of the wikitree person to see the original records surely its more helpful for others to be given an online reference. Its not very practical to be told in  its some office that they dont have easy access to, especially abroad.

FreeBMD has the General Register Office's indexes (GRO).  Yes, you can see the image of the index.

FreeReg works with the parish registers.  Totally separate system (they don't use the GRO reference at all).  So if you went to a county record office, you would not 'see the same image' as the one on FreeBMD.

If you were NOT the original creator of the WT person, all you would have is the reference (not the certificate).  If you were rich, and felt like it, you could order the certificate - but I thought the GRO reference was an acceptable source.  It has certainly been acceptable to me, since I am not wealthy.

I really do not like links in these cases.  What about all those Ancestry links which someone put in good faith as a source? Now, if you click on them, all you get is a blank Ancestry page, whether or not you have a subscription.  So, supposing (in good faith) I put a link to FreeBMD and it loses its funding and disappears? If I had typed the information, at least the viewer would know something.


I know the difference Ive only been talking about FreeBMD, my view was to enter the information and the link so even if the link disappears you still have the information, but better to have both.

But FreeBMD is not Ancestry, its not commercial and hence I expect they have mechanism in place if funding was removed to continue provideing access. I myself have many Ancestry links because that is my main site I use for research however I was planning to replace the birth links to FreeBMD links, but it seems that you would prefer it if I remove all weblinks and just provide the information with only offline sources. This makes it much harder for anyone to check the facts, I cannot see how this possibly be a good thing.
Actually Ros you seem much more experienced at genology then me but I have looked at some of the people you manage such as

and you don't seem to properly cite any sources, you specify censuses but without the information to find the correct page, you cite birth and death certificates but again with no details except that you hold them. I dont see how this very helpful in allowing others to colloborate.

Ouch! Didn't do too well on that profile, did I?  Looks like I will have to go back to the beginning of my Watchlist and tweak the sources on some of my other profiles, too.  Apologies - but don't hold your breath, it might take me a while. *grin* I am still learning how to write a decent biography.

I only pointed it out because I thought it was by design, but if not then fair enough
My point about Mr Dunkley was that the reference number, together with the name is an identifier. I got that number over 50 years ago and it still serves it's purpose. (just try it in the BMD search engine it works there so nothing is in fact lost  but it would also work if you went to a library that holds the microfilms of the original books)

The direct link however may not work in the future.  Sites, both paid for and free  change format (family search)or  sometimes disappear, I have several of these as repositories from less than 10 years ago. Sometimes they get subsumed by a pay site like Mocavo recently. I love Free UK genealogy and have used Free Reg a lot. I really hope that they do have mechanisms in place if they ever become unable to continue. (just looked them  up on the Charity commission site, it works on a shoe string with as far as I can see, just one employee +volunteers,  they have reserves but last year expenditure was almost twice that of income )


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