On some entries in the recently released Online GRO Index there are birth and death entries with the notation "Occasional Copy: A". For example:

enter image description here

What does "Occasional Copy" refer to and why might an entry have this notation?

  • 2
    See the comment by Hilary Gadsby on this Google+ post by ACProctor: plus.google.com/u/0/+TonyProctor/posts/dScqrQWKCJ7 where she says: "Someone on the GOONS list was asking about an addition which said something like occasional amendment." I've shared a link to this Q there.
    – Jan Murphy
    Nov 6, 2016 at 19:13
  • I have added an update to my 'answer' to my question about Ellen Maud Wills: genealogy.stackexchange.com/a/6667/1006 -- Name: WILLS, ELLEN MAUD mother's maiden name: - (blank) GRO Reference: 1876 S Quarter in KINGSBRIDGE Volume 05B Page 208 Occasional Copy: A -- will add more information after the certificate arrives.
    – Jan Murphy
    Nov 10, 2016 at 8:43
  • Update -- there is a watermark which says "Certificate Copy" but nothing on the entry which makes it stand out from an ordinary copy. Could there be notes in the margin which the GRO doesn't send to us?
    – Jan Murphy
    Nov 25, 2016 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


It may be a sign that someone submitted a correction after the initial registration.

I was not able to find a reference from the GRO's guidance on birth certificates, but in the guides provided for clergy and other persons authorised to perform marriages, there is a section that discusses how to submit corrections. Page 24 of A Guide for Authorised Persons, section 5.9 says

There are certain legal requirements for all corrections:

and one of bullet points says:

the quarterly certified copies should also be updated; if they have already been sent to the SR, you must complete an occasional copy form and send it to GRO

SR = Superintendent Registrar

From https://www.gov.uk/correct-birth-registration

Correct a birth registration

  1. What corrections can be made

You can apply for a birth registration correction when the information is wrong, eg a mistake was made when recording a parent’s occupation.

You can’t apply for a correction to show new information if circumstances change after you’ve registered your child’s birth, eg you change your name after getting married again.

However, you can apply to re-register the birth if the natural parents get married at a later date.

Further Reading:

Jane says:

Albert is there, as is a boy named Herbert. This is John Herbert. As I explained in my previous post, this is one of the quirks of the new search. Joseph and Kezia originally registered their son under the name Herbert, but changed their minds, went back and amended his name to John Herbert. The new indexes fail to pick up certified name changes.

The previous post she refers to is General Register Office (GRO) Index – New & Free posted on November 4, 2016.

In this post, Jane compares the GRO index (which has the original name the child was registered under) with FreeBMD's index (which has the later one).

The A code is not the only one:

enter image description here

Here we see an B code (with a same-name registration in the same quarter).

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