The Society of Genealogists has added the evidence records of those candidates taking the Civil Service examinations, between 1855 and 1939, to their SoG Data Online. Members of the Society will be able to view the original documents, after logging in, while non-members can search for a name in the collection, but are not able to view the documents.
The records were originally created when candidates for the examinations had to provide proof that they were at least 21 years old. The evidence, which they submitted, very often would have been their birth certificate or sometimes a certified extract from a baptismal register. In some cases these documents were simply not available and so all manner of alternative evidence was produced, such as Indian horoscopes drawn up at a child’s birth.
The SoG says that the geographical spread of the collection is extremely wide with many births recorded from Ireland, the Channel Islands, Malta and Gibraltar plus others for British people who were born all over the world and especially in India.
The surviving documents only include evidence of birth for a small proportion of Civil Servants, some 60,000 people in all. However the collection may provide vital evidence of an ancestor’s birth date that would be difficult or impossible to prove otherwise and so break down a brick wall.