The collection of Customs & Excise Staff Service Registers 1833-1911 that were deposited with the Society of Genealogists by HM Revenue and Customs in 2013 and comprises of 32 service registers created by HM Customs and Excise for staff born between 1833 and 1911, have been made available to family history researchers by the Society of Genealogists on their website.
If you have Customs and Excise officers in your family tree then this could be useful to you. The detailed records include date of birth, place of birth, date of civil service certificate, rank or office held, former residence (i.e. prior to employment), ports(s) in which staff served and date of admission along with notes of salary, offences and meritorious service. The registers often show dates of resignation, dismissal, retirement and pension received and dates of death. While predominantly relating to male officers some women staff members do certainly appear in the later years.
The registers, that have now been digitised and indexed by the Society of Genealogists, comprise nearly 14,000 images with approximately 16,800 entries and can be accessed via SoG Data Online. The index can be searched by non-member here for free but to view the full record with full entries then you will need to join the Society.
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.
The Society of Genealogists (SoG) has welcomed the announcement that the Government has accepted an amendment to the Deregulation Bill, currently going before the House of Lords, that allows for the publication of information from Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates in England and Wales to be issued otherwise than in the form of a certified copy.
This is something the SoG has long campaigned for and it has said on its website that it is grateful to Baroness Scott of Needham Market, herself an enthusiastic genealogist, who suggested to Government that this deregulation is possible.