GRO Microfiche GRO Fiche

This item was first published in August 2012.

When I first joined WAGS back in the last century, like many of you, I lined up at the large desk in Unit 6 waiting my turn to receive the four GRO microfiche I'd requested.

Once in hand, I'd race back to the microfiche reader, check each of the fiche, then race back to the end of the queue to swap those fiche for the next set and the process repeated itself, hour after hour.

Finally, when the WAGS Library closed for the day, out came the brown grille, complete with keys to lock it, thus sealing off the drawers from the marauding, irresponsible hordes.Those heady days have now gone and in the next few months, the GRO Indexes on microfiche are leaving our premises for good.


Several reasons - When the electrical wiring in Unit 6 has been upgraded which will be happening shortly, the new PCs which have been purchased for the Library will be gradually rolled out. We will need new desks for these computers and of course, space to accommodate them. The obvious candidate to provide the much needed space is the GRO cabinet as the contents are now available in digital format on every computer at WAGS.

What you see as part of the Ancestry and Find My Past websites is identical to what you see on fiche, the only difference being that there's no more queuing to collect and return fiche, no frantic attempts to focus them under the glass of the fiche readers and no discovery that the fiche you wanted has been misfiled and may never resurface or is being looked at by someone else.

Technology has delivered a faster and more reliable way for us to access the GRO indexes. If you're unsure as to how to view them on Ancestry or Find My Past, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I'll send you a visual step by step guide or personally take you through the steps at a mutually convenient time.

The GRO indexes were an important "cutting edge" acquisition for WAGS and will still be utilised in their new home, so drop into the Library, say your farewell to a piece of WAGS history and stay to have a look at our new subscription website the British Newspaper Archives (BNA), which is subject of previous WAGS Blog item.

Julie - WAGS Librarian


If you really can't do without the GRO indexes in a microform, pop into the State Library where they're still available (I think) on microfilm.