The excellent service provided by the Essex Record Office through their SEAX system will soon be even better. They have announced that many more parish registers are to be available online covering the period 1538 to 1837, with many registers after that date also becoming available. Also available will be many Wills.
The downside is that from 30 August, payment will be required. The cost of this pay-to-browse is yet to be announced. In today’s financial constraints it is understandable that they have to charge for access to the records. Personally I have no objection as the ERO and their online SEAX database is one of the best available in the country as regards ease of access to a record office’s collection.
Searching the SEAX database is not affected, and many of the images available on the image search facility will still be accessible without payment.
The parish registers will be free of charge if visiting the ERO in person.
For more information on the current system, see our article Parish Registers at the Essex Record Office.
Update 3 September. The ERO have announced that the start has been delayed until 3 October 2011.