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Anthony Adolph, professional genealogistWelcome to the Genes Reunited web chat, where you can get help and advice from our resident genealogist and expert family historian, Anthony Adolph. To find out more about Anthony click here.

Thanks again to Anthony and everyone who joined in on the sessions so far.

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Name Date
Marion ^^^^^ 25/05/2004 20:58:07

On 1891 census there is a Percy Sewal age 6, (therefore born 1885) born St. Pancras, London. I have been having trouble finding out more details about him but just cannot find his birth certificate. I sent off for one but it was not mine. What can I do please? On the census it states George Apps and Frances Apps and Percy was the grandson. I believe Frances was George`s second wife but I have no more details. Any help appreciated Anthony. Thanks.

Try to find him in the 1901 census as well - just to see if it has any different information on his age and birthplace. Otherwise, it might be a case of trying as many surname variants as you can think of. Don't forget to search a year or two either side of 1885 in case the age was incorrect.

Marion ^^^^^ 17/02/2004 20:58:10

Hi Anthony, How can I find out the d.o.b. of someone who was married in 22.11.1833 in Barton le Clay, Beds, They were over 21 but it does not give names of their father. Where do I go from here?

You have a perfectly normal marriage entry for the time- father's names and ages weren't generally given until 1837. If the marriage was by license (the original register should specify) the marriage license documentation itself may name the father. Otherwise, seek the couple in the 1841 and more detailed 1851 census: the later should give you the parties' ages and then you can seek their baptisms and of course you may find their parents living nearby into the bargain.

Marion ^^^^^ 17/02/2004 21:23:03

Hello Anthony, On a death certificate for a William Gapper it had the name Louisa Tibble as his daughter-in-law! How can she be a daughter-in-law if her name is not the same as his?

Very good question! However, daughter-in-law could also mean step-daugher: Louisa may have been a child of William's wife by a previous marriage.

Marion ^^^^^ 20/04/2004 19:53:51

Hello Anthony, On 1891 census I have a George & Frances Apps. I can`t find out when they married, how do I find out her maiden name? Also on the same census there is a grandson Percy Sewal, how do I find out who his parents her?

In General Registration records you should be able to find Percy Sewal's birth- the census will tell you when and where he was born. His birth certificate will name his parents, and their marriage certificate will give their ages and father's names. Then obtain the birth certificate of whichever party was child of George and Frances Apps and, bingo, you should then discover Frances' maiden name. As a general point, though indexed censuses can give you a great starting point, don't neglect the General Registration records of birth, marriage and death- the real building blocks of family trees. Good Kentish name, Apps.

Marion ^^^^^ 20/04/2004 20:02:47

Hello Anthony, Sorry, I have another question. I have a Arthur Gould, who lived in Somerset. He was a doctor. I am having trouble finding out where he was a doctor etc. how do I find this out please? Also on his sons marriage certificate (1920) it states he was deceased and also says I think his occupation Surgeon. I would be grateful for any help. Thank you.

Not at all- the more the merrier. Surgeons and doctors alike are very well recorded in Medical Directories. These were published annualy and can be examined in good libraries, especially that of the Society of Genealogists in London. By going through them year by year you can chart your ancestor's entire career, and it will also tell you where he trained and qualified, so you can then seek him in the records of the appropriate universities/institutions.

Jan ~~ 18/07/2006 21:00:46

I can't find anything on my husbands grandfather birth. His name is Jack Newly Richie born in Bingley 23 Nov 1887 date was from his death certificate the informant was one of his daughters - (I'm assuming she had his birth cert at the time) Another Aunt (one of Jacks daughters) lives near us, said he was Jack not John. We sent for his marriage certificate from Canada -- we got no more information from that. I tried to get a cert by ordering over the phone but the cert they sent must be wrong only Richie and 23 matched --- different year counter and month (John not Jack) I've previously phoned Keighley, Bingley and other reg. offices . Would it be worth my while going to these offices to look for myself. I've tried every combination of his name under the sun but still no luck. The only lead I've not managed to follow is that a Jack Richie was on the absent voters roll for Yorkshire, during ww1. I also wonder if Jack was born under a different surname perhaps mother married/remarried. Running out of Ideas Jan

In all cases where problems arise, I would advice using the national, not the local, General Registration indexes. Also, be very wary of information given on death certificates - informants could get things slightly wrong a lot of the time, and they were usually too grief stricken to think straight. Look a year or two either side, and certainly consider John, Jack and James as possible names for him. The names, incidentally, suggest he may have been of Scottish blood.

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it ~I,m getting the hang of it 18/07/2006 21:28:13

How do i find out waht happened to my german Grt grandad/ last record is on his wifes death cert in 1907 in South East London . he was about 67 then. Have sarch to 1940 thro ancestry for a death ref but none found.

If he stayed here, he would have been interned as an enemy alien in World War One - records are at the National Archives. He may have been natualised before (thus avoiding this), or after, or may have gone back to Germany, or emmigrated elsewhere - America, perhaps.

Barbara Ackroyd 24/04/2007 20:58:28

how do I find information on Mary Jacks born 1802 east indes. She returned to Mattersea in Nottinghamshire and married about 1822

Many events regarding the British in the east Indies are in the records of the India Office Library - British Library, Oriental and India Office Collections, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB, 0207 412 7873, They can be very detailed and rewarding.

Darren Adams 19/08/2008 21:11:52

Anthony, thanks for your reply to my earlier question... I know that my great-grandfather never went to India and he wasn't in the army (he worked for a local butchers from a young age). I guess it wasn't unknown to not marry but take the husband's surname in order to appear official?

Yes, people who were not married sometimes took their partner’s surname. However, you probably don’t know that your ancestor was not in the army as a young man – the point is that many young men did serve in the army before returning home to civilian lives, and left no clues in their later lives that they had been servicemen – save for the absence of records that should otherwise have appeared!

Darren Adams 19/08/2008 20:53:24

Anthony, thank you for sparing your time. I can find no record in the registers of the marriage of my great-grandparents (who lived in Chiswick, West London) and have searched many years either side of the feasible dates (c. 1898), tried variations of the names, different locations and so on. My great-grandmother's maiden name was Alice West but she appears in the 1901 census and on the birth certificates of her children as Alice Clinch. They may have just never married, so is it worth searching for a parish record that may not be there? Is there any other way of confirming my great-grandmother's identity?

Seeking marriages in parish registers is problematic, because you have to guess which parish and indeed which denomination would have been the right one. A source of marriages that people often overlook are army marriages (a separate section of our General Registration system: see, and marriages of British people in India – these can be relevant because soldiers could marry whilst still serving, yet then leave and take up civilian occupations before their known children appeared.

Fred Addison 20/03/2012 21:15:13

Hi Anthony, some of my realtions are in the USA. I have traced some, but wonder if hot matches extend to America? Fred

Genes Reunited's membership is international, but if your relatives are not on the site, your best bet is to start seeking them through research in America. The Find My Past website has the 1940 American census, which is good way 'in' to research across the pond.

Jean Addison 02/09/2003 21:33:25

Hi Antony my great grandmothr was born in France c1859 as a British subject, how would I find birth cert for her. thank you

Hopefully your great grandmother's parents would have registered the birth with one of the British consuls, whose records are now indexed at the Family Records Centre in the indexes to Consular Births.

Christopher Aitken 19/08/2008 21:29:21

Hi Anthony. Advice on tracing Welsh ancestors? I have been able to trace every one of my family names back through to mid 1800 except... my Welsh family. How is it possible to confirm that I have the right Jones, Roberts or Evans? any tips would be appreciated.

You just have to be very thorough, and use the records available to build up the fullest possible profile of the ancestors, and of the earlier families to which you think they belong.

Alison Aitken 11/11/2008 21:02:27

My relative George Aitken Ormiston was born 24/10/1851 in Haddington, East Lothian and died 2/11/1924 in Chippenham but his name appears on the headstone of his parents Thomas Ormiston and Magdalen Aitken at St Mary’s church Haddington. He married Ellen Margaret FitzAdam and used the surname FitzAdam – Ormiston. I can’t find any record of George and Ellen’s marriage, but as Thomas and George were both tea planters, is it possible they married in India? I have photos of George taken by Bourne and Shepherd Photographers in India in 1875 and 1879. Are there any records relating to Scots in India? I think Ellen was a writer, and have found information about artefacts from N India and Nepal having been donated to the British Mueeum by a Mrs EM or Mrs GA Fitzadam – Ormiston. How can I track where the Ormiston’s went and where they ended up? Thank you

What a wonderful combination of unusual names and interesting careers. The Scots (and all the British) are in India are very well recorded in the India Office Library’s records (part of the British Library’s collection), and have a look at If these records don’t indicate where they ended up too, have a go at wills (see my previous answer).

Carol Aldridge 16/09/2008 21:20:24

i am trying to trace my grandfather (mothers side) his name was henry (harry) Wilkin i know his date of birth was 12 aug 1879 but cannot find it anywhere on the register, there is a Albert henry wilkin which matches date wise, i do know that he had a step mother could she have change the name to Henry (he liked to be called Harry and this is on his marriage certificate and death certificate) any ideas? thanks carol

Yes, this is possible - see if the father's name matches up on both the marriage and possible birth record. Failing this, though, the correct birth may be hidden under a variant spelling, such as Wilkins, Wilken, etc.

Richard Alecock 30/10/2007 21:01:04

Dear Anthony Adolph… Can you help me!!!... Many of my Great, Great Grandparents and Great Grandparents used a middle name from there Birth Certificate as a first name!!!... For example: Edgar James Alecock was known as Jimmy Alecock. This I understand and I can relate to it. The question I am trying to find the answer for is one Great Uncle was Born. James, Baptised Charles James. Then used Charles and dropped James in later life!.. He also used the nickname WAG. Have you ever come across this? And what does WAG mean? My Great Grandfather was named Frederick. But, He often used the name “Stewart”. This appears on the certificates of his younger born children. Also his Obituary in 1934 says Frederick “Stewart” Alecock (Stewart is in “ “)… His Father and first son were named Frederick; this may have something to do with it to avoid confusion. But, Why… Stewart!!!.. I have a Great Aunt Mary Ann aka Poll.. Which seems common with Mary’s. But, Again… Where did Poll come into being a nickname for Mary (Mary Ann).. I’m sure that others would benefit from any help!.. Thank You Richard John Alecock Mildenhall, Suffolk

Polly is a recognised nickname for people called Mary Ann. It was not at all unusual for people to use their middle name in daily life instead of their first name. 'Wag' used to mean a dandy, but as you surely know many nicknames arose in the playground for the silliest reasons, so I'm in no better position to suggest what was going on here than anyone else.

Richard Alecock 20/02/2007 21:11:06

Hi Anthony... I have been trying to make contact with a member who has a man named Tanous Hakim (You will find this by putting his name in the search engine) who is in the members tree. I am a full member and have tried to contact him on more than one occasion. Although, to no reply. If he is not a full member will he receive my e-mail messages through genes... Thank you... Richard Alecock

I'm afraid that if he's not replying he may simply have lost contact. I don't know a way we could help you there.

Keith Alexander 18/05/2010 21:43:13

How can I find information on family who recorded in the non historical section of archives in New Zealand's register office?

I am sorry, but I genuinely don't understand the question, not least as it is impossible for anything in an archive to be non-historical. I suggest sending a more detailed question, explaining who the people are about whom you want to find out - either send it to me here or direct to the relevant archives in New Zealand. Best of luck!

Keith Alexander 18/05/2010 22:04:57

Hi Anthony, It appears that New Zealand have passed legislation barring enquiries from non-New Zealanders for BMD records that are not 80 to 100 years old. They have had a great many cases of stolen identities. I have been trying to trace present family following my wife's great grandmother going out to NZ in 1930 to visit family there. Some records have been available from electoral rolls etc but after a certain date on BMD the info is blocked. Go onto their BMD site and you will find historical and non historical records.

Oh, I understand now. You will just have to try other means, such as announcements of births, marriages and deaths in newspapers, or simply contact everyone with the right name in the telephone directories, and hope for the best .

John Algar 16/06/2009 21:34:11

My great grandfather Morgan Morgans married Jane Davies and had 3 children, John, Mary Jane and James Richard. On the 1861 Census, MM was on business in Wales, and Jane and their 3 children were in Radcliffe, Lancs, where it turned out, James Richard had been born. By 1862, James Richard is in Swansea, dead, but there's no sign of his parents (the child was with a nursemaid). In 1866, MM remarried, saying that he was a widower, and on the 1871 Census, he and his new wife, plus her 2 children (from her prev marriage), plus MM and his new wife's 2 children were shown, but there was no sign of either of MM's 2 children from his first marriage (i.e. John and Mary Jane). I have done just about every type of search for both child, from using their full names right through to just their initials, and I've tried their year and place of birth, right through to omitting them, but they are nowhere to be found! Around 1875-1877 John appears in India, whilst Mary Jane turns up in Swansea, where she married that year, and after those years I can trace them and their families without any problem, but where on earth could they have been at the time of the 1871 Census? Just one more question, and that is for their mother, Jane, who may have died somewhere on the road between Radcliffe (Lancs) and Swansea. She certainly didn't die at either of those places (or be buried there) but in view of the 1000s of Jane Morgan/Morgans who did die between 1861 and 1866m how on earth can I narrow down to which is mine?! In great hope of a positive answer to the above, I await your comments. Thanks, John

When dealing with very common surnames like this you just have to be terribly systematic, listing all possibilities and checking them all, and following each possible solution as far as it will go. There are seldom easy short-cuts. It sounds as if it was John's job that caused him to move around, to India for example, so maybe you should find out if there are any occupational records for him. You may know that the records of the British in India are at the British Library, and these may help.