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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
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.

Belinda Alison 22/06/2004 20:51:01

I may have found my GGGrandfather Uncle Barnet Kravitz arrival in the US at the Ellis Island Passenger lists. please could you advice how I can find out more about this person to see if indeed he is the correct person. Many thanks

Finding the arrival of the person who you think is your ancestor in America is of course a great start to exploring your family's origins in Europe. To gain further co-ordinates on him and his origins, over and above what the Ellis Island record tells you, you can seek Barnet in US censuses, civil records and see if he became a Naturalised citizen. You can also seek him in Jewish records, for 'Barnet Kravitz' is clearly a Jewish name.

Belinda Alison 22/06/2004 21:04:16

Many thanks could you recommend any sites. I have tried Jewishgen with no luck. is a massive great site, giving a great deal of helpful information on Jewish communities in Europe (and worlswide), so bear with it as it will be helpful to you before long. The best catch-all site for American and Jewish research (as much else besides) is Another great site for Jewish research is

Debbie Allen 23/11/2004 21:10:18

Hello I have my grandfathers birth cert and he was the 6th child to be born to his parents and all i have on them is there names i have been to 1837 online and gone back 25 years from when he was born but i can not find out any info on them, no marriage or birth details, they came from Merthyr in south wales and there are 1000s of jones from there, can you tell me how i could possibly find them.

As you are dealing with Joneses I am not surprised you are having trouble picking out the children. Without knowing when he was bor it's difficult to advise further, but if it was near 1901, use the census. Otherwise, abandon General Registration and find out where he was baptised, and hopefully you'll find the rest of the children baptised there as well.

Michaela Allen 25/05/2011 21:48:44

Hello, i have been trying to find my half brother and sister that were adopted years before I was born. My sister received a message from a girl called lisa jane wilkinson who may be our half sister however, this message was sent last year and my sister has only just found it. She replied back to the message but since hasnt had a reply back. I have lisas member number but I cant find any other contact method and I wondered if you could help.

This must be an unfortunate and frustrating situation for you. Unfortunately, if this person has decided not to reply to your e-mail, or her e-mail address is out of date, there may be no way of contacting her. There is an official way of encouraging contact, and that is the Adoption Contact Register. . See Using this, you may find her after all.

William Allinson 20/07/2004 21:01:56

Sorry, William, but your question hasn't appeared!

Maggy Allinson 15/07/2003 22:03:52

My Grandad has no fathers name on his birth and marriage certificate. Is there any way of find out who his father was? My only clue is my Grandad's middle name was Stevenson, possibly his fathers name?

Excellent. The absence of a father's name from the records you mention is a strong indicator of illegitimacy but registrars and clergy alike were reasonably insistent on mothers giving their children middle names reflecting the real father's surname. Actually, the child's first name could be the real father's too. Stevenson is a popular name, which is a shame, but you can still look for likely Mr Stevensons in the area where the child was born, using directories, electoral registers or, if your grandfather was born early enough, the 1901 census. On very lucky occasions, censuses reveal the future mothers of illegitimate children living with the future fathers.

Yvonne Amiss 30/10/2007 21:09:40

How certain can we be about relationships/descendancy when there are large numbers of people living in a given area and where the same names are repeated through generations? Does probability become the necessary in these circumstances when early parish records are the only resource available?

It's a sensible question. You need to assess each possible ancestor on their own merits, in many cases investigating all possible ancestors in order to be able to eliminate the false ones. The more extra types of record you can bring in, such as wills and manorial records, the better.

Yvonne Amiss 19/02/2008 21:42:08

Dear Anthony, I have two questions which I hope you can help me with: I cannot find my ancestors Joseph and Ann Storey in the 1841 census. Some of their children were living together in Lambeth at that time, where the Storeys had lived for many generations, and I know that Joseph died in 1846. Workhouse records are not available and I can't find any way of checking hospital records. Apart from them being absent on that night, staying at another address, I can't think of where they might have been. I giess it's unlikely that they both were in prison - I don;t know how I can check that - and wouldn't those details show up in the census anyway? Do you have any suggestions as to what I might check next? Also, what is the significance of middle names which are obviously surnames? Westcott appears in the same family and I guessed it could have been a surname. I can find no record of Westcott marrying a Storey. Yvonne.

The census indexes cover prisons and other institutions, but probably your people are in the regular census under a different spelling.

Fi aka Wheelie Spice and Lilly 23/09/2003 20:55:31

Hi Anthony, thanks for your email today.

No problem- I hope it was helpful!

Fi aka Wheelie Spice and Lilly 23/09/2003 21:07:21

How do I find my living relatives in Canada and Australia. Are there any specific websites that would be able to help me.

There are many Australian and Canadian genealogical websites listed on For finding living relatives, it's always worth starting with the telephone directories.

Fi aka Wheelie Spice and Lilly 05/08/2003 21:56:06

Hello Anthony. I have been researching my family history during the last few months. Our family name was Curzon-Howe right up until my granfather when they dropped the Curzon. I know ther are many Curzon-Howe's and created a rather large family tree which even connects to Royalty. My problem is that I cant find My Great Grandfather Arthur Walter Curzon-Howe born 1880. I also cant make the connection with the large tree i have made. Please can you help. Thanks Fiona Howe

Oh dear- that sounds genuinely frustrating. Lord Curzon was commander in chief in India- have younconsidered that your elusive forebear may have been born out there? The records would be in the India Office library at the British Library. Alternatively, try seeking wills for the other people on the tree and see if they mention your great grandfather.

Fi aka Wheelie Spice and Lilly 05/08/2003 22:10:56

With regard to my Curzon Howe relatives from my Great grandfather and beyond do you think it will be worth my while with the info I have ( which is only his name, year of birth and place where my grandfather was born) to visit the Family Records Centre.

If you haven't tried searching for a birth certificate, then a visit to the Family Records Centre could be well worth it. Besides English and Welsh births, they also have records of the births of the British abroad, and army chaplains' returns of births as well- so good potential for new discoveries.

Fi aka Wheelie Spice and Lilly 23/03/2004 21:24:45

Anthony, Is there a way I can find my 1/2 sister when I dont know her mother's maiden name she was born in 1977. I have managed to obtain her birth cert. I am now in touch with 3 1/2 brothers one of which was through help from GC users.

If you have your half sister's birth certificate then that really should include her mother's maiden name. Maybe you have bought a 'short' birth certificate (without any spaces for parents at all). If so, apply for a full borth certificate and this should give you much more information.

Fi aka Wheelie Spice and Lilly 17/02/2004 21:42:37

Hi Anthony, Can u suggest anywhere that might hold pictures of a house that has been demolished since 1945? Also how do you trace someone where you are not sure of the mothers maiden name. The mother never married the childs father? Thanks Fi Thanks Fi

I've answered this one before (see below).

Fi aka Wheelie Spice and Lilly 17/02/2004 21:05:32

Hi Anthony, Can u suggest anywhere that might hold pictures of a house that has been demolished since 1945? Also how do you trace someone where you are not sure of the mothers maiden name. The mother never married the childs father? Thanks Fi Thanks Fi

Pictures of houses are best sought at the nearest local studies library- many of them hold huge collections. There is currently a big iniative on to collect and publish even more and there are grants of up to £25,000 are available from As to your second question, the child's birth certificate should give the mother's name and maiden name. You have have to check several or many possible birth certificates to get the right one. Send me more details of your specific problem.

Fi aka Wheelie Spice and Lilly 16/12/2003 21:05:36

Hi Adolph, I just thought you might like to know that on 25/11/03 I met the first of my 3 1/2 brothers for the very 1st time. It was a great day and I took him to a cousins party this weekend. I have had a great few weeks . There is also a possibility that I will be in contact with a 2nd 1/2 brother in the not too distant future. This one being thanks to an aunt and someone I have had contact with through GC.

That really is good news. Every time I look at the Success Stories on the site's message board I am really surprised- and delighted- at the number of families being reunited through GenesConnected. Befre this came along, finding long-lost half brothers and so on could be a long, hard slog. It's great to read not only that you have found a half brother- but also that you get on so well. something in the genes,obviously!

Fi aka Wheelie Spice and Lilly 31/08/2004 21:02:31

Anthony, I have a marriage cert for a great x 3 or 4 grandad and it does not state exact age. It also does not say Minor, what else could it say? Obviously I need to have an idea of his age in order to get a birth cert.

‘Full age’ and ‘minor’ are curiosities of British genealogy. ‘Minor’ meant under 21. Until 1929, provided they had parental consent, boys could marry at 14 and girls at 12, and after 1929 the minimum age was 16. Marriages between such young people were rare, but they really did happen. ‘Full age’ means 21 or over, or under 21 but lying to avoid the need for parental consent. People not stating their correct ages is obviously a complete nuisance for us. Fortunately, the censuses are on hand to provde such information. The address at marriage (on the certificate) should lead you to the address where they lived in a census return.

Fi aka Wheelie Spice and Lilly 14/12/2004 21:15:53

Me again Anthony,My Great grandfather was in the Boer war. Where can i find a record of this? Thanks

The National Archives, Kew, hold all Boer War service records. If your great grandfather was an officer he'll be in Army Lists (copies at the National Archives too). Medal rolls for the Boer War are there too, freely available, or you can buy two CDs of them from

Fi aka Wheelie Spice and Lilly 14/12/2004 21:08:20

Hello, I have reason to believe that I may have a connection to the Royal family. I have a surname in mind but cant find the connection. Is there a way to find out the truth? The name was double barrelled but it is said that the first part of the name was dropped. Any advise would be grateful. Thanks

Most people in Britain are distantly related to the Royal Family, though of course the trick is proving it. Often, though, stories like yours tend to be red herrings, especially surnames that used to be double barrelled but half was dropped? You can find out easily enough, though, by tracing the line back and seeing what really went on. The best place to start seeking royal links, up that or any line or any other, is to see if the surname appears in the Marquis of Ruvigny and Raineval's books that attempted to trace all the legitimate descendants of Edward III using published sources, especially Burke’s. His books are called 'The blood royal of Great Britain, being a roll of the living descendants of Edward IV and Henry VII', T.E. Jack (1903) and 'The Plantagenet roll of the blood royal, being a complete table of all the descendants now living of Edward III, King of England', published in four volumes- Clarence, Exeter, Essex and Mortimer-Percy, describing the descendants of the George Duke of Clarence; Anne, Duchess of Exeter; Isabel Countess of Essex and Lady Elizabeth Percy formerly Mortimer).