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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
Shelli . 22/07/2003 22:10:14

With regard to searching the 1901 orginal entry, I have done that as it's on fiche at library, have searched the whole area where they should have been. Still can't find them.

Then maybe they really were on Mars. Actually, although getting to Mars wasn't possible then, getting virtually anywhere else was, and countless families went off to America, Africa- all over the world, and not necessarily for very long periods of time. Have a think about the family's occupations and see if they suggest anywhere else they may have gone to find work.

George Sales 22/07/2003 22:13:38

Re: lost ancestor- he married in his home town Alston, CUL had a son b 1805 and I can't find anything of them after the birth. I've searched through the Alston church burial register without luck.

There are a vast number of possibilities as to where he could have gone- perhaps north, over the Scottish border. Here's a thought, though. The son was born in 1805, so may well have survived until the 1881 census, which is fully indexed. If you can find where he was living then, that may be a clue as to where the parents ended up.

Meryl Crowe 22/07/2003 22:13:53

Anthony, my husbands g.grandfather was a stoker in the Royal Navy late 1890's where he went to America and jumped ship,where do I begin to start looking?

The first port of call, so to speak (!) would be his navy records at the National Archives. If he set himself up in America and survived to a ripe old age you may find him in the U.S.Social Security Death Index, covering deaths between 1962 and 1996. It can be searched on the Mormons’ website,

Penny Wrigley 22/07/2003 22:13:55

Anthony, my grandmother always said that a cousin was a musician who went down on the Titanic. I have found the names of the musicians but cannot tie up with one at present. The addresses for most of them were in London from the ship records, but I guess these were just lodgings. Any ideas if there would be records anywhere giving more info about them?

You really are in luck if you live anywhwere near London, because there is a splendid exhibition of material salvaged from the Titanic at the Science Museum in Kensington- including, would you believe it, playing cards and cigarettes. We filmed a piece for Antiques Ghostshow there a few weeks ago. They have a complete list of victims on the wall- apparently all the musicians died. There are also several websites listing crew, victims and so on, called something like (from memory) encyclopaediatitanica. Bear in mind that the cousin might have had a completely different surname to your grandmother.

George Sales 22/07/2003 22:17:01

Hi My ancestors in Alston owned a Blacksmith forge, is it likely that they would have kept records? if so where would they be as Cumbria Records don't have any.

No. It's unlikely blacksmiths would have kept any written records. But that's not to say there won't be plenty of records about them in parish chest material, such as churchwarden's accounts, overseer's accounts and so on. A blacksmith was an important character in his village- more fundamental to the community than any car dealer nowadays- so if you see what the record office has for Alston you may strike gold in an unexpected source.

Judith Lakin 22/07/2003 22:20:06

My gg grandfather's forename was Wilson. Could this be an indication of his mothers maiden name and if so was this common practice? He was born c1849.

I think it is highly likely your great great grandfather was descended from a Wilson family- it may have been his mother's maiden name, or it may have been further back in his ancestry. You could find his mother's maiden name from his birth certificate. You know when he was born- and his forename is distinctive!- so you can seek his birth in the General Registration Indexes.

Maudie Marsh 22/07/2003 22:23:44


It's widely said that many Irish records were destroyed or were never kept, but there are actually plenty which are absolutely fine. The Irish General Registration records (kept centrally in Dublin) cover the 1920's very well and should enable you to trace your Limerick ancestry without too much trouble.

George Sales 22/07/2003 22:34:38

Re: Illegitimacy- On her first marriage cert she put Thomas Shipley, and on her second James Shipley. On every census she changed her birthplace. I only found out a few weeks ago she was raised in a workhouse.

Maybe she was a bit confused about her father's name. She was born in 1837, supposedly the daughter of Thomas or James Shipley. Why not look in the 1851 census for the place where they lived, or the wider area, and see if anyone of either of those names was alive and of the right sort of age to be her father?

George Sales 22/07/2003 22:42:41

re: lost ancestor, tried the 1881 no sign of the son John Little b 1805 Alston.

That means he was either abroad or had died. It would be a long search, but you could try finding a John Little of the right sort of age in the death records of the surrounding area. You've clearly done a lot of searching on this already, so if you'd like to e-mail me a detailed account of what you've tried already, and what you know about the family (which seems to be quite a lot) I'll have a good think about it and see if I can come up with any more suggestions.

Jacky Plummer 22/07/2003 22:45:09

I am trying to find information on the name THORNBURY. My Gt. Grandmother was born in Kilkenny in 1851 according to 1881, 1891 and 1901 census. I have had no luck at all and there are only 9 Thornbury's on the GC site. Help please. Where do I go from here?

Thornbury is a distinctive name, so you should succeed.Griffith's Valuation was made in the 1850's and listed all land occupaiers, down to the tiniest cottager, in each Irish county. That should tell you where Thornburys lived in KIlkenny, and you could then search the appropriate baptism registers.

Suzanne Smith 22/07/2003 22:46:06

I am looking for info about my g-grandfather.He was in the merchant navy but not sure when.It was sometime c1900s.How can i find out more info on his time in the merchant navy.I just don,t have a clue where to start with this one.Thanks for any help Anthony.

The main Merchant Navy records are at the National Archives in Kew. There is an excellent book by my friend Michael Watts on how to trace merchant navy ancestry.

Stephen Pankhurst 22/07/2003 22:46:59

THATS ALL FOLKS - No more questions please tonight. Next session in 2 weeks time.

Good night eveyone- hope that was some help.

Penny Wrigley 22/07/2003 22:51:39

I've checked Titanic info online and yes all the musicians died. There are details given as held by the shipping company, but as I said these are nearly all London addresses and probably lodgings. I have eliminated one musician because he was French, and favour two of those remaining, and am also considering that grandmother may have meant my grandfathers cousin not hers. Is there anywhere that I can access more info that might have been held by the shipping line such as what area the musicians came from, family adresses, next of kin etc?

I do beg your pardon- I thought there were no more questions! The Titanic crew lists at the National Archives will give you a bit more information, including the previous ship on which someone served, so you can track them back and thus learn previous addressses and, I think I am right in saying, next of kin. At any rate, they will give some extra information to help you in yoru quest.

Glendora Copeman 22/07/2003 22:51:51

Hello Anthony, I can trace back a relation who was born in Stowmarket on 29/2/1864 named Nelson William Copeman, his father is named as Edmond Copeman on his marriage certificate, but the name was NOT on his birth certificate although his mother is Emma Copeman on his birth certificate, can you help please?

Hello Glendora! It looks like Nelson's parents were not married. It's likely that his father either was not Edmond Copeman, or EC was another relation, like an uncle or grandfather. Most likely, his real father was called Edmond, but had a different surname. If you can find a local man, using, say, a census, called Edmond with the same occupation (which will also be on the marriage certificate) then you could explore the possibility of his being the real father. Nelson's interesting- the famous admiral's family was East Anglian and this inspired the choice of that name for many children there in the 19th century.

Eileen Patterson 22/07/2003 23:11:34

Hi Anthony, I am trying to find the birth details of John Irons born around 1840-41 in Padstow area of Cornwall. I have his wedding certificate showing his marriage to Betsy Bennett August 3rd 1865 and both are aged 24 years. His father was a Blacksmith and her father was Publican of the Golden Lion in Padstow. I need to know who his mother was. Thank you. Eileen

Irons is a nice, relatively unusual name. I wonder if you're related to Jeremy. John's birth certificate should be in General Registration- you can search at the Family Records Centre or on fiche at a number of locations including Mormon Family History Centres- and this will give his mother's name. In addition, you can have fun looking up the father in trade directories covering Padstow- and don't forget to go and visit the place at some point and have a drink in his memory!

Laurie Vickers 05/08/2003 21:54:47

Hi Anthony, I'm having a real problem with pre 1881 census', trying to get hold of Kent, Lincs & Gloucester. Any ideas? Laurie

All original census returns can be searched at the Family Records Centre. All available census indexes are listed in an invaluable booklet, J. Gibson and E. Hampson’s Census returns 1841-1891 in microform; a directory to local holdings in Great Britain, Channel islands, Isle of Man, FFHS, 6th edn, (1994). There aren't many for Kent, so instead of indexes you may need to seek appropriate addresses to search from General Registration certificates, directories and so on.

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.

Laurie Vickers 05/08/2003 21:57:28

Hi Anthony, My nan was born after 1901 census. I have managed to get hold of her date of birth via her death cert but do not know what district she was registered. Any ideas in how I go about this, I have tried 1837 online but she doesn't appear there. I have tried her 5yrs either side and still nothing!! Laurie

I would be inclined to search, or have a search made, in the original indexes of births at the Family Record Centre, before giving up on finding it altogether. However, if you remain genuinely stuck, you could get your grandmother's marriage certificate. That should name her father, and provide his occupation, and then you could look him up in the 1901 census instead, see where he lived, look in the local registrar's records or seek a baptism instead!

Janet Fell 05/08/2003 21:57:44

Hi Anthony, On the 1871 census I have a relative born in Lashfields or Loulfields it's impossible to read. How to I find out where this is. Thanks Jan

Besides the place of birth, the 1871 census should also state the county (if it does not, it's probably going to be the county in which the census was taken). You can then look through the placename index of a contemporary trade directory, which should include the hamlets and vilages, and see what matches up best. By the way, it's not your fault you can't read it- the poor registrars had a tough time, going from door to door, scribbling everything down, and we just have to make do if their handwriting was too bad!

Laurie Vickers 05/08/2003 21:58:39

Hi Anthony, Is there antway of finding details for Cavan & Westmeath, Ireland without having to travel there? Laurie

yes, lots. Some of the registers, and all the early years of General Registration, are on; you can also get access to Griffith's Valuation for all the counties in good genealogical libraries like the Society of Genealogists- it lists all land occupiers, down to the smallest cotter, in the mid 19th century. There's stacks more too- but don't neglect the prime sources, the original sources, which are in Ireland and which will, ultimately, serve you the best.