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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
George Sales 05/08/2003 21:59:29

I have an ancestor who was vet in the 1860's to 1890's and was a member of the Royal College of Vet Surgeons. Would he have attended a Vet college if so which is he most likely to have gone to considering he was from Alston,CUL. Would any records exist?

As your ancestor was a member of the Royal College of Vet Surgeons, their records should state where he obtained his qalifications. Also, if he was listed in a directory of vets, that too would probably provide letters after his name which might suggest where he qualified. Or you could see if there is a professional journal for vets (I imagine there is one)- you could seek an obituary for him in there and that might give you details of where he trained. It's a good question and I'd be interested to hear what you do succeed in discovering.

Susan Vowden 05/08/2003 22:00:40

My Dad (who died some years ago) was born in 1911 but his birth certificate shows an entry registered in 1928 'on the authority of the Registrar General'. What type of reasons would be likely for such a late registration and are my grandparents likely to have been penalised for not registering him at birth? In the indexes his name is handwritten at the end of the names for that letter and has a different Vol & page number from the others. I'm intrigued, do you have any suggestions, please?

There are a number of possible reasons for this and I would be inclined to start by asking the office of the local registration office from which the original certificate was issued in 1928 if they have any explanitory records. There were penalties for late registration, but registration that late suggests something more than a simple error. Or was it? Maybe your 17 year old father suddenly needed a birth certificate for something, like maybe joining the armed forces, and the ommission came to light that way.

Laurie Vickers 05/08/2003 22:01:11

Hi Anthony, I have been trawling through records 1820's on 1837 online and they are barely readable, is there somewhere else I can go to find out the relevant district etc which I might be able to read?

Dear Laurie- with no doubt the best will in the world, 1837 on-line can be a bit hard going on the eyes. To be fair, though, so too can the versions of the indexes on fiche and microfilm which you can see at Mormon Family History Libraries and good libraries all over the country, whilst the original indexes, at the Family Records Centre, themselves, are much easier to read, because they are bigger and you can see them direct, but the volumes weight 25 pounds each and your arms will ACHE after a while! I've had many a sore eye and aching arm over the years. The answer is, there is no easy way- unless you want to pay someone else to do the searching for you, which is often a good idea!

Iorwerth Jones 05/08/2003 22:01:46

anthony my mother was born in willtshire about 1910 her name was girt bagg family of farmers she had eight brothers and left home at age 14 and walked to cirencester where she married a hairdreser by the name of smith and had 2 daughters jean and vallery i have not been able to trace any of mothers family thanks i v l jones

Dear Iorwerth- what a fascinating name your mother had- Girt Bagg- and an interesting potted story too. Presumably she would have been christened Gertrude, though it's always dangerous to make assumptions. Her birth certificate should be in General Registration, as should the record of her marriage to the hairdresser. The birth certificate should tell you exactly where Girt was born and thyen you could look the earlier Bagg family up in the 1901 and 1881 censuses for that place- both are online.

George Sales 05/08/2003 22:03:23

I have an ancestor who went to Canada in 1925 leaving his wife in London. I have managed to get hold of his immigration record. How do I find out if he returned to England or remained in Canada etc?

It's unlikely you can simply find out. What you can try doing is seek any other relations who might know, or failing that you may simply have to search through General Registration death records here, or the equivalent in which ever Canadian province he settled in, and see if his death turns up in either place (or you could try newspaper obituaries, directories and electoral registers, wills and so on). But it's likely to be quite a search and I'm afraid I canlt offer a straight-forward panacea.

Sandra Hennell 05/08/2003 22:04:54

I am trying to trace my Great Grandfather Thomas Hind, his son My mums father was John Thomas Hind who was born in Woodborough, Notts. On the census it shows my grandfather as living with his grandfather. No trace of Thomas his father. Cannot find a way of locating him any clues please. I think Thomas may have been on Guernsey(guessing) with his Mother as she was away at time of census on Guernsey. Is there a census site for Geurnsey please.(of course he may have been deceased).

I'm afraid there's nothing substantial on-line. The census returns for Guernsey are kept by the Her Majesty’s Greffier at the General Register Office, Royal Court House, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 2PD 01481 725277. For the record, the Society of Genealogists has copies of some Guernsey General Registration, but not, as far as I know, any census material.

George Sales 05/08/2003 22:09:16

In 1901 there was a child living with one of my ancestors, we are certain that he was not their son despite the census saying that he was. He was listed with my g grandfathers surname but we are not sure if this is actually the name he was baptised under. Where do I go from here?

Good that you've not taken the census as gospel. You could seek both a birth and baptism for the child under its alleged name, and if you find neither then you're probably right in your hunch. As to whether you will ever find the child's original surname is, as they say, a completely different ballgame.

Laurie Vickers 05/08/2003 22:10:44

Hi Anthony, I have been told that one of my ancestors was behind the Vickers machine gun but when I have tried to look into it I cannot get any info on him. There is lots of info of the more famous m/gun inventor but nothing on my ancestor! Do you have any ideas where to go from here?

This is a common problem- a project or invention which started as the team work of a group ends up being lumped under one man (equally, the opposite may happen- the boy who made the tea becomes, in his own or his descendants' mythology, the sole and only inventor). Still, it would be be interesting to see who took out the original patent. Patents are all very well organised and kept at the British Library in London. Besides telling you who too out the patent (and there may be several names) you also get the most marvelous 'Heath Robinson' diagrams to show how things weer supposed to work.

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.

Eric Fairclough 05/08/2003 22:12:34

hi anthony we've got family tree back to 1785.we know he came from lancs/lancaster where do istart to find his birthplace or his parents.thanks

If your he ancestor survived until 1851, then the census of that year should tell you where he was born. If not, there are other ways, but the bottom line may be using indexes like the IGI ( to seek possibilities, and then see if one of them is correct through original research.

Helena Fenski 05/08/2003 22:13:13

Hi Anthony, I have been researching my family history on and off for a while now. I have managed to find out all sorts of things, but am a bit stuck on one part of my family. I have relatives who are Polish, my Grandad live in the UK and I have asked him for some details, but because he came over here during the second world war he lost some contact with all the family and can only remember certain things. Where would be the best place to start with regards to finding out about my Polish ancestors? I have heard somewhere along the line that it may be quite difficult to find anything because of the war and documents being destroyed. Helena

Yes, it may be difficult, but not always. For Jewish immigrants from Poland you can look at the fantastic resources at For gentiles there's often a lot less. You could start, though, with what's on record in this country, such as your granddad's marriage certificate)assuming he married here) which would at least give the name of his father, back in Poland. I know I often say 'it may be a question of research in the original records'... in Poland.. but that is sometimes the best and only answer. There are of course people you can hire as you can hardly be expected to communicate in Polish or read Polish records yourself.

George Sales 05/08/2003 22:13:58

A wealthy ancestor of mine supposedly committed suicide in 1935 I suspect in Middlesbrough. Would there be a coroners report somewhere or even a newspaper article?

Quite right. Coroner's reports are hard to get hold of and generally uninformative. Newspapers, on the other hand, rather relished gory details, and are likely to have reported the event, especially if the person was wealthy. The main library in Middlesbrough may have newspaper holdings, and the British Library also has a substantial collection. Definitely worth pursuing.

Georgina Fallon 05/08/2003 22:14:26

I have been searching my Father's Family, name Michael Joseph Fallon, he was born in Ireland 1930 Died 1981 in Edinburgh Scotland, but that is all we can find i have been looking for a few years and no one has heard of him, he left Ireland when he was very young (16) and never ever said much about his family apart from Sligo, he married my mother without a birth certificate in Perth Scotland. please help i dont where else to look, it has cost me a small fortune already as i live in New York USA.if you can advice i would be very grateful Thanks Louvaine Cooper (Fallon)

I'm sorry you've ben on a wild goose chase over this. The General Registration records in Dublin should enable you to work back before 1930. Let me know if you've had any more specific problems.

Ann Conner 05/08/2003 22:14:48

Hello Anthony, I have a question about my grandmother Alice Faiman who was born in West Ham in 1868. She married James Conner, a Ropemaker in 1886 and was then aged 19 yrs. All the Census listings from 1871 through 1901 show her correct age. She had a child in 1908, and family lore says that she died soon after. The only death of an Alice Conner I could find that fits, if this:- Alice Conner, died in West Ham in 1909, death reported by James Conner, husband, a Ropemaker. Just one problem, the death certificate shows her age as 37 years, whereas I think she would be 40/41 yrs. old. Is it possible that this is just a mistake on the part of the recorder? Maybe a transposition from a previous entry??? Thanks, Ann

Yes, it could be a mistake. It could have been the registrar's mistake, or that of the probably distraught ropemaker husband. As the census returns all agree over her age, you're probably right in thinking it's the death certificate which is inaccurate.

George Sales 05/08/2003 22:16:26

Do any passenger lists of ships which brought people from Ireland to England still exist. Or would the passengers have not been recorded?

No sadly not. Irish immigration into England is largely not a matter of record. If only it was. Don't forget that many Irish 'immigrants' came and went as seasonal workers, year after year, before eventually settling here. Those who worked hop picking in Kent would walk back home for the winter with their wages to feed their families, and then calmly walk all the way back to Kent the year after. Extraordinary lives.

Alison Wright 05/08/2003 22:17:40

Evening, Anthony. I have started to wonder what the best way would be to find out family relations post-1901? I have used the electoral roll as a guide but this has its limitations and unfortunately, I have squeezed my living family dry of all information. I read somewhere that it is sometimes possible to obtain info from the next census (ie. 1910) for a fee. Is that correct? If not, what is the best resource? Thank you, Alison.

I half answered this in the answer to the first question this evening, below. As to the 1911 census (1911), no, it is not available for searching under any circumstances but will, i underastand, be available in 2012.

George Sales 05/08/2003 22:26:04

Re: Vets I contacted RCVS and they charge £30 for every 30mins that they search and I can't quite afford their fees.

Ouch. However, if you're determined to know the answer, it may be worth paying them. Alternatively, try some of the other suggestions I made, such as an obituary in a professional journal.

Trudy Male 05/08/2003 22:32:28

I believe that a relative of mine was sent to prison for bigamy prior to 1920 is there any way i can find out if this is correct and to whom he was 'married' to?

The marriage should appear as normal in General Registration. Newspaper are often the best way of finding out about any sort of criminal activity. A bigammy case would probably have been noted in the Times, which is mostly fully indexed.

Dawn Mckee 05/08/2003 22:33:51

How can I find my great gandfathers date of birth etc, people in the family have no idea.

Simple answer- General Registration. His year of birth, to help you search, should be ascertainable from his age given on his death and marriage certificates.

Stephen Pankhurst 05/08/2003 22:34:43


Certainly has been busy- but thanks for a host of very interesting questions. The one about the brewer's daughter is particularly interesting. Do let us know if you ever get to the bottom of that one!