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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
Brian Dixon 02/09/2003 20:41:44

Hi Anthony, My father was evacuated as a child during WW2. Are there any records available that will tell me where he went and with whom he stayed. He was evacuated from Liverpool. Thanks

I'm not sure of the answer to this. My guess is that any records which have survived would be confidential and, when they cease to be (or, if they have ceased to be already) they will be deposited at the National Archives at Kew. If you'd like to send me an e-mail about this tomorrow I'll try to find the full answer for you.

Anyhony Graham 02/09/2003 20:45:36

i am researching my family tree and i have come across a problem, it is my great grandfather. i was told that he was a captain in the scottish fusillers in the 1860's or 70's, he was based in belfast where my grandfather was born. i was also told that his military records were destroyed in dublin in the 1916 troubles in ireland. do you know where i could more information on him? thanks anthony Graham.

The British Army generated a great deal of different sorts of documentation- service papers, pension records, medal rolls and so on and I find it hard to believe that everything was destroyed. There are many types of army record at the National Archives, Kew, which may contain reference to your great grandfather. Also, as a captain, he should appear in printed Army Lists, available at Kew, the Society of Genealogists and elsewhere.

Linda Gardiner 02/09/2003 20:52:13

BIGAMY I would be very interested to hear your views on the following 2 related scenarios: 1. If a husband left his wife in England (in the early 1870’s) taking their son and fleeing abroad to America – never to be heard of again – would British marriage laws have been upheld in America? Ie if the husband re-married in America whilst still married to the wife back in England would it have been regarded as bigamy – or were the laws in America completely different from those in England? So that he escaped any punishment if found out. 2. If a women was deserted by her husband in the 1870’s – how long would she have had to wait before legally re-marrying? Also, what would she have had to do to prove his desertion? Regards Linda

Good questions. America would certainly have taken a very dim view of bigamy, whether the marriage was contracted in America or elsewhere- quite what they would have done to offenders, as in your example, would probably have depended on the law of the State concerned. I'm no expert in that field although it would be interesting to find out. If your man was caught, you may be able to read about his case in a local newspaper report of a trial. As to a wife deserted in England, my understanding is that she was allowed to remarry after a term of years had elapsed, as the deserting husband would be termed legally dead. I believe the term of years was seven or ten years but would have to check. To prove the desertion she would presumably have called witnesses to swear to the disappearance of the husband.

Alison Butler 02/09/2003 20:53:15

What do you do when you have an unusual name such as Hoodley (1780) in your tree. There seems to be very little inform. What do you suggest?

The simple answer is say hurrah that it's not Smith! it is a good unusual name which should stad out clearly in the records of whichever parish the family lived in. It's origin is probably in a place name- Hoodley or perhaps a variant of somethign like Hutley- the ending -ley means a wodland or woodland clearing.

James Mckinney 02/09/2003 20:54:54

Hi Anthony. My Great G Grandfathers is listed on the enlish census's and give his birth place as Co.Down Northern Ireland in 1832. Is there any way I can get his birth Cert. So I can go back further with my ancesters. Many thanks Jim

Sadly, birth records were not kept as such in Northern Ireland at that period but there are plenty of surviving parish registers for the period, though some have admittedly been lost. A good substitute for registers is Griffith's Valuation, available on CD or fiche in good genealogical libraries. It lists landholders, down to the smallest crofters, in the 1840's/50's, and, being fully indexed, makes it easy to spot people with the right surname, thus leading you back to what you hope will be the right parish(es).

Jan Gilham (nee Howe) 02/09/2003 20:56:46

One set of my great grandparents came to England from Germany in about 1866 and became naturalised British citizens. Is there any way I can see the forms they must have completed, because I have no idea of their dates or places of birth, their parents, etc.

yes, there are, and you are very lucky because naturalisation records can give wonderful details of places of origin, reasons for migrating and personal circumstances. They are available at the National Archives at Kew, with copies of the indexes at the Family Records Centre in London.

~~ Yvette Elliff 02/09/2003 20:57:02

Anthony Have you any idea why my g-grandfathers place of birth is shown as Chile So America Bs in the 1901 census when the rest of his siblings both, before and after him, were all born in Surrey. Also my grandmother was illegitimate and brought up by her paternal grandparents as her parents. She appears to have never had a birth certificate, despite being born in 1920, would this be right? Her grandparents legally adopted her in 1935 and she had no knowledge of her mother, is there any way of tracing her mother after all this time?

The 'Bs' bit means 'British Subject'. Why was your great grandfatehr born in Chile, not Surrey? Presumably because his parents were there are the time and the most likely reasons for that are likely to be if the father was some sort of engineer, perhaps involved with mining or the railways. Chile certainly wasn't a popular holiday destination at that stage! Second question: as your grandmother was legally adopted you wuld need to find her original birth certificate. Some children were not registered, but most were at that stage. If she is still alive she could apply for her original certificate.

Sandra Hennell 02/09/2003 20:58:56

Hi Anthony, what is the best way to look for strays. I have some frustating gaps and assume they moved around. Many thanks

This is a pretty broad question, so here's a broad answer- there are plenty of indexes now which cover the whole country- International Genealogical Index at, 1881 census at the same URL and the 1901 census at all good places for examining the whole country (taking into account the many substantial gaps and omissions in the IGI) in one go.

Ruth Hall 02/09/2003 21:01:47

Hi Anthony, My 3rd gt gt grandmother married in England, but was born in Ireland about 1845 - how can I track down her birth?

Yes- I've partially answered this question early this evening, talking about Griffith's Valuation. In your case, though, you could look for your ancestor in each census from 1851 onwards, to see if, in any of them, they stated a place of birth or at least a county in Ireland. The IGI provides a partial coverage of Ireland. You can also simply try localising the Irish surname through Griffith, or even by looking at its origins- most Irish surnames seem to have a particular 'home', somewhere on the Emerald Isle.

Alison Dugdale 02/09/2003 21:03:27

Hi Anthony, I am researching my family name of Dugdale around the Colne area of lancashire. I have got back to 1833 when my great grandfather X4 was married to his wife in the local church of St Bartholomews. I have found her baptism record and despite the 1851 census telling me he was born in Colne i cannot find a record for him. Do you have any ideas of where i can go from here (he was born around 1805) thanx alison

you indicate that your Dugdale ancestor's baptism is not in the parish register. Lancashire had a very high population of Catholics, so you could try the local Catholic church. Also, as an industrial town, Colne would probably have had a few non-conformist chapels, such as Baptists, Methodists and so on. You could try their registers (which should be mostly indexed by the IGI). Dugdale, as you probably know, is the surname of Sir William Dugdale, one of our greatest antiquarians and an an eminent genealogist, so I do hope you will persevere and find out if he is a forebear of yours. Perhaps your desire to trace your famiy tree is truly genetic!

Sandra Hennell 02/09/2003 21:04:36

Several of my relatives were in the medical profession, where do I look for information please. Also where do I look for Medical records for deceased rellies. Many thanks.

Medical records for deceased relatives will probably be inaccesible to you but you can learn a certain amount of their history- and your genetic background- from their death certificates. Medical ancestors are much easier to trace. There were Medical Directories kept pretty much anually, and you can look up doctors and so on in these- there are good runs at the Society of Genealogists, Wellcome Institute (Euston Road, London) and so on. They will say where medics qualified, leading you back to university records, professional bodies such as the Royal College of Surgeons, and so on.

Alison Dugdale 02/09/2003 21:04:47

I have been trying to find my great grandfather x4 birth registration/baptism record. 1851 census tells me he was born in colne lancs. But can't find a record. any ideas (he was married in the local church in 1833)

We've done this one already (see below)

Margaret ******* 02/09/2003 21:05:24

Anthony Was it unusual for deaths in the workhouse not to be registered at the GRO? My husbands great grandfather died in York Workhouse in 1921, we found this in the Workhouse registers in York. When we applied for a death certificate at the local register office (York) we were told that that name and date was not on the register. We have since searched the GRO indexes ourselves and it isn't there> He apparently is buried in York cemetery a a grave with numerous others. Margaret

The death should have been registered properly, but if it was not then you have uncovered what was probably a simple clerical error. The workhouse records, however, have probably told you more than the death record would have done anyway.

Barbara Henderson 02/09/2003 21:05:34

Hi Anthony, Using scotlandspeople, I have traced family back to a marriage in 1831 at Queensferry. I then managed to trace the wife's family back to 1797 but I cannot find the husband's. The copy of the marriage banns does not give any info. on husband's parents . As the name Alex. Henderson seems to be very common I have too many possibilities to choose from. Any ideas on how to proceed? Barbara

If Alex died after 1854, his death certificate should give his parents' names. If not, you can tell what his father's name probably was by seeing what name he gave his first or second son, as customs, though variable, were often strictly adhered to. That should help you cut down the possibilities.

Carolyn Eastwood 02/09/2003 21:05:45

My Greatuncle went to South America in 1906 and was never heard of again. Can I find passenger lists or details of ships that sailed from England to (say)Argentina in that era?

Very unlikely, I am afraid. One possibility would be to see if his death was registered by a British consul in South America- their records are at the Family Records Centre.

Alison Dugdale 02/09/2003 21:05:58

Anthony, I am also having trouble finding a marriage for my great grandfather and his wife. They were married between 1891-1900. She was a catholic born in barnsley and he was born again in colne.

Try General Registration rather than local registrar's records. If that fails, try the Catholic church records of Barnsley, where the couple would most likely have tied the knot.

Sylvia Stillwell 02/09/2003 21:06:45

How can I find the birth of my great grandfather, Charles Stillwell. He was born in Fulham, London around 1814 but the search of All Saints Fulham and the neighbouring parish of St.Pauls Hammersmith have not turned up anything. He married a Sarah Southcott of Chiswick but all the churches in the area and even the Pallots Marriage Index and GRO have turned up nothing, so have you any suggestions or do I just give up?

There is no easy answer, as there were so many churches of som many different denominations in the area. Sometimes it's better to try a different tack. If he married after 1837 then you should have his father's name on the marriage certificate, and you could try looking for him instead.

Ann Conner 02/09/2003 21:14:40

Hi Anthony, For many years I have been searching for the marriage of my mother's parents. Their names were Henry OATES and Catherine McCABE or McKAY. As I live in Oregon, USA I have been flowing my way throught the records from the Mormon Church, but with no luck. If I found an entry for Henry Oates and Catherine McCabe in the same qtr., would they have the same ref. number? Their first child was born Jan. 24, 1878. He was baptized on Dec. 24th, 1882 along with 2 brothers at St. Botolphs Church, Houndsditch. I have been unable to find a film of marriages from St. Botolphs. Do you have any ideas on where I can look next? Thanks, Ann

If the entries you have foudn have the same reference numbers then they will be on the page and HOPEFULLY on the same certificate, so I should buy it. If you cannot obtain the parish registers on microfilm then it should not cost too much to have a genealogist over here look the entries up for you.

Jeanne Hague 02/09/2003 21:15:44

Hi Anthony, I am having trouble finding the marriage of my greatgrandparents. The problem is that my g.grandfather must have been married twice as my g.grandmother was too young to have been mother to all his children. From the baptisms I have found, both his wives had the same Christian name. I don't know which way to go. Have trawled through about ten years of the Catherine's Index. Jeanne

Do bear in mind that girls COULD get married at 12, as long as they had parental consent. Have you tried gettign birth certificates for the oldest and youngest child to see if the mother's surnames were the same, or different?

Suzanne Smith 02/09/2003 21:21:01

hi Anthony. You mentioned in a previous web chat that electorate rolls and wills are at a place called First Avenue House.I wondered where that is and if they are open to the public.I have an address to go on for my g-granfather and other ancestors but it is after the 1901 census.How can I check that address out?.

Electoral rolls are best accessed through the library or council office nearest the address. First Avenue House, for wills back to 1858, is open to the public. First Avenue House, 42-49 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6NP, 0207 7936 7000,