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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
Keith Ashington 16/12/2003 21:09:50 question is regarding the 1901 census my grandfather came from Deal in Kent .....which is not on the Census it true the records where destoryed during the War and have I any hope of researching from this period...Thanks

I have not heard that the Deal 1901 census returns were destroyed- you could ask at the Family Records Centre and they should be able to say for certain. However, even if they have been lost, the 1901 census is only one of the many, many types of record available- and before January 1002 all 1901 censu returns were secret (as are the 1911 ones until 2012), so we all had to make do without them! You should be able to find your forbears in General Registration (also at the Family Records Centre), in the 1891 census and certainly the 1881 census, which is fully indexed on

Barry Young 16/12/2003 21:12:45

Me again.. i just spoke to my mother and she said that she has asked her aunts(his sisters) if they knew where he was and they dont. He and My grandmother split up in New Zeland as he was posted there by the RAF. just found that out. any ideas?

Oh dear- he really had disapeared then. On the other hand, New Zealand is a relatively small place, so you could try telephone directories and death indexes there as a start. There is no way this is going to be easy- but you may be surprised what you will find once you start searching. If your grandfather is receiving an RAF pension they should know where he is. They would not tell you, of course, but they should be willing to forward a letter to him from you.

Marcie Holloway 16/12/2003 21:15:14

hi anthony thanks for answer, have a feeling that my ancester was not born in the parish he married, would the bishops transcripts still apply many thanks for your help

I wonder why you thin that- as the registers have been lost you presumably have not been able to tell. I would certainly suggest trying the Bishop's Transcripts for that parish first. Also, you could look at the earliest surviving burial registers and see if other people of his surname were being buried there. If elderly people of his name were being buried there, there is more of a chance that the family were native. If not,you could county marriage and will indexes to see where else in the county peple of the name lived.

Anne Charlton 16/12/2003 21:18:38

I would like to trace a relation of mine with the name Killcoin or it may be spelt Killcoign I arn't sure. It is an Irish name hope you can help.

It's just crossed my mind, as a general comment, that several people have not stated the name of the ancestor or relation they are looking for. Bear in mind that this webchat is being read by people all over the world. If you all stae the full names of the people tyou are after, you never know who might spot your question and come up with a valuable contact. For this question, you have told me the surname, which is very unusual. It certainly sounds Irish (or else Manx). 'Kil' comes from the Gaelic 'goil' meaning servant- so the surname presumably means 'Coin's servant'. As all such names are Anglicised versions of Gaelic ones, there will be as many possible spellings as there are- I don't know- swans in Galway Bay- but you take the point: search under as many variants as you can think of.

John Hutchings 16/12/2003 21:22:59

Hi Anthony, Like one of the other correspondant, I too have a problem with the 1901 census on-line. My grandmother's family name was NAPPER. I have located my grandmother herself who was by then married to my grandfather. However, she had two younger sisters Edith and Mary and two older brothers Edward and Peter plus her parents who would have been in their 50's. All searches of NAP* for the surname plus age and birth place searches have come to nothing. Where could they be? John Hutchings

Exactly: I don't think wartime bombing has anything to do with it. The thing to bear in mind with the 1901 census is that to get what you want out of it you have to second guess what was put in in the first place. If they were recorded with slightly different details, or the transcriber typed in something he had misread, they won;t be under what you expected. Knapper would seem an obvious choice, but you can also try scribbling Napper on pieces of paper and see how other people read it. I've just had a go and got Wipper. Do you take my point? Alternatively, if you know where the family lived, just look at the original returns on film at the Family Records Centre.

Anthony Graham 16/12/2003 21:26:08

Hi Anthony. I have a 1901 census of Ireland it says that my G/Grandfather was 31 this means that he was born 1870. I also have his grave lease it says he was 73 when he died in 1944 this means he was born in 1871.I also have his Birth certificate saying he was born in 1872 can you tell me which is right do I have the right person what should I do. Thank you. Tony

If they do all relate to the same person then the birth record is most likely to be right- the census and grave lease ages are more likely to be subject to error. The question really is, is the birth certificate correct. If the place of birth given on the 1901 census ties in with what's on the birth record, then that is a good sign: the other co-ordinate you can seek (this game is all about getting extra co-ordinates)is his marriage certificate. If that gives the same father's name as shown on the birth certificate then you will have certainty.

Carole Fryer 16/12/2003 21:27:23

I have a marriage record in the District of Camlachie, Glasgow dated 23 october 1891 for my gr grandparents( surname Reddock). Alongside the record is an oval stamp with the words bigamy written in the centre, around the sides are written some words which are not that clear but appear to state something like "see record of court vol A to P" can you tell me where I can find the details of this case? thanks Carole

What an interesting find! A few decades ago that would have been a cause for shame, but now, thank goodness, we can smile at the antics of your ancestors. It is a shame that the stamp does not say which court. I won't pretend to know for sure here, because I don't, but I suggest you could start by checking the local sheriff's court. A guide to courts (it is quite compilcated) appears in C. Sinclair’s Tracing your Scottish ancestors: a guide to ancestry research in the Scottish Record Office, HMSO (rev. edn 1997). you could also see if the case was reported in the local paper. The bottom line is that you should be able to find records about this and, when you do, you should learn a lot more about your great grandparents- perhaps more than you bargained for!

Mau onthecoast Mau at the coast 16/12/2003 21:32:58

I've searched for a very long time to find information regarding my Paternal Grandparents. I know that they were travelling theatrical stage actors I cannot find any certs. even though I have my late Father's birth cert.should I assume they may have changed their names?I was told they had stage names.How would you go about finding them please? Maureen Noble

Actors are problematical as there were very few formal records, especially before the foundation of Equity in 1930. However, the Theatre Museum (1E Tavistock Street. London WC2E 7PR, 0207 943 4700, has a vast collection of playbills and programs. For actors since 1912 you can consult 'Who’s who in the theatre', which includes some dates of birth and parents’ names (and of course the parents could themselves have been on the stage). There were a number of 19th century journals, starting with The Era, which was founded in 1838, and also vast archives of playbills and programs, the best of which can be searched at the Theatre Museum, 1a Tavistock Street, London, WC2 0207 836 7891, but the task can still be difficult because the profession was such a mobile and transitory one.

Naomi in SW Poyntz 16/12/2003 21:37:23

Hi Anthony, I have a couple of questions, Firstly if I know the date and area that someone has died, how can I found out where they might be buried? Also I'm reaching the point where my ancestors were born before civil registration, again how do I know which local records I should be looking for and where do I go? Many thanks Naomi

The National Burial Index, available at many libraries and from the FFHS on CD-Rom has growing coverage, currently mainly focussed on the north-east, midlands, east Anglia and home counties, although London, Kent and Hampshire are poorly covered and Sussex not at all. Besides this, it is often simply a question of looking at a map of contemporary directory and seeing what burial places there were in the locality, and then checking their records one by one. If they were prominent enough to have had their deaths announced in the local paper, such announcements would usually say where the funeral was to take place. Before Civil Registration cicks in (July 1837) you can start using parish registers- and remember that there are also bishop's transcripts (see below!), wills, manorial records- infact, very many potential sources of information.

Peter Neate 16/12/2003 21:58:44

Hi Anthony, what should be a easy question, what are the rules to second cousin, third cousin once removed etc? Peter, London

Right: if two people have the same grandparent, they are first cousins. If they have the same great grandparent, they are second cousins. If they have the same great great grandparent, they are third cousins. If they have the same ancestor but are descended from that person through a different number of generations, then 'removed' comes in. If your grandparent was my great grandparent, I would be your first cousin once removed, and, from my point of view, you would be my second cousin once removed. Draw a little family tree and think of it as looking across from one branch of the family to the other and you should catch on.

Carole Fryer 16/12/2003 22:01:13

Anthony thanks for your advice on the bigamy query. Just to confirm what you said about finding interesting info. I also had a divorce within my ancestors and requested a copy of the court papers from the Scotish records office. It was 8 pages long and very historical giving masses of information of the everyday life of my ancestors. Reading the transcripts of my relatives words was fantastic. Ironically it was cheaper to get a copy of the papers than to purchase a certified copy of a record. Carole

The last sentence has just made me chuckle. Yes- I am glad you have already had this experience. Really, when you think about it, the more unpleasant/criminally-inclined/quarrelsome or just plain unlucky our ancestors were, the more likely they were to be written about in newspapers and court records, and the more we are likely to find out about them- and enjoy the experience!

Neil Pankhurst 16/12/2003 22:02:56


And thanks to everyone- we had some really interesting ones tonight. Merry Christmas to you all!

Sharron Walker 20/01/2004 20:56:59

Anthony My father was born out of wedlock in 1938. His mother was 24 at the time and was placed in a home straight after having my father (where she died age 75 in 1990) my father was also put in a home then fostered age 10 by a Vicar. My father doesn't know much about his early life or if there was any papers about his foster, because everything was so hushed up. Where would I go to try and find out if there were any document about my father? thank you Sharrron

you could see if the place where your father was fostered has any records, or ask the adoption/social servcies sectio of your local social services. I feel there may be more I could find out to help you, so please come back to the next session next month, or else contact me direct, and I will try to find out more.

Sharon Austwick 20/01/2004 21:00:18

Hi Anthony, I wonder if you could help me or put me on the right track. My nan was adpoted we think prior to 1927, i have her given name, date of birth, and her adpoted name, yet i am unable to trace her birth certificate, and as she is no-longer with us i am not sure how to go about obtaining it. Also, is it possible that in 1946/47 births were not always registered. As i am unable to trace my auntie's birth certificate, yet i know she was not born out of wedlock, Many Thanks Sharon Kiely

See last answer. Unfortunately, formal adoption did not begin until 1927. Children's names weer changed informally, but one way around the problem would be to seek a baptism, where the clergyman may have recorded more information. Another option is simply to seek any children with the same given name born on the right day in the right area, but to do so, sadly, you would need to trawl through a great many certificates- and pay to do so. In 1946/7 all births should have been registered. it is possible that the one to which you refer slipped through the net, especially just after the war, but I would keep searching- try variant spellings.

Peter Day 20/01/2004 21:01:13

Hi Anthony My grandfather William Day ,like the rest of the family come from south east London. In the 1901 census he was residing in Bromley but gave his birth place as Birkenhead Cheshire. I found him as being born in Eastham area "Pool Works" How can I find out where or what Pool works was? also was it unusual to travel from the south to the north to work as his father must have done in the mid 1800's Many thanks Peter Day

Eastham, Cheshire, was an important shipping area on the Mersey. I would try for a local museum or local studies library, or you could look at a contemporary directory- there are many at the Society of Genealogists. I would think it was either (a) a ship-building 'pool', but I think there was also a place called Poole in Cheshire. It was more normal for people to migrate into rather than out of London in those times, but bear in mind that London was still a major port, as was Liverpool, which was linked t nearby Eastham, so there was presumably some form of maritime connection here.

Jane Livingstone 20/01/2004 21:01:35

Hi Anthony, I am looking for information on my g g grand parents, William Livingstone & Elizabeth Campbell. there are no b.d.or m records for them. the only record of them I have found is in the 1855 census for Kilmun & Dunoon when they were living in a tent on the sea shore. I have deduced from their childrens marriage certificates that Willliam died between 1855-1857 and Elizabeth between 1857-1870. all their children were born in the Dunoon area. and on the 1855 census it states that some of them went to school. was school compulsary then? where do I go from here to try and find out more about William & Elizabeth and their parents?. Many Thanks, Jane

As your ancestors were living in a tent on the shore I wuld be jolly glad you have found them at all. There was no 1855 census- I think you must mean 1851 census (it was General Registration that started in 1855). You say there are no birth, marriage or death records for them, and as tent-dwellers they may have slipped through the registrar's net, but do bear in mind that there are still many types of record which might mention them. i do not believe school compulsary then, but there were many schools in existence open for the poor to attend, and many of them handed out excellent education. The local archives may well have them, or know where they are, and these could give you pointers to finding out more. There may also be records of memorial inscriptions, mort cloth dues, the 1861 census... many, many places where you may find more details.

CelticShiv * 20/01/2004 21:02:06

My Great grandmother gave birth to my Grandfather and his twin in 1924. On both birth certificates my Great Grandmother has taken the fathers name and one of the twins is also clearly named after the father. So I am presuming they were married. I have searched the indexes and cannot find a ref to a marriage anywhere. The father was a stage manager and a member of the theatrical society. I have contacted the theatre museum, but nothing could be found. I have easily managed to trace my grandfather's mother, by luck of an Electoral Register lookup. But my grandfather's father is proving difficult. Any tips?

If your great grandmother is down as 'Anne Bloggs formerly Smith' then it means she was married to Mr Bloggs. Many theatrical types assumed stage names, which makes tracing them very difficult, but lets assume that was not the case here. Try looking further back for the marriage- a twenty year search would not be unreasonable at that period. Also, as theatre peple, they would have been used to touring about, so why not look in Scotland, Ireland, the Channel Islands- or even further afield in India?

Elizabeth Rees 20/01/2004 21:02:44

Hi Anthony, I'd like some advice on tracing ancestors who are proving elusive. I can find no birth, or death records despite it being in the period 1880-1900. Were all births & deaths registered? The family is also not any census for that period. Is there anywhere else I can look, or is it just a case of trawling through all the parish records for the area? I know they definitely lived in Cardiff & Newport, so that is a lot of records to search! Many thanks, Liz

Quite a few peple this evening have said that no birth, death or marriage records can be found. I think the problem is often that people do not look over a wide enough period, or a wide enough geographical area, or consider spelling variants. That is particularly the case with the indexed censuses. If you type in Smith for a 1901 census search and it was recorded, on that occasion as Smyth, it won't come up. In the period with which you are concerned most events were recorded. I think you simply need to keep searching.

CelticShiv * 20/01/2004 21:02:53

Apparently my grandfather was put into a home (no idea which home) when he was aged 2, something to do with a court order. As for his twin, we do not know, and my family are quite positive my grandfather never knew he was a twin.This was something I discovered when searching for the reference to my grandfathers birth. As he passed away in 1977, I cannot ask him for any more information. I really need some help on how to locate the mystery father.

My earlier answer really applies to this and also to the foregoing question- you need to start looking over a wider area and then the mystery may resolve itself. Concerning the twin, he may, sadly, have died (as many did). You could seek a death record- and this might, incidentally, provide a further clue on the parents' whereabouts and identities.

Jennifer Lusty 20/01/2004 21:03:19

Hello Anthony, Can you suggest how I can try to find my Great Grandfather's birth details. His name was Alexander McIntosh and was born in about 1836, possibly in Scotland (Nairn I think). He was married on 19th April 1868 to Elizabeth Colston at St. John the Baptist Church in Shoreditch, London and died on 31st January 1874 in Whitechapel. I have both his Marriage Certificate and Death Certificate, but cannot find any record of his birth. I have had someone look for this in London without any success which makes me think he must have been born in Scotland and then moved to London as I know the family came from Nairn, Scotland originally. His occupation was a Baker and I believe worked with his wife's family in London. They had one son John Grant (my Grandfather) in 1873 who attended the Royal Caledonian School, which was set up for children of (mainly) Scottish Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in 1815 who had been killed in the Napoleonic Wars in St. John's Wood, then moved to Copenhagen Fields in Islington and finally moved to Bushey, Hertfordshire in 1903. I don't know whether he was in the forces prior to getting married. His father's name was also Alexander and he was a Sadler, but I don't know his mother's name. There are, I believe, lots of Alexander McIntosh's in Scotland! Please can you advise me where I can go from here. I have no living relatives to ask and really want to find this side of the family. Hope you can help me. Thanks, Jennifer.

Alexander McIntosh the sadler is about as Scottish as you can get. The way to find out whwre Alexander junior was born is to seek him in census returns- try the 1871 census for the address where he died, for starters ( could look for you if you want). You can seek possible baptism/birth records from the Old Parochial Registers on, but there will be an awful lot, hence needing to be absolutely clear about the birthplace from the census first.