Ask An Expert

Welcome to our web chat

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.

Search Ask an Expert


Questions already answered

Page 2 + 1 of 134

  1. «
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8
  10. 9
  11. 10
  12. »
Name Date
Patricia Featherstone 21/01/2014 21:34:03

Hi Anthony, I have come to a brick wall with my 4 x great grandparents Edward and Nancy Bowerman. Their first son, William, was baptised in July 1806 at Cliffe-at-Hoo. Their four younger children were baptised at High Halstow. In the 1841 census they both state they were not born in Kent. Edward died in 1844 aged 64 (b.1780) and buried at High Halstow. In the 1851 cencus Nancy gives her place of birth as Gosport Hants. Nancy died in 1859 age 70 (b.1789) and buried at High Halstow. I have been unable to find a marriage for them in the Kent area or Gosport as I do not know Nancy's maiden name. I have been unable to find an Edward Bowerman born in 1780 anywhere. Where do I go from here please? regards Pat

Try for settlement certificates for Cliffe and High Halstow just in case Edward handed one in when he arrived. High Halstow is next to Cliffe and both are near Rochester and the naval base at Chatham near where the Medway opens into the Thames Estuary, so these are people who probably came by water from Gosport, which is next to Portsmouth in Hampshire and was our main naval base - Edward may very, very well have been a naval man, a sailor perhaps or a dockyard employee: do the original entries for the children's baptisms and the censuses and death record will tell you Edward's occupation at the time, at least. This scarcely helps you because, if he was indeed a seafarer, he may have come from absolutely anywhere. You should look for him down in Portsmouth and Southampton. If really stuck it's a good idea to seek lost ancestors in the areas where their surname is commonest. FamilySearch shows a lot in Devonshire - another maritime shire - but also some earlier pockets in Kent.

Colin Cross 21/01/2014 21:13:15

Hi Anthony I am looking at John Mainhood born 1809 Adderbury near Banbury. I saw a entry on Ancestry but it gave no details I want to know if the John Mainhood they have match mine. John Mainhood age 38 source bibliography Gibson J S W sponsored emigration of paupers from Banbury union 1834-1860 in the the Oxfordshire family historian oxford family historical society Southmoor Oxford vol 2.7 Spring 1982 pp 211-215 page 213 Do you know I can the information do you think all the details are in the book. regards Colin Cross

t's an interesting question as you've learned about this through a modern website, yet the record, the archive, the publishers and the author, not to say your ancestor himself, all pre-date the Internet by some margin. The original record relating to this would almost certainly be in the Oxfordshire Record Office, or you could use the transcribed version in Jeremy Gibson's book - they'll have a copy, or you could ask the publishers, the Oxfordshire Family History Society ( I

Thomas Seeley 21/01/2014 21:12:43

My GGG grandfather James Betts b.1799 served in the Army in the 84th Regiment of Foot. He fought in the Napoleonic War including the Battle of Nive in 1814. Afterwards, back in Ireland, whilst still in the Army, he had a daughter. I can find no record of this or any marriage, his wife being named Ann. Where now?

You have an interesting set of ancestors, Mr Seeley! Well, there are separate General Registration records of army marriages and army births, indexed here on this site: they include many but not all of the events we want: the rest were recorded wherever they took place, by the church or civil authority concerned, so for the Irish birth you may have to seek a baptism there in Ireland, and of course the problem with the marriage is that it may have been elsewhere - France, or where ever else he may have happened to have been stationed, so it's as difficult as it sounds. I should start with baptism records in wherever it was in Ireland that he was stationed.

Samantha Elsey 21/01/2014 21:05:24

Hi Anthony, I wonder if you can help me please. I am trying to trace my grandfather's brother whom I have wondered what happened to him since I was 9 - nearly 39 nears ago! His birth name was Benjamin Albert Elsey - born in 1903 Hendon (Willesden). He changed his name by deedpoll to Burns - could be Albert Benjamin Burns. How do I find out details when someone has changed their name by deedpoll. Maybe the reason why I haven't found him is that he may of gone overseas? There is a passenger ship that went to Australia in 1950 - Service personnel 3188508 I am not sure if this is the correct person? Any help you can submit would greatly be appreciated. thank you

If the change of name was really by deed poll then it will be in a newspaper, probably the local one covering Hendon. Some newspapers are indexed on this site, and failing that the British Library's Newspaper Library and its catalogue would be a good port of call. The potential problems are (a) you don't know when it would have been published, so it will be hard to search and (b) many people changed their names informally without bothering with the formalities of deeds poll (as they are termed correctly in the plural). If he went to Australia then you can try tracing him there as you might here, in directories, newspaper obituaries and the records of marriage and death (for him) or births (for any possible children), using the archives there.

Margaret Taylor 21/01/2014 21:04:23

I have recently discovered that my 5 x great grandfather signed up for the Napoleonic Wars. He signed up in Plymouth on the 9th April 1810. I have seen a transcript of his attestation but would like to view the original so that I can confirm that this is definitely him. His name is the right one, and with a name like Birchenough I don't think there were too many of them and also his home town of Sandbach is on the transcript. Could you possible advise where I might see the original record. Thanks.

All the original army records are at The National Archives at Kew, filed under the letters 'WO' (War Office). The catalogue and information leaflets (which you can see online) will also indicate other records you can examine which may help, such as the muster rolls.

Thomas Seeley 21/01/2014 21:04:19

My GGG grandfather William Richards b.1803 gives his place of birth in all the census records as Stratford-upon-Avon, very precise! However, I can find absolutely no record of his birth in that town, nor any record of his possible parents. With a name like that I can find lots of records in other towns in the area. Where now?

Even in those days you could be born somewhere but not baptised there: maybe he was baptised elsewhere, or not at all, or maybe the baptism was recorded in a nonconformist register which you have not checked or which has not survived. You could enquire at Warwickshire record office about what registers may be available. They might also have settlement certificates or removal orders covering his parents' appearance in or removal from the town. One idea - there have been theatres in Stratford on Avon since at least 1769, albeit on and off. Were his parents actors, or maybe, at the very least, lovers of Shakespeare?

John Crowder 23/12/2013 21:01:01

In tracing my paternal line I seemed to have reached a brick wall in terms of my paternal grandmother's ancestry. My Paternal grandmother's maiden name was Lily Adelaide COX. Her parents were Arthur William Franklin COX and Clarissa COX nee JOHNSON who married in 1866. In the 1891 census Arthur COX (aged 26) a railway signalman, Clarissa and Lily A COX, together with Arthur's sister Louisa COX (aged 12) were living in Biggleswade although Arthur's place of birth was given as Newark, Nottinghamshire (not Ely). I can find no related birth in Newark. The 1881 census for Islington has William COX (aged 39) a Railway Shunter born West Indies living with his wife Mary A COX (aged 40) born Ilford Essex; Arthur W J COX (aged 14) born Ely and his siblings George (Aged 11), Robert (aged 6) and Louisa J (aged 1) which seems to tie in with the 1881 census. The 1871 census for Southwark has a Thomas R CHANDLER aged 65) living with his Wife Matilda CHANDLER (aged 48) born St Kitts together with her grandson William COX (aged 4) born in Ely. Thomas CHANDLER married a Matilda A C COX in Westminster in the qtr ending Dec 1866. I am having problems to identify a specific death but presume that William died sometime between 1861 and 1866. From his birth certificate I find that Arthur William Franklin COX was born in ELY on 29 Sept 1866 to William John Franklin COX (a Railway Porter) and Mary Ann COX nee SANGSTER who were married in ELY on 17 Sept 1866 (presumably Mary Ann was heavily pregnant with Arthur at the time). At the time of there marriage William's father was given as William COX (publican). The 1851 census for Portsea refers to a William COX (aged 35) born Avening Glos. c.1816, a Railway Police Officer living with his wife Matilda COX (aged 27) born St Kitts, son William COX (aged 9) born St Kitts and daughter Mary COX (aged 3) born St Kitts. This suggests that William and Matilda were married in St Kitts where their two children were born. From all account the records available in St Kitts are very limited. How can I proceed to establish when and why William went out to St Kitts (the dates suggest that he may returned to the UK in the early 1800's after the abolition of the slave trade. I would also appreciate advice as to how I might research Matilda's ancestry.

A major reason why people went abroad at all was if they were serving in the army or the navy, so one suggestion here would be to see if this person appears in the army or navy records at The National Archives. The army births.baptisms and army marriages may come in useful for pinning down events concerned with this family as well, as they have the virtue of covering events all over the world which concerned British soldiers. The Mormons have microfilmed a lot of Caribbean records as well, and you can see what they have available using the catalogue section of the website.

Susan Thrower 19/11/2013 21:57:29

Many thanks Anthony. I have traced both lines fairly extensively and found the original name of Errington as the surname of Thomas Errington Scott's maternal grandmother. I have not as yet been able to make a connection however I am convinced that there is one somewhere as my husband bears a stunning resemblance to a photo of a third brother Rev Charles Perry Scott bishop of Shanghai. Thomas Errington Scott's family originated in NE but our Scott seem to have been located in Cheshire as farmers. I understand that often if there were several sons one went into the military one the clergy and another to manage estates. Could this be a likely explanation for the different locations.

You'll just have to carry on tracing both lines further back to see if they match up. But sometimes, two people with the same surname could become friends, and joke that they were related, and the 'joke could solidify quickly into 'fact', causing all sorts of problems for later generations of genealogists, so you never know. I've seen it happen!

Karen Evans 19/11/2013 21:50:12

Hello again Anthony. I have been asked to help a friend trace her step brother.She was actually adopted but she knows her mother was Ellen Edith Summers[formerly Taylor]and that she was married to a Maurice Eustace Herbert Summers.Apparently Ellen was born in 1910 and when she was 38 she had a son that may have been about 8 years old.Where do i go to find out any more info especially because the info i need is after the 1911 census.Oh the summers family lived in Warstock,Birmingham.Thanks Karen.

You can use the General Registration marriage records on this site to seek Ellen and Maurice's marriage record (and order the certificate on www., and then you can look for births of children to their marriage. Once you know any children's names, you can work forward and seek their marriages, and births of their children, and thus work forwards to the present.

Joan Thurston 19/11/2013 21:46:49

Hi Anthony, found the answer, thank you. Yes, My ancestor was a lookalike for Edward V11, it is thought that he may have been asked by the King to stand in for him if the King wanted to be with Lily Langtry. He wasn't an employee, he ran coffee houses in London at the time.Mr Lipton approached him to amalgamate their businesses, but my ancestor didn't want to.

How fascinating! It's a great story and it should be fun researching it in detail, starting with all published biographies of the king.

Patricia Connolly 19/11/2013 21:46:33

i have been trying for some time now to trace my mother;sfamily from ireland her maiden name was lynch,and she married patrick slaven they both came from monaghan,and arrived in glasgow my mother was born in glasgow in1899,i would like some advice on how to trace my maternal grandparents

Look for the deaths of any of the family who reached Scotland, as the death records will name the deceased's parents. Then, you need to to use the Co. Monaghan records (in Belfast) to start trying to pin the family down there. Ideally, a Scottish census will name someone who was born there after Irish General Registration started in 1864, so you seek their birth and thus learn their specific birth place.

Marie Hurst 19/11/2013 21:42:02

thank you anthony x

My pleasure!

Phyllis Newman 19/11/2013 21:39:31

Hi Anthony Have you any idea where Somersdean, Sussex might be please. Phyll

I have not heard of it, but 'dean' or 'den' is a typical local term for a valley: try looking at a nineteenth century directory for Sussex for such a place (perhaps under a different spelling), as it may be te name of a farm or small hamlet.

Joan Thurston 19/11/2013 21:33:11

What happened to my question i submitted at about 9.04pm tonight? It has disappeared and I can't find an answer anywhere? Where am I supposed to look for the answer?

I've answered it - please see below, and in fact here it is again... That's the second rather surprising question of the evening. Does the story perhaps indicate that Richard looked like Edward, and was perhaps even mistaken for him? Presumably, Edward didn't employ someone to impersonate him - or did he? You could try looking at biographies of Edward to see if this was mentioned. Otherwise, it's hard to imagine what such a stand-in would actually do. For the record, the records of employees of the Royal Household are on the Find My Past website. A very curious question!

David Williams 19/11/2013 21:27:21

Anthony, sorry if I didn't make it clear. My Grandmother, Theresa/Tessa was born to Fanny Reeves of Fulham but given into the charge of Mr & Mrs Heaver from Dover. Unless Theresa was Mr Heaver's illegitimate child I don't know why or how they came to be responsible for her. Mr Heaver was not legally my Great Grand Father - Just the person who, with his wife, brought up my Grandmother. I was hoping the declaration might throw some light on it.

Yes, so that is what I thought.

Karen Evans 19/11/2013 21:25:12

Hello Anthony.Can you tell me how to find the address of Andrew and Ann Anderson who lived in Tewkesbury in the 1830/1840s.The 1841 census isn't very clear.He was born around 1811 but a previous contact says he was born in 1804.In the 1850's he moved to Sedgley in the midlands.I am also trying to confirm that ann's maiden name was Caishe.

Before the Post Office was established, and before most people could read or write, most people didn't have addresses as we understand them now. Andrew Anderson would simply have lived at 'Andrew Anderson's house in whatever part of Tewkesbury it was. Ages in the 1841 census were rounded down to the nearest five years, so the best thing is to seek him in the 1851 census, which will be more specific. It should also say where he was born, so you can then seek his baptism, and thus his parents' marriage to confirm his mother''s maiden name.

Sophia Para 19/11/2013 21:22:06

I have a brick wall, My great great grandfather Charles Wilson.was born 1836 New York, and father James a farmer. That is all the information on his marriage cert to a Jane Bagnall in Liverpool. His address is the address of the seaman's home. I have searched for years to no avail, also his son Charles Wilson jun. also a seaman died between 1904-1907. I have checked in the archives in Liverpool and London and still no luck.

The next step presumably would be to look for Charles's birth in New York, and he should appear in the 1840 census there. Have a look on if you have not done so already.

Marion Swainston 19/11/2013 21:19:50

Many thanks will try registration index

Good luck! It's here on this site under 'Search Records'.

Neville Janes 19/11/2013 21:18:06

My great aunt Mabel Elizabeth JANES was born in Cheltenham 1895/6. Her first child Phoebe N M Williams was (according to her Marriage Certificate) born in 1917 and in GWENT. Again, her Father was Benjamin Williams. I have reached a dead end in looking for a Marriage Cert for Mabel to Benjamin Williams, and also a Birth Cert for Phoebe. However, I did find a Marriage Cert for Mabel to Jesse James Hyett in 1919 using name of Mabel Elizabeth Williams. This leads me to suspect that Benjamin Williams may have died in the Great War. though I cannot find any records to back this. Phoebe kept the name of Williams up to the time of her marriage, to Sidney Ballinger in 1945. Can you offer advice as to where to go for the missing links

Why not obtain the 1919 marriage record and see if it is your Mabel? Then you could look for Phoebe's birth as Hyett, or maybe it will appear under Mabel's maiden name of Janes. In any case involving a Janes family it may be sensible to look under James, to see if entries for one were misread and mis-indexed under the other. I expect many were and maybe the documents you want were too.

Alan Pickering 19/11/2013 21:15:49

Hi Anthony, I am trying to find the index for the death certificate of my GG / Grandfather William Allen b 1817 in Sibsey Lincolnshire, on the 1861 census he was living in Nottingham age 43, but on the 1871 census his wife, my GG/Grandmother Elizabeth is shown as a widow now living in Chorlton on Medlock, I know that death ages were not shown on the indexes until 1866 and he does not match any of those ages, also no deaths are shown in either Nottingham or Chorlton on Medlock before 1866 , is there anyway that I can trace his whereabouts when he died ? Thanking you. Alan Pickering.

If you cannot easily pick William's death out of the General Registration records, and can't face buying lots of potentially wrong certificates, you can try seeking a burial for him, or a reference to him in the will indexes, or even a local newspaper announcement - but that process could be as long and complex as obtaining death certificates. With a name like 'William Allen' you can't really expect things to be all that easy, I'm afraid.