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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
Joan Thurston 19/11/2013 21:04:49

Hi Anthony. My G Grandfather, Richard John Thomas( b1856) is said to have been a stand in at official events for Edward V11 , probably when he was a prince rather than King. Richard was middle class,and owned businesses in London, and it is known that the prince mixed with middle class people and traders, how can I find out if this is true?

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 21:04:45

My paternal grandmother Theresa was illegitimate and I have her birth certificate that says she was "given into the charge of" the Heaver family as per declaration dated 25 June 1895. Her birth mother was Fanny Reeves and the birth was registered in Fulham in May 1895. I'm interested to see if she was my great grand-father's illegitimate daughter or otherwise how/why this match was made. My GG-father lived in Dover, although he did work on the railways… How could I find out more, and especially where I could trace a copy of this declaration?

I don't quite follow the question, as your grandmother must obviously have been the daughter of your great grandfather (who you don't name) but I'm guessing that you mean that you thought that the Mr Heaver who 'took charge' of Teresa was in fact her father. Is that it? It's a reasonable assumption, though there could be other reasons. I'm not sure I've ever seen a declaration of that sort noted on an illegitimate child's birth record - and I see an awful lot of them! It would be an interesting thing to investigate: perhaps it would lead back to an order made in the local civil court, but without investigating further I wouldn't like to say.

Marion Swainston 19/11/2013 21:03:20

I have found my Great Grandparents on the 1911 census with 4 children born alive but only 3 living on the census.Any ideas how I can find out what happened to the child?Many thanks Marion

The information about how many children each couple had in 1911 is a very useful feature of the 1911 census - and of course it prompts questions such as this! In theory, the other child should have been enumerated wherever it was - so assuming it was in England and Wales, you should find it. (and when you find it, it should of course be without its parents). As to finding the child's name, so you can look for it in 1901, if it was that old, or look for likely births between 1901 and 1911 in the General Registration indexes.

pauline ann Roberts 19/11/2013 21:02:24

how do I find the parents of Albert Dennis Roberts born 1884 I know their names were David and Anne and even further back .

The first step here if you have not done so already would be to obtain Albert's birth record. After that you can seek his parents'' marriage, and then their births. You can judge something of when and where these events took place using the census returns. The indexes to both are on this website.

Donna Lilly 15/10/2013 22:00:12

Thank you again Anthony for your help :-) it has been very useful

Glad to hear it!

Donna Lilly 15/10/2013 21:57:47

Thank you Anthony for your information on Stanley Gavin Smith. You have been very helpful :-)

You are welcome!

Donna Lilly 15/10/2013 21:52:36

Hello Anthony, How can i find out about Thomas Ogle Valentine Smith's boxing career when he was in the R.A.F? Many thanks

It won't be recorded officially, presumably, but it may be featured in RAF magazines/newsletters so I suggest asking the archivists of the RAF Museum -

Donna Lilly 15/10/2013 21:47:01

I would like to find out his death and where Stanley Gavin Neville is buried please. Thank you Anthony

Many thanks. Under 'search records' you can look under 'death'. As a tip, when you type in the fist name you can also type an initial (i.e., Stanley G). You can then order the right certificate and once you know where he died you can enquire locally, of the churchyards and public cemeteries and crematoria, for his burial.

Donna Lilly 15/10/2013 21:40:24

Yes you have helped me, thank you :-) Im trying to find information on my grandfather Stanley Gavin Neville born in 1930.

I'm glad to hear I have helped. You follow with a statement "I'm trying to find information on my grandfather Stanley Gavin Neville born in 1930". Again, this does not help me because it is a statement and not a specific question. What information are you seeking, please? His birth? His marriage? His death? His hat-size? Please let me know.........

Donna Lilly 15/10/2013 21:24:54

Thank you Anthony :-) we know that his mother, Ruth Bell was a conservative M.P or councillor but tgats all we know and we know nothing at all about his father. Thomas was in the R.A.F and he was also a professional boxer. He was know as Tiger-Smith :-) Also when Thomas was 9yrs old, he sang solo at Durham Cathedral

OK, so the birth record should name his father, and you can take it from there. Does that help? The more specific the question the better I can make my answer relevant and helpful........

Paul Axon 15/10/2013 21:14:09

Hi Anthony Hope you can help!! Trying to find my greatgrandfather on my fathers side.The information I have at present is. Marriage 3.8.1885 James Aston shows age 19 (1866) Father James Aston Marine Steel Plater/Dealer Death 23.8.1920 Stoke on Trent age 55 James Axon (1865) Census 1881 James Hackson age 17 (1864) Born Manchester staying with future wifes relatives in Stoke on Trent. Census 1891 James Axton age 25 (1866) Born Manchester Census 1901 James Axon age 36 (1865) Born Manchester Census 1911 James Axon age 46 (1865) Born Manchester. which shows my grandad Josiah Axon Help if you can to point me in the direction of finding details about his birth in Manchester his mother etc. at present at a dead end Paul Axon

I am pleased to see you have picked up various variant spellings of the surname. Have you checked under each spelling (and any others you can think of) when looking for James's birth in Manchester? I expect so, but you can always try more variants, however bizarre they seem. Also, you could try the 1871 and 1861 censuses for Manchester for families with this surname, trying especially to pick up the father (and if he was a dealer - but was he? - he may appear in Manchester directories under that heading and that could lead you to an address for a census search. You could look for the father's death, if stuck, and try working back from that. Another idea - maybe his baptism will show up on Good luck!

Michael Holmes 15/10/2013 21:10:10

I have a couple of queries, my Holmes family I have traced back to 1650,s. They reside in Spondon in Derbyshire. There are several people with the Holmes name who could be related but I can not confirm. I cannot get info for period before 1650, and how can I check if the Holmes family were living elsewhere. Thanks Mick Holmes

1650 is a difficult decade because of the Commonwealth Gap - the disruption first of the Civil War 1642-8 and then the Cromwellian Interregnum. Many registers have gaps during this period, so first you should check any sources you can (earlier registers, the Protestation Returns or signatories to the Solemn League and Covenant, earlier wills for the county and so on, to see if in fact there were Holmeses there at an earlier date. However, if they really came there at that period (and there was a lot of movement of course for the same reasons) then you could look for earlier Holmes families elsewhere who used, say, similar first names, or followed similar occupations and try to make a link - wills are always a good means of doing that, if the family left any. The best known Holmes family at the time were the four generations of Randle Holmeses in Chester - they were genealogists and heraldists. I wrote their lives up for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Donna Lilly 15/10/2013 21:09:18

Hello Anthony I have been trying to find out some information on my husbands father Thomas Ogle Valentine Smith born on 14th February 1913. Could you help me please? Many thanks :-)

I'd be delighted to help - what is exactly that you are trying to find out? If you are seeking his birth record then you can look here, under 'search records', and the reference to his birth should show up in the March (or, less likely) the June quarter of 1913. In fact I've checked and it appears i the Sedgefield registration district, March quarter of 1913, reference 10A 345, mother's maiden name Bell. It was very considerate of them to give him such distinctive middle names! The you can use the reference to order his birth record at

Vera Thompson 10/09/2013 21:38:40

thanks Anthony, looked at maiden name for victor, no luck, but thanks anyway

That is a shame. Of course this does raise the question of how you know that his birthday was 1 July 1912. Have you tried looking a few years either side of 1912? Have you tried for him in the army births? Many 'missing' births can be found there, for so many men were in the army, building and defending the Empire, at the time...

Vera Thompson 10/09/2013 21:17:39

ive been looking for my fathers birth cert. for a long time, i know his parents weren,t married im not sure if his dad was his dad and or my dad took his name, ive found out a lot about my g/dad!! any ideas on how to find my dad, his name was victor thompson born 1st. july 1912, his father!!! was enoch griffiths thompson

So, Victor Thompson was born in 1912. If his parents were not married then the birth would probably have been registered under his mother's maiden name. If the birth was out of wedlock the original birth certificate is unlikely to name a father. One very effective way of establishing Victor's paternity would be through DNA testing. You could trace Enoch's birth and then seek his siblings and trace down from them to find living relatives. A comparative autosomal DNA test (called a 'Family Finder test by between such a living relative and you would either indicate a close match, or no match at all, and this would tell you whether Enoch was really your grandfather or not.

Moyra Reed 10/09/2013 21:02:39

Anthony I am trying to trace my birthmother Violet may Reed.I was adopted in after iwas born in Croydon in 1940

You can try to trace Violet through the records of births, marriages and- if applicable - deaths, all indexed on this site, hoping to find the birth of a Violet May Reed in or near Croydon between, say, 1927 and 1890 (which covers the .broadest period in which she is likely to have been born. Sometimes you have to study several or even many possibilities before working out which is the right one.

Jacqueline Dickson 20/08/2013 22:02:09

Hi again Anthony. My mother had a baby in 1946 and unfortunately she was born dead not quite full term and because my father was away in the army her father took the baby away but my mum never found out where he took her. My mum still thinks about this but I dont know how I can help her. Any ideas.

I am sorry that I have only just seen this! There should of course be a death certificate and the burial/cremation ought to be recorded, presumably in a graveyard/crematorium/cemetery near to where the death took place. Each will have its own records. Some of these are now on the website

Dorothy Lawson 20/08/2013 21:37:07

Hello Anthony, I have been trying to trace the 1st child of Herbert Frank and Emma Ann Lucas (Annie Perring.) mentioned in the 1911 census aged 1 in Harlow but not at the address at time of census, so no clue as to name or sex. Tried to find Lucas children born after they married in 1909 and found most of them living with their parents in 1911 census, except a Harry Lucas aged 1 10 months living with Emma East and described as a ' nurse child ' in relation to Emma East a widow 52 living with her mother also widow 86 and a female visitor unrelated. I cannot find a birth record for this child who I believe may be the child of Herbert and Annie Lucas. A later child of Emma Ann Perring, Cecil Macdonald Lucas was brought up by my great grandmother in Newcastle also in her fifties seems similar circumstances! It's a mystery to us why she did not bring up these children and I'm still no closer to finding her whereabouts after 1913 grateful for any more advice. Thanks Also was this a way for women to make a living by having a lodger and taking in a child to look after ?

This all sounds perfectly plausible and farming children to be nursed was not at all unusual - as you say it was a good living for the nurse and I believe the incentive for the family was to let the mother focus on producing more offspring, which was the main objective. If the 1911 census entry specifies that the absent child was one year old then it is unusual: the number of children born to the couple was stated, i.e., in this case, one, but if the child also happened to be aged one then that is pure coincidence. You can tell easily if this Harry (i.e., Henry or Harold) you have found is the right person, as the census will say where he was born. You can then obtain his birth record and see if his parents were indeed Herbert Frank and Emma Ann.

val Pither 20/08/2013 21:32:42

when I select family tree, my computer is not responding, I had no problem on another computer, can you help. regards Val

No, sorry, I am afraid I have no knowledge of such technical matters.

Robert Cook 20/08/2013 21:24:50

Hello Anthony, For years we have been trying to trace my wife's gt.grandfather George Major. Records in the family bible state that he was born in Wicklow in 1819.We travelled to Wicklow a few years ago and visited the Wicklow Family History Centre and paid for a search.Unfortunately they informed us that all records had been destroyed previously in a fire.They suggested that he may have changed his name due to religious reasons from maybe Maher or Majer.That is as far as we have got .Do you have any other suggestions ? Thank you

Many Church of Ireland registers were destroyed i the bombing of the Four Courts in Dublin in 1922, and many Catholic registers don;t survive for that far back, for a number of reasons, so it is quite possible that George Major's baptism has been lost. However, it would be worth trying harder. Use Griffith's Valuation (on line at to see where in Co. Wicklow Majors were living and then scrutinise any church registers for those places which do survive. Even if the baptisms do not go back earlier enough you may pick up later burials for, say, George's parents. My book on Irish Family History identifies the sources.