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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
Helen Bedford 20/08/2013 21:17:15

Hi Anthony, How do I find out about a name change. Thomas Elliott was born illegitimate in 1860. In the 1871 census he is Thomas Bedford. His mother married Edmund Bedford in 1863 and it seems he was adopted maybe by Edmund or it may have been his son anyway.

You won't find a formal change of name unless this was a very Upper Middle Class or aristocratic family (jn which case there would be a deed poll in The Times). His mother and step-father would have just started calling him Bedford once they were married and he may have used either name later in life without much problem - officialdom was not quite as intrusive as it is now. As you say, Thomas Bedford may have been the father anyway - DNA testing could help here if you can compare a male-lie descendant of T.E. and one of E.B. - if they match then E.B. will likely have been T.E.'s father.

Robin Lewis 20/08/2013 21:12:01

Hi Anthony, I found out a few weeks ago that my father was killed in an ambulance accident in the mid sixties in Australia. I don't have an exact year. Do you have any thoughts about how I might go about finding his death certificate and perhaps a newspaper account of what happened? I only know his name and age. Thank you Robin

That is tricky because each Australian state has its own General Registration system and some states are now quite picky about what recent information (the 1960s is recent) they will release. Use to find the relevant contact addresses for the General/Civil Registration systems of each state. Newspaper obituaries are a good alternative as some Australian newspapers are now indexed, on-line, I believe (my Australian searcher makes good use of them). Another idea would be to look in the newspaper local to where he came from in England and where his parents lived - an unusual event like this may have been reported back home too.

Stuart Collie 20/08/2013 21:10:54

Hello Anthony, I am trying to locate admissions records to the Culcheth Hall, Culcheth Lane, Newton Heath (Manchester) for Mary Donegan between 1908 and 1911. This was an institution for the elderly run by the Little Sisters for the Poor (Roman Catholic) Any ideas where these can be located. Also looking for her burial place. She died 19 December 1911, in Culcheth Hall. Thanks Stuart

The records of admissions would have been kept by the nuns and if the convent is not there any more then ask the archivist of the order. This is their website: They would also know where people from the convent were buried (but you can use a map and see where the nearest Catholic church is, and ask there.

Jacqueline Dickson 20/08/2013 21:06:06

Hi Anthony, In the 1911 census my grandma and grandad who had been married for only a year are living in Islington, London and have a Lily Swanson living with them and it says she is an adopted daughter. My father was born in 1919 and is still alive today but he knows nothing about her. I would like to find out where she came from and where did she go.

There was no formal process of adoption then, though Dr Barnardo keep records of the adoptions they organised from that period, arranged under the adopted name only, so in this case you might be able to use the records to find Lily. I don't know what your grandparents were called but if they were not Swansons then Lily was still using her original name so you may be able to find her birth record and see what happened to her parents. As to her fate - you should look in the deaths and marriages for her as Lily or Lilly, under either her original surname or the surname of your grandparents, and maybe she will appear. Maybe your grandparents left wills and mentioned her. .

Phyllis Newman 20/08/2013 21:04:37

Hi Anthony I am having great trouble finding a birth & certificate for a Frederick William Peters, born anywhere between 1860 & 1863. The 1861 & 71 census show his birth in Edburton, Findon. 1891 & 1901 say Brighton and 1911 reverts back to Findon. Have bought 2 wrong certs so far. Also on 1911 census it says married to Elizabeth for 20 years but he didn't marry her until 1920. Any ideas please as to where I can go next. Many thanks Phyll

Interesting - that is not the first couple I have come across who claimed to be married but only much later tied the knot. Edburton is scarcely a place at all - it is near Fulking to the north of Brighton, and Findon is further along the coast behind Worthing, so you are definitely getting mixed messages here. It would be interesting to know where he was in those years - in Sussex where people knew where little places like that were, or elsewhere, where he said 'Brighton' because that was the biggest place nearby of which people had heard. I suggest you look for Peters families in the 1871 and 1861 censuses in each of these three places, and it should become apparent quickly where they were and weren't living. My money would be on Edburton or Findon.

Patricia Kennedy 16/07/2013 21:55:35

Hello Anthony, have you ant Ideas on how I can find my Grandmothers birth Cert, her name is Maryann Maguire born 1880 in Drogheda Ireland, her father was John Maguire. I don't know her mothers name.

This will be in Irish General Registration: Registrar General of Ireland, administrative and corresponding headquarters: Convent Road, Roscommon, 90 6632900

gemma cheeseman 16/07/2013 21:45:11

hi i have found someone with the name and same birth year on here what do i do

That is exciting! There should be a button next to their name which will enable you to send them a message.

Rosemary Hilton 16/07/2013 21:28:12

Hi Anthony I am trying to find the birth date of my ancestor Thomas Hilton. He was married in 1738 in Prestwich Lancashire,he was a bricklayer. His first child was baptised in 1739. By the time his second child was born he had become a soldier, both baptisms were in Prestwich.The last I have been able to find out is that he had his third child baptised in Leicester in 1743. I can't find Thomas' baptismal record. Could you tell me if perhaps not all baptisms were recorded in the early 1700's. Also as he was a soldier is there any way I could find out if he was in the regular army or could he have been a militia man.Also could I find out what conflicts he was involved in . Thanks Rose

Sadly records of common soldiers at this time are scant but you are right that he may have been a militiaman - the Lancashire and Leicestershire record offices may possibly have militia lists for this early period but I doubt it, and at best all you'd be likely to find would be confirmation that, yes, he was a militiaman. To find his baptism (not birth - at this period all one would ever expect would be to find a baptism) you should be looking in the Lancashire parish registers around Prestwich, and encouragingly Hilton is a Lancashire surname. Many Lancastrians 'disappear' because they were Catholics, but at this period you could not be a soldier if you were a Catholic, so that avoids that problem for you. Yes, many people's baptisms at this period have not survived, but many more have. If you have not tried for possibilities then this is a good place to start.

Dorothy Lawson 16/07/2013 21:24:32

Hello Anthony, trying to locate any records for Emma Ann Perring she married Herbert Frank Lucas in1909 in 1911 census they lived in Bury Rd Harlow Essex. he died in 1912 . The next record I have is when she had a child in 1913 in Newcastle upon Tyne, his birth certificate Cecil Macdonald Lucas, we believe she gave him her dead husbands surname to avoid stigma of illigitimacy. He was brought up by my great grandmother but we don't know what happened to her or where she went after that. Grateful for any advise. Regards Dorothy

Cecil had the surname Lucas because this was the surname of his mother at the time - that was the correct procedure. You can be 90% sure that the real father was a Mr Macdonald and you may be able to find him in the 1911 census for Newcastle, if you are lucky. For Emma's fate, you should seek possible marriages and /or deaths for her from 1913 onwards and given her predilection for Scotsmen maybe you should try the Scottish marriages as well, on

Michael Loye 16/07/2013 21:20:19

i have truble finding decendants as there from armagh irland and there in 1882 have traced john loye B1861 marriage to a sarah callison B1862 they were in lancashire now want to find his farther

I think you are after ancestors, as opposed to descendants and if your main aim is to see who the father of John Loye was, then I recommend buying John's marriage record, as this will tell you. John's birth will not be recorded but you may be able to find his baptism in Armagh - the records are in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

gemma cheeseman 16/07/2013 21:17:01

hello im trying to find my half sister Amanda Fitt born in 1976 if u can help me thanks gemma

More and more hard-to-find people are being found using social media, so have you tried sources such as Facebook? Presumably she is not on this site. One way of trying to find people is to learn more about their families and then seek relatives of theirs (who may not be so hard to track down) and ask them. There is an example of this - albeit with some of the inherent problems in that approach - earlier in this evening's exchanges.

Gratrix Bradbury 16/07/2013 21:13:39

sorry anthony dont know what happened there! Sadly my her husband did in march 1985 of pneumonia. Ellen went to her sisters in Pendleton, salford to have the baby. Shortly after he was given to ellens mother to raise. The family story was that Ellen had another offer of marriage but the new husband was not prepared to raise another mans child. However I am 80% sure I have found her on the 1901 census as a housekeeper in Chorlton Mancester (described as a widow, birthplace shropshire. I think she had to go back to work after the death of her husband and that meant she couldlnt bring up her son. After 1901 I have been unable to trace. I have checked and eliminated as many marriages and deaths from that date and checked emigration lists. and found out as much as i can about her siblings but have hit a bit of a wall. I would like you advice on where to go next as sending off for the remaining marriage certificates and possible death certificates could become very expensive and perhaps turn up nothing.

Well done for sending in the rest of this rather sad story. You are not missing anything obvious here, so I should press on ordering those certificates as if one turns out to be right then you've solved the mystery. You don't mention the 1911 census here but presumably you have tried that and she does not appear (unless she's there married to someone else, that is: if you have list of possible marriages you could look for her under those possible married names and see if any of the women concerned share your Ellen's age and place of birth. A hint- to make your life harder - Ellen can also be rendered Helen.

Barbara McClelland 16/07/2013 21:12:18

hello Anthony do you have any advice for researching Scottish ancestry? I am trying to trace a Roderick McClelland who appears on the 1851 census for Liverpool aged 24, born Scotland. In various records his surname is spelled in a variety of ways Mclennan, Mac lennon .......etc I know he was a mariner and his wedding cert gives father as Duncan McLennan, but there so many possible spelllings! thanks Barbara

I wrote a book called Tracing Your Scottish Family History, which will explain the sources but in fact the best source first off are the other English censuses, 1861, 1871 and so on, as one of these may give a more precise place of origin than just 'Scotland'. Also, our sister-site Find My Past has the seamen's tickets ('Merchant Navy Seamen 1835-1941') indexed and these should give a more precise place of birth. For Scotland there are the Old Parochial Registers (on and maybe you will find Duncan in his own right in the censuses and deaths. Well done for thinking of spelling variants - knowing that there may be some is half the battle won.

Ruth Beddall 16/07/2013 21:11:48

I am trying to search for my half sister, Jeanne Frances Beddall, born on the Isle of Wight in 1932. other than her birth I haven't been able to find any further mention of her in marriages or deaths. None of my cousins have any information about her other than a sighting at a RAF camp in the early 1950's. Through Genes Reunited I have been able to trace my half brother Reginald J Beddall via his wifes nephew. I understand that he is in poor health and left it that if his wife felt it was appropriate she would inform him of my search. This being the case I don't feel that I can intrude on the nephew again to ask for help. If you could give me any guidance in trying to trace Jeanne, I would be very greatful.

I see here that you are really asking me for my opinion rather than for advice on tracing a family tree so I shall give my opinion. If Reginald is your half-brother then if he is in poor health (with all that implies) then nobody who has the opportunity of putting you in touch should fail to do so. There is no point waiting until he has passed away and then regretting it. Besides this, presumably Reginald's wife knows where your half-sister is, so presumably she can put you in touch with her regardless of any other considerations. Genealogy is nothing if not the pursuit of the truth.

Gratrix Bradbury 16/07/2013 21:03:41

Hello Anthony, I am trying to locate my great grandmother Ellen Bradbury (nee Shingler) She was born in shropshire in 1872. In july 1894 she married John Bradbury at St thomas church in Newhey lancashire. She became pregnant with my grandfather in early 1895. Sadly in March

... as is this...

Gratrix Bradbury 16/07/2013 21:03:41

Hello Anthony, I am trying to locate my great grandmother Ellen Bradbury (nee Shingler) She was born in shropshire in 1872. In july 1894 she married John Bradbury at St thomas church in Newhey lancashire. She became pregnant with my grandfather in early 1895. Sadly in March

This is the same one as before...

Gratrix Bradbury 16/07/2013 21:03:41

Hello Anthony, I am trying to locate my great grandmother Ellen Bradbury (nee Shingler) She was born in shropshire in 1872. In july 1894 she married John Bradbury at St thomas church in Newhey lancashire. She became pregnant with my grandfather in early 1895. Sadly in March

Ah, I suspect there is more of the story to come - can you tell me what happened in March?

Andre Daltrey 18/06/2013 21:52:01

Hi Anthony, I am trying to locate a man named Ian Barsalay (or somethg sounding similar) he is supposed to be my father, I was born in London on 22nd Feb 1971, any help would be appreciated! Andre Daltrey.

That's an interesting one - presumably this is a name you have been told but not seen written down. I have tried it and a few variants in this site's main search facility but nothing has come up...... but if you keep trying different possible spellings maybe something will. Mind you, if you saw the name scribbled down and did not hear it at all, then perhaps this is Berkeley (or variants thereof). Ian used to be a Scottish name (it is a variant of John) but in the last century it has been used all over the British Isles. I see that you are a man. Have your Y chromosome DNA tested by and see which men you most closely match. The closer the match the closer you will be related to them in the male line, ie, though your father, so your matches' surnames may give you a clue as to his.

Estelle Ralphs 18/06/2013 21:42:54

Hello I'm trying to contact my birth mother I have found the marriage certificate but I'm new to this and don't seem to be getting anywhere

Armed with her marriage certificate the next logical steps would be to look for her in telephone directories (or indeed on internet sites such as this or Facebook) and, failing that, to see if she had any children (using the birth indexes on this site) and look for them in the same way. Also, maybe she is trying to find you - have you joined the Adoption Contact Register. Also see this very helpful page, on this website -

marian norton 18/06/2013 21:35:11

Hi Antony I am trying to find out my gt gt grandfather Thomas William Murphy born in India in 1829 to Jiohn Murphy and Elizabeth Smith , I would like to know when he left India. His father died while out there and his mother remarried a Charles Clissett in India , I have not a record of him returning from India until he joined the army as a bugle boy. Marian

Presumably you have Thomas's army papers and know that he enlisted in England and not in India, so in a way you have the main pieces of the jigsaw. Finding exactly when he returned (or, rather was sent back) would be is unlikely, without a stroke of luck.