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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
Mark Surgeon 16/04/2013 21:39:08

HI Anthony, I appreciate it is a commercial enterprise but I was hoping it may be like which does provide an initial 14day trial. I do already pay a subscription there so it's more a matter of having the opportunity to 'give it a run' first. Incidentally allows you to share a link which you can send to invitees email address and this allows you to have other family view your tree on the website without having have a paid subscription. This is why I use this with my immediate family so they can see what I've built but they don't need to have a paid account - but all they can do is look around in my tree. They obviously can't view other trees or search records. I think GenesR would do well to be able to be able to send a link to an invitees' email address to allow them to view a tree of a member and not need them to have an account.

Bully for Ancestry, but this is a much better site for finding long-lost relatives.

Maureen Lund 16/04/2013 21:36:35

Could You help my husband Brian McDermott find his Haif Brother John Davies from Manchester he thinks he is in is late 80s He Has a Wife Called Mary, and one Daughter called Linda she got married in Eccles John had a brother called James (Jimmy ) Isaac Davies.

Excellent - like Mummy Bear's bed, that is just right! Looking for the birth and marriage of a James I. Davies in Manchester (though you said Salford earlier) should not be too horrendous, but maybe the easiest way in would be looking for Linda's marriage in Eccles (you can use the marriage indexes on this site, under 'search records'. Then you could seek birth of children to that marriage and work forwards - each certificate will have a family address on it, and please see my earlier answer this evening concerning electoral registers and telephone directories.

Cynthia - re your query. 16/04/2013 21:24:31

Thank you for your response Anthony. This is the link to the thread in question.... If you have any advice for us, you are more than welcome to either post it on the thread or contact me by pm. Regards.

Thanks, but have you done what I suggested?

Margaret Debney 16/04/2013 21:21:31

Margaret Bebney .hi Anthony. i am trying to find where in south Wales my father was born .his date of birth was 3/11/1896. i have look at 1901 and 1911 census.just cant find him at all .on his marriage cert his father s name was James Morgan. his job was a collier.frank did go to war in war one .all that he would tell his Childen was that he went to France. frank left south wales a few years after war one.he came to live in Brmingham.

I presume Frank was your father, perhaps born Frank or Francis. The indexed birth records here will give you a list you can whittle down to ones registered in the December quarter of 1896, assuming the date of birth you have for him is right, and then you could buy each one and look for a father James. Frank's World War One army service papers, if they survive, would give a place of birth.

Yvonne Mclaughlin 16/04/2013 21:20:17

My grandfathers surname was Merrifield but he changed his name to Jack Osborne I dont know if his given name was jack as he was Jewish.My mother told me that my greatgrand mother came from Russia and that my greatgrand father was a professor of english and that his name was printed inside english text books, maybe he was a printer. I was told they owned alot of property and they lived either in Oxford or Plymouth. There was just my grandfather and a sister in the family, I have looked through many records but because i dont know their first names I am not having any luck finding them.My parents and my grandparents are dead so I cannot ask any questions, can you give me any advice as to how I could trace them.

I'm not surprised you are having difficulties as Jewish families did change their names to Gentile ones, but Merrifield was not a Jewish name either. You need to start further forward and document the more recent generations who you can find in the birth, marriage and death records, censuses, wills (as they were reputedly property owners, but beware family stories) and so on and then let the records lead you back. For people from Russia you can look for naturalisation records under 'documents online' on the National Archives website.

Dorothy Blatcher 16/04/2013 21:17:07

I am tracing my maternal Grandmother's line through her father Charles Bowden Smith RN 1/8/1872, Harwich. His father was William Smith 29 Oct 1845 b. Reculver Kent, Petty Officer HM cruiser Adder, m. Mary Ann Squibb 25 Dec 1865. William's father = William Thomas Smith 25 Feb 1815 (19.12.1816?) b Deal or Wickham Kent, Master RN, m. Mary Ann Walter 26 July 1842. Wlliam's parents were William Smith, charcoal burner, Bexley, Kent and Ann. I'd like help in finding information about William and Ann and his parents. I've found many Smiths in other trees but not the right ones.

The first thing to do here is to sort out where the baptism of William Thomas Smith took place, as you cannot possibly prove anything further back if that is in doubt. You will need to look carefully at the parish registers of Deal (I think these will now be on-line with Findmypast) and/or 'Wickham' - is this West Wickham, East Wickham, or where? The key tools for all this are parish registers.

Glenise Offord 16/04/2013 21:17:00

Hi I am seeking to trace John Orsborn He was named as father of George Orsborn who was born 1816 in Overthorpe Northamton. George Orsborn married Harriet Fortnum on 18th Oct 1841 in Banbury Oxfordshire Harriet's father on marriage certificate named as William Fortnum her mother Ann Middleton. I did find a John Orsborne who banns of marriage were in Hook Norton Oxfordshire to a Mary Fawdry but not sure if this is the right John Orsborn who I am seeking I am unable to even estimate DOB for John as do not know if there were any other siblings to George as I have been unable to trace any. It seems as though the name is also spelt Osborn in some records.Thanks in advance

I've never knowingly come across an 'Orsborn' family before: even if this is not just a variant of Osborne (think of those strong Oxfordshire dialects) it is likely to have been rendered 'Osborne' or 'Osborn' very often in its history. You don't to look for John straight away. Instead, you want to look for George's baptism in the Overthorpe parish registers in Northampton record office, and then the marriage of John - and only then his own origins. Slowly, slowly, catchee monkey, as they used to say in Malaysia.

Mark Surgeon 16/04/2013 21:16:25

Hi Anthony, I'm new to GenesR and have uploaded a Gedcom file of my tree which has worked fine but I've only done this so that another family member on the other side of the world can view it from her GenesR account. What I have found is that I can't view her tree through a 'share' request unless I take out a paid subscription. She can view my tree but when I click the reply on her share request (for me to request access to her tree, it simply prompts me to take out a subscription. I was hoping the 'free' access may at least provide a period to trial some of the functions but it appears not to be. Or am I missing something?

Welcome then, but this is a commercial enterprise and so you will need to pay for a subscription in order to use the site. The benefits of using the site are enormous, even if you only use it for its original purpose of finding other relatives. Instead of one family member on the other wise of the world you'll probably end up with dozens!

Maureen Lund 16/04/2013 21:15:38

Also could you Help me find my haif brothers and sister Roy Pugh, Carol Pugh, and Albert Pugh I think they live in Hereford there in there late 50s or late 60s, There father is called William I think they where born in Manchester

To find these people you could try working forward looking for their marriages in Hereford, births of their children, marriages of their children and any relevant deaths - all resultant certificates would give addresses and death records are useful by giving the name and address of an informant who was often a close relative. You can use the (recent) electoral registers and telephone directories on and seek current addresses too.

Jillian Sherwood 16/04/2013 21:13:05

I am researching my great granddad John Walsh, on his WW1 service record his birth date is 12 September 1875, it dose'nt say where he was born, on the 1911 census he states he was born in Fulham, i cannot find any records for this date and place. I have phoned the people at B D M and they couldn't find anything either. I know his father was called John also. He and my great grandmother did'nt get married until 1957. can you help, as i don't know where else to try, regards Jill Clarke

I wonder, does his age in the 1911 census match that purported by the army papers? Ages can often be inaccurate by a year or two either side, as can places. You could look under Welsh, or else try for a Catholic baptism, as Walsh is an Irish name and Fulham had a strong Catholic community.

Marion ^^^^^ 16/04/2013 21:07:03

Hi Anthony. I have army records for Frederick Albert Gould and in 1915 it stated that the next of kin was a brother (William Gould). They both stated same address Church Street, West Coker. How do I find out more about William Gould and is it possible to find out who else lived at that address? I have looked at the births around when his brother Frederick was born but no luck.

The first search I'd make here would be for the family in the 1911 census (which you can do on this site under 'search records'. Hopefully you'll find Frederick at home at West Coker, and his brother Frederick too. After the War, votes for all adult men came in and you can use the electoral registers, which are in local archives or libraries - if you ask locally you'll find them without too much trouble.

Maureen Lund 16/04/2013 21:07:02

Can you help me to find my Husbands Brother John Davies From Salford he thinks

Now we have gone from one extreme to the other - this question is a bit too short and a bit more information would be useful. If there is uncertainty about where John was from, I suggest starting by looking for his birth record. Looking for possible marriages would be the normal next step, but with such a popular combination of names that would be problematic if he married outside Salford. The best solution (if he doesn't appear on the Member Trees here) would be to seek and ask as many living relatives of his as possible, in case one of them simply knows the answer.

Cynthia - re your query. 16/04/2013 21:05:21

Hello Anthony, You may have heard about a long running thread on the boards - Looking for mother. A large number of community members have been striving for over 4 years to help Evelyn find her mother and thus, her maternal roots. This is a shortened version of what we have discovered so far - although I'm not sure that 'short' is the correct word to use :) We would be extremely grateful if you could give us any advise. Many thanks. Cynthia. DIANE LESLIE MacLEOD born c June 1906-8 India? (so she said). No verification of this birth can be found whatsoever. Searches have been made of Indian, Scottish and English births by many people but to no avail as yet. Possibilities: This is not her real name. DIANE: Searches have been made under: Donaldina, Dolinda, Dolina etc. - nothing found. LESLIE: She was very attached to her middle name of Leslie and insisted it was spelled that way. She gave the name to one of her sons. Some searches have been made re this name but maybe we need to do more. MacLEOD : On her marriage certificate (1929 in London), she states her father to be Major Robert MacLeod of the 1st Seaforth Highlanders - deceased. Nothing of him can be confirmed despite extensive military searches being made. These can be found on ps 2-4 and 14-15 – 29 and 36 of the thread. She told her family that she went to live on Stornoway with ‘Aunt Kate and cousins Donald & Ishbel (Isabelle)’. This family has been researched as probably the family of Rev. Donald MacLeod who was the minister of the church in Tarbat. The present Incumbent of that church has been contacted and was most helpful. Various agencies in Tarbat have been contacted re this family and Diane but nothing found. We have almost completed a 'family tree' on that particular MacLeod family but, someone has come forward who is related to them and does not think Diane links to them. Diane stated that she went to school in Stornoway. The most likely school would be the Nicolson Institute. A search has been made for her under D.L.M but there is no sign of her under that name. Other local schools have been contacted but there is nothing to be found under D.L.M. There is no sign of a DLM on the 1911 Scottish census see p.41 The first absolute sighting we have of her is when she started work at Springfield Hospital in London 7.6.1927 - 19.6.1928. There are, apparently, no more notes in her file. In 1929 she married, as Diane Leslie MacLeod, a Herbert R.J. Roy in London. Up until her marriage, she received a private allowance, source unknown. The address given on her marriage certificate is 53 Khartoum Road, Wandsworth, London. The Electoral Roll for 1929 shows the family living at that address were named Kirby. There is no sign of Diane anywhere in Khartoum Road . She may just have been boarding there for a short time prior to her marriage. Our Evelyn was born in 1932 at 44 Dafforne Road, Wandsworth and Diane and her husband show up there on the Electoral Roll. Some research has been done on the other occupants but nothing worthwhile was found apart from the fact that one of the occupants was an Evelyn Goddard-Fenwick whom our Evelyn is named after and was her Godmother. See ps. 22-23 of this thread for more details. Various living Goddard-Fenwick’s have been contacted but to no avail. You can pm me for details on that. We have, over the last couple of years, drawn up a fairly comprehensive family tree for the G-Fs but simply cannot trace the connection. Just before the search drew to a halt last year, Evelyn remembered her mother reading a local newspaper (Dorset?)in the early 1950's and finding either an article or an obituary about a very old lady who had died in Stornoway aged 91. She stated that it was Aunt Kate. FBG travelled to the local office to look at the microfiche but, again - nothing. Scotland's People was searched for possible deaths but again, we drew a blank. At the moment, I am working to try and find where Evelyn was actually baptised, just in case any family members were included as Godparents. I am having lovely phone calls with the incumbent of the most likely parish church but no baptism as yet!!! So this is where the search is up to so far and still we try........because of our fondness for Evelyn...

Thanks for bringing this up. It is too long for this session (the system doesn't let me know how many other people are waiting, and I can't spend half an hour on this only to find a queue of other people behind it), and I see you refer me to pages of a thread somewhere else, which I can't read now - but one thing that comes to mind right away though is that I've come across Dolina shortened to Dolly. Also, anything concerning Lewis is best referred to Bill Lawson at Have you asked him?

Sharon Plews 16/04/2013 21:04:19

thanx for your help last month found a 3rd marriage for my g grandmother and have possibly found a death just waiting for certificate to arrive

That's excellent news. I remember your question and it's a classic problem, and a classic solution. If you can't find the death of a married woman, see if she was widowed and then seek a further marriage for her and look for her death under her new married name. And if you still can't find a death, look for another marriage... and so on! I chased a woman through three marriages once and I'm delighted that you've done the same.

*Alison* G 19/03/2013 21:16:39

Sorry....forgot to give some ages on the marriage cert.....they married in 1915 and Henry was aged 28. So must have been born around 1887. But i dont know where, and as i say i only have his fathers name which was on the marriage cert as Thomas Smith. I have traced Henry's wife, Ethel Fulford side of the family, it is just Henry Smith's family i need help tracing back. Thanks, Alison.

If the surname was a rare one you would not have a great problem here but as it is you are probably faced with many, many possible Henry births around 1887: if his army service papers have survived they will tell you where he was born (you'd have to sift out the wrong ones on the basis of date). Another suggestion - did any Smiths who could be siblings of Henry's witness his wedding? They could be extra clues...

Sharon Plews 19/03/2013 21:12:12

Hello Anthony , i am trying to find the death of my g grandmother my nan told me that she is buried at Croyland Abbey but i am unable to find a death for her . my nan told me this in 60 ,s and is no longer with us . i have searched from 1920 upto 1950 she came from Herefordshire in 1910-11 with my nan as a young girl . Remarried in 1915 and had a son in 1916 and lived in Bourne Lincolnshire , Croyland Abbey is not far from Bourne , but at one time classed as Cambridgeshire . I have been to Croyland Abbey to search for a grave but no Joy maybe an unmarked grave ? If i aproach the Vicar at the Abbey would it be likley they could help me with out the date of the death . Thanks Sharon Toseland

Well your great grandmother's death should be there in General Registration - you mention her remarrying so you could try under her new married surname but perhaps later she reverted to a previous surname, or, of course, it is possible that she married yet again, so you could look for a later marriage, and then a death! Every graveyard and cemetery has records so you could ask the current authority - the vicar - and sometimes they gave plans of their graveyards too.

*Alison* G 19/03/2013 21:02:17

Just to state, i have not found my Henry Smith on any census as yet! The marriage cert is all i have. Alison.

You read my mind there! Maybe the other ideas will bear fruit...

*Alison* G 19/03/2013 21:00:27

Hello Anthony, For years now i have been trying to trace back the Smith Family that i have in my tree, but have had no luck at all! They lived in Pendlebury/Swinton area of Salford. (or also known as Barton upon Irwell) All i have to go off is the following info. Henry Smith married Ethel Fulford in 1915 at St Augustine Church in Pendlebury, Salford, manchester. Henry was aged 28 and his profession is down as 'Soldier' Address is:- Dawson Street, Pendlebury. swinton (salford area) I have the marriage cert, and Henry's father is down as - Thomas Smith - deceased, but his occupation was a - carter. Then Henry and Ethel they have a son in 1924, address is:- mark Street, Pendlebury and Henry's job is down as a 'Farm Labourer' They have another son in 1927 (i dont have a certicate for this birth) When his 1st son marries in 1950, in Pendlebury, Henry is down as deceased, but his occupation was Farm Labourer. This is all the info i have on Henry, i don't even know his mothers name, so i'm really struggling to get anywhere with this. If you can help, i would be very grateful with any information. Alison.

You can try looking for Henry Smith's army service papers (but I appreciate you may have trouble finding the right one!) and you can look for him in the 1911 census hoping to find someone suitable in or near Pendlebury, and you can even try looking for his father in the 1911 and 1901 censuses (or even the earlier ones) listed as a carter. Researching Smiths is very difficult I know but it can be done with a lot of patience!

Adrian Rhodes 19/03/2013 21:00:14

Hi Anthony I’d like some help in discovering a little more about my great-grandmother, Sarah Wild. Sarah was born in Chadderton, Oldham, 1851, to Jonathan Wild and Ann Ashton. The family history is of generations of people working as weavers in the cotton or silk industries. All very modest, to say the least. I In 1881, she is living with her mother, Ann (by now a widow), and her sister Jane - all three are weavers. In 1887, Sarah gives birth to a daughter - Hannah Jane Wild. Three weeks later, Sarah has died of ‘Inertia of the uterus’ - and post-partum haemorrhage. On Hannah Jane’s birth certificate, no father is recorded. However, in the 1981 Census, Hannah is being brought up by Jane (her aunt) and Ann (her grandmother). These two women are described in the Census as “living on own means”. But more than this, Jane is the owner of three rows of property in Oldham! And, on her death, these are passed on to Sarah. How can this be? How can a widow and an unmarried woman, who only worked in the cotton mills, suddenly come into possession of around 40 houses? There has been a vague family memory that Sarah’s unrecorded father was “a solicitor, called John”. And, if that were so, it might make sense of it all. Was Sarah’s unknown partner a wealthy professional man, who wouldn’t acknowledge the child he sired - but endowed his daughter, Hannah, through Jane, after Sarah died in childbirth? If only I could trace the owners of the properties. It might shed some light on this conundrum. But I don’t know how. Do you have any suggestions about how to get this information? Or any other lines of enquiry worth trying? I’d appreciate your help in finding the last pieces of this tragic story. Adrian

MY SINCERE APOLOGIES to anyone who logged in on Tuesday evening and found me not answering questions as normal. I'm afraid I simply forgot: I've been doing this every month for the last ten years and never missed one, but it seems my memory (and diary!) let me down. It won't happen again, promise! This is a fascinating story, Adrian. The circumstances all sound as if the father of Hannah really was a wealthy man. You could try taking an autosomal DNA test and see if anyone you matched as a close cousin had family who owned property in Oldham - a bit random (and the chances of anyone actually matching through that line are very low) but it could throw up an answer. Otherwise, you can follow your idea of finding out who had owned the properties before. The best way would actually be to contact the present inhabitants and see if any have deeds, or abstracts of title, going back far enough.

Maureen Stanley 19/02/2013 22:00:06

Thanks Anthony-Joseph was a husbandman so probably on a landowners property. I hoped maybe there could be a record of him taking up the property in Kirkby & a mention of where he was from. Can't get to the Derbyshire records office very easily to check out the bmd's in those places. I will keep plugging!!

Yes, don't give up! The more you try the more likely you are to prevail!