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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
*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!

Gwendoline Gwendoline Frances Gilbert 19/02/2013 21:49:17

Hi Anthony, I did not give you any dates. to my query My Grt Grandmother who was known as Sarah Leigh when she died in 1921 it states on death cert that she was 65 but I think if she realy was Sarah Everett before she married William Leigh in 1875 Wigan. firstly why would she be in Wigan when if Everett was from Coulsdon in Surrey.? + she had a lot of children with George Horsecroft and the Great Aunts of mine obviously adored her. I have the eulogy they wrote to her. Sarah Everett/Leigh had one daughter by William Leigh and her name was Edith Audrey Everett Leigh In 1891 I find her I think living with another Sarah Everett it would seem that she is Sarah Leighs Aunt living in Bloomsbury. She is the correct age for that child. There after I loose her on Census. Sarah Leigh I would like to believe that she was Sarah Everett/married to William Leigh. Widowed- There is a story in the Family that she was forbidden to marry George Horsecroft by someone named Benjamin, well Sarah Everett did have a Brother called Benjamin. The Great Aunts and distant cousins have indicated that she was told she would be cut off if she married my Grt.Grandfather. But even though I have the Everett/Leigh certificates I still want proof. How to get that? Is it at all possible Anthony.? They never seemed to know how old they were. By her death she would have been born 1856 but Sarah Everett was born abt.1853 She was much older than George Horsecroft as he was born 1865 Kingston, Surrey. Not a million miles away from Coulsden, but Wigan is much further She had my Grandmother in 1885 registered Lambeth. So as a Widow she has fled from Wigan if this is her.? So sorry so many questions. She has become the bain of my life trying to find out who she realy was. Can you help at all please. Many thanks Gwen Jackaman nee Gilbert

I do sympathise and the only way to sort this out would be to sit down with all the documentation and go through it piece by piece - not the sort of thing I can do in one of these sessions. My advice: look for anything in the above that you have not yet documented and try to do so - have you every possible death, every certificate, any wills, that you can find? The more you can document, the more apparent it will become that you have found the right connections (or that a mistake has been made, though I hope not!)

Phyllis Newman 19/02/2013 21:46:38

Thank you for clarifying that Anthony Phyll

No problem. Let me take this opportunity to say that Genes Reunited will be at the Who Do You Think You Are show this Friday, Saturday and Sunday and I'll be on the stand on the Friday only, so if any of you are there, so come and say hello.

Michael Symonds 19/02/2013 21:39:38

hi Anthony Having re-searched my family tree for the past 10 years - I decided delve a bit further and trace my granfathers side of the family - had plenty of hits and info. but I hav come across a relation who hada grandaughter staying with her when the 1911 census was taken - but I cannot trace the grandaughter anywhere - I checked and double checked but i cannot find who her parents are the grand-daughter was born 1902/3 - any idea where i might find the answer?

I'd suggest obtaining the girl's birth record -- if you cannot find that it may be in the army births/baptisms - see the last question, please. Also, sometimes grandparents looked after the illegitimate children of their daughters, so maybe this child was actually born under the grandparents' surname,

John Devine 19/02/2013 21:35:21

Hi Anthony, I have traced my 3 x great grandfather back to 1814 when he was discharged from the army . He was in barracks at Landguard Fort where his son was born. His army discharge papers say he was a miller from Bellingham in Northumberland. On the army record of his sons birth the mother is just given her first name. I cannot find any marriage record. If it was a military marriage where should I look for records ? Thank you.

The lack of a mother's maiden name is no surprise as the records you will have there are army chaplain's baptisms. There could well be an army marriage as well, and you will find these on this site: they are under'MILITARY RECORDS on the main side panel of the #search' menu.

Phyllis Newman 19/02/2013 21:34:50

Do I take it that you don't go much on the information given to us by Ancestry please. If so does that mean I have a lot of rubbish on my family trees. Many thanks Phyll

To clarify, it is fantastic to make contact with other people who may be related and find out what they have traced, but it is very unwise to accept a pre-traced family tree without questioning where the information came from and how likely it is to be true. Sadly a lot of people have either made mistakes in their research or have accepted material from others which contains mistakes, and this gets perpetuated when new people copy their work - so always use such on-line material as the basis for your own, critical investigations.

John Wilson 19/02/2013 21:29:09

Thanks for your reply Anthony and best of luck with your new book. I can't make this Saturday but will certainly be buying a copy. John Wilson

Thank you for your kind response - it's literally hot-off-the press, ans family stories about aristocratic ancestors, whether true or not, are a subject which has fascinated me for years, so it was good to have the opportunity to mention it! It's my contention that many stories of blue blooded ancestors are probably made up - there are so many reasons why they may not be true: but we all do have a great deal of aristocratic ancestors, every one of us, and if we could but trace back up every line, as far back as possible, to find them! But in your case, of course, I hope you will be able to prove that your story was correct: the book also explains how to do that and one of the chief and very exciting new tools for that is DNA testing. An exact match between you and a legitimate descendant of the aristocratic family in question would prove a connection beyond doubt.

Maureen Stanley 19/02/2013 21:25:50

Hello Anthony, Still trying to find where my ancestor Joseph Stanley originated from. The only info I have starts with his marriage to Frances Neal in May 1701 in Dalbury Lees Derbys. Freereg gives his parish as Trusley Derbys' ,I can find no Stanley's born in Trusley. The IGI showed the marriage of Frances Neal also took place in Etwall Derbys to Joseph Hanley-same dateThere were Stanley's & Neal's in Etwall at the approx time that Joseph & Frances were born but sadly, no trace of those two. After their marriage they moved to Kirkby-in-Ashfield Notts-some 25 miles away where their first child was born 9m & 2 weeks later. My question is, if they were tenants what sort of records should I be looking for at the records office? Many thanks Maureen

Sometimes estate papers and manorial records can help but in this case the move probably involved labouring, as I think Kirkby-in-Ashfield had coal mines - the best you can hope for there would be a settlement certificate. But I'm concerned you are relying on Freereg, and the IGI: if you have not examined the original registers of Dalbury and Trusley then you may be missing a lot - the registers - baptisms marriages and burials - may be full of Stanleys.

Davie Dickie 19/02/2013 21:23:47

Hi Anthony, my name is Davie Dickie. I know who my grandfather was bur I cannot determine who my Gt Grandfather was. The circumstances are that my grandfather was born illigitimately on the i August 1861 and was regestered under his mothers maiden name. My gr Grandmother had come over from the Island of Arran to Ardrossan for the birth, accompanied with her mother, who was present at the birth. Being born in August he was too late for the 1861 census. and the next record I can find is on the 1871 census when he is aged 9 and changed his name from William Crawford to William Dickie, living with his grandmother. No idea how that was achhieved. His mother has moved back to Arran and married someone else. I know from his marriage certificate that his father's name is Thomas Dickie, but I am at a loss on how to proceed to determine who is Thomas Dickie, my Gr Grandfather. Can you help please ? Davie Dickie

That's not a very unusual story and, as to names, people could and still can call themselves whatever they liked and presumably the child was known as William Dickie because his paternity was well known. Probably William's mother was having a relationship with Thomas Dickie and perhaps they even lived together as common law husband and wife - but then it is intriguing that the mother did not marry Thomas. You could look for such a man in the censuses and in the marriages and deaths - you will know his occupation from the marriage record of William. For final proof that you have found the right Thomas later on you could try a comparative Y chromosome DNA test between yourself and another male line member of Thomas's family.

Colin Cross 19/02/2013 21:20:32

I have looked at census records and the occupation was nurse sms. Do you know what this is? Also I looked at a relative who I believed was living in US this was in 1829. I have been told that he went into Canada first then into US as it was hard to get into US. Do you know where records would be held of him getting into Canada regards Colin cross

I'm not familiar with 'S.M.S.' as an abbreviation. You may be interested to know that nurses appear in the records of nursing training schools, attached to many hospitals, from the mid-19th century. Twentieth century nurses up to 1973 are indexed in the register of nurses in class DT 11 at the National Archives. As to your other question, many people did as you describe, and whilst you won't find a record of him getting into Canada, as it was a British colony, you may be able to find him in the Canadian censuses once he arrived. They are in the Canadian archives and like so much else nowadays partly online.

Kathryn Bumford 19/02/2013 21:18:50

Thanks for your response, Anthony. I'm not sure what you mean by 'can you find Richard independently in any censuses, or his death?'. I will be visiting the Rhondda valley on Friday(a short holiday with my brother) and will take the opportunity to try the parish churches in the area to see if i can turn up the birth record there. Thanks for your advice so far!

Well, the father is named on the sons's marriage certificate as Richard, and it will tell you Richard's occupation as well, so besides looking for the son in the censuses, and birth, marriage and death records, you can also look for the father Richard in his own right. Good luck with your research trip to Wales!

John Wilson 19/02/2013 21:09:09

Hi Anthony We are trying to trace my wife's great-grandfather who, we believe, was a member of the aristocracy. He fathered seven children with the lady who took his surname but they did not marry. The whole affair was covered up and finding absolute proof of this is proving very difficult. The children's birth certificates and marriage certificates use his second christian name of Henry but he was known in public as Algernon. Am I right - and do you know - if pre-1857(?) a woman could give any man's name as the father but, after this date, the true father had either to be present or to have given his written authority to be named. If this is correct, would you know if such letters of authority were kept and, if so, where. Have you ever come across such documents ? Do you also know if illegitimate children could be baptized as we cannot find any records ? Thanks.

Almost without exception the identity of the father was not recorded on the birth certificate of an illegitimate child, and no, I have never come across such letters of authority as you mention - it's a nice idea, though!, but if such letters of authority did exist then the father's name would be on the relevant certificate, so you would not need the letter...... Illegitimate children were certainly baptised - the parish registers are chock full of them. The whole issue to finding the natural, aristocratic fathers of illegitimate children - and the many reasons why such stories as yours may or may not be based in fact - is the subject of my new book (f you'll excuse the plug!), out this very week - TRACING YOUR ARISTOCRATIC ANCESTORS (Anthony Adolph, Pen and Sword, 2013)! I'll be signing copies at the Who Do You Think You Are show at Olympia this Saturday.

Steven Bingham 19/02/2013 21:07:40

Hello Anthony I am a complete novice but I am trying to trace details of my maternal grandfather I know nothing about him except that he died in his mid twenties towards the end of the 1920s. Through the site I have discovered that he married my grandmother in Chorlton, Manchester during the the third quarter of 1924 Where do you think I should start ?

... by buying the marriage record. You can do this at The information on the certificate should enable you to find him successfully in the 1911 census (on this site) and this should lead you in turn to his birth - you can seek the birth reference on this site, hone your work using earlier censuses, and then order the birth certificate using the site above.

Gwendoline Gwendoline Frances Gilbert 19/02/2013 21:04:41

I have a great Grandmother who is a bit of a mystery, she says she is married to my great grandfather George Horsecroft and my Grandmothers birth certificate she says she was formerly Leigh. I can not find a marriage cert. for them. Ancestry would have me believe that she was Sarah Everett before she married, how would they know if there is no marriage cert for her and my Grandfather. I do know that Sarah Leigh lived with William Leigh a Policeman and they had one child. He died and the next I find her is on the Certificate of my Grandmother. Can this be authenticated in anyway?

I would treat any information found on Ancestry with a large pinch of salt, although occasionally what members have out there can be a useful clue. You could seek the marriage you want under variant spellings such as Lee or Lea and Horscroft/craft, for example and don't forget that many births and marriages involved people who at the time were soldiers, so are in the army registers as opposed to the civilian ones.

Garry Haynes 19/02/2013 21:03:00

Hello Anthony, I'm relatively new to geneology, but in the last 2 weeks i have managed to trace all sides of my family back to around 1800. I would appreciate some advice on where to look now to further my search. Thankyou Garry

Then welcome! Your next step now is parish registers, for the places indicated by the census returns. There are some indexed on this site and on and many are indexed on, the Mormon's big site. But all these should lead you back to the original records in the relevant county archives, which I strongly recommend visiting.

Kathryn Bumford 19/02/2013 21:01:23

Hi Anthony , I have asked a question before but I am still stuck with a certain part of my research. I cannot get a copy of my paternal grandfathers birth certificate(Edward James Bumford) despite trying lots of different spellings. He was born in 1886. The GRO had to refund my payment as they could not find him either. I think I have found him & his family (mum, dad ,brothers & sisters ) on the 1901 & 1911 censuses (not the 1891 census surprisingly) but can’t prove it. The facts I know are that he married my grandmother (Leonora Lynch) in 1912 in Skewen, Glamorgan. His father is named as’ Richard’ on the marriage cert. The only Edward James Bumford of the right age and with a father ‘ Richard’ appears on the census’s mentioned above. Leonora Lynch lived in 144 Ynyswen Road, Treorchy, Rhondda Glamorgan at the time of the 1911 census. Edward James Bumford lived at 208 Park Road Cwmparc, Treorchy Rhondda Glamorgan at the same time a distance of approx. 1 and a half miles. As I say, they married in April 1912. Do you have any idea how I can further my research to try and prove that they met and subsequently married. I think it is too much of a coincidence to not believe that they did. Thank you for looking at my query. Best wishes, Kathy O’Toole

I see your problem - they married just after the 1911 census and not before it. The distance of one and a half miles seems more than coincidental especially as these are unusual combinations of names, so of course what you really need is his birth record, showing his father as Richard (can you find Richard independently in any censuses, or his death?). Probably the birth is there but under a different spelling (Bamford, Blimford, Blunford... or try any spelling with 'firth' instead of 'forth'. You could look for a baptism instead in the place indicated by the 1911 census as leafing through church registers is an easy way of spotting variant spellings

Leonard Bainbridge 22/01/2013 22:07:49


I have not heard of such a place: it may be a misrendering of something else. I think you may have got this from a census so I would suggest looking for James in other censuses, and it may give you more clarity, or else look through the place names in a Sussex directory or county history.