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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
Elizabeth Archer 19/05/2009 21:50:27

Hi Anthony, I have hit a brick wall trying to find the birth cert of my grandfather Arthur James Perrin I believe he was born 23rd May 1899 first child to James Perrin & Melita Gunning. Although they were not married untill 1914 I believe that Arthur James would have been registered as though they were married because several other siblings were registered this way before the marriage took place. There is no birth in the national archives and I have tried several register offices in areas that the family had links with with no success. Can you please give me some advice on were else I could research. Regards Liz

The place to try seeking the birth would be the General Registration birth indexes: you can use these at The National Archives so I expect that is what you mean. If you cannot find Arthur James registered under Perrin, and the parents were not married, I suggest trying under Gunning, the mother's maiden name, as that is how all the births should have been registered. Failing that, you could look a year or two on either side of 1899, or under variant spellings like Perin, Pering, Perring and so on.

George Aris 21/03/2006 21:13:18

hi antony for the past year i have been trying to trace any files on my mother and aunt inwhich i know they where put into a convent around 1910 in lewisham london but know one can tell me where i can look for these files as it is the only trace i may have to trace any relations on my mothers side as there is no trace on their b/certs.or after all these years do you think there will still be any files to be found. regards george

I suspect you could probably trace your mother's birth record in General Registration, expecially if you know her father's name from her marriage record. However, if you suspect the covent may have files on her, then find out what conventss were in the area uusing contemprary street directories or indeed a modern Catholic Directory. What records there were/are will be with existing religious institutions in the area - and of course you can also seek a Catholic baptism in local Catholic church registers. See Michael Gandy's atlas and index to Catholic registers.

Steven Arman 02/09/2003 21:38:17

Anthony, I have been trying to track down where my surname comes from - ARMAN - How can I do this effectively and how can I be fairly certain where it has derived from. I have a hunch that it may have originated from France or Spain. My researched tree goes back to 1540's where the name is - ARMON -. Any suggestions or advice? Steve Arman

The name could mean 'son of Armand' or 'son of Herman'. To be sure you will simply have to keep tracing back. You could check early naturalisation records to see if any Armans had been anturalised having come here from abroad. Well done for getting back so far in any case.

Jack Armitage 16/03/2010 22:06:43

My GGrandfather Ben b1846 and one of his daughters are missing after 1881. It is said 'Ben went to America' this I suppose could USA or Canada. What are my chances of finding out if this is true?

Moderately easy - look at the censuses for those countries which are free, online, at

Sharon Armitage 18/10/2011 21:11:02

Hi I found out I was adopted as a baby in 1974 (born 1973). I got some info yesterday telling me my birth parents DOBs and that I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. I have been on Genes since March 2011 and had lovely members helping me but I am stuck as to how to find my birth relatives. There is one tree that has most of my birth family on the members tree but I can't seem to get a response from the member. Where can I go from here in order to try to find one if not most of my birth family? Thank you for your help Nicola (Sharon)

It is bad luck that the owner of the tree you have found is not responding: if people's membership or interest has lapsed, or they have changed e-mail addresses, they won't know you are trying to contact them. The technique for tracing living relatives is, simply, using birth, marriage and death records to build your own tree back in time, and then seek siblings in the different generations and work down towards the present - see if people married, then see if they had children, and if they have died - and then start seeking those who seem to be living in the telephone directories. This site doesn't have those (yet) but Genes's sister-site Find My Past does.

James Armstrong 22/02/2011 21:54:16

hi Anthony I have been trying to search my mums side of the tree and was wondering if you knew of any free irish bmd sites as can not seem to find any any, Also do you know any for scotland Many Thanx James

This is a good one for Ireland - -

Maxine Armstrong 19/02/2008 21:10:00

Hi Anthony, One of the names I am researching is Fallover. I am having great difficulty getting beyond the early 1800's. I have found the deaths of a Simon Fallover & John Fallover, my 4 x grt grandfather on the NBI. This gives their births abt 1781/84. On the IGI I found a John Fallover, 1752, Hackney but after a visit to the LMA this turned out to be a John Fallows. I've tried different spellings with no luck. Thank you Maxine

You have found Fallovers being mistaken with Fallows, and probably the key to this case would be working out how they may actually have been recorded. All sorts of spellings suggest themselves. It could be a case where being over-reliant on indexes may be a mistake. If you search back through the original records of wherever it was that they were last known to be living, you may spot earlier generations under whatever spellings happened to be used for their surname at the time, that you would not have thought of seeking in an index.

Maxine Armstrong 20/04/2004 19:40:48

Hi Anthony, My Grandmothers surname was Fallover(pronounced Fall as in fallow, aver. The story goes that the Fallovers were French who went to Holland then here to London and that they may have been Huguenots. The earliest Fallover I can find is a John Fallover born 1752 in Hackney. Any tips on how I can find out their original surname. Thank you Maxine

Recently I looked into a Hackney family called Beever, for a man who thought his forebears were Huguenots. As many Huguenots settled in the East End after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1686, I thought he was right- in fact, they were a perfectly normal English family from Norwich. So beware. The best way to learn about the surname is trace further back and see how it was spelt. If they were really Huguenots, try the Huguenot Society's many publications. For starters, try these: Publications of the Huguenot Society of London; vol 8, W. Page (ed)’s Vol Vlll, Letters of Denization and Acts of Naturalization for Aliens in England, 1509-1603 (London, 1893); vol. 18, W.A. Shaw (ed)’s Letters of Denization and Acts of Naturalization in England and Ireland 1603-1700 (London, 1911) and vol. 27, W.A.Shaw (ed)’s Letters of Denization and Acts of Naturalization in England and Ireland 1701-1800, (Manchester, 1923).

Maxine Armstrong 26/04/2005 21:28:52

Hi Anthony, Just another quick question if a may. My 3 x Grt grandfather Richard Jenkins was a dairyman on my 2 x grt grandfathers birth cert 1845. Was there many farms in London then? Many thanks Maxine

Yes, there were many. Just down the road from here in North London is a nice cattle trough, for passing herds. In 1845 you could stand on the dome of St Paul's Cathedral and see fields, especially on the south bank of the Thames. Actually, my great grandfather remembers them being there, and he was not born until the 1870's. The fresh milk people stirred into their cups of tea in the City really was not only fresh, but also local! Soon after, though, milk started being whizzed in by train from far afield - good for the Devon farmers, but not so good, I imagine, for your ancestors.

Maxine Armstrong 26/04/2005 22:02:03

Hi Anthony, My first question seems to have disapeared. My 2 x grt Grandfather Thomas Giachardi was 19yrs on the 1871 census born Westminster. He lived with his father born Italy, Mother Elizabeth & brother both born westminster. On the 1861 census all of the above are the same(10yrs younger) apart from there is a thomas Hackerman age 9yrs born Westminster servant boy and a Elizabeth Hackerman Giachardi wife. My problem is are thomas Hackerman & Thomas Giachardi the same person? I can't find a birth cert for Thomas Giachardi. Also could Hackerman be the same name as Ackerman, Hackman etc. Many Thanks Maxine

It is possible- you really need to try to find out more about both people, especially seeking wills, and the truth may then emerge. You could also try seeking a naturalisation for your ancestor at the National Archives.

Kevin Arndell 18/07/2006 21:01:34

Hi Anthony -- I am " in discussions" with the College of Arms -- and getting nowhere -- is there a body to whom I can turn or appeal ?

I remember that you have contacted me privately before, and you are most welcome to do so again. It would not be proper of me to discuss a specific case currently at the College on a public forum. Please bear in mind, however, that the College is in essence a Medieval institution, and you must not expect its wheels to grind as fast as other organisations in the modern world.

Kevin Arndell 18/07/2006 21:28:52

Hi again -- many thanks for your response -- however I have not contacted you on this subject -- maybe my cousin who is also doing research. I will e-mail you and give you an update. Once again - thank you.

It must be a cousin - I certainly recognise your surname.

Zara-Jayne Arnold 22/11/2011 21:03:03

when a marrage certificate has full age on it how do you work out what age they were

'Full age' indicates that the people concerned were 21 or more, or, annoyingly, under 21, but lying about their age in order to avoid the need fro parental consent. You can seek their ages from census returns, or their death or burial records.

Frances Arrowsmith 13/12/2005 21:05:25

I have been told my great grandadS name was William arrowsmith he had a twin brother called John they were born in Farndon in 1840 but I can find no record of the births I have tried 1837 online but I dont know what registration district Fandon would come under or where I would go from here to trace the births

To find out more about Farndon or Fandon and its administrative situation look it up at or in a 19th century directory (in which the Poor Law Union equates to the Registration District). Many births were not registered in the early years of General Registration, but you may well find William's baptism in the parish registers of Fa(r)ndon, and equally you should be able to pick him and his parents up in the 1851 census.

Sandra Arundell 16/06/2009 21:51:10

Another question - Wherecan you find Home Guard Records? Thanks Sandra

Records of the real life ‘dad’s army’, the Home Guard, are in National Archives classes WO 199, 166 and PREM 3. There is an article about them in Practical Family History, July 2007.

Sandra Arundell 16/06/2009 21:05:10

Hi Anthony, I have 3 questions if you have time! No 1 My name is Arundell and my family come from crediton Devon I live in Hampshire so how do I go about finding out things prior to 1841. I know its mainly Parish Records but how do you access them when you don't live loacally. No 2. How do you find Wills? No3 My Gr Grandmother Annie James nee Storey told me her gr Uncle was George Stephenson of Rocket fame but I can't find anything beyond Annie's Father John. Any tips? Thanks in anticipation. Sandra

You really do need to use the parish registers: you could take a day or two off work and go down to Exeter, and I am sure you would enjoy the experience, but if not you can always employ a record agent to do the searching for you, or see if you can order copies of the records that you can search at your local Mormon Family History Centre ( Question two is a bit general - the answer depends on the circumstances, though my book Tracing Your Family History explains the whole matter. As to Stephenson, you really do need to trace back methodicaly from John, and just see if you find a north-eastern connection: if it helps, I happen to have the following notes on his family: George Stephenson was the only surviving child of Robert Stephenson who married Mabel Carr on 17 May 1778. Robert was buried on 20 June 1817 and Mabel on 27 May 1818. Mabel was daughter of George Carr (1720-1799) and his wife Eleanor Wilson (b,. 1722, married 1743). George Carr was son of John Carr (b. 1696) and Mabel Bates (m. 1716) and George was in turn son of Nicholas Carr who married Ann Oliver in 1688. Eleanor Wilson was daughter of Thomas Wilson (b. 1695) and his wife Ann Hopper (m. 1710), that Thomas being in turn the son of an older Thomas Wilson. George Stephenson had two children by his first wife Frances Henderson, Frances who died a baby in 1805 (born 1805) and Robert Stephenson. Robert had no legitimate offspring, though there was a rumour that his godson, Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell (1857-1941), founder of the Scout and Cub movement, was actually his child. George Stephenson married secondly Elizabeth Hindmarsh in 1820 and thirdly Ellen Gregory in 1848, but had no further children. There are quite a few people on the site who have him in their trees already. .

Keith Ashington 16/12/2003 21:09:50 question is regarding the 1901 census my grandfather came from Deal in Kent .....which is not on the Census it true the records where destoryed during the War and have I any hope of researching from this period...Thanks

I have not heard that the Deal 1901 census returns were destroyed- you could ask at the Family Records Centre and they should be able to say for certain. However, even if they have been lost, the 1901 census is only one of the many, many types of record available- and before January 1002 all 1901 censu returns were secret (as are the 1911 ones until 2012), so we all had to make do without them! You should be able to find your forbears in General Registration (also at the Family Records Centre), in the 1891 census and certainly the 1881 census, which is fully indexed on

Claire Astell 25/05/2011 21:11:53

One of my ancestors occupation on his marriage certificate is listed as a BIGGLER, have you any idea what this could be? I have searched on line but can't find any answers. Thank you Anthony, from Claire.

No, never, but a HIGGLER was an itinerant merchant, so maybe that is what the word actually says.

Pamela Atkins 24/01/2006 21:25:19

Hi, Anthony I have been researching my family for quite a few months now but have hit a problem. I am trying to search for my G.G.Grandfathers details but his name Joseph. and in the area I have to look there are quite a lot of Joseph's with the same surname and the same birth years. can you offer some advice Pamela Bodin

Try using death and burial registers to kill off Josephs as infants and marriage and census records to follow through the survivors, eliminating them as you go. Eventually, if you are lucky, you'll be left with the only viable possibility and can then work on seeking positive proof that he is your ancestor.

Pamela Attfield 18/10/2011 21:47:23

Hi Anthony my question was to do with Cecilia Maria Hanlon who died on 13 December 1884. Can't find record of her death in Births, Marriages, Deaths. Local library I guess found this in a paper about her death and her personal estate (£91.4.10d) and the residuary legatee was John Hanlon and she resided in Southampton. Pam Rodham

I've answered this, below.