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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
Jason Barrett 15/04/2008 21:01:21

Hi Anthony, my great grandmother was called Minnie Johnson. Her marriage certificate from 12th May 1910 shows her aged 22 with a father of James Johnson, who was a farmer and deceased. She was married in Uxbridge, Middlesex. There were numerous Minnie Johnsons born between 1887 - 1889 and the 1891 & 1901 censuses shows several young Minnie Johnsons with James Johnson as the father, although none in Middlesex. There are no family members left that could help further, so what tricks can I use to find more evidence of her parentage?

I take it none of the possible births for Minnie Johnsons was in Uxbridge itself. If she had a child in 1911, then you could use the address for a mandated search of the 1911 census, for £45 - expensive, but it should tell you what you want.

Carol Barrett 03/04/2007 21:04:32

I have a marriage certificate an d a 1901 census entry for my grandfather and Iremember when he died but I can find no record of his birth or census records for 1881 and 1891 . Can you give me any advice as to how to go about this

You should, in time, be able to find all these things. As with the first question I answered this evening, my newest book, "Need to Know? Tracing Your Family History" (Collins, published yesterday, 2 April!) explains the background to the records you are using, and how to get the ebst out of them, so it should help you a great deal.

Alan Barrett 31/08/2004 20:55:31

Good Evening.I have been stuck in 1861 for some time now and need some help. William Barrett a widower aged 39 married Emma Warland a spinster aged 19 in July 1861 in Lambeth London.William and Emma are my great grandparents.William was living in Agnes Street Lambeth at the time of the marriage and was a carpenter.Emma was living in Waterloo Road which is close by.I have trawled the 1861 census for Agnes Street and all the surrounding streets with no success, including Waterloo Road. I am sure William must have been in the area during the 1861 census but where? Is there any alternative other than to keep on searching the Lambeth 1861 ruturns until I eventually find him, if ever, or can you think of another way? Thanks Alan Barrett

Well, strange goings on in Lambeth! Bear in mind it was a pretty lawless, smoggy, crowded area- terrifying for the poor enumerators who propably couldn't get out quickly enough. Yes, do keep searching, but are you absolutely set on finding the family in 1861? Most of the 1851 census is indexed- that for lambeth and Southwark is included in the SELON index run by Peter Shilham, 6 Beckford Close, Wokingham, Berks, RG41 1HN. Peter is one of the finest of the index holders, a fount of local expertise and knowledge and well worth contacting. Another tip- get a very good local map from the time and see what the back streets and streets parallel to the addresses you have were. People were often enumerated thrugh the back door.

Michael Bassett 24/01/2006 21:09:38

Hello, I do not know the the christian names of my paternal grandparents, how can I find these please? Many thanks, Mike Bassett

Using General Registration, available at the Family Records Centre or online at Start with what you do know. If that's, say, your mother's date of birth, you could obtain her birth certificate, and that would tell you her parents' full names.

Carol Bassett 19/01/2010 21:09:38

Hi Anthony. I am unable to locate my paternal 3xGrt Grandfathers place and dob. Think it's abt 1785. He married in 1811 to Susannah Shannon in Kingston upon Hull whilst serving in the West Kent Militia. They married by banns. I assume he must have lived in Kent when he enlisted. On the 1841 census he is in London aged 50, but there is no place of birth, just a N as to whether he was born where the census was taken. The majority of his children were christened in Bermondsey, Surrey. Thank you Carol

The 1841 census is not the most detailed: 'N' means 'not born in the county' where he was living at the time: h is age was 50-54. I advice seeking him in the 1851 census as this will tell you exactly how old he was and where he was born. The National Archives holds records of militia men in WO 13 (1780-1878) and WO 68 (1859-1925) and it is worth noting that there are a few birth and baptism records of serving militiamens’ children in WO 32 and WO 68. The latter also contains some marriage records and other information on militiamens’ physical descriptions, places of birth, casualties, courts martials and so on.

Graham Bate 14/06/2005 21:06:46

I'm trying to find the identity of my father's father. (grannie was unmarried; my father was born 1924, Staffs) No fathrs name on birth cert or baptism record in church. Have tried locating rate book for house at which the birth was registered - no joy. What other sources could I try ? Graham

Many illegitimate children were given a distinctive middle name- the name of the father. Failing that, it's a bit too long ago to ask people who were around at the time, so it's possible the protagonists concerned carried the secret to their graves. Having said that, trying to find out if anyone lived with grannie is a good idea. You should be able to locate rate books in the local archives, or failing them (Staffordshire's archives are strangely divided up_ try the local studies library. Failing rate books, try electoral registers, which the foregoing reposotories should have too.

Alicia Batten 27/11/2007 21:26:43

I was adopted in Liverpool area Trying to find details of birth mother. Name Doris Irving. Think born in Cumberland last quarter of 1908.Have now come to a full stop. Any suggestions.?

It is possible Doris may have married after your adoption so check for any marriage for her after 1926. The adoption society may have more records of her as some kept in touch with the mothers for years afterwards. If she did marry then you'll have to check for deaths under the married name.

Carmel Baxter 20/07/2004 21:38:34

Oh dear- no question here

Karen Beach 27/07/2010 21:12:07

Hi Anthony, My family are originally from Scotland and Ive managed to trace my family tree back to about 1780 so far due to the diligence of the Scottish Records. However Im not sure how next to proceed, where as on the earlier records the birth or marriage certificates always showed the names of the parents but around 1807 the birth & marriage certs only show the name of who is getting married and the date. Is there any other way of finding out the parents and progressing further ? Thank you. Karen Nottingham.

I think you mean ‘on the later records’ – as records do get less informative before 1855, and many church registers don’t start until the mid 1700s. You may have reached the end of the line, but read up about the other sorts of Scottish record in a book (such as mine) and see if any of them might apply to your people.

Martin Beadnell 17/05/2005 21:16:24

Hi Anthony please could you give me some advice on how to find ancestors from Germany

The system’s pretty similar, only most records are held locally, and there are virtually no nationally held ones. Therefore, the archives of the town or the nearest town to the village where your family came from will hold most of what you will need. Ways of finding ancestral towns/villages include censuses, naturalisation records and the wills of the migrant generation.

Gordon Beaney 20/02/2007 20:52:49

Hi Anthony, My family came from St.Olave in Southwark and a number of my ancestors were buried at Nunhead Cemetery during the late 1800s and the early 1900s. They are in Public Graves but at least one of them had a Headstone as a family member had a photograph, I thought Public Graves had no Headstone. My question is, Can you get records from Undertakers to try and find details on their Burials. The two Undertakers names I have are: Knox Brothers & W Oden & Sons ltd. Also I am looking for suggestions for where my G G Grandfather (John Nye Beaney) who died in St. Olave Workhouse, Bermondsey in October 1877 would be buried. I have checked Burial Records for Nunhead Cemetery where other family members are buried but unfortunately he is not there. Any suggestions gratefully received. Kind Regards, Gordon Beaney

I too would have thought a public grave was likely to lack a gravestone, and indeed most do: perhaps one was erected much later. This might actually be detailed in the cemetery's own records. Besides considering tracking down and using local undertaker's records, you could also think about seeking those of local monumental masons. Ask at the local archives and see if any of either have been deposited. Local expertise (archiovists, or local historians) is also likely to tell you where people from the workhouse were buried.

Gordon Beaney 14/11/2006 21:07:34

Hi Anthony, I am trying to find information on my Great Uncle “William Elias Beaney” who Was killed in action on 13th November 1916 during WW1, He was a Private in the Royal Marine Light Infantry 1st R.M. Bn. R.N. Div. & Died during The Battle of the Somme, I have his Service No. CH/735(S) and his Medals that have been passed down in the family but I would like to find out more about his military life and his final days also how he died, I can not find his medal card index on the national archives website. Can you make any suggestions. Many Thanks, Gordon Beaney

There is a fairly good chance that William's army service records will have survived. These wil be much more detailed than his (missing) medal card. A useful address to contact is Royal Marines Historical Records and Medals, Centurion Building, Grange Road, Gosport, Hampshire, PO13 9XA, 023 9270 2126 -they may be able to help.

Gordon Beaney 19/09/2006 20:59:45

Hi Anthony, In my family tree I have 'William Down Beaney' he was born on 9th June 1810 in Charing, Kent his baptism lists just the mother and her name was Catherine Beaney, I looked through parish records and found a barstardy bond for Mr William Down to Catherine Beaney in respect of her son William Down Beaney therefore proving his father. My question is how do I find his mother Catherine Beaney marrying later in life due to the fact she was only 17 at the time of his birth? Kind Regards, Gordon Beaney

First, my apologies for this starting a quarter of an hour late. I have no idea why this is the case - some technical difficulties, no doubt. Thanks for your patience. You have been lucky finding a series of records all fitting together to tell a clear story. To find a subsequent marriage for Catherine, you can search in Michael Gandy's Kent Marriage Index 1813-1837 - 140 Hampden Way, Southgate, London, N14 5AX - contact him for fees

Gordon Beaney 19/09/2006 21:00:15

Hi Anthony, My Aunt Kathleen Rose Beaney died aged 3 days old from spinia bifida in the Luton & Dunstable Hospital, Beds in 1943 unfortunately nobody knows what happened to her body (My Grandmother was never told what happened to her), I have searched the records for all the cemeteries etc in and around her home town and the hospital does not have a burial ground so I wondered if you have any suggestions as to where to look next please? Kind Regards, Gordon Beaney

There is no short cut to searching cemetery records, but it sounds as if she may have gone to an existing family plot or somewhere where family were all buried - the same place as her grandparents, perhaps?

Dawn Beasley 15/05/2012 21:03:23

Hi Anthony. I hope that you may be able to help me. I have found the burial place of my husbands grandmother in St Andrews cemetery in Newcastle where she is buried with her father. On the headstone it says that Edith Maud Crawford died on 2nd January 1935 aged 38. Why can I not find this death in any of the records? Thank you. Dawn Crawford

That is puzzling! At least you have the date of death from the headstone. One possible solution here is that the gravestone is wrong, either in respect of her name (maybe she had been married, but the family used her maiden name) or vice versa, or perhaps the date or year is wrong (it may have been put up retrospectively, years afterwards), or the age. Another possibility - maybe she died at sea, or in Scotland, and was brought back to Newcastle (which is on the sea) to be buried. Try looking for a newspaper obituary - that might enlighten you.

Dawn Beasley 15/05/2012 21:11:10

Sorry, a 2nd question for you. My mum was born in 1924 to a single woman Dorothy Annie Skinner who already had 1 child. When Dorothy died of TB in Northfleet in 1932, my mum was put into an institution. Kent Archives are unable to locate her in the childrens homes in that area so I wondered if she would have gone into a workhouse? Were they still about in the early 30's and if so, where can I find information about who they admitted into them? Any help that you may be able to offer will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Workhouse admission records are also in the Kent archives, but actually the system as abolished in 1930: many continued, but as hospitals. I'm afraid that tracking down people in institutions is generally rather a hot-and-miss affair.

Dawn Beattie 23/08/2011 21:06:30

Im looking for family born in South Africe. My great uncle Peters grandmother was born in Pritoria South Africa in 1885. She came to England around 1920. Im also struggling to find her parents birth and marriage certificates from South Africa too. Where would you suggest i head for. Dawn

The records are all there, in South Africa, and specifically in your case in Pretoria. You can try contacting the archives there or employ a genealogist out there to search for you. I have good contacts if you want to do so via me.

Dawn Beattie 23/08/2011 21:35:32

Ill go through all my info and contact your email in next 2-3 days with it. Thank you Dawn

Thank you

Dawn Beattie 23/08/2011 21:28:39

Thanks Anthony, your help would be great Dawn

If you want to do this via my contacts, on a professional basis, please could you e-mail whatever details you have to me at Otherwise, as I said, you can try contacting the archives direct.

Dawn Beattie 16/11/2010 21:32:39

thanks Anthony, Im waiting for postman to deliver both certificates. Dawn

Well done!