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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
sandra williams 20/09/2011 21:32:45

i am awaiting his death cert. should be here tomorrow how could i find out if they had children?

The death record may show that the informant was a child of his. The birth indexes after 1911 are arranged in such a way that you can look up children surnamed Wright with a mother of the right maiden name, so you could make a useful search on that basis.

sandra williams 20/09/2011 21:07:45

hi i have been looking for my long lost auntie and need advice. her name is gloria may williams born in 1923 in braunton north devon i have her marriage cert which says she married a john dennis stanley wright in east sheen surrey in 1943, i also have found a death cert for john in 1994 still in surrey i cannot find a death cert for gloria .i have tried looking for children but no luck and no other marriages. my dad died in 2005 and i am determined to find out what happened to her

This lady may have died recently, as only the deaths up to 2006 are indexed online. The later ones can be searched on microfiche, as in the old days, at a very small number of archives, including the London Metropolitan Archives. It is a chink in the glittering armour of computerisation! If she is still alive, she may be in the telephone directories, but if she is in a home, then she may be very hard indeed to trace: you could try contacting whoever was the informant on John's death record, or contacting people living at the address given for him (or neighbours) - or see if he left a will, identifying relatives, who may be contactable.

sandra williams 20/09/2011 21:09:31

sorry i also cannot find a birth cert for john but i know his father and grandfather were both named william george wright

.... PREVIOUS ANSWER, CONTINUED --- what I was attempting to write there was that a vast number of people in the Lewes area were nonconformists at the time. You could, in any case, seek likely marriages, deaths/burials and even a will for William the shoemaker (I presume you meant that his father was William Verrall, not William Pelham). If completely stuck, you could try simply putting together a pedigree of all the Verralls of the Lewes area, and eventually this exercise should show you how your Edwin really fitted in. NEW QUESTION.... I appreciate the problem here, but I'd need a bit more detail (places, dates, etc) to be able to offer any sensible ideas. Please tell me a bit more.

sandra williams 20/09/2011 21:49:56

thankyou anthony, thanks for your help

My pleasure.

amanda willcocks 17/01/2012 22:02:41

How can I find my fathers war record? He was born 18 may 1922 Jack R Willcocks - he learned italian during the war so he must have been posted there. He said that he was a rear bomber in the RAF but that he was in ENSA the entertainment corp. My mum said that he was kicked our for LMF (lack of moral fibre). They have both passed on and were divorced years before that. Every November 11th he used to put on a suit and lots of medals but i have no idea from where these medals came. I would also like to find his fathers WW1 records. He was born in 1995 June and also called Jack Willcocks and apparently flew and was in the RAF. I dont know if this is true or not but I would really like to find out both my father's and my grandfather's war record if at all possible please please advise!!! Thank you!!

If you can prove you are the next of kin of a deceased serviceman you can contact the RAF Personnel and Training Command, Branch PG 5a(2) (for officers) and P Man 2b(1) (for non-officers), RAF Innsworth, Gloucestershire, GL3 1EZ. Those for the Fleet Air Arm are at the Ministry of Defence, CS(R)2, Bourne Avenue, Hayes, Middlesex, UB3 1FR.

amanda willcocks 17/01/2012 21:48:27

Hi, both my grandparents were jewish and came from a village just outside Kiev, Ukraine, arriving UK i think about 1906 (she came with her sister) and they married i think in 1912. I know my mum told me that they changed their names to Rabinovitch and I know that she told me that their original name was Dermonivitch (although I dont know how to spell this correctly!!). I have found my mums (and dads) marriage certificate but of course this is under his name and her changed surname which was rabinovitch. I have found marriage certs for both her sisters but all under rabinovitch. There are no birth certs for my mother or her 2 sisters gene and helen. I have no idea what my mum's mother's maiden name was! Also I know that my mum told me that my grandmothers mother died when she (her mother) was only 3 and she was raised by a cruel step mum in the Ukraine. How can I possibly trace this line of the family please? Without knowing my grandmothers maiden name it seems hopeless. I am sure she told me it was dernanovitch and that they changed it because they thought the english would be able to spell rabinovitch more easily!! I also know that she told me that during WW11, my maternal grandparents had to go to the police station, reporting weekly as 'desirable aliens' being ukrainian. So I dont know when they became naturalised. I know they lived in the east end of london, my mum told me within the sound of bow bells (as did many jewish immigrants). I also know that Rabbi Lionel Blue (celebrity rabbi who did a lot of tv and radio broadcasts) lived next door to my mum when they were children and was raised mainly by my grandmother. esther... my mum was born in 1925 called hetty. So I have looked for my mother's parents marriage certificate - him being henry 'dermanovitch' and she being esther and married 1912 and nothing.... obviously they probably didnt spell it henry and dermanovitch brings nothing at all so must be a different spelling or recorded differently....! I have found my grandparents death certificates, he in 1958 and she in 1961 but it is all under the name of rabinovitch which is not the original name as I said. Can you help please.... I dont know how to progress - I am sure lots of jewish descendants have the same problems as myself....!! Phew thankyou... please help if you can!!

Yes, these are common problems. Naturalisations are at The National Archives and you can search by name on their on-line catalogue (you can narrow the field by using the reference for naturalisations, HO 1). You can search for information about Jewish communities in the Ukraine at, and join the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain to benefit from the help and advice of other members.

Steven Wilkinson 19/07/2005 21:08:29

Anthony, I cannot find my g-grandfather Arthur James Wilkinson prior to the 1891 census. On his marriage cert (1889, the earliest point in history I have him) his father is also Arthur James Wilkinson, described as a correspondent. He is also untraceable on all censuses and civil registration. The younger Arthur appears to have been a groom early on in his life. It's confusing because on the two two censuses I have for the younger, he gave varying locations for his place of birth (i.e. Devon, 1891 & Drayton, Berks, 1901). Do you have any suggestions of other sources I could look at that will yield more information? Many thanks Steven Wilkinson

How very odd. A correspondent was, presumably, one who worked for a newspaper or magazine sending letters or reports for publication. This would suggest a (somewhat) higher social if not in reality economic level than a family likely to produce grooms, but of course there were always exceptions. Why not, as a suggestion, simply seek possible births for Arthur James Wilkinson in both Devon and Drayton, Bucks in General Registration. Hopefully you will find a birth with the right father's name in one place and not the other. Bear in mind, as I've said before tonight, that at that stage many people went abroad for periods, as soldiers, sailors, colonial officials and - indeed- correspondents for newspapers.

Steven Wilkinson 22/02/2005 21:39:44

Hello again Anthony It seems my last question was badly worded and hence misinterpreted. I was actually asking how I could obtain obituaries for my ancestors (myself being the amateur genealogist). Thanks again and sorry about the confusion.

I see: local newspapers would be the best answer, in local libraries, or at the British Library Newspaper Library, Colindale Avenue, Colindale, London NW9 5HE, 0207 412 7353, British Library Newspaper Library

Steven Wilkinson 22/02/2005 21:04:10

Hello Which is the best way to obtain an obituary for someone who is an armchair genealogist? Also, which websites are best for online searching of the 1871 and 1891 censuses? I have tried using the site but not been able to access the records as a Mastercard / Visa is required. Thank you

Oddly enough, there is no obvious place to seek an obituary for genealogists - journals and magazines of family history socieities and the Society of Genealogists sometimes notices the deaths of members, but that's about it. It seems like a glaring gap. The fact that some censuses are available on-line, fully indexed, is an absolutely massive step forward, saving a vast amount of time and money in record searching. If you haven't a credit card to access the records, I suggest talking nicely to someone who has.

Patricia Wilkinson 16/09/2008 21:11:11

Hello Anthony, Another question, If I need to search for someones burial or cremation, I am stuck at finding which London cemetery they are in. There appears to be charges for searches, is there a place or site that lists deaths at the cemetries, I need to search from the 1980's onwards. Thanks again, Pat B

No: you need to search each individual cemetery, but most people were taken to the one nearest their homes: a shortcut would be to see if the funeral was reported in a local paper, as such a report would probably then say where the body was taken.

Patricia Wilkinson 16/09/2008 21:03:22

Hello Anthony, I have tried various ways to find out about my grandfather's brothers family. James Albert Wilkinson married Rosa Hurr in 1909, they had a daughter Hilda Marion Wilkinson 16 Jan 1910, which I have the birth cert, with the address in East Ham. However, I am at a loss to find any marriage or death of Hilda or death of Rosa. I have looked at Service records and some overseas info, but nothing shows up. Where could I look next please? Many thanks. Pat B

You can actually order the General Registration records on microfilm and search them yourself at any Mormon Family History Centre. Widening the search parameters as far as possible is sensible. Edward's birth may not have been registered, in which case his baptism record would be a good substitute: you would need to know where he was born and your question suggests that you have a good idea of this.

Pamela Wilkins 20/09/2005 20:58:54

I have two birth certs of the first two children of ROBERT SMITH, all details are correct, names address Fathers name & occupation. The mothers name is given as JANE SMITH formerly JANE FISHER. I have a marriage cert of ROBERT SMITH's marriage 19 months before the 1st child was born. Roberts details are correct and so are his fathers. The bride is given as JANE WHINHAM. the marriage was in 1844. I cannot find a death of JANE WHINHAM 'nor a marriage between Robert and JANE FISHER. Can you suggest what I do next or suggest an explanation. Many thanks Pam Vowles

Robert Smith is such a popular name that I doubt you can be completely sure the one who married Miss Whinham is the same as the one who married Jane Fisher. I should extend the search for his marriage to Jane Fisher right back to 1837, and even further if necessary using parish registers. If you cannot find an alternative marriage and are becoming convinced that these two women were one and the same (which I doubt) try building up the fullest possible picture of the family that you can using census returns and then see how your hypothesis looks.

Kathleen Wilding 23/08/2005 21:16:46

I'm trying to find information re my grandmother. Her mother gave birth to siblings in the workhouse in Thomastown, Kilkenny, Ireland. My grandmother came to England approx 1894 and worked in service, her brother also came to England and lived with relatives in Manchester. I can't find any record of my grandmother other than in the 1901 census which says she was born in Manchester. Do you have any suggestions as to how/where I might find a record of her birth, etc? Thanks

The census will say how old your grandmother was, and you can then seek her birth record in Irish General Registration (Registrar General at Joyce House, 8-11 Lombard Street, Dublin 2, code 00 353 1635 40000, Don't be put off by the fact that many Irish immigrants gave false mainland places of birth - fear of deportation was rife (sounds uncannily similar to modern times, doesn't it?)

Andrea Wildes 20/09/2005 21:05:48

Good morning from New Zealand My 3xGGrandfather married in the parish of Ipstones in November 1851. His father (William Eplett) is noted to be a surgeon. William was not a witness to his son’s marriage. I am having no luck in finding any other record of William, including the 1857 medical directory. I will be coming to England shortly to continue researching the Eplett (many spellings!) family, so would appreciate your advice on progressing this. Also, could you explain the difference between marriage by Banns, License and Certificate, which apply to marriages in England. Many thanks. Andrea Wildes

Good evening from London. First: Marriage licenses and banns were two means used to facilitate a wedding. Banns, declaring a couple’s intention to marry, could be read on three successive Sundays in the churches of both parties’ home parishes. If nobody came up with a reason why the marriage should go ahead (ie one party was already married, or the couple were too closely related), then it could. More discrete, and thus preferred by the wealthy, those with social pretensions, those in too much of a hurry to wait three weeks- and a host of other reasons- was a license, issued by a church court. A marriage allegation was made, in which the parties declared their intention to marry and a bond was taken out, specifying the fine payable if it was found that the couple were breaking the rules. Then, a license was issued, which the couple presented to the clergyman they wanted to conduct the ceremony. Most licenses have been thrown away, so what tend to survive in are the bond and allegation As to surgeons - if your man was alive in 1852 but not in an 1857 medical directory, then he'd probably died or retired, so seek his death and will in the intervening period. He should be in earlier medical directories and these will lead you to his place(s) of training, where you may well find details of his paternity.

Andrea Wildes 28/08/2007 21:02:08

Hi Antony I have two Cornish maidens in my maternal line who married soldiers based in Cornwall in 1794 and 1799. The two militias were the Monmouthshire and the Worcestershire. I have looked at websites for both regiments and neither gives information as to why they were in Cornwall at this time (I assume it was a jumping off spot for the Peninsular War). Indeed, neither mentions being in Cornwall at all. I doubt I would find records for the soldiers, but I would be interested in tracing where the militias, the soldiers (and presumably the wives) went next. Any suggestions? I live in New Zealand so research needs to be "distance friendly"! Regards Andrea

The main soldiers' service records go back as far enough to provide good coverage of the 1790s, so you should find quite a lot about these two men at The National Archives. Most regiments and militias have written histories, and the best place to seek these is the Imperial War Museum. The maidens' ancestry should be quite easily uncovered through the Cornish parish registers. I appreciate your desire for research to be 'distance friendly', but the fact is that the records are here, not there, so if you don't want to jet all the way across the world to do the work yourself then employing a genealogist or record agent to do some digging is a pretty reasonable option.

Margaret Wilburn 14/06/2005 21:22:14

Annie Elizabeth or Elizabeth WILBURN nee ANDERSON ANDERSON Annie Elizabeth/Annie/Elizabeth-Born 1898c – father Fred occupation Platelayer. 1901 census - possibly a family from Grimsby and one of six children no mention of a mother? Annie Elizabeth WILBURN had two sons born Dec 1930 and March 1933 in Rickmansworth Herts. On 13 July 1942 this lady (now a widow) married Walter Richardson aged 55 widower from Tattershall, Lincs. She only used the name Elizabeth formerly Wilburn aged 44 and now resident in Tattershall. I have a copy of the sons birth certificates amended by the Sup Registrar in 1945 to father Walter Richardson from Tattershall. No mention of an adoption but I am certain that I did see these names in the adoption register at the FRC. My problem is WHO WAS THE - WILBURN that she married? The icing on the cake if date of death known. Any help appreciated to enable me to identify this WILBURN family. I also have her second marriage certificate and I have checked the electoral rolls at all address given and this family never appeared. I have also searched within reason 1837. Thank you. Margaret

I'm not quite sure that I follow your notes correctly, but if I do then to find out who the Mr Wilburn whom Annie married was, all you would need to do would be to examine one of their sons' birth certificates.

Margaret Wilburn 23/11/2004 21:13:07

Good Evening Anthony, I was very surprised last week to receive copies of two birth certificates for birth dates of 1931/1933 and found that the surname had been changed by the registrar at a later date 1945. Column 8 says “ 24th March 1945 on the authority of the Registrar General". The people were born to a single mother and she later married the father and the certificates have been changed, the fathers name added. The children now show the new surname of their father. No mention of an adoption. Is this a normal procedure? Are there any other circumstances where a certificate gets changed? It certainly has explained why I have not been able to trace these people further until now. Look forward to your comments. Very many thanks for such an excellent service.Thank you. Margaret Newman

This phenomena certainly happened. It's lucky for you that you have found the answer - not knowing half the equation could have made your task very difficult.

Margaret Wilburn 20/07/2004 21:10:13

Good Evening Anthony,My Step Father married my mother Rose Eliza Caroline Wilburn after I was born. His name William Rogers (Widower age 53years) ‘Street Orderly’ for the Met Borough Council Lnd He lived in East Street Holborn and on the electoral roll up to 1933 a lady lived at the same address named Ann (presume wife). I have not been able to trace her death at Middleton Place. Ann may not of been her first name. 1 June 1940 he married my mother Rose Eliza Caroline Wilburn at Holborn Reg Office. His fathers name was down as Charles Alfred Rogers decd ‘Market Porter’.I have not found one Charles Alfred I have searched and listed the IGI for Rogers in both London and Middx but cannot trace C.A. Please do you have any idea’s where I go from here as this is a common name. Thank you.

It depend what you are trying to achieve. Either way, the IGI is unlikely to come far enough forward to be any help to you. There must be hundred and hundreds of Ann(e) Rogers deaths registered in the period around 1933 (bear in mind that the electoral registers were generally out of date by the time they were printed- Ann may already have died by then. Equally, she may have left him in 1932/3 and only died later- actually, if she survived until 1940, dying that year and thus leaving the way open for William to marry your mother.

Margaret Wilburn 28/09/2004 21:00:13

I have been trying to piece together ‘The Life and Times’ of my mother. I have a gap in the information due to world war II - I understand that she was living in Holborn at the start of the war. I was unable to put a trace on her again until the death of her husband 1954 at Epping. Then another gap until I traced her death in Norfolk in 1972. I used the electoral registers to build on her history but there were not any during the war years. Any ideas please on how I could trace her life during the war period. She was 38 at the time of the war married with no children so she may have worked in a factory? Very many thanks Margaret

You have done very well to get so far: there will not necessarily be any records detailed enough to state your mother's whereabouts during these two gaps, unless she was paying rates (in which case see local rate books) if her husband was the rate payer, she may simply not exist on paper for those periods. As to factory workers, you could use local street/residential/trade directories (in local studies libraries or country record offices) to see what factories there were in the place where she lived (could be Catch-22 there, but there you go) and see if records of their employees survived, either with the factories if they are still there, or if not at the local archives. Frankly, it's unlikely, but I admire your persistence and hope that, in your case, you will be rewarded by some suitable surviving documents.

Janice Widdowson 18/01/2005 21:03:43

I'm fairly new to family history so am hoping you have an easy few options tfor me. Doing my husbands family tree. His grandfather Daniel Emery born Torquay in 1874. Married 1894 in Barnstaple. Several children all born in Barnstaple area, including my husband's father, born 1903. Whole family moved to Walthamstow London, but at some time Daniel left the family. I cannot find out what happened to him, i.e cant find death cert. Any ideas where I can look for someone who disappeared?

Maybe Daniel joined the armed forced, or left to get married (or both). The First World War was looming, so why not search for him in the WW1 army service papers and medal rolls at the National Archives? You could also see if his father left a will: if so, this may state where Daniel was at the time. As a general point, don't forget we ran half the world at the time: many people went off to cultivate, build in or garrison the many countries that belonged to the British Empire, so people 'disappearing' from their places of birth should not be too surprising.