Ask An Expert

Welcome to our web chat

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.

Search Ask an Expert


Questions already answered

Page 7 + 1 of 133

  1. «
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8
  10. 9
  11. 10
  12. »
Name Date
Linda Rose White 23/02/2010 21:36:10

Hi Anthony I looking for my 'Dunbar' ancesters who were residing in Dalderse Avenue, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, on the 1941 Scotish Census although they had be wrongly transcribed as Dembon. My problem is that two of their children Mary Ann c1831 and William c 1834 were born in Ireland and the younger two children were born in Grahamston, Falkirk, Scotland Katherine c 1836 and Ronald c1839. I have found Mary Ann's birth entry on the Army Births Overseas but cannot find any record of the three younger children's births nor their father's William, who according to his army records was born in St. Ninians c1791. I need to find these records so that I can find out William Snrs parents names and I was hoping that the children's birth records will give me their mother's Mary Ann's maiden name. She was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia c 1796. Was she a convict's child or the child of an army soldier and his wife?

You mean 1841, not 1941. Sadly, Irish records at this period would be unlikely to give you the mother's maiden name and Scottish ones are unlikely to either - though you can look. Of course, you could simply look for possible marriages of your soldier anyway - starting with the Army Marriages. I am afraid we have come up to time on tonight's session. Thank you all for some very interesting, intelligent and stimulating questions.

Linda Rose White 23/02/2010 21:13:38

Hi Anthony I have hit a complete brick wall as far as my paternal grandfather is concerned. His name was George Alfred White and her married my grandmother on 23rd May 1917 at St Luke's Church Camberwell, London. According to his marriage certificate his occupation was Head Porter and his father's name was also George Alfred White (occupation - General Foreman ) His age on the certificate was 35. The problem I have is that he was born in Canada and came over to Britain during WW1 trading horses to the army but that is all I know. My father also was George Alfred White and was born in 1919 Johns Street, Holborn. On my father's birth certificate his father's occupation was Horsekeeper. His father died when he was 11 c1929/30. I don't know where in Canada he was born and so cannot go through the route of checking the Canadian census'. Would he have needed permission to remain in Britain after the war and could I trace any personel details this way.

It would be worth seeing if George actually served in the Canadian or British armies in WW1, as in either event there may be surviving army records that would state where he was born. You could look for a naturalisation record, but I doubt a Canadian would have needed to, or bothered with, such a formality - he could have stayed here regardless. The 1901 Canadian census is online at, or at least was last time I checked.

Elly Whiffen 18/07/2006 21:26:20

i recently found out that my late ggranndad is buied with his brother in law how would i find if this is true and he was a gunner in the british army cant find his birth but i think this proves he was british doesnt it i have hes army number what would i be able to find out from that and where would i get information from

British Army records for the 1920's and before are at the National Archives. Here you should find out much about your family. If you know where the burials are supposed to have taken place, look at the relevant burial records and you will see who is buried with whom.

Janet Wheeler 18/03/2008 21:02:06

Hello Anthony, Have the records for St Johns Church, Stratford, West Ham 1840's been transcribed? Are they on line or where do I find them? Many thanks - Jan

I'm afraid that's too specific a question to ask, but I can tell you that there are copies of at least some of the registers for West Ham 1653-1847 at the Society of Genealogists.

Janet Wheeler 22/02/2011 21:03:18

Hi Anthony, Trying to locate non-conformist records for Lambeth, Stepney and Brixton areas ore 1837. Have date of birth of 1825 for a Sydney Austin Melhuish and know from his marriage that his father was John Robert Melhuish - a school master. Would love to be able to break this barrier and take my research further back. Any help much appreciated. Jan Melhuish

All the deposited Protestant nonconformist registers, pre- 1837, are in the National Archives in class RG4, and are now digitised at Failing that, try the local archives.

Elaine Wheatley 25/04/2006 21:17:08

Hello Antony.I have ancestors from Armagh, Northern Ireland and St Peter Port,Guernsey. Please can you tell me where I can find information online, as I have hit a brick wall. Many thanks Elaine

Principally in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland at 66 Balmoral Avenue, Belfast, BT9 6NY 028 9025 5905 and the record repositaries of Guernsey, particularly the General Register Office, Royal Court House, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 2PD 01481 725277

Janice Whalley 19/07/2005 21:21:58

we are having great trouble trying to locate birth,marriage and death of a john whalley from hockley in essex.Any information we have found has been on censuses only.We have had a search done by the general registry office in southport and they also cannot find anything of him!He is on the 1861,1881and the 1901 census so we can't understand why no other information can be found,thankyou for any help,janice

Much more probably exists. I would suggest doing your own searches for his vital records, in the General Register Office, using a reputable guide (I might humbly suggest my own book, 'Tracing your Family History' (Collins, ISBN 0-00-715892-0), which has detailed sections on this. Also remember variant spellings- Whalley could easily have been recorded Walley, Whaley and so on.

Christine Whaite 19/02/2008 21:07:55

Thomas Frederick Holmes was a Master Mariner born in St Helier Jersey in 1856. He was purported to have been lost at sea sometime around 1890, his wife remarried and had further children with her second husband before 1900. We would love to find out if he really did die at sea or whether this was just family heresay to cover up some other dastardly deed. Any clues where to start, we have exhausted all the normal channels. Christine Whaite for Michael Holmes

It depends on what acxtual channels you have tried, but the Deaths at Sea is one you could explore - on Records of merchant seamen are at The National Archives.

Denise Weyer 21/07/2009 21:30:21

Hi Anthony, I am having trouble finding my gt,gt,grandfather I know he died before 1880, it was on my gt,grandfathers marriage cert,I am stuck on both now as I dont know gt,Grandmothers name,my gt grandfather was born in London in 1861, can you help cheers Denise

I think you may be going wrong by not working back methodically. If you have the 1861 birth record, then next look for the parents' marriage. If not, seek the birth first. Censuses will help you gain further coordinates at each turn.

Denise Weyer 21/07/2009 21:59:03

Hi I have the marriage of my gt,grandfather but cant find any birth record,as I only have middlesex,london and nothing comes up anywhere thanks Denise

I suggest looking for this man's marriage record and then, if really stuck with his birth, try seeking the father in the censuses, or even seek his own marriage first. Thanks to you all for a very good series of questions tonight. Good luck with all those illegitimacies. I must stop now, as an hour's intensive question-answering is enough. Good luck!

Henry Westerman 21/02/2012 21:13:22

HI Anthony my grandmother name is Margaret Latham born about 1892 marred my grandfather Henry Boothin1913 in liverpool. Iam tring to find where she was born all i have is the marriage certificate and her father name is John Latham he was a Sailor has i am stuck on my grandmother side. thank you . Henry Westerman

Look for her and her father in the censuses. This will say where she was born,. Then, if it was in England and Wales, you can look in the indexes to these births, on this site. If you have done this and have not found her yet, try variants - Lathom, for example.

Susan West 22/02/2005 21:06:58

Hello Anthony, I have recently found out that my Grandfather changed his name from Reginald Gray to Robert McCormick around 1925.......How can I find out information on his first marriage and his children. I believe they lived in Lambeth and they had 10 children. But I don't know his wifes name. Am I hitting my head up against a brick wall? Many thanks Peter

It's a bizarre change of name - I wonder what motivated it. As you know the original name, there's nothing to stop you seeking his original marriage and the births of his first set of children in General Registration. As with the previous question, some patient and steady searching will be required, but the records should be there, all the same.

Helen West 20/07/2004 21:16:21

hell0 what is the best way of getting started i dont seem to have much to go on would my late father who has been dead for 20 years show up his name as i have put his information in and nothing shwes up he was d ivorced fom my mother over 60 years he was i the R a f thank you helen

It's a shame your father's name isn't in GenesReunited (aprt from on your page, of course). The best advice I can give actually is to read the last question and answer, as these also concern a beginner. There's lots on record so you should be able to find your father's marriage and birth records and then start tracing back further.

Little Welshy 24/04/2007 21:00:41

Dear Anthony, Hello and thank you in advance for any help you may be able to provide. I have been trying to research my Binnersley family ancestors in Shropshire (Shifnal area in the main) 1: I was wondering if you had come across this family name or it’s possible derivation from the surname Billingsley? 2: One of these Binnersley ancestors of mine b 1907 was in Shelton Mental Hospital (nr Shrewsbury –and formally Bicton Heath Lunatic Asylum) from the mid 40s. His mother signed him into the institution and bar a brief escape in the 50s to the family home my grandfather never saw him again (this man was his uncle). I’ve found it hard locating a death entry for him and Shelton Hospital have informed me both by telephone and letter that the records kept on this patient have been destroyed in accordance with NHS regulations. Shropshire County Records Office also seem to have no records of admissions or discharges for Shelton only a large bundle of papers that need sorting through. (I was told this by email) Could you please advise? I am still hopeful that something that might turn up but do appreciate the 100 year rule and that Shropshire, as a county, adheres to this very closely. I have thought about provisions under FOI and also that it might be best to get my grandfather to become more ‘active’ in terms of signing letters as it was his uncle. I realise the need to prove the link and have all certs ordered. Thank you ever so much, Claire

I have not come across the surname before - it is presumably a locative surname, derived from a place - maybe there is a small place called Binnersley, or it may be a variant of something else. It doesn't sound similar enough to Billingsley to make that suggestion convincing - Barnslel, perhaps? As to the luncatic assylum records, maybe you should volunteer to sort out the papers yourself - provided, of course, the task does not drive you mad!

Julie Welsh 21/07/2009 21:09:03

hello anthony i amfining it hard to the right date of birth of my great great great great great grandfather joseph garrett i had the date 1764 and i found him with a diffrent date of birth i hope you can help me julie

Ages can be stated differently in different records. When stuck in a case like this, learn what other records you may be able to use to learn more about the people concerned. By studying them more closely, you can often work out whether a baptism you have found fits the right person. NB: you have probably found a baptism, not a birth, so don't forget that baptisms did not always take place as soon as children were born.

June Wellsman 18/06/2013 21:12:34


I think this relates to a previous question which I have already answered. As I said, Stepney and St Pancras are different parts of London.

June Wellsman 18/06/2013 21:08:21


St Pancras and Stepney are very different and distinct parts of London. Based on what you know already you could seek the Harveys in the censuses (starting with 1891, in which Elizabeth should be about seven) and you can seek the marriage of her parents. You can do all this using the records indexed on this website, Genes Reunited.

Linda Wells 19/08/2008 21:16:10

Hi Anthony, Can you please tell my why the census does not give the wifes maiden name. best wishes lynn

Census records were compiled to compile statistical information on who was alive at the time: there was no thought of rtheir providing long-lasting genealogical information. Frustratingly, there still isn't!

Linda Wells 11/11/2008 21:11:14

Hi Anthony. I've found out that my g grandfather joined the west riding regiment and was posted to Halifax NS where he met and married my g grand mother Alice Heyson on the 1 August 1889 before being posted to Jamica where my g uncle was born in 1891, g grandad brought the family back to England to live in 1891-92, what I would like to know would Alice have to had papers to enter the country,by the the way my g grandads name was William Wells if it helps. thanks lynn

This question shows the sort of scenario that I was hinting at in the last answer. The army created an extraordinarily international dimension to many ‘ordinary’ families’ histories in the 19th century. As to this question, no, as the wife of a British subject (soldier or not) Alice would have had no impediment to entering Britain (Jamaica was British then anyway) and no papers would have been expected or deposited.

Ian Welford 15/06/2010 21:32:15

William Stokes who was married to Pricilla Stokes (not sure of maiden name) had a son James stokes around 1890 who worked as docker. Have looked on censors

Good - thanks. Well, you should be able to find this family in the censuses, not least as Priscilla had a nice, fairly unusual name. The two next steps, would be to seek the marriage of James Stokes, as this will confirm his father's name and occupation, and then seek the birth of James himself, in the approximate year suggested by the censuses and confirmed by his marriage record, and in the place indicated by the censuses. This birth record will state Priscilla's maiden name, and then you can seek their marriage. Please don't be tempted to cut corners - seek James's marriage and obtain the certificate before anything else. Tracing a family line properly is a difficult business with a popular surname like Stokes, and you cannot afford to miss out the important pieces of evidence that you can pick up along the way.