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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
Edwin Russell 21/08/2012 21:26:19

My GT GT Grandad Luther Russell b1802 d1842 buried at Swanscombe Kent married Esther Homewood 30 april 1826 at Ifield Kent 1841 cesus Swanscombe Sutton At Hone he was calling him self RELUTHER he was not born in Kent the rest of the family were he had 9 children one born after his death Can not find where he was born he was a Wheelwright . 1841census living next door Catherine Russell widow age 50 born in kent with two children she was wed to William Russell b1782[dont no where] d1833 age 51 could be uncle or brother to Reluther he was a Wheelwright he had 14 children baptised at st Peter and St Paul Swanscombe can you HELP please to find birth place Thank You Edwin

Yes, it really does say, in very nice, clear handwritiing, 'Reluther'. I see there is another one in the 1841 census, too, born about 1828. You could see if he presented a settlement certificate to the churchwardens when he arrived in Swanscombe, and see if his baptism appears elsewhere - have a look in The vast majority of people on the north coast of Kent, who were not Kentish, were from London or Essex - there was lots of to-ing and fro-ing, but of course some were incomers, off ships from practically anywhere, so you may have your work cut out.. Following up the family of the Russells next door is a perfectly sensible and viable option.

Steve Mason 21/08/2012 21:24:10

hi there iv hit a brick wall in my family tree , im trying to trace my great aunt mary elizabeth gould who married a arthur bowen in 1935 in west hame , they had two children , but after this i cant find my greta aunts death nor can i find her chirldrens births or marriages . in west ham my great aunts parents were mary elizabeth and henry thomas gould from wirksworth derbsyhire

You say you cannot find these things in West Ham- you may need to widen the parameters of your search a little, as of course they may have moved elsewhere. Not being able to find the births at all is odd - presumably you are relying on family knowledge for the existence of these children. If born before the 1935 marriage they would of course be under Gould, not Bowen. As to this lady's death, one reason for not being able to find a woman's death if she married, and changed her name, again (or several times!). You could seek Arthur's death, and then see if Mary remarried.

Marcelle Kenyon 21/08/2012 21:11:41

Hello Anthony, After going down the wrong road, again with my fathers side of the family (Kohler) im finally on the right track. My great grandfather Frederick Joseph Kohler born 1868 I beleive in cologne, germany married in westminster in 1899 to a annie florence wood. I cannot find any trace of his birth in germany, have tried many options, but I think he came over with his brother william in 1891 on a ship called the scandia, captains name was Kopff. It was bound for america, but assume they didnt get that far. Have you any advice on how I can trace his birth, I do know his father was also called william, but william and frederick are extremely popular names in germany. Thankyou Marcelle

My ancestors come from near Cologne as well. You can look for Frederick and his brother in the censuses (1891, 1901 and 1911 ), see if they were naturalised (records at The National Archives and searchable under reference HO1 on their on-line catalogue), see if either left wills mentioning relatives back home (my family did), and even see where they lived here, as sometimes immigrants named their houses after their places of origin. Failing that, using modern telephone directories to see where Kohlers live now in the Cologne area, and start searching those parishes, one by one.

Linda Minter 21/08/2012 21:10:35

Further to my previous question regarding Charles Frederick Minter, his marriage certificate shows him to be 'now engaged in war service' in 1942. I have no information regarding which regiment etc and wondered how I could trace him through his army records - the world war 2 records are not very comprehensive?

I haven't had an earlier question about a Charles Minter this evening - if it was from a previous session you'd need to remind me of the salient facts. For this question, you can look him up in the published army, navy and air force lists if he was an officer, and for any serviceman you can ask the relevant MOD archive: you'd need to prove you are the next of kin, and that Mr Minter is deceased. Best start with the army - Ministry of Defence, Historical Disclosure, Mail Point 400, Kentigern House, 65 Brown Street, Glasgow, G2 8EX 0141 224 3030.

Sue Key 21/08/2012 21:10:35

Hi Anthony, Can you solve a puzzle! I have the marriage certificate of my great grand parents Sarah Ann Woolley and William Taylor St Peter's Church Belper 1st September 1902, Sarah Ann is 23 and William 20! Her father is listed as Edwin Woolley labourer deceased! I am not sure if he is dead or alive at the time of their wedding I cannot find him anywhere. A contact on another website claims he is alive at the time of the wedding, and married to a Sarah. Last night I came across a Edwin Woolley deceased in 1901, not sure if this is the same guy. Family rumours claimed he was born in Leicester and was in fact called Frederick!! There are so many Woolleys I am not sure which is the correct one, and even more Taylors! I do know my grandfather was from the Belper, Derbyshire area ! thanks Sue

If the marriage record states that Edwin Woolley was dead, then it would be rather extraordinary - though not of course impossible - if he was in fact alive. Your problem stems from not knowing very much about him. Obtain his daughter's birth record, and then his own marriage record, and seek him in each census. Then you will have a good idea of his age. You can then check deaths of Edwin Woolleys in the area where he lived, first before 1902, and then, if no joy, after, or you could check the burial record of the parish where he lived - often a useful short-cut in the case of common names (but Edwin should not be too common).

Rosemary Hilton 21/08/2012 21:09:25

Hi Anthony My ancestors are from Lancashire. Through the Genes Reunited, Lancashire Parish Clerks and the Family Search Organisation sites I have got back to a Thomas Hilton who was married at Prestwich in 1738 to Esther Booth but I can't find a baptismal record for Thomas that seems authentic. Please could you suggest any other web sites I could try or any other avenues of research. Thanks Rosemary

You are right to be cautious. I'd advise checking the line back to Thomas very thoroughly in the original parish registers (in Lancashire Record Office) and do bear in mind that is only an index, and an incomplete one at that. To go back further with Thomas, you should spend some time learning about him and his immediate family - what he did for a living, when he was buried and how old he was then, whether he left a will, whether he is in the parish chest material (as a pauper, or parish official, or whatever), and of course what names he gave his children. The more you lean about him the better you will be able to work out which of several possible baptisms might be his.

Allan Brooker 21/08/2012 21:08:44

Allan Brooker 21/8/2012 Hello Anthony, I have an uncle who joined the army in 1885 and served in the boar war and the burmese wars ,left the army about 1902/3. Would he have received a pension and would it have stoped at his death or would his wife continue to receive it . and where would I find out this?

Yes, he would have received a pension. Pension records are one of the main categories of service records at The National Archives, and you could seek his papers there and learn a lot more about him: it will give you at least the dates for when he served in the Boer and Anglo-Burmese Wars.

Colin Cross 21/08/2012 21:06:12

Hi Anthony a family friend his surname is Spickernell and he has been told that the Spickernells came to England with the Normans.Also he was told that they had a connection with the seal of the kings writ. Do you know anything about this. regards Colin Cross

The surname is from the Middle English spigurnel, meaning 'sealer of writs'. That is what an ancestor of yours is likely to have done in the early Middle Ages. It implies no connections with kings or Normans, I'm afraid, but it should be a lovely family to research and trace back, as it is such an unusual and distinctive surname. .

Linda Minter 21/08/2012 21:05:41

The marriage certificate and the death certificate identify my father as Charles Frederick Minter and that his year of birth was about 1905. I was told by my mother that he was a Londoner although she knew no other information about his past. On looking for the birth record I can only find one Charles Frederick Minter in London but the year of birth was 1901. I have tried using the name of Frederick Charles and also just Charles but with no matches. Can you help please

The questions are coming to me in a jumbled order, so this, the earlier one of your pair, has only just appeared! The ages given in later life may have been wrong: how many such men appear in the 1911 census? Can you find an alternative fate for the 1901 Charles? Maybe your 1901 Charles was actually born elsewhere, such as in Scotland or Ireland - or India - or is in the Army Births, and was then brought to London as a young child - but in that case the 1911 census should still pick him up. If in great doubt, you could trace a close relative of the 1905 Charles, such as a nephew, or niece, and have a comparative DNA test with them (a Family Finder test at

Irene Deadman 21/08/2012 21:05:33

Hello Anthony, I am researching my ancestors-the Parris family, and with help from a Genes Reunited Member, have traced back from my Gt Grandmother Elizabeth Ada Parris (born 1872 in Fletching, Sussex) to my Gt x 10 Grandfather Thomas Parris (born 1597 in Framfield, Sussex). However, I have also been given further information that previous ancestors arrived at Rye Harbour in 1546 from France, on a ship named "Trepetit". They where Conttin Parries, his wife and two sons, they where Huguenots. I have tried to find out more about them, and the ship they arrived on without success. Have you any idea as to where I might find any information, would also like to find out what part of France the ship sailed from. Many thanks, Irene

How interesting: it is possible. You will want to use the many publications of the Huguenot Society - these people should be listed.

Alfred Jones 21/08/2012 21:03:32

I require a service record for Rowland James HILL No.91117 R.F.A. born 16/12/1892 who lost a leg in France bel 1915 - where can I obtain this & how much will it cost me. Thank you

They are at The National Archives and are searchable on the website, or you can hire me privately to search for you ( Be warned that about half of the records have been destroyed, but in such cases you can look for a medal card (also at The National Archives), which gives a few scant details.

Leslie Young 21/08/2012 21:01:50

Hello Anthony, I have been researching my wifes family tree for over 10 years, I have managed to get back to 1750, and about 500 people I have no problem going backwards or sideways, my problem is that I now want to find my wifes Mother b. 1932 Plymouth. I know that she married in 1956 in Havordsfordwest Wales when she was a NAFFI assistant ( I have cert and tracked down husbands family, he died in 1983, they said that they had split up after about 3 years but never divorced) ,after this there is no trace of her in the BMD or electoral rolls under either her married or maiden name. We even employed Peopletracer but they were unable to find her. I have also researched on Scotlandspeople website as her husband was Scotish. I have drawn a blank, do you have any ideas on how to find her or trace her movements over the decades?

You must be an unusual man in actually wanting to find your mother-in-law! I am afraid I have no panacea to help you here, though, as your enquiry is really a 'missing persons' one, and you have described a scenario here in which this lady's whereabouts is unknown both to her daughter and to her ex-husband. However, is it a given that her whereabouts would be unknown to any of her own blood relatives. Did she have any siblings, for example, or nephews and nieces? .You never know - one of them may have heard from her. You can also try this: - which will do no more than confirm whether she is alive - but that should help.

Mary Hart 17/07/2012 23:01:27

Also meant to ask about Ellen Gribben birth her correct birth date is 1856 but in the census i have 1851/ 1861/ 1857/ 1858/ 1859/ 1856, why would this be

It's not unusual to find such discrepancies in ages, given in the censuses. Sometimes, the people themselves got confused (I'm 44, but approaching my 45th birthday, so have started thinking of myself as 45, and sometimes have to think hard about how hard I really am!). Also, often, it was someone else in the family giving the information, and they could of course make all sorts of mistakes. Do remember that many people were illiterate then, so had nothing written down, and could easily get things wrong.

Jan Seymour 17/07/2012 21:57:27

Thank you Anthony, I'll try your suggestions. I have another query: my uncle William Burrage moved to Malta about 40 years ago. The family hasn't heard from him since then and I presume he has died there.Where do I find out about Maltese death records?

And good luck with it! Maltese records are on Malta - you'd be wanting the registrar of births, marriages and deaths. I cannot give you any precise addresses, but you may well find them on

Mary Hart 17/07/2012 21:45:25

I have quite a number of gribben and also a number of gribbin who seem to be the same people it changes in the census should I change it to one of the names because it gets very confusing. thank you mary

You want to keep a record of exactly how each person's name is spelled in each records you use to piece your family tree together. For the purposes of presenting a clear family tree, it is perfectly acceptable to chose the prevalent spelling, or the one which finally ended up being used, and applying that to all. Having said that, for this website, it may behove you to use the different spellings that crop up for different people in your tree, as then there is more chance of someone searching for your family under a variant spelling to pick up on your presence on the site.

jill earl 17/07/2012 21:37:59

I am trying to find out the date of birth and death of mylate father and having problems

Please tell me a bit more detail

Kathryn Bumford 17/07/2012 21:36:15

One of the children in this family was my grandfather. I have tried to find his birth record but no luck. There are just too many Bumfords! Also first name is very common.

Ah well, maybe this is linked to the same problem - and now you've told me what the surname was. Try writing Bumford in loopy handwriting: you will see quickly how many different interpretations of the penstrokes are possible, by nineteenth century clerks and modern indexers alike. Bamford, Burnford, Bunford... .

Jan Seymour 17/07/2012 21:35:01

Hello Anthony, Through each generation over the past two centuries, (on my mother's side), we have been told that we are descended from Henry Fielding. the novelist. I have traced back as far as William Henry Fielding, born 1812 in London, but cannot prove that he is the son of Henry Fielding's son, William, born 1748. How do I find the relevant information to bridge this gap? Jan Harrold

It's an appealing story, and may of course be correct, or partially correct (maybe you are actually descended from a cousin of the novelist), or completely wrong (once one person tells a story, of course it gets repeated, and Henry Fielding's continued fame ensures the story would not be forgotten). You could approach this by seeking your ancestor William's baptism in London, assiduously - the censuses should indicate exactly where to look - and you could also seek wills for members of Henry's immediate family, to see if they refer to your William. Good luck!

Kathryn Bumford 17/07/2012 21:30:46

Just had a quick search, Anthony, nothing yet but will keep trying. Thanks again

Yes, do persist. Families who are difficult to find often turn out to be much more interesting, and memorable, than those which are.

Kathryn Bumford 17/07/2012 21:18:59

Thank you Anthony, I don't think they changed their name as the same surname is used in the 1881 census when they were just a couple with 1 child. Also I don't think they moved around. They were a coal mining family from s wales. Thanks any way

That is interesting: they had not simply changed from one surname to another. But, you cannot find the family in the 1891 and 1901 censuses, which is what you want, so I'd advise you to keep your mind open to the possibility of their being in those censuses under a different name or, as I suggested, a different spelling of their existing one. You could do what I suggested for another questions this evening - obtain a birth record for one of their children born near 1891 or 1901, and then search the census for that place.