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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
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.

Tina Danton 17/07/2012 21:04:28

hallo anthony,im having trouble finding a birth cert for my grt grandfather Henry Danton born abt 1885 on his wedding cert in 1907 it says he is 22, a builders clerk and resides at 34 inkerman road NW hes father is also henry danton and a solicitor. I have found a solicitor henry danton but no children of the same name or born 1885. Can you advice me what to do next will appreciate any advice

My first reaction reading this is that Danton could easily be mistaken for 'Denton', so I'd suggest looking under that spelling. You could try the 1891 census for the two Henrys, father and son. I'm not sure if you mean that his father Henry was a solicitor, but if so you can check that fact using the annually published Law Lists, available in good genealogical libraries.

Kathryn Bumford 17/07/2012 21:03:40

Hi Anthony, Do you have any tips on how to find a family who were together in 1911 but no record of them before that despite a mother & father and 6 children on that census , some of whom would have been on at least one earlier census eg a daughter who was 26 in 1911 I 've searched all the names mentioned on both the 1901 and 1891 cencus but no records are found. Thanks a lot Kathy

Maybe they were out of England and Wales in earlier census years, elsewhere in the Empire, or in Scotland or Ireland - but if so, you'd expect that to be hinted at by the foreign birth places of their children. Otherwise, maybe they had changed their name - or just changed the spelling subtly, so try variant spellings. If one of the children was born about a census year, do what we used to do in the old days - obtain the certificate, and then search the census for the address where they lived.

Ann Clare 17/07/2012 21:01:58

Hello Anthony, My grandfather's sister died in Johannesburg on 5th May 1953. Do you know of any sites that I could search for an obituary or notice of death? She is mentioned on an MI in Peterhead, Scotland. Many thanks,

If there is a memorial inscription at Peterhead, then maybe a death notice will appear in the local Peterhead newspaper - for which see the at the National Archives of Scotland ( and the British Library in London ( For obtaining records from South Africa itself I suggest you contact my colleague Jean Blanckenberg: :

Jane Morris 19/06/2012 21:57:55

Many thanks Anthony for that valuable bit of advice.....sometimes I can't see the wood for the trees!! I've got back to 1476 with this family and it just annoys me that I can't find a relatively recent death certificate!! Back to the drawing board!!

.... or write your £37 cheque - I maintain that going to great lengths to avoid buying a GRO certificate is generally a false economy - however annoying and perhaps unfair it is that the GRO charge so much for them.

ken Compton 19/06/2012 21:53:22

Hi Anthony, I spoke to you earlier about Della Fenton unfortunately Roscommon have no records on Della nor her parents David Fenton and Mary Grant . I have tried some Catholic Parish Records through Genes but I am unable to find anything yet, I have been searching since last August for the Birth/ Baptise Certificates, this is why I have turned to you for help

In that case you've already been to the horse's mouth, but I'm curious to know how you know the parents' full names if you don't have the birth record. Maybe you will find it there, but indexed as Adela, Delia or Delilah. Or, yes, you can try Catholic baptisms, if you know exactly where to look: no Irish Catholic baptisms are on this site, but there's an increasingly good coverage on .

Jane Morris 19/06/2012 21:52:19

Hi again Anthony, is it possible to find death records (at the place where the person was laid to rest for instance) before sending off for a death certificate? I don't know the exact place where my grandfather died although I have narrowed it down to about four different records! I have no problem in going anywhere to look at them rather than send off for four which may be the wrong ones! (if you see what I mean?!!) Many thanks again!

You can ask the local registrars in each place (though they'll likely charge you too) or seek a will instead, or a death notice in a local newspaper (some are on this site) or if you can guess the actual place, you can seek a burial record - but you don't. Travelling to four different areas would cost you hundreds of pounds. Four certificates will cost you £37, and if you order them one at a time you may be lucky first or second (or third) time.

Ricky Gocmen 19/06/2012 21:43:55

I have found the birth record of my great grandmother, however i do not know how to find out her parent from this i only have her mothers maiden name, i dont not know her mother first name or her fathers how can i find this information

I think you have probably what we term a 'short birth certificate' that has no spaces for parents' names at all. If so, order a full one, that costs £9.25, from

Ann Julia Apps 19/06/2012 21:43:14

Many thanks Julia

My pleasure

Ann Julia Apps 19/06/2012 21:33:59

Hi I have my grandfathers birth certificate he was born in Culcavey Blaris, Antrim in 1881, where can I send it to get the rest of his family as I know he had siblings. I have tried and been looking for about 2 years and to no avail. Also how do you go about getting someone in Ireland to look for you. Thanks Julia

There are two options here: you can use (Northern) Irish civil registration records (Registrar General of Northern Ireland, Oxford House, 49-55 Chichester Street, Belfast, BT1 4HL, 028 90 252000, to seek siblings and trace the family line back, or you could use the church registers (Catholic or Protestant) as appropriate. For genealogists there you can use Association of Ulster Genealogists and Record Agents or I can organise it for you - send me some more details at

Bryan Dugdale 19/06/2012 21:28:59

Hi Anthony, My grandparents, (Isaiah Danks and Emma Porter) he died in 1893. My Grandma remarried in 1902 to Peter Hall. Between these dates, Grandma gave birth in 1899 to a son, Lawrence. I have been unable to trace the father. What is the correct way to show this in my family tree? Also, is it possible to show Maiden and Married names in the same box? Regards, Bryan

The best way here would be to add Lawrence as Emma's son, and show the father as an unknown partner. If you were drawing it out on paper I'd advise putting Isaiah on Emma's left, the unknown man below her, and the second husband on the right. It is worth bearing in mind that Lawrence's father might always have been the man who later became the second husband: maybe he could not marry Emma until, say, his own first wife had died.

DENISE clarke 19/06/2012 21:21:32

Hi Anthony I have an old photograph in which the elderly female subject is wearing a white puffy looking cap. She is sitting in a garden, and I wonder if you could make an estimate as to the date this may have been taken. It would help to identify the lady.

If I could see it I'd be happy to try to help! Can you e-mail it to me at and then send me a message via this message box to tell me you've done so, so I can reply.

ken Compton 19/06/2012 21:18:19

I am search for a Della Fenton Born 3.09. 1884-6 in Cork. Ireland Birth/ Baptise Certificate. She was a Catholic and went to USA around the 1900's married in State of Maine 8th Oct.1908. appears in 1920 census Manhatton Borough New York USA Della Married a Augustus N. Mudge

That should be easy enough, as Irish General Registration had started (1864) by now. The records are in Dublin or you can contact Registrar General of Ireland, administrative and corresponding headquarters: Convent Road, Roscommon, 90 6632900 or else I have a very good searcher there who can look for you. .

Marilyn Edwards 19/06/2012 21:05:11

marilyn edwards. Hello Anthony. The brother of my grandmother was a corporal in the 1st w.w.However from his medal card it says that he was 'tried by D.C.M., reduced to Pte 1.11.1917 and sent home'. Please could you tell me who to contact to find out the full details. Thank you

This helpful, if abbreviated, piece of information presumably indicates that your great uncle was Court Martialled. The records are at The National Archives, in class WO: I'm afraid I don't have the exact reference, but you'll find it using and looking at the catalogue and on-line research guides. Poor chap - or did it save his life?

Jane Morris 19/06/2012 21:00:20

Hi Anthony, my problem is that I have been searching without any success for the death certificate of my grandfather. The GRO have done several ‘block searches’ of three years in an effort to find it, sadly to no avail! His full name was Edward Ellis Burns but I guess the middle name was not used on the death cert or else I guess it would have been found easily! Likewise, his last known address, although quite clear in the electoral rolls, was probably not where he was actually living at the time of death! He was very elusive to say the least. Did death certificates in the forties/fifties and sixties give the place of birth? ! I am thinking that maybe they didn’t because he was born in Scotland, died for sure in the UK and I think that had there been a section for place of birth, the certificate would have been found by now! I know his date of birth but of course unless the person who was the informant knew this, it could have just been a guess. Very frustrating to say the least…I wish I could let it go!! Any more suggestions much appreciated – thank you Anthony.

Unfortunately, places of birth are not stated on death certificates. Instead of three year block searches, you can simply use the indexes here on this site, and see all the Edward Burns deaths in one go, and then seek ones of the right (or approximately the right) age. They cover England and Wales only. If he died in Scotland you'll need to look there separately - you can use

David Bourne 15/05/2012 22:05:59

Another question for you Anthony, My 3xGt GF Samuel Brown, a Herald Painter, born about 1791 Chester, has census entries until 1861, and electoral roll details until 1867. I have the deaths of both his wives, who share the same funeral plot, but I, a cousin and Cheshire Archives staff have been unable to find his death. Any help will be appreciated. David Bourne.

Herald Painters were not so common on the ground, and it would be fascinating to find some of his work. But they weren't recorded in any formal detail, so far as I know, though I bet that somewhere amongst the voluminous records of the College of Arms there will be some reference, somewhere, to his work (and maybe to his demise, but there would probably be no easy way of finding it). Local papers might mention his death, and the Gentleman's Magazine, maybe, and you could look in the national will indexes (at First Avenue House, and on-line at Ancestry).