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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
Patricia Hehir 15/05/2012 21:52:26

I can't find my grandmothers b/c. She was Mary Ellen Hughes and according to her wedding cert in 1910 was born in 1886. Her father was named as Hugh Hughes and his occupation was a plasterer. Can you advise me please. On my mums side have gone back to the early 1800's but can't find this on my dads side. Best Regards Patsy Jackson

You can start by seeking her in the 1911 census, and then working back, decade by decade - and if stuck, you can look for Hugh Hughes, plasterer - a lot of Hugheses to wade through, but persist and you should get there.

David Bourne 15/05/2012 21:50:35

Hello Anthony, I am unable to find the birth registration of my cousin's husband Desmond Stanley Pitman, born August 5th 1931, Andoversford area of Gloucestershire. His sisters Goergina born 2nd qtr 1928 and Doreen born 4th qtr 1934 are readily available; both were registered Nothleach Registration District, as was their parents' marriage in 1925. To my knowledge, he was not adopted. The thoughts are that, as he was born on a farm at harvest time, he was never registered. It is not fully known or understood how his pension and other paperwork were related to allow him to receive his driving licence et cetera. He has not had a passport. Best regards, David Bourne.

Well, maybe he was adopted, or maybe some of the information you state about his names and dates and place of birth is wrong, and by widening the search on all fronts, you will find him. If you haven't bought the other certificates for which you have found references, do so, as they may give you extra clues.

June Woolford 15/05/2012 21:46:35

Thank you Anthony for your advice with reference to Romany familes. Will definitely join Society and get the book. Secondly, I am so sorry if my query on Scott Howard Wilson HATLEY is a bit confusing. Can I try and put it a bit clearer in an e mail to you? Thanks

It's OK - I've just answered it.

Richard Thornley 15/05/2012 21:38:38

Hi Anthony, 2nd question of the night from myself... My great great grandmother (same relative in my 1st question) was born in Ireland in 1857. All I can find is her father if I want to go further back. Is there any way of finding out more about my great great great grandparents? Thank you Richard

Yes: Ireland's records are not perfect, but a lot of them do exist for this period. They had not started General Registration by then, so you'll be relying on church registers. The whole subject is explained in my book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors.

Monica Punter 15/05/2012 21:28:40

Hello Anthony, I'm new to this and I have 2 questions: What is the benefit of getting a birth certificate from the General Register Office? Will it have the parent's names on it which the online records don't have? And secondly, a lot of my family seem to have moved to Canada. Can I search records in Canada? Many thanks. Monica

The benefit is exactly as you say. Buying certificates is quite expensive, but they provide exactly the building blocks you will need to trace your family tree back successfully. Yes, Canada has excellent archives - each province has Provincial Archive. See under 'Canada' for more detail, and read Angus Baxter's book -

Kathleen James 15/05/2012 21:27:04

Hi; Anthony, Can you help me find any information regarding Louisa James, born in Stafford 1878, father William James, mother Harriet Parton. It was her mothers second marriage, she was married to Ephraim Boon 1867-1875, William James 1876

It seems that you have the key information already: you can fill the story out more using census returns. But is there something specific that you are seeking?

tinkers ....... 15/05/2012 21:21:29

hello there thank you for my last question i have grandmothers marriage cert and it showss she was living in london at time of marriage and her dad was a farmer (i persume in wales) where do i go from hee many thanx

Then, you calculate her approximate birth year from her age, and compile a list of possible births. You may have to buy quite a number to find a girl with the right father's name and occupation. If early enough, you can use the 1911 census to eliminate false possibilities.

Jennifer smith 15/05/2012 21:15:56

hi anthony, im needing some help, have come to a dead end on my mothers side of the family. My grandfather Robert lemon was born in Ballymoney in Dec 1935, we have his mum and dads name and even the house number he was born in. we know his mothers maiden name and have a birth cert for him, we know he married my grandmother in Manchester in 1956. but can't find any record of him since. is there any where i can see the census for the years round his birth for free as we think he may have had a brother. My mum was adopted and we know that her mother has died so we can't go down that line. is there anywhere a can see the cert from Ireland before buying them as lemon seems to be a popular name. Thanks Jennifer

The latest census you can see if from 1911, unfortunately. As to birth records, no, I'm afraid you'll need to bite the bullet and pay for them - that, I'm afraid, is how the system works, but it will be worth it, as if you hone your searches properly you will gain the good, useful information that these documents contain. As for the demise of Robert Lemon, maybe he went abroad - many Irish people tried to seek their fortunes in America or Australia.

Pamela Brown 15/05/2012 21:13:31

How can I trace my grandparents when I have no idea of their christian names. My grandfather was a ships doctor and my grandmother came from County Waterford, but to my knowledge my mother only ever lived in England. I cannot find my mothers birth or marriage certificates consequently no parents names, She was born in 1890 her name Sadie Annette Turner.I believe there were at least 3 brothers. She married Oscar James around 1915 but left him after 13 years and lived with my father, they were never married.On mine and my sisters birtth certificates she is listed as Sadie James formerly Turner and I cannot find my brothers birth certificate, he was born in 1929 name Albert Reuben Brown. I am sorry this is a bit muddled, but I hope you can help me as I would like to leave my family more history than I ever had, and at 77 years of age, maybe not a lot of time left to do so. Many than ks Pam Hammer nee Brown

I'd start here by seeking Sadie's marriage about 1915. This will give you her age and father's name. Then you can look for her in the 1911 census, and then you'll have two strong coordinates to help seek her birth. If you cannot find what you are looking for here in England and Wales (and on this website) then as there was an Irish connection, the events you want might be there instead.

tinkers ....... 15/05/2012 21:12:07

hello i want to trace my grandmothers family histoy, but she is a jones from wales i have her death certificate and it says she was born in treherbert in south wales and i have contacteed pontypool register office to hopefully get her birth certificate but the register office cant find the right birthany ideas on whee to go please many thanx

You have to approach this very carefully and systematically. The next step is to seek her marriage record, as this will confirm her age and, importantly, tell you her father's name. Wherever possible, from 1911 back, use the censuses to help hone your research.

Janet Watkins 15/05/2012 21:11:18

Hi Anthony i forgot to say that their surname is Phillips

Not the most distinctive, unfortunately!

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.

June Woolford 15/05/2012 21:11:01

Re Scott Hatley Sorry Anthony, I meant to say in the last part of my query that if Scott Hatley was the result of a liaison between Alfred Wilson and his servant Emma Hatley, how come the only Scott to be mentioned is a Scott Cameron?

It's a peculiarity of the system here that the earliest questions come up last to be answered. So, to answer your earlier question ("Help! My simple search is turning into a nightmare!!!!"): Rather than think of this as a nightmare, I’d be rather pleased with yourself that you seem to have pieced together a plausible theory, and the makings of a rather good story. How to proceeded? Continue to try to document this family in as much detail as you can, from as many sources as you can, and as you learn more, you’ll come closer finding out whether your theory is right.

Jo Underwood 15/05/2012 21:08:24

Hi, I really need your help to get past a major stumbling block. How can I trace my gr gr grandfather, Charles Miller, who was a Convent Guard on Gibraltar? He predeceased the birth of his child (also Charles b. 27/1/1851) on Gibraltar. His wife Elizabeth (nee Long) is thought to have come from Gloucestershire originally. I do not have any information as to their dates of birth or their marriage; not even where it took place. Elizabeth left Gibraltar and is recorded in the 1861 census as being married to a John Voll; she died in1911. Thank you, Jo

Charles's employment as a Convent Guard would have been a matter between him and the convent - you could write to them and ask if they have any records. He probably went there as a solider, so you can seek his British Army records in The National Archives. Most Gibraltar registers are kept in Gibraltar. Paul Blake is an expert in this field.

Richard Thornley 15/05/2012 21:08:17

Hi Anthony, I have been tracing back my family tree and come across one of my ancestors disappearing off the 1901 census, but appearing on the 1911 census back with the family. On further investigation, I have found a person of similar age, birth location as Ireland and also the same name appearing at a prison in Winchester, Hampshire. Is there any way of finding out if this person is the same one in my family and what she did to end up in prison. Thank You, Richard Thornley

Sounds like a plausible theory, of the census details add up. The prison records should be in the Hampshire Record Office, in Winchester, or else at The National Archives - ask the former as they will know.

Christine Rogerson 15/05/2012 21:07:24

Anthony I am unable to trace the death of my great great great grandfather George Neville.I have a copy of his burial 4 May 1844 in Wolverhampton, his occupation was a boatman. Is it possible the death was not recorded? Christine Urban

Yes, it is possible, but unlikely. Maybe he was not properly indexed. You could ask the Wolverhampton registrar if the event is in their records there.

Janet Watkins 15/05/2012 21:07:12

I am searching for any family from my 10 gt uncles.they were all born in kings norton birmingham between 1882 and 1905. i have them on the 1911 census all living in the same house with there parents in selly oak birmingham. emma there only sister was my grandmother . how do i go about tracing what happend to my gt uncles.

The next step would be to use the marriage indexes to see if any of them married. Then you can see if they had children, and then see if they married, and so on.

June Woolford 15/05/2012 21:05:00

Hi Anthony Another query please - can you give any advice on tracing Romany families in particular Francis Light - horse-dealer - who was named as the father of John Davies who married a Mary Ann Roberts in 1872. I cannot find Francis Light anywhere. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

Such families are difficult, mainly because they did not always go dutifully to the registrar to register their births and marriages; they had an annoying habit of changing their names; and of course they moved about all the time. Censuses are a good way of picking them up, especially as they are now fully indexed. Read S. Floate's My ancestors were Gypsies, SoG (1999) and join the Romany and Traveller Family History Society.

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.

June Woolford 15/05/2012 21:01:04

Help! My simple search is turning into a nightmare!!!! I have traced my great grandfather Scott Howard Wilson HATLEY - Auctioneer - ( born Mile End Middlesex in 1842) in the 1881 Census. I have his marriage certificate in 1876 showing Alfred Wilson HATLEY b. 1806 - Auctioneer - as his father, however I can’t find a record of Scott HATLEY’S birth. On doing a blanket search of HATLEY I find Alfred WILSON, Auctioneer, living with wife Margaret (nee Heron) in 1841 with Emma HATLEY, born 1821, servant ( the addresses match). I then found Alfred and Margaret’s marriage in the parish records in 1833. In 1861 census Margaret had died in 1860 and Alfred WILSON is living with Scott CAMERON - Auctioneer’s clerk and amongst others Alfred’s two sisters Sarah and Sophia BERRY aged 61 and 62!!!!!! If Scott Hatley is the result of a liaison between Alfred Wilson and Emma Hatley I have the death certificate of Alfred William Munton Wilson, year of death 1888 (correct address) citing the informant as Scott Howard Wilson Hatley - Son I obtained a copy of Alfred Wilson’s Will and he left Scott Hatley a very small amount of money but did not refer to him as a son!

Answered, above.