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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
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.

Valerie Young 17/04/2012 21:57:27

Hi Anthony On the birth cert is says Ethel Young formerly Hilder. Informant E Young On the marriage cert: Editha Elizabeth Knight

Ah ha, and was this the name of the woman the father had married a few months earlier? If not, then we can surmise that she was claiming to be his wife, but was not really.

Pauline McGinlay 17/04/2012 21:55:56

Did they tattoo the prison no's or would they have been by the prisoner. Thank you anthony.Last question.

I really don't know, I'm afraid! I enjoyed your questions tonight. Good heavens, I should have mentioned earlier - D.T. Hawkings’ book "Criminal ancestors; a guide to historical criminal records in England & Wales", Sutton (1992). It should be right up your street!

Linda Mackinnon 17/04/2012 21:41:39

can I find any scottish details on this site or is it just england and wales

The records on this site are primarily English and Welsh. You want

Valerie Young 17/04/2012 21:40:24

Thanks Anthony. I have no idea of the other woman on the certificate, ive tried to trace her name but no one comes up around the area or time. Really dont know what to do about it.

This is a most unusual business. Could you state the names concerned, on the marriage record, and on the birth record. Is the woman described as 'X, formerly Y'? Who was the informant of the birth?

Jane Stephens 17/04/2012 21:39:15

I am trying to trace Sarah Lily Stephens born in West Bromwich on 1st July 1885 - she disappeard from English records after 1901 and I think she may have gone to Canada/America (there is a record of a Sarah Lily Stephens being a witness at a wedding in Toronto in 1914) but I can't find anything from Canadian records after that. She was on a family tree in USA on Ancestry a few years ago but that has disappeared. Could you please let me know how to search Canadian and American records effectively? Thanks

My apologies for the delay - a neighbour's burglar alarm just went off, so I had to go and investigate. You could make a start here by looking for Sarah in the outgoing ship's passenger lists, on failing that, as you have Toronto as clue, you could look for her there, in directories or in the marriage records, which are held in the archives there.

Pauline McGinlay 17/04/2012 21:39:02

sorry was'nt very clear.Don't know the court she was sentenced her name is was Agnes Ella Berry(Nee Bailey) born 1878 died 1976. served time at holloway prison. Can she be found with just this info.

Oh I see - thanks for clarifying. Yes, I'd recommend proceeding as suggested in the earlier answers.

hurry andrews 17/04/2012 21:31:07

I am unable to find the birthplace of my grandmother who was born in England but relocated to scotland at an early age. There seems no record that I can find anywhere of her birth, I have her death and marriage certificate. she was born in 1884

Maybe you are wrong, and this lady was actually born, or at least registered, in Scotland after all. Or was she born in the Isle of Mann, or Ireland, or the Channel Islands, or at Sea, or to a soldier, in which case she will be in the army births, on this site.

Julia Goodrum 17/04/2012 21:28:31

That's great Anthony, thank you

Yes, I was rather pleased with that result!

Valerie Young 17/04/2012 21:28:04

My fathers birth certificate has the wrong mothers name on it? Were mistakes made? He was adement that she was not his birth mother. I have got the marriage certificate of his mother and father feb 1916 with the correct names on and he was born in the Nov 1916. Is there anyway I can check this out? Thank you.Val

Some mistakes were made, but what is recorded on a birth record is probably going to be an accurate record of what the registrar was told by the informant. The informant might well have chosen not to tell the truth, though - so I am curious: if his parents had married earlier in 1916, then who was the woman whose name was down as his mother on the birth record, if not the father's wife?

Carol Martin 17/04/2012 21:26:18

I have been trying to find a Richard Fowler born 1776 .On the 1841 census in Birmingham it says Richard was born out of County,so i don`t know where he was born,he died in 1845. Any ideas how i can find out where Richard was born. He was married to Ann i found 2 children Martha born 1820 in Birmingham and John born 1830.but John was not living with Richard in 1841 cant find any birth`s for john and martha. Thankyou Carol

That's jolly bad luck, as in these cases you pray that the person will have survived until 1851! You could look for other Fowlers of similar age in the 1851 census for Birmingham, in the hope that they will turn out to be siblings of Christopher's, and that their birth place will lead to his. Otherwise, Fowler is a familiar local name in that area, and bear in mind that Birmingham (Warwickshire) was near the meeting point of Staffordshire and Worcestershire (and not far from Leicestershire), so those would be the counties worth trying first.

Carolyne Price 17/04/2012 21:19:52

Hi Anthony, I've recently started to try and piece together my family tree but would really like your expertise to help with a problem I've come across. My nan who was named (Alice Maud Cullen) parents were John Cullen & Elizabeth Cullen nee Cope from nan's birth certificate. I can't find a marriage for them or on the census. On the 1911 census I found them but he is down as James Cullen not John. Searched for marriage on both John & James but nothing.Census says they married approx 1901 & Elizabeth remarried in 1917. I need advice on where to look next, have tried FREEBMD etc & parish records, Expect they would have married in West Derby, Liverpool Hope you can helpme, greatly appreciated Carolyne

Free BMD is not complete, and there are only a few parish registers on this site, and not for the period you want. You need to look in the General Register Office's marriage indexes. They have been indexed on this site, under 'search records'. As you know your great grandfather was called John, are you quite sure the entry you have found for 'James' is correct? Bear in mind that they may not have married in England and Wales. 'Cullen' has strong Manx connections.

Elizabeth Dixon 17/04/2012 21:18:25

I am looking for Robert Stubbs who I think was born in 1815 and hopefully is the father of Edgar Stubbs born April 1839 in Cayton, Scarborough, my Great Grandfather. Any help in how to find him please.

Well, if you're not sure, you want to focus on Edgar, and learn more about him first, and this will provide you with greater certainty on his father. Look for both Edgar's marriage and birth records, as both will name his father, and seek him in the earlier censuses, where you will hopefully find him with his father. The censuses will say where his father was born, and roughly when, and you can then seek his baptism in the relevant parish register.

Pauline McGinlay 17/04/2012 21:18:08

can be found by name.we were told had to know what court she was sentenced at.we dont know her name Agnes Ella Berry.nee Bailey. born 1878 died 1976

I'm not quite sure I understand the question here (you say you don't know her name, and then say what it was), so please come back and ask more: you're right about court records, but you can make an educated guess as to where she is likely to have committed her crime, and been sentenced, on the basis of where she lived, and newspapers local to her home are likely to have reported her misdemeanours anyway.

Jake Duffy 17/04/2012 21:16:42

Hi Anthony, i want to find out who my ancestors are and where they are from. how do i do this? im a beginner by the way. thanks.

That's a big question to ask! I wrote a book called Tracing Your Family History (published by Collins) that answers it. You can start by typing your family tree such as you know it into this site, and seeing if it results in any matches - these could be relatives, who may be able to tell you more. Then start looking for your parents and grandparents in the birth, marriage and death indexes (under 'search records') and when you get back to 1911, start looking them up in the censuses (also under 'search records').

Julia Goodrum 17/04/2012 21:15:06

Thank you for this Anthony, may i ask a second question? Do you know under what circumstances divorce was allowed? Is it possible to get a divorce certificate in the same way it is possible to get a marriage certificate?

By all means! Divorce in that period was still quite unusual, as it was expensive, and a difficult procedure. The records are at Divorce records for the period 1858 to 1943 are at the National Archives (class J 77), and searchable through I've had a quick look and - bingo - there they are in 1902, under Gooderham (lucky and sensible you for taking into account variant spellings!) The link is,

Pauline McGinlay 17/04/2012 21:12:34

I am trying to find a cousin.who since doing time and being released seems to have vanished.for family reasons we need to find him.could be dead.but cant find him.where do i look to find up to date death records.he was last seen in 2009.Raymond Anthony Attwater.

Death records for recent years are available on microfiche in a limited number of record repositories, including the London Metropolitan Archives. It's a bit of our national record system that hasn't gone high-tech!

Kenneth Annal 17/04/2012 21:10:09

How do I look at other family trees ???

Once you have found a promising-looking character in another tree (using the 'search trees' button, above) you can press the button that allows you to send a message to the person whose tree it is, and explain who you are. They may then allow you access to their tree- in which case you will be able to see it.

Julia Goodrum 17/04/2012 21:04:39

My Great Grandfather William Goodrum- (1875 - 1953 sometimes known as Gooderham), was married, (in 1897), to my Great Grandmother Bernice Kite, (born 1877 –we have been unable to find out when she died) , they had my Grandfather William Goodrum – 1897, (I believe my Gt Grandad had 5 children altogether but I’m not sure how many were with his first wife and how many were with his second wife). My Great Grandparents then divorced, (do not know when), and my Gt Grandfather subsequently remarried, (1903), Louisa Blackburn –(1868 – 1829). I have seen both wedding certificates, (on the second one my Grandad is down as the divorced husband of Bernice Kite), he was married both times in church. Do you know of any reasons why a divorced man might be allowed to remarry in this time period?

You are lucky to have such nice, distinctive names to research. Catholics who have been divorced are not allowed to remarry, but I presume you're talking here about an Anglican wedding. I don't know chapter and verse on this, but as the Anglican Church is effectively an arm of the state, I'd guess that they accepted that a properly granted divorce left both parties free to re-marry - in church if they wished. For more details you'd better ask a vicar!

Emma James 17/04/2012 21:04:10

Hi I am having problems with my tree, the relatives are connecting to the wrong people which leaves like a loop so i am unable to delete them. Is there any way of starting a new tree or deleting all except the tree owner? thanks

I am sorry to hear this: the last thing we want is people being connected to the wrong relatives! I'm afraid though that I have no expertise in the technical side of things, but the site's managers will help you - go to 'Contact us' under 'Help, above.