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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
Pauline McGinlay 17/04/2012 21:02:35

How can i find out when my grandmother was in holloway prison.all i know is she had a number tattoo on her arm,

That's a good question to start with. Prison records tend to be divided between the National Archives and local ones, which in this case would be the London Metropolitan Archives. They may not be publicly accessible for as recent a date as you will need - I don't know your Grandmother's dates - so alternatives would be court records of the newspapers, that would have reported her crime: it occurs to me that the newspapers that have been newly digitised on this site might help here.

Andrew Forsey 17/04/2012 21:02:34

hi ya how can i find out if and when my grandfather joined the raf and find out about his milatary career if he only did his national service? his name is frank forsey born 1907 in nottingham?

If you can prove you are the next of kin of a deceased serviceman who was in the RAF, you can contact the RAF Personnel and Training Command, Branch PG 5a(2) (for officers) and P Man 2b(1) (for non-officers), RAF Innsworth, Gloucestershire, GL3 1EZ. Those for the Fleet Air Arm are at the Ministry of Defence, CS(R)2, Bourne Avenue, Hayes, Middlesex, UB3 1FR.

Liz Daykin 20/03/2012 21:53:57

Hi Joseph Lockwood was born 1864 in Harlington Yorks. ( birth place alos given on census as Doncaster.) He moved to Manchester and married Sarah Jane Grimshaw and is listed on the 1891 census in Broughton with his wife and son Edgar Norman aged 3. He then disappears. I havent found the family on 1901 but found Sarah and Edgar on the 1911 census. Sarah is listed as married but written on the census sheet is ' husband not heard of for 15 years"! I can't tally any of the death entries with Joseph- nor can i find him on the 1911 census listed in anther part of the country - same with the 1901 census. any suggestions what else I could try. Regards Liz Lockwood

How fascinating - but lucky that Sarah told you by writing that note. He may well have gone abroad - you could try the outgoing shipping lists, or the American censuses - or look in Ireland or Scotland. I'll wish you good luck, and with a man who deliberately 'went missing' from his family, you will probably need it!

Maureen Stanley 20/03/2012 21:50:33

Many thanks Anthony--it's a very poor image I'm afraid. Is it ok to send it to you in a couple of days when I've been to the records office to get a better copy. I've been searching for him for years!

The clearer the copy, the better. I should have mentioned another option - each attorney, scrivener or notary who wrote up wills had a seal for general use, and some of these look awfully like proper, armorial seals - but are not. It fact that two generations of your family used the same seal is encouraging - though of course it may just be that they'd used the same solicitor! But let's see it anyway.

Pamela Parkinson 20/03/2012 21:46:02

thank you. I'm sure I would have looked on this site for information on coleman as I have been looking for his death for a long time but I will look again, thanks

It's always worth re-checking - and remember that this site has not had these indexes for very long. .

Maureen Stanley 20/03/2012 21:37:50

Thanks again Anthony-the seal didn't match the description-looks more like wings on something & a shield with a cross on it. I've already searched the Derbys lines & if he was from them then a very distant connection & not found.! No, he was a husbandman on his will

Ok: a husbandman was a tenant farmer, though they might have sunk down from yeoman level - and thus from more exalted levels. The main thing, then, is to identify the arms. E-mail me a picture at and I'll see what I can do.

Maureen Stanley 20/03/2012 21:20:36

Thanks Anthony-have checked the Kirkby-in-Ashfield register for Joseph Stanley to no avail nor does he appear on the IGI -do seals give any indication as to the origins of a family-I can just make out part of the seal he used on his will & it was used also on his son's will some 20 years later

Well done for having checked the original register. If the family were using the same seal from one generation to the next, and were using their arms properly, then it suggests they belonged to an armigerous family. Did Joseph describe himself as 'Esquire' or 'Gent'.? . I suggest looking them up in Burke's Landed Gentry. The Stanleys were Earls of Derby, so if you are very lucky your Joseph will appear in Burke's Peerage, in one of the junior lines. Their arms show three stags' heads on a bend - a bar running diagonally across the shield.

Richard Morgan 20/03/2012 21:15:33

thanks will try that, a more up to date question. My grandfather had a brother charles who we know went to new zealand but not sure when he was 6 when their father died in 1917 and the mother died 1928 but not sure if it was first date or second date he got moved to new zealand as an orphan how can i trace him

There are many outgoing ships' passenger lists on this website, but the bulk of this work is best tackled through the archives in New Zealand. Jeremy Palmer of Anzestry is a good person to ask.

Fred Addison 20/03/2012 21:15:13

Hi Anthony, some of my realtions are in the USA. I have traced some, but wonder if hot matches extend to America? Fred

Genes Reunited's membership is international, but if your relatives are not on the site, your best bet is to start seeking them through research in America. The Find My Past website has the 1940 American census, which is good way 'in' to research across the pond.

Sue Poole 20/03/2012 21:15:09

Sorry to submit another question but again on my materanl side the Couling/Cowling/Cooling's all came from Kempsford, Gloucs. Rumour, and it is rumour,is that the first Cowling/Couling/Cooling move to Kempsford to complete stonemasonery on the church following the death of the landowners wife. They moved from Oxford. How do I trace stonemasons in 1540-80 in the Oxford area. I know that masons have for many years been associated with socieities but back in the 16th century did they exsist and how do I find out this info from that time. Again thank you Sue

You are welcome! Masons and Freemasons had their lodges and knew who each other were, but they didn't leave us any nice records from that period to help our research. You've just got to rely on the usual sources, parish registers and wills, and hope that people who were masons will be identified as such. You may find a few in the freedom records of the borough of Oxford, if the records go back that far (I forget).

Carol Munday 20/03/2012 21:13:14

Hello Anthony, I don't know if you can help me? My 4 x great-grandfather, Peter Foreman, was a land surveyor from Somerset in the early 1800's. He moved with his family to London around the 1830's. They lived near St. Martin-in-the Fields, where his occupation then was as a 'surveyor & tithe & timber valuer. Can you tell me where I might be able to get further information about this? He apparently had a pamphlet published on the subject of 'tithes' and I would like to know more about this. I would be very grateful for any help you may be able to give me. Thank you Carol

The pamphlet should be in the British Library - its catalogue is on its website. You won't find much if anything on his work, I'm afraid - he'd have kept his own records and these would probably not have survived him, but you may find him listed in London directories - the best collection is at Guildhall Library. .

Wendy Moore 20/03/2012 21:11:33

Could you tell me how I can find out when an ancestor was commissioned. I know an ancestor was killed in action in 1917 and he was a lieutenant but I can find no trace of him in any of the usual websites. Commonwealth wargraves do not have him listed. Could it have been possible for him to have been recorded as still being a private.

All the relevant soldiers' records are at The National Archives, so I suggest looking in the original records if the on-line versions have failed you. As an officer he should be listed in the Army Lists, that you can also examine there. His death should be in the war deaths, listed on this website. But if you keep not finding him, you'd better question where you had this information, and whether it is correct. Tip: some soldiers enlisted under their mothers' maiden names.

Maureen Stanley 20/03/2012 21:06:47

Stuck in 1701 with the birth of Joseph Stanley's 1st child, Can't find either of his marriages nor where he was born, His will gives no clue apart from having2 living sons named William by each wife. The 2nd bore the middle name of Dixie but still can't find a connection to his 2nd wife Frances. What else can I try?

You have made a good start here by finding this person's will, which tells you quite a bit, by the sound of it, about his family. Some parish registers are indexed on this site, and there is also, and Boyd's Marriage Index, which is on the British Origins website, and both definitely worth trying. Many registers are not covered by indexes, though, so if the will gives any indication of where these people lived (which it should) then you can - and indeed should - look in the original registers of any such places. .

Sue Poole 20/03/2012 21:05:46

My great uncle Edgar Ernest Coolin moved from his home town of Long Eaton to Southampton and married an Annette Clark they were both in their 30's when they married in 1946. I have not been able to find any date of death for either of them, have checked emigration records in case they move away from the UK but no success. Could you give me any advice on what other avenues I could follow to find out where and when they passed away and if there were any children. many thanks Sue Monk

That is curious. Masses of people who have emigrated do not appear in the shipping lists (which are what is indexed on this site) - but we do have the deaths abroad, which may help. You could try looking for births of any children from the 1946 marriage, and then try tracing them, though the telephone directories and electoral registers on the Find My Past website.

Richard Morgan 20/03/2012 21:05:35

hi anthony, I would like to thank you for your help last time I found my great grandfathers death records and service records thanks to your help. I have followed my tree back to 1744 where john morgan was born to a mary and nathaniel morgan in dursley gloucestershire. However looking for a marriage record i only found one in 1696 this seems to late to be right, however I have found one in dursley for 1738 however the transcript puts the names as nathan and mary do you think it is more likely to be john's parents or the 1696 one

I am glad that my earlier suggestions bore fruit! Nathan and Nathaniel are the same name, so, all else being equal, there would be no problem about accepting the 1738 marriage as the correct one. You can double-check by seeing if the couple who had your John baptised (baptised, please note - not 'born') had children baptised before 1738 - or whether their children started appearing, conveniently and neatly, from about 1739 onwards. Context is everything here: build up as full a picture of your people as you can, and then you will be better able to see which parts of the jigsaw fit in, and where.

Pamela Parkinson 20/03/2012 21:04:10

I am looking for my gt. grandfathers brother Coleman Burnham Millar. I found his headstone but the only detail on it said 'Died at sea 1862 aged 19 yrs'. is there any way I could find out where and how he died ?

His death certificate should be listed under the 'Marine Deaths', ie, Deaths at Sea, on this very site. But you're in danger of looking a gift-horse when you write 'the only detail on it' - the fact that a gravestone has told you so much is a a very good, useful and informative find!

Bryan Roberts 21/02/2012 22:03:43

Bryan Roberts Many thanks for your help puts it in some sort of order Thanks again

I am glad we could help. Creating order out of apparent chaos is one of the skills of a genealogist.

Michael Williams 21/02/2012 21:59:38

On my mothers side of the family iam decended from a family with the surname casker could you tell me where the name originated.

It might be literally from a casker - one who made casks, but is might also be an Anglicisation of a Gaelic surname, such as MacAsker. Trace it further back and see how it was spelled then, and whether there is any indication of Irish or Scottish heritage.

allen porter 21/02/2012 21:58:13

Hi, when discovering docs. ie birth certificates, it says save to favourites. Which favourites is the Genes favourites or comp.favs? I can't find the docs I have elected to save. Thankyou. Allen.

That's another one for Genes Reunited's indomitable technical support people, I'm afraid.

Jemma Robertson 21/02/2012 21:56:58

hi i was wondering if i could search about my grandad from school records. he went to school in lincolnshire in the 1930/40s. is there school records/photos available to view and if so where from thankyou

Yes, many such records survive. Ask in the Lincolnshire archives or the local studies library near where he lived - or of course in the local schools themselves. Local studies libraries are under awful threat from budgetary cuts, but they are truly fantastic resource that all family historians should do all we can to support, visit, use and keep open!