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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
amanda willcocks 17/01/2012 22:02:41

How can I find my fathers war record? He was born 18 may 1922 Jack R Willcocks - he learned italian during the war so he must have been posted there. He said that he was a rear bomber in the RAF but that he was in ENSA the entertainment corp. My mum said that he was kicked our for LMF (lack of moral fibre). They have both passed on and were divorced years before that. Every November 11th he used to put on a suit and lots of medals but i have no idea from where these medals came. I would also like to find his fathers WW1 records. He was born in 1995 June and also called Jack Willcocks and apparently flew and was in the RAF. I dont know if this is true or not but I would really like to find out both my father's and my grandfather's war record if at all possible please please advise!!! Thank you!!

If you can prove you are the next of kin of a deceased serviceman 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.

Anthony Riggs 17/01/2012 22:00:29

Anthony, thanks for the advice. I've just tried the site. Nothing showed up. However, it's a newish site and there's not enough Cemetaries joined the scheme yet. Alas, the area of Sheffield, where i'm searching has not come forward. Even my own area, Manchester has not joined-in. Shame. It would help us all so much. I'll have to suggest these authorities join-in to help us all. Thanks for your help.

My pleasure. I gather they are increasing their coverage all the time, but in the meantime you can always contact the cemeteries where you think the burial might be, direct.

Leslie Young 17/01/2012 22:00:14

Thanks very much for your answers tonight, I have a few more leads now,

My pleasure!

Diane Johnston 17/01/2012 21:59:13

why can't I find birth record for Harry or Harris Dean born about 1898 Manchester I have liioked this up before and got some information but now get no results I think his father was Sidney

This can be frustrating. in the old days, before computers, we used to keep notebooks and write down all references we found - that technique might have helped you here!

richard morgan 17/01/2012 21:57:58

thank you very much

My pleasure! And now,as our hour (like my eyes) draws to a close, I'll say good night to you all, and good hunting for 2012!

richard morgan 17/01/2012 21:55:13

Well we Know the year of death was between 1911-1928, as my aunt said my grandad said his parents had died when they were young hence the latest date of 1928. could it be that he died overseas whilst on duty and thats why its not registered.

If he died abroad in the services then he will be in the death indexes I described earlier. You can also check the Commonwealth War Graves Commission -

amanda willcocks 17/01/2012 21:48:27

Hi, both my grandparents were jewish and came from a village just outside Kiev, Ukraine, arriving UK i think about 1906 (she came with her sister) and they married i think in 1912. I know my mum told me that they changed their names to Rabinovitch and I know that she told me that their original name was Dermonivitch (although I dont know how to spell this correctly!!). I have found my mums (and dads) marriage certificate but of course this is under his name and her changed surname which was rabinovitch. I have found marriage certs for both her sisters but all under rabinovitch. There are no birth certs for my mother or her 2 sisters gene and helen. I have no idea what my mum's mother's maiden name was! Also I know that my mum told me that my grandmothers mother died when she (her mother) was only 3 and she was raised by a cruel step mum in the Ukraine. How can I possibly trace this line of the family please? Without knowing my grandmothers maiden name it seems hopeless. I am sure she told me it was dernanovitch and that they changed it because they thought the english would be able to spell rabinovitch more easily!! I also know that she told me that during WW11, my maternal grandparents had to go to the police station, reporting weekly as 'desirable aliens' being ukrainian. So I dont know when they became naturalised. I know they lived in the east end of london, my mum told me within the sound of bow bells (as did many jewish immigrants). I also know that Rabbi Lionel Blue (celebrity rabbi who did a lot of tv and radio broadcasts) lived next door to my mum when they were children and was raised mainly by my grandmother. esther... my mum was born in 1925 called hetty. So I have looked for my mother's parents marriage certificate - him being henry 'dermanovitch' and she being esther and married 1912 and nothing.... obviously they probably didnt spell it henry and dermanovitch brings nothing at all so must be a different spelling or recorded differently....! I have found my grandparents death certificates, he in 1958 and she in 1961 but it is all under the name of rabinovitch which is not the original name as I said. Can you help please.... I dont know how to progress - I am sure lots of jewish descendants have the same problems as myself....!! Phew thankyou... please help if you can!!

Yes, these are common problems. Naturalisations are at The National Archives and you can search by name on their on-line catalogue (you can narrow the field by using the reference for naturalisations, HO 1). You can search for information about Jewish communities in the Ukraine at, and join the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain to benefit from the help and advice of other members.

richard morgan 17/01/2012 21:45:44

I know my great grand father Henry Joseph Morgan Born 1876 in Portsea Island married Annie Sarah Ferris born 1878. They were living in britain street in portsea island according to 1911 census. he was a stoker in royal navy but cannot find his death registered though I only have the period 1911-1928 as his year of death. My Grandads brother was born either 1910 or 1911 as he was 9 months in 1911 register Charles J Morgan yet I can't find him on shipping lists he went to new zealand or austrailia as an orphan between the same time period as above we believe.

You've answered your own question there, as presumably he died after 1928, unless you have not also looked at the smaller categories of deaths (that are indexed here alongside the main ones) - First World War deaths, to give one example. It's a shame you cannot find the brother Charles in a shipping list, though presumably it is not essential, as you know where .he ended up. You could try the archives there to see what might be in their incoming passenger lists.

Jennifer Wright 17/01/2012 21:43:27

how can I find out about adoptions

The adoptions section of your local Social Services should be your first port of call - but can you be more specific about what you want to know?

Anthony Riggs 17/01/2012 21:36:33

Anthony, thanks for your response. I did look in the general registers via this site and that's where I found the listing for Hannah's death. Is that it or is there a way to find out more ? Currently, we assume that with no named father, that maybe she was thrown out of home because she doesn't appear on the 1891 census. With no Parish listing, maybe the churches wouldn't accept her. She may well be in a pauper's grave ? We just don't know because the trail has gone dry.

As I said, you cannot read anything into her not being in the parish registers indexed here, because they represent only a tiny proportion of those that exist. Your next steps are to buy the death certificate itself, and once you know exactly where she died, look in the local graveyards and cemeteries. has an increasingly good coverage of burials.

Leslie Young 17/01/2012 21:28:19

Thanks again for the last answer it gives a reason why we cannot find her. Another question is it possible to find out from department of work and pensions any info? i.e. has she ever drawn a pension or if she has died? As I know that she worked in a chemist in 1956 and also in a NAFFI in Havordsfordwest.. Just grasping at straws now!!

Yes, they'll know, but they won't tell you. But Social Services do run a 'dead or alive' service whereby they can tell you whether someone is one or the other (but no more). It's so long since I've used it that I cannot remember more details.

Lynne Rice 17/01/2012 21:27:52

Harris Births: Yes I have looked at the General Registration birth records and cannot find any matches. Have used the GRO site to order certificates - I include the parents name and am not charged the full amount but there are too many possibilities for me to order them all!! Was wondering if I could find out the information anywhere else

Unless you know something I don't, the checking system that you describe here was stopped over a year ago, which is a great shame. But I think you've provided the solution to your own problem here - if there are possible births left that you have not yet checked, then the ones you want could well be amongst them.

James Porteous 17/01/2012 21:21:20

Anthony - being new to this live chat can I ask why questions are not answered in time order? Two questions after mine have been answered?

I've noticed that too. Each time I answer a question, a new one pops up, which I answer - but you are right - they are not always in the order in which they were submitted. It is very peculiar!

Leslie Young 17/01/2012 21:16:01

Thanks for your reply.I will contact local newspapers in Coventry and Stranraer. Yes I have looked for a will but there was not one. I have also talked to the informant on the death cert but all he could offer was that he "thought" that perhaps she had gone to Scotland. Hense I have looked for any paper trail there but again nothing. Am i to give up this search or is there other areas that I could investigate? Her name is Sheila Gwendoline HANSON b. 12/01/1934 @ plymouth. Married William GILMOUR b. dec 1933.d. aug 1985 @ coventry

Well done for having done so much. Presumably you have searched for her death, or a possible remarriage, in Scotland - but of course she could be happily living up there, in an old people's home, perhaps, in which case she could be virtually untraceable. One thing you could try would be identifying her parents, and then her siblings, and try to find them, and they may know perfectly well where she is.

Anthony Riggs 17/01/2012 21:13:32

Hannah living at home, appears on census. At 16 has a boy. No father named on birth cert. At next census in 1891, no signs of Hannah and the boy, now 2, listed as grandson. One year later, Hannah, 19, has died. No signs of listing on Parish registers. Nothing in the local papers. Apart from going to the city reister office, is there any other way of tracing what happened to Hannah ?

I wonder, how do you know Hannah had died, if you haven't got her death or burial? The parish registers indexed here are only a very small number of the total that exist in Britain, so I wouldn't read anything into not finding what you want there. If you think Hannah died in a certain year, your best bet is to look in the General Registration deaths, which are indexed here (under 'Register Office').

jennifer slight 17/01/2012 21:11:37

Hi Anthony, I am really having problems trying to find out what my father did in world war ll, my fathers name was Albert Edward Slight, born in Islington London on dec 15th 1922 (23) when i was growing up he used to tell me he was a cook in the war! ( he was the worst cook i had ever known! haha , my mother told me when my father died that he had been in the special forces? my father would not speak to us about the war . I hope you can help me with this, my dad passed away on 12.04.2006. Many Thanks Jenny.

I expect your father's lack of culinary skills confirms that he really was an army cook. Soldiers’ records after 1921 are held at the Army Records Centre, Ministry of Defence, Historical Disclosure, Mail Point 400, Kentigern House, 65 Brown Street, Glasgow, G2 8EX 0141 224 3030. They are not open for public searching, but you can apply for a service record of a deceased forebear, so long as you can prove they are deceased and you are the next-of-kin. On application, you will be sent a form to fill in and must pay £20 for a search and send your evidence. The records provide: - army number - regiment - dates of enlistment and discharge - medals The National Archives also has masses of documentation on 'special forces' and so on, so you could explore the on-line catalogue and see what looks promising.

James Porteous 17/01/2012 21:11:04

Two questions - how do I claim and use the 50 free credits I have with my standard membership and how do I check for birth records for grandmother born in Scotland?

I'm afraid I don't know the answer to the first question, as I'm not at all involved with the site's administration. Scottish deaths are available at

Barbara Mercer 17/01/2012 21:10:48

HI can you tell me how to find out about my uncle DAVID MERCER ,He sailed from southampton in 1936 to south africa on the Arundel castle.thanx barb.

If you want to trace him, you'll have to tackle the South African records. It's not the easiest country in which to do research, and of course many people who settled there left because of Independence, so are now scattered elsewhere. A good starting point for resources is at

Jill Osborne 17/01/2012 21:07:29

hi how can i find out how and when a william grant tompson birbeck born 24/12/1919 died 08/11/1983 received a dcm medal from jill

All such awards were published in the London Gazette, so if you have a rough idea of when this man was a soldier, you will have a rough idea of when to start looking - it slips my mind to what extent it is indexed (or not) .

Lorraine Shaw 17/01/2012 21:06:54

baineswilliam lucy is wife left de wsbury 1903 for scotland work in wollin mill thay wear r catholicswith family my mother was with themibeen doing the tree few years iamm82 years old and enjoy it very much

I am delighted that you are enjoying tracing your family tree, and I hope you are finding this site useful. A lot of Scottish records are searchable now at the site If you have any questions, do let me know!