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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
Colin Cross 22/11/2011 21:31:00

Hi Anthony My great grandfather worked as a signalman on the railway from the railways records jis previous employment was as a gunner. he was a gunner in the royal Artillery for 14 years and 179 days and left the army june 1884. Do you know where i could find more information about him during his time in the army where he was stationed campaigns he was in if he was sent to another country. regards Colin Cross

Your next step here should be looking for your ancestor's army records. The original records are at The National Archives.

John Wilson 22/11/2011 21:19:23

Hello Anthony I see you went to St Georges - so did I in 1958-1964. I remember a classmate called Adolph - was that a relative ? We are trying to trace my wife's aristocratic great-grandfather who had 7 children with great-grandmother, although they never married. All birth and marriage certs give his name as Henry Grosvenor although we strrongly believe he was Algernon Henry Grosvenor, the 4th son of the 1st Lord Ebury. In 1881 he settled a significant sum on the family by way of a Trust. Unfortunately, the solicitor's acting destroyed the file in 1980 and we cannot find any more to confirm our belief, even though we have looked in all the usual places. Do you know if a copy of the settlement form would still be held somewhere if, say, stamp duty had had to be paid. Can you think of anywhere else proof of fatherhood and true identity might be ? Best wishes John Wilson

That would be my uncle David, still alive and well. I'll out you in touch if you like - contact me at The place was awash with Wilsons in my time, as his, of course. I don't think that stamp duty would have ensured the document's survival - stamp duty was and is paid on masses of things, and there aren't copies all conveniently stored away somewhere - I say that with some confidence because, if such records existed, I think we'd be using them all the time! DNA testing may the best way forward in this case. You'd need to find a legitimate descendant of Algernon, or of a brother or other close relative of his. A comparative 'Family Finder' test with you at would show whether you were cousins or not.

lee todd 22/11/2011 21:16:45

hello i am looking for my grandad dad and i can not find anything about him my granndad was called Terrence w f Todd born in plymouth1933 die in 2004 plymouth i think his dad was called william todd born in london and his wife was called annie richards born in plymouth date unknow can you help me please

As you are unsure as to Terrence's father's name, you should start by seeking Terrence's marriage certificate, and once you have that, you can seek his birth certificate. The indexes are on this site, under 'search records'.

Lucy Langdon 22/11/2011 21:11:28

Can you tell me how to find someone who used a false name? Alfred Arthur Hudson was born 1881 Holborn; married Southwark 1901 Daisy Ellen Williams and fathered Dorothy Ellen Hudson. Enlisted in army 1903 as Robert ARTHUR, transferred from RFA to reserve in 1912, still as Robert ARTHUR. In 1948, London, he signed oath stating enlisted under false name of Robert Arthur and true name was Alfred Arthur Hudson. Daughter's marriages in 1920s show him as deceased. Family never known anything of him. Is there any way of tracing him after 1912 or 1948? He doesn't appear in 1st WW records online in either name. I can't find a marriage or death for him. Thanks, Lucy James

Many people served in the armed forces under pseudonyms, to dissociate themselves from what they were doing. Perhaps Arthur was his mother's maiden name. I don't know what to make of the rest - it is very lucky and interesting that you found the 1948 oath. I'd like to see if before advising what could be done next.

Lorna Branigan 22/11/2011 21:11:21

Hi, i have just purchased my grandad birth cert, on it has his fathers name, so i tried looking up his name and there are alot of people with the same name. i no my grandad lived in Hackney, but i don't no about my great grandad. i can't purchase a birth cert for my great grandad until i know which john james yates he is, how i can i find out for sure which one it is so i can order a birth cert. Thanks for any help Lorna

If John James Yates was born after the last census was taken in 1911, then you may have to experiment and buy several birth records before you find the right one. If you are unsure of his age, obtain his marriage certificate first, as this should tell you.

Craig Worrall 22/11/2011 21:10:22

Hi im looking at tracing my line back further,i've got to my 4th great grandad but cant seem to got back now.His name was Thomas Worrall born around 1806 but this might be wrong from Welchstay Brecknockshire.

Good for you! But what do you mean 'might be wrong'? Maybe the censuses and his age at death have given you ambiguous results.At any rate, the next step, as you know where he was born, would be to examine the parish registers there - check with the National Library of Wales to make sure they've got them before you go there.

Denise Lynn Cooper 22/11/2011 21:09:52

Hi Anthony I have been searching for sometime for any information about my army grt grandfather. His name was Hugh John Hughes married to Ellen Wall (common names) first child Maud born in 1879 India. Other children Charlie (d infancy), Hugh John, Isabella Ellen. He states his nationality as Welsh, service no 898 1st Durham Light Infantry on his daughter Evelyn's (my grandma's) birthcert (1886). Stationed at Allahabad and Poona, India.I have searched all the military records on Find my Past and Short of going to the India Office to search are you able to advise on any other records?

Well the records of the India Office Library would be indispensable in a case like this! If you cannot go, you could pay a genealogist to search there instead. It's a shame you cannot find this chap's service records. They should exist, so maybe the computerised indexes have misindexed him, for they are not faultless. The original records at The National Archives should be checked. One possible reason for them missing would be if he went on to serve in WW1, for many such papers have been burned - but date-wise that doesn't seem a likely option in this case.

Robert Cleminson 22/11/2011 21:09:29

My Grt grandfather was William Cleminson ( variously spelt as Clemmeson, Clemieson, Clementson) He appears in the 1941 census in Holbeck with son Charles (under the name Clementson) aged 40. He is recorded as dying in Holbeck in 1847 aged 49. I am unable to trace him back beyond 1841. I have family members with the name Thirkill, and there is a record of a William Clemmeson marrying Mary Thirkell in Coxwold in 1821 but by the 1841 census there is no trace of her or what i believe to be a further son and two daughters. How do I go about finding out if that is the right William Cleminson.

The 1841 census. You've done well to realise how many possible spellings there can be here. You want to be searching the parish registers for this one. The area around Leeds is complicated by the existence of big parishes containing many small chapelries, many with their own registers, something you could read up on using the Genuki website.

Jill Bishop 22/11/2011 21:08:13

I have two proven relatives. One c1410 - 1500 and the other 1564-1659. I am missing a couple of generations between the two and am at a loss as to where I should go to try to find them. The first was Cardinal John Morton the second Bishop Thomas Morton. Any advise would be very welcome

If there are a couple of missing generations, then their connection to each other and you can't really be said to be proven, and, unless John became a cardinal later in life (which is possible) then, as a Catholic, one wouldn't expect him to have had children. Having said that, two high ranking clergymen of the sane surname at that period are perfectly likely to be related. Their wills would be a god starting point. They may well be in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, indexed on the National Archives' website under 'Documents Online'. There could very well be a pedigree in existence for such eminent people. Look on the Society of Genealogists' catalogue of printed family histories (on their website) or in the genealogical bibliographies, G.W. Marshall, The genealogists’ guide (4th edn, 1903, repr GPC, 1973); supplemented by J.B. Whitmore A genealogical guide, an index to British pedigrees in continuation of Marshall’s genealogist’ guide repr J.B. Whitmore (1953).

Zara-Jayne Arnold 22/11/2011 21:03:03

when a marrage certificate has full age on it how do you work out what age they were

'Full age' indicates that the people concerned were 21 or more, or, annoyingly, under 21, but lying about their age in order to avoid the need fro parental consent. You can seek their ages from census returns, or their death or burial records.

Robert Dunn 22/11/2011 21:02:47

Hi, I a, stuck with my ancesters, I ive near the Scottish Borders and I have a Robert Dunn b 1807 in Scotland, I am unable to find him any where, he married an English girl, Sarah b 1818 in Kirknewton, Northumberland but again I am unable to find any marrage in either Scotland or England. Can you give me any advice?

The surviving Old Parochial Registers for Scotland are all indexed at These don't include other denominations, or those who just didn't go to church, but you may find what you want there in terms of Robert's baptism and perhaps the marriage too - but many Scots marriages were contracted unofficially and not recorded. To gain a better idea of where to look, you could see if he survived until the 1851 census.

Dawn Bacon 18/10/2011 21:52:55

how to be more specific, all I know was his name Albert Barrett born in 1909 , he married a louisa alice ewen in 1936 in bethnal green, they had 6 children 4 deseased and 2 unknown whereabouts Its an impossible task right! I know 2 albert barretts born in 1909 one in hackney the other in poplar..

It is quite easy: first, obtain Albert's marriage record, which will confirm his age, and tell you who his father was. Then, obtain both the possible births: one should have the right father's name and the other, hopefully, will not. Concerning burials, please see my answer to a previous question tonight. 'Deceased online' is very strong now for London.

DARREN WINDSOR 18/10/2011 21:51:40

hi,i have been trying to find information on my grandfather, his name was kenneth walter wilks.he was born in 1898 i was told he was adopted.

They didn't have formal adoption in those days, but even informal fostering can cause we genealogists a lot of trouble. See what his marriage record says, seek him in the 1911 and 1901 censuses, and then see if a birth can be found. What to do thereafter depends entirely on what you find in the records I have just suggested.

Pamela Attfield 18/10/2011 21:49:00

Thanks Anthony will have to try and find copy of will and also will take on board your suggestion of checking with local registrars office. Pam Rodham

Good luck!

Pamela Attfield 18/10/2011 21:47:23

Hi Anthony my question was to do with Cecilia Maria Hanlon who died on 13 December 1884. Can't find record of her death in Births, Marriages, Deaths. Local library I guess found this in a paper about her death and her personal estate (£91.4.10d) and the residuary legatee was John Hanlon and she resided in Southampton. Pam Rodham

I've answered this, below.

Doreen Price 18/10/2011 21:47:03

Thanks Anthony , hopefully I should be able to get through my brickwall at last.

Good luck to you - if not, come back next time!

Pamela Attfield 18/10/2011 21:41:25

Hi Anthony in reply to your question I guess it was notice of a will. No her name wasn't O'Hanlon it was definitely Hanlon. Yes my great great grandfather was of irish descent but was over in Southampton from the 1840's where he met Cecilia. The notice said her name and personal estate (£91.4.10d) and residual legatee was her son John Hanlon and she died in Southampton. That is all I know. Pam Rodham

I see - so, as you'd expect with a probate clause from that period, it stated where she died. In that case, if there is definitely no death registered, then you've found a mistake in the system, most probably in the indexing rather than the original records. I suggest asking the registrar in Southampton to check their original records for the date you have been given - and look a year or two either side, unless the printed probate clause has been printed incorrectly, too. And do you realise that you can now order a copy of the will itself from First Avenue House in London?

Olivia O'Dolan 18/10/2011 21:40:57

Hi Anthony I wish to trace my second cousins who I belive live in Glasgow Scotland. Margaret Donaldson nee Kelly whom I belive lives in Bailiston area of Glasgow. Her late Dad was Jackie Kelly and lived at one time in Easterhouse area of Glasgow. Jackie Kelly searved in Army during WW2 and searved at Dunkirk. Another second cousin I wish to trace is Margaret Kelly and her sister Isobel Kelly daughters of late William Kelly. I have no known address for these ladies.Their grandparents were William and Margaret Kelly. William Kelly sen worked with cleansing dep of Glasgow City Council during 1960s/ 70s. Thanking you. Olivia O'Dolan in Co Fermanagh Ireland.

There are two main sources to help you - Scottish General Registration (, in which you can seek births, marriages and deaths to match and enhance what you know about the Kellys, and work forward towards the present, and telephone directories and electoral registers for Great Britain, available at www.findmypast,com.

Doreen Price 18/10/2011 21:37:46

Hello, Are any parish records available for Chirk, Denbighshire ?, I am looking for GG mother born circa 1820. Thanks

Yes. They are at the National Library of Wales.

Dawn Bacon 18/10/2011 21:32:47

How can I find out where a relative is buried? What's the best way to ensure you are following the right line if there are more than one . Thanks

You have to find out where they died (using the death indexes on this site, and then buy the certificate) and then contact the local graveyards, cemeteries and crematoria. Some are now indexed on Sometimes, newspapers print details of funerals and hence burials. The second question is a huge one. The answer - by being very careful! If you can give me more specific details I'll try to comment more specifically.