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Help needed with Inquest

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Chrissie Report 1 Oct 2012 21:38

Hi all,
My great-granduncle worked for the GWR and was accidently killed by a passing train on 11th March 1898. The death certificate states that on inquest was held on 14th March 1898. The death was registered in the sub-district of Wallingford in the counties of Berks & Oxford, so I've rung both lots of coroners only to be told to try the other one (ggrrr). I also got in touch with several newspapers in the area in the hope they may have something in their archives. Despite offering to pay for time/printing/postage nothing was turned up. I've also tried the GWR society but they can't help.

I'd love to have a copy of the inquest but I feel like I've hit a brick wall. If anyone has any suggestions or can help it would be greatly appreciated.


lancashireAnn Report 1 Oct 2012 23:15

what was his name please?

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 2 Oct 2012 08:36

I have never been successful in finding Inquest reports. have been told they wouldnt have been kept long term.

My grt grandfather died in 1907 from Injuries caused by an accident in the London Docks and haven't been able to get his inquest records . Told again they havent been kept.

Chris in Sussex

Chris in Sussex Report 2 Oct 2012 14:39

Coroners records are usually passed to the relevant Record Office if not destroyed.

An advanced search on A2A

Use keyword Coroner restricting the date range to 1898 and select Berkshire Record Office from the drop down list, there are quite a few results so you could try then entering your man's name.

Also try a keyword search for inquest.

Oxfordshire Record Office can be searched the same way but they don't seem to have much.

The NA Podcast 'Coroners Inquests' is very informative.

Good luck


Jonesey Report 2 Oct 2012 15:04

The chances of the actual inquest file still being around after over 100 years are probably quite remote. Your best bet is almost certainly a report in a newspaper of the day. From what I have encountered I find that inquests were often reported in considerable depth and often appeared in newspapers produced some distance away from where the incident occurred. It might well be worth checking papers published in Oxford or even in London.

For free access to 19th century newspapers see:

Good luck.


Chrissie Report 2 Oct 2012 17:07

A big thank you for the replies and help.

@ LancashireAnn...His name was Joseph Challis and he died aged 41, I think of all the relatives he has got to be one of the more frustrating.

I think I might pay a visit to The National Archives at Kew and see what I can glean from there..(a search online showed nothing). Would I be able to see the newspapers as well?



lancashireAnn Report 2 Oct 2012 17:23

I had a look at the newspapers covered bu lancs libraries but no joy I'm afraid

was plain ann now annielaurie

was plain ann now annielaurie Report 2 Oct 2012 19:46

There could well be an accident report at the National Archives but it wouldn't be indexed so his name wouldn't come up in a search. I think, though, that you can get a short description (no name of person involved), by searching RAIL 1053 for the year.

There may be records in other series, such as MT.


DazedConfused Report 3 Oct 2012 20:08

Your best bet would be the Oxford Local History archives or a public library where the records and old newspapers are kept.

Most Local History Archives will do a search for an hourly rate.

Most Inqeusts took place in either the local pub or a church hall. These were reported in the local press either that evening or the following day.

I have one for a child who died in the family and the inquest was on 'Monday' afternoon and in the local papers that evening and one other the following day.

As said before Coroners were not required to keep copies of inquests for longer than I think about 5 years and after that they would often be destroyed. You must remember that this is a time when they did not know that in 100 years we would be so interested.


DazedConfused Report 3 Oct 2012 20:10

Right these are the people to contact

Oxfordshire History Centre

just enter into your search engine and they have a really good website and it tells you all you need to know about how to access their records either yourself or using their services.


Chrissie Report 3 Oct 2012 20:57

Thanks folks, that's given me a few options to check out. If I ever manage to find anything I'll let you know.

Once again, a big thank you to you all for your help.

:-) :-)