Genealogy Chat

Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

Welcome to the Genes Reunited community boards!

  • The Genes Reunited community is made up of millions of people with similar interests. Discover your family history and make life long friends along the way.
  • You will find a close knit but welcoming group of keen genealogists all prepared to offer advice and help to new members.
  • And it's not all serious business. The boards are often a place to relax and be entertained by all kinds of subjects.
  • The Genes community will go out of their way to help you, so don’t be shy about asking for help.

Quick Search

Single word search

New Military Records

New military records

Was your ancestor a war hero?

View thousands of brand new military records, including Chelsea Pensioner records, Military Nurses, Prisoners of war and much more.

View military records today


  • New posts
  • No new posts
  • Thread closed
  • Stickied, new posts
  • Stickied, no new posts

Deaths at sea (local waters)

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Abigail Report 9 Aug 2005 21:29

Could anyone help me with a drowning in Falmouth Bay of James McLean, born 1880, died sometime between March 1901 and 1907 (not sure about the second date). I am not sure if he went down with the ship. I have looked on 1837 but cannot find him between these dates. He was definitely alive and on the 1901 census on the Ellen Eales in Newlyn Harbour. Are drownings off the coast registered in the ordinary index? His brother, William John McLean, went down with all hands on the St John Baptish just outside an Irish harbour in 1940 and he is not in the normal death indexes either but I presumed that it was because of the war. Can anyone give me any guidance on where to look next? Thanks Abigail

Merry Monty

Merry Monty Report 9 Aug 2005 22:10

This is one of those things with so many ifs and buts! There are marine deaths on 1837 as well as the ordinary ones that you could try. The problems seem to stem from the rules at the time regarding what happened if no body was recovered. These days a death cert can sometimes be granted (after a lot of preamble) even if there was no body traced. (For instance after the tsunami disaster the newspapers said death certs would be issued to help the next of kin) HOWEVER when my own rellie was lost at sea in 1862 there was no body and no death cert, but a court case to allow his will to be proved. I checked The Times newspaper for your 1901-1907 rellie, but there was no mention. Also the boat name as well (again, nothing), but I suppose you don't know if it was the Ellen Eales that he was lost from?? Not much help really! Sorry - Best Wishes Sarah - PS have you ever considered that either of these men might have made a will?? I have found that my mariner branch all did so, even though they were no more well off than my ag lab branches who never seemed to bother! I suppose it was the high risk occupation? Might be worth investigating?


Abigail Report 9 Aug 2005 22:41

Thanks Sarah, James was 19 on the 1901 census and was born in OND 1880. His father James was the 42 year old skipper he was sailing with on the Ellen Eales in 1901. I don't think the Ellen Eales was lost so he may have been cook on another ship or maybe was working in a different capacity on another ship. I will have a look at marine deaths next, thanks for the tip - I had never noticed! Abigail


Seasons Report 10 Aug 2005 08:53

I had a mariner who drowned off the NE Coast in 1876 and his death was registered in the scotlandspeople mariners section. It also made the newspaper with a full report of how he and two others drowned. You could possibly try the local Newspaper archive especially if his father was a skipper and so presumably a well known family.


Abigail Report 10 Aug 2005 10:29

Thanks Sarah, I have now found James McLean (aged 19). Julie, when you say local newspapers, how do I go about finding those. I have bought a mini membership to ancestry but they seem to have very few newspapers. The family was based in Brixham until somewhere between 1901 and 1910. I am beginning to suspect that they moved to Milford Haven, South Wales 1907. Where did you find your newspapers? Thanks Abigail

Merry Monty

Merry Monty Report 10 Aug 2005 10:33

You could try phoning the nearest major library to Brixham. They might have microfilm of old papers or know where they are. If you can give them the date of death, they might even look for you?!! Sarah


Sandra Report 10 Aug 2005 11:00

Hi Abigail, When I go to Falmouth Library next week I'll have a look through the local newspaper archives to see if there is any mention of his drowning. You could also try Falmouth Martime Museum as they have a library,if you ring them they may be able to find some info for you.I don't have there phone number but I think you should be able to get it from there web site. Hope this helps Sandra


Abigail Report 10 Aug 2005 19:16

Dear Sandra, Thanks for your offer. I found James William S. McLean (age 19) in the GRO Marine Deaths Indices (1903-1965) in year 1903 and on page 144. His vessel was the Rokeby, though it gives no other details. I am off to look up the Rokeby now if I can to see if it went down too. I think it will be a google wing and a prayer. It doesn't give a date or a quarter for his death though. Thanks again Abigail


MarieCeleste Report 27 May 2013 23:17

Hello Andy, given that it's 8 years since there was any activity on this thread it may be better if you started a thread of your own, especially as you say you're having trouble with several family members.

I'd suggest going to the Find Ancestors board and starting a thread on there.

This link gives some good advice on how to get started with your query

Good luck with your research.


jax Report 27 May 2013 23:29


This is the 2nd old thread of Abigails you hve replied on in the last week.

Have you tried sending her a private message by clicking on her name? if her email address is the same she will be notified by Genes


Andrew Report 29 May 2013 06:42

Thanks guys - I sometimes get replies on old threads, always think it's worth a try. I know it must LOOK pointless but several times it's yielded results - I always think anything is worth a try.