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The mystery of disappearing ancestors

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


AnninGlos Report 6 Aug 2008 16:00

Check Susan's request 8 Aug please
Anyone else got ancestors in their tree who have 'disappeared off the face of the earth?

My GtGt grandfather Abraham Allen appears to have gone to France (for reasons unknown) in c1841, never to be seen again. His wife Ellen also has disappeared in 1842, she appears to have gone to France to join him. plus all her children, Alfred, Martha and Thomas.
c1845 Children return from France, no mention of Ellen anywhere, but an extra child Seth Allen age 8 in the workhouse in 1851, born in France British Subject (my Gt grandfather) A further child appears with Martha age given as 17 when it should be 19/20, in the workhouse in 1851, William born Belper 1847. On Williams marriage cert in 1868 he gives Abraham Allen as his father but he could equally of course be Martha's child and just used Abraham's name.

So, did Abraham die in France?, did he return to Britain and die before the 1851? (There is no sign of him or Ellen Allen in the 1851) Can't find a death for him either. did Ellen come back a widow and re- marry? (I have just sent for a marriage cert for an Ellen Allen in the hope that she did). any ideas anyone?

So has anyone else got ancestors they have 'lost'?


Deanna Report 6 Aug 2008 16:03

Ann.... all of mine are lost before 17.. something or other! ;-0)

Do you mean from our trees?
Deanna X


AnninGlos Report 6 Aug 2008 16:06

Oh yes and to add further to the mystery> My Gt grandfather Seth Allen on marriage cert 1869, Censuses 1871 & 1881, daughter and son's birth certs states occupation as RMLI or Private Marine or Royal marines.
His death cert states Pensioner RMLI & tailor (Master) and his wife's death cert states widow of Seth Allen a pensioner RMLI and master Tailor.

I have paid a researcher to look for his RM records and she has been unable to find absolutely nothing. She has searched all the records she possibly can.

So another mystery in the same line.

any suggestions?


AnninGlos Report 6 Aug 2008 16:07

Deanna, well they are still on my tree because I know they existed but I have been unable to 'kill off' Abraham. And unable to prove that Seth was a R Marine.


Deanna Report 6 Aug 2008 16:09

Work work work... and what do we do for fun???

We work.......... are we idiots or what?

Deanna X


AnninGlos Report 6 Aug 2008 16:11

We're idiotsDeanna in the nicest possible way. and it is fun when we solve these problems.


Bev Report 6 Aug 2008 16:11

mine are nowhere to be found on the 1851 census

i have a theory as to where they might be

but need to know if pubs were enumerated to prove/disprove it



Joanne in Burgess Hill™

Joanne in Burgess Hill™ Report 6 Aug 2008 16:20

I have a father and son.
William Old Massey. On the 1881 census his family is listed, with his wifes occupation described as 'ships carpenters wife at sea'.
I can't find the ship, or even the census either side with him listed.
His father was a lighthouse keeper in Pembroke Dock, but I have absolutely no other information.

All the information I have has come from William Old Massey wedding certificate. Even that listed his age as 'full'

(¯`*•.¸*Karen on the Coast*(¯`*•.¸

(¯`*•.¸*Karen on the Coast*(¯`*•.¸ Report 6 Aug 2008 16:22

my g g g grandfather,William Wallis, was born 1843......he's on 51 and 61 census. can't find him on 71 but in 1873 he has a son in Bristol....can't find a marriage for William and in 1881 his son is living in Portsmouth with an aunt.....both William and his "wife" nowhere to be seen on any census till 1901 where William in the workhouse in Portsmouth.

so bloomin frustrating,

Karen x

Joanne in Burgess Hill™

Joanne in Burgess Hill™ Report 6 Aug 2008 16:23

Oh, and I forgot to mention David Williams of Wales. Not so much lost, but where would you start looking? Decided he can remain unresearched.


Anne Report 6 Aug 2008 16:29

I have had this problem as well but Ancestry do because of illegible writing sometimes get the surname completely wrong. I have put in just the christian name and date and place of birth etc in the year that they were missing and trawled through all the likely surnames.I have had some success this way although it can be time consuming.The other reason is a remarriage as a lot can happen in ten years and the widows often married again quite quickly as there was no state help then and it could mean the work house if the family were in dire need.


Deanna Report 6 Aug 2008 16:29

Oh I have a few of them.

I have a Henry McVay, and his entire family.... but I cannot find him past 18/51/61/71 either. He is ther because I have his entire family... right up to ME!
Gotta be there.
But yes, the thrill of finding them.... I could not describe it.
Deanna X


SilverLady Report 6 Aug 2008 16:45

Yes I have some missing rellies as well. Can not find them on the census no death certs for them so where the heck did they go?
One in particular is giving me grief as some others have him tagged on to their tree but I just have a sixth sense that we are looking for 2 different people.
So Thomas Gunter come out from wherever you have been hiding. LOL

Love and Peace

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 6 Aug 2008 16:47

Oh yes, Ann.....I've got a right Dad's father!!

Seems he was born on planet Mars.
He managed to avoid appearing on the 1901 Census (or maybe they didn't have those on Mars?).
He makes his first of 2 official appearances in 1920 when he married my Dad's mother (I have the original cert). On that he says he was a postman, but that was a fib cos I've had the London postal workers archives checked. His address at the time was the family home of his intended, so no clue for me to work on there.

He makes his second official appearance in 1927 on my Dad's birth cert (I have the original). Here he says he's a labourer, so at least he's not pretending to be a postman any more!!
He disappears from my Dad's life around 1930, then turns up at the house one day in 1934 and gets sent off with a flea in his ear from granny. And whooooosh! he disappears for good...for ever and ever...back to planet Mars.

Of course, if he was born overseas, then that would explain why no birth record, no 1901 census listing, no death record. He may have gone back to his country of origin after granny wouldn't take him back, quite likely he did. Only trouble is, where on earth was that place? Talk about needles in haystacks.

Oh, and I've checked through WW1 and WW2 records just in case. And I've checked goodness knows how many Ships Lists, and I've checked births for England & Wales as well as USA, Canada, Scotland.
Would like to try Ireland but don't knw where to start with just a name and approx year of birth.

Am I allowed to call this a brick wall??


Deanna Report 6 Aug 2008 16:48

Marianne... if shouting at them worked.... I would have found them all by now. ;-0)

Deanna X


AnnCardiff Report 6 Aug 2008 16:50

Joanne - My Grandad is David Williams of Wales!!!


SilverLady Report 6 Aug 2008 16:54


Love and Peace

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 6 Aug 2008 17:00

Going back to Ann in Berkshire's posting.....yes, it is definitley worthwhile searching in Ancestry in different ways to the obvious.
I had a lot of trouble finding 2 families in 1871 census, yet I know they were all still alive then because they're in later census'.

In Ancestry search I put in all details except surname. Sure enough I found them.
One lot had been given the name of the next door neighbours in the index, but it was clear to see on the actual census return what their real surname was.
The other was mistranscribed - from Whittlesey to Chillberg!! I would never have found them, despite my attempts to spell Whittlesey a hundred different ways!!



Julia Report 6 Aug 2008 17:04

Karen in the Desert - I have rellies in Whittlesey, and one in particular I cannot find. Should we put our heads together
Julia in Derbyshire


Anne Report 6 Aug 2008 17:06

I forgot to add if you let Ancestry know of the error in a surname they will add a correction so it will help others in their search, I have done this several times and they always respond.