Tag Archives: birth certificate

February GRO certificate order

3 Feb

Birth, marriage and death certificates are one of the key sources in English family history, but are also one of the most expensive as well. At £7 a certificate, a genealogist on a budget (like me) can’t afford as many as they would like.

I try and ration myself to just three certificates a month, so I need to make sure they are not only the correct ones (my relations, not someone else’s), but also that they are going to benefit my research more than just providing an exact date of birth or cause of death.

After some careful thought this month’s lucky winners have been selected:

  • BIRTH – Walter Henry BOXALL (Q2 1897)

Walter Henry BOXALL is one of the orphans in my database, he is described in the 1901 census as the grandson of my 2x great-grandparents James and Caroline BOXALL, but there is no indication of his parents.

Tragically his life was cut short by the First World War. Interestingly his birth was registered in Wales, not Sussex, where I would have expected it. I really would like to be able to correctly place him in my family tree and try to piece together the reason why he was in born in Wales.

  • MARRIAGE – Ernest John TROWER and Emma P WILDING (Q1 1913)

Ernest John TROWER was the son of Mercy TROWER, who should need no introduction by now. I am hoping that the marriage certificate will identify his father, whose identity has so far remained a mystery. This may give me a clue to the identity of Mercy’s husband.

Interestingly I cannot find any details of Emma WILDING. I was hoping I could find out where she came from so that I might find a record of their marriage locally, but so far she has remained elusive.

  • DEATH – Jane K TROWER (Q4 1922)

Jane TROWER is another daughter of Henry and Jane TROWER, making her the sister of Mercy TROWER, she was my 3x great-aunt. There is a large gap in my knowledge of her life between the 1881 census and her death in 1922 and burial in Henfield, Sussex.

I am hoping that her death certificate will give me a few clues, at least it should tell me where she was living, and the identity of the informant might give me another clue. Even the cause of death may help me identify where she had been hiding.

Who were the parents of Ernest John TROWER?

14 Jan

As well as the death certificate for Mercy STEADMAN I also ordered a birth and marriage certificate for two other individuals, just to try and fill in a few gaps in my database. The birth certificate was for Ernest John TROWER, it arrived the day after Mercy’s death certificate.

Ernest John TROWER was one of the individuals in my database that wasn’t actually linked to my tree. I knew he was related to me but not exactly how. He was shown in the 1891 and 1901 census as the grandson of Henry and Jane TROWER, my 3x great-grandparents.

I have yet to find a baptism entry for Ernest and the only clue to his parents identity was the presence of Martha TROWER, one of the daughters of Henry and Jane, in the same household in the 1891 census.

The birth certificate answered part of the question, it identified his mother, but there was no mention of a father. Ernest John TROWER was born on the 14th October 1884 at Harwoods Farm, Henfield, Sussex. The birth was registered by his mother, Mercy TROWER.

I was speechless, Mercy TROWER, the same Mercy TROWER whose husband is proving so illusive. That was not what I had expected at all and adds a whole other dimension to the mystery.

Was Ernest the son of the unknown STEADMAN, who Mercy may or may not have married, was he the son of George BARLEY who may or may not have married Mercy, and whose banns of marriage I have found, or did Mercy have a relationship with another man.

One thing is clear, the whole story of Mercy TROWER has suddenly become a lot more complicated and lot more interesting. I am going to have to do some serious work on this family if I am ever going to get these relationships sorted out.

Another birth certificate and more questions than answers

8 Dec

The birth certificate for Rebecca BATEMAN arrived yesterday, and it wasn’t quite what I expected, in fact it has given me more questions than answers.

It should have been quite simple, Rebecca BATEMAN was the daughter of my 4x great-grandparents Thomas and Rebecca BATEMAN, born in Ford in the parish of Temple Guiting, Gloucestershire on the 10th December 1839. The reason for ordering this particular certificate was to find out the maiden name of Rebecca.

I had suspected it was TOWNSEND, based on the most likely marriage entry I could find on the International Genealogical Index (IGI). The birth certificate however gives her maiden name as TOWNLEY. Quite close, but not really close enough to be explained away as a transcription error or a mis-spelling.

As there is a baptism in Temple Guiting (also on the IGI) for a Rebecca TOWNLY at about the right date, coupled with the fact that the marriage I was looking at wasn’t in Temple Guiting, but about ten miles away, makes me think that the registrar was correct. I am clearly going to have to do some more work in this.

The other anomaly is the birth date (or baptism date). The certificate says that she was born on the 10th December 1839, yet there is a baptism record for Rebecca BATEMAN in Temple Guiting on the IGI, with a date of the 4th December. Either there is a transcription error on the IGI (most likely) or Thomas and Rebecca lied about (or couldn’t remember) their daughter’s exact birth date. Again more work needed on this family in the original parish registers.

So I think I have the maiden name of my 4x great-grandmother, which leaves only one 4x great-grandparent with no maiden name and three missing completely. Hopefully next year I can pay a visit to the Gloucestershire Record Office and do a bit more research on these branches of my tree. I have enough of a start to make it worthwhile visiting now.

Weekly Genealogy Preview (for week 50)

6 Dec

Not much actual research done last week, but I did clear a lot from my stuff to sort folder by scanning pages rather than actually going through them and deciding what to do with them. I didn’t get a lot done on the presentation of my chart for my Christmas Tree Project, so that will be carried over to this coming week as well.

  • Priority is to get as much research done as possible on my Christmas Tree Project, mostly in East Sussex and Kent, just filling in missing details for my ancestors.
  • Prepare for a trip to the London Family History Centre. This Saturday will be my last chance to get up there before Christmas and whilst I don’t particularly relish the idea of head up to London a couple of weeks before Christmas I need to make the most of the opportunity.
  • Work on the presentation of my chart. Create the headshot photos and work on the text scheme for the ancestor boxes.
  • Get rid of my stuff to sort folder. I think this week I will actually be able to finish sorting out my paperwork. I have only a few pages left, and most of that is scanning, so I think I will have it finished this week.
  • I should get a birth certificate this week for one of the younger children of Thomas and Rebecca BATEMAN (my 4x great-grandparents). This should give me Rebecca’s maiden name which I think is TOWNSEND, but need to be sure.

Apart from family history I need to start thinking seriously about Christmas, I might start writing cards this week, which if I do will be a record for me, usually it is a lot later than this (just in time for the last posting date).

The birth certificate for Henry SHORNDEN arrives

24 Oct

The birth certificate for Henry SHAWNDEN (probably Henry SHORNDEN later WRIGHT) arrived today. Another pretty quick turn around from the GRO considering there have been two 24 hour postal strikes this week.

As usual the certificate brings with it as many questions as answers. Henry was the son of Henry and Sarah (possibly Sarah Ann) SHORNDEN (my 3x great grandparents) and he is the eldest child I have been able to trace a birth registration and baptism for.

Henry was born on the 10th January 1842 in Alton, Hampshire and his birth was registered on the 25th January 1842. He was baptised in Alton on the 6th February 1842. When his birth was registered the surname was spelt SHAWNDEN and when he was baptised it was spelt SHORDEN.

Within a couple of years the surname WRIGHT was being used for Henry’s brothers and sisters. Initially in combination with the surname SHORNDEN (or variants thereof) and then on its own. In the 1851 census the family are listed as WRIGHT. I have not yet traced many of the children in later years to find out what surnames they used when they got older.

The name of Henry’s mother is given as Sarah SHAWNDEN formerly LAY, and that is probably the key piece of information to take away from this certificate. This not only tells me that Sarah’s maiden name was LAY, but it also implies that Henry and Sarah were married after all.

This gives me another name to use to search for a marriage, baptisms of their two older children (including my 2x great grandmother), their whereabouts in the 1841 census, birth registrations and a marriage entry in the GRO Indexes.

Only slightly worrying thing is that Henry’s father’s occupation is given as bricklayers laborer which is not what I was expecting. Henry’s baptism entry has his father recorded as a cutler, this puts the seed of doubt in my mind, whether I have the right people, but I am pretty certain that this is the correct family, because of the overlap or combination of surnames for later baptisms.

I suspect that Henry’s father did whatever he could to earn a living. In the 1844 edition of Pigot’s Hampshire Directory he is listed as a cutler and grinder, but in later years he is a chimney sweep and a lodging house keeper. I suspect one job wasn’t enough for Henry’s father to support the family, so he did whatever he could to bring in some money.

The birth itself was registered by Henry’s mother Sarah, she couldn’t sign her name so just made her mark. This is probably the reason why the spelling of the name changed so much, she probably had no idea how to spell it. At least the surname LAY shouldn’t give me too many variations.

So what now? The next step is to search for any marriages for Sarah LAY and Henry SHORNDEN before 1842, also search for baptisms and birth registrations for the two children possibly under the surname LAY instead of SHORNDEN or WRIGHT. I am not sure what to look for in the 1841 census or where. I think it is safe to assume somewhere in the south of England, but possibly not necessarily confined to Kent or Hampshire.

At least I feel as if I am making some progress now, another piece of the puzzle slots into place. I would be interested to see what the other birth certificates say, whether the spellings and details changed depending on who was actually registering the birth, but with another seven children registered after Henry that is not the sort of thing I can really afford to do, just to satisfy my curiosity.

Christmas Tree Project Update

19 Oct

Most of my work last week was focused on trying to find the 4x great grandparents for my Christmas Tree Project. All in all it was quite successful, but I have still have quite a bit of work to do.

The present state of play is that I am still missing four individuals, there are another three 4x great grandmothers where I have no maiden name for, only a married name, and there are a couple of connections I have made that are not as strong as I would have liked (like the parents of Ellen NICHOLLS).

The missing individuals are the parents of Susannah POCOCK, and the parents of Sarah Ann the wife of Henry SHORNDEN.

I don’t know Sarah Ann’s maiden name, I thought she was the SHORNDEN and Henry was the WRIGHT, but I have since found that to be wrong. Now I need to find out if Sarah Ann was the WRIGHT.

Logic would suggest that if they didn’t use Henry’s surname, then they used Sarah Ann’s instead, but logic and the WRIGHT/SHORNDEN family don’t seem to sit together well in the same sentence.

Tonight I have ordered a copy of the birth certificate for Henry SHAWNDEN, who I believe was the first of their children to be registered and baptised in Alton, Hampshire in the first quarter of 1842.

This promises to be the most eagerly awaited birth certificate yet (apart from my illegitimate grandfather’s one). If I were a betting man I would put my money on Sarah Ann being a WRIGHT, but then again I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost it all.

I just hope that the Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union settle their differences quickly so my certificate doesn’t get held up in the post too long.

Weekly Genealogy Preview (for week 43)

18 Oct

I have been over indulging in genealogy this week, so I still have quite a bit of information to sort out and some planning to do to find the last of my missing 4x great grandparents. This week is mainly going to be a week of catching up and taking stock

  • Finish sorting out my notes from the Hampshire Record Office and the London Family History Centre.
  • Order the birth certificate for one of the children of Henry SHORNDEN/WRIGHT.
  • Continue working on my stuff to sort folder, which was untouched last week.
  • My blogroll is half done, so this week I will get it finished completely.
  • Decide whether there is any more I can do to find my missing 4x great grandparents, or whether I should move on to phase II, finding out as much as possible about those I have identified.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 117 other followers

%d bloggers like this: