Tag Archives: birth

Australian BMD indexes on Ancestry.com.au

16 Jul

The release of the Australian BMD indexes on Ancestry.com.au is great news for my BATEMAN research. As most of the records relating to this family are connected with the state of Victoria I have so far been limiting the amount of index searches I do, because the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages charge for their index search results.

I know the charges for index searches weren’t particularly high, but with an Ancestry Worldwide membership I can now search to my heart’s content and can also extend to some of my other surnames just to see who might have ended in Australia as well. I am sure there are more than just the BATEMANs who went out there.

Interestingly a search for the surname GASSON in the death indexes only returns 81 results, and the surname TROWER returns only 49, both of which are a lot lower than I would have expected. The result might reflect the coverage of the indexes more than the number of my relations that actually left these shores.

One thing that doesn’t seem clear from the Ancestry web pages is the coverage dates for these indexes. It correctly states that the dates when civil registration started varies for each state or territory, but doesn’t mention that they also appear to have different cut-off dates for public access to the indexes.

As an example, although the birth index quotes the dates 1788-1922, there don’t appear to be any Victoria births after 1909. I haven’t played around to find the limits for all event types and places, but don’t be surprised if you don’t find the record you are looking for, despite what the collection title might say. The shame is that there is not an easy way to find out, unless I am missing something.

Christmas Tree Project update – fill in the gaps

2 Nov

I still have four missing people, hopefully I should find at least one of them this week when the marriage certificate for Henry SHORNDEN and Sarah LAY arrives, but nothing should be taken for granted with that family. Two other from Hampshire will probably have to wait a couple of weeks, before I can do any more work on them down at Winchester.

Now my focus has turned to filling in the gaps with the ancestors I have already located and think about what I want to display on my finished chart. For each individual I would like to have a date and place for each of the following events: birth, baptism, marriage, death and burial. Also I would like to find a census entry for them in every census for which they were alive.

For display purposes I would also like some sort of general sentence that describes where they lived and another describing what they did for a living. This will probably have to be hand written (or hand typed), summarising information contained in many different sources rather than using the residence and occupation attributes. I haven’t decided about education yet, I probably don’t have enough information at the education of my ancestors to make it worth including.

Last week I downloaded a query from the Family Historian User Group query store (thank you to whoever upload that), which reports which census years are present for each individual. I then modified it to show all the birth, baptism, marriage, death and burial information I want, plus restricted it to only include me and six generations of my direct ancestors. I then saved the output as a tab-delimited text file and opened it up in Microsoft Excel.

The result was slightly surprising and rather disappointing, the query had worked without any problem, it was just that there were an awful lot of holes in my data. I added in a few formulas at the bottom of the data and came up with some statistics on how complete my data was based on the 123 individuals I have already found.

Marriage data was the best, I have 85% (105 out of 123) of the marriages for my direct ancestors, and I know at least one couple were never married, so that is never going to be 100%.

Birth dates are at 65% and birth places at 63%. The low figures I think are due to the fact that I have not entered a birth date or place when I already have a baptism record, rather than assume that the person was born just before the baptism and in the same parish I have left it blank. I need to see if I can find other data to confirm place of birth from the census and the GRO Indexes.

Baptism data is surprisingly low at 42%. I thought I had found more baptism records than that, as that is where much of my early research was focused.

There is quite a discrepancy between the date of death (53%) and place of death (45%). This discrepancy is largely due to me not assuming that the person died in the same parish as they were living previously or where they were buried. This is never going to be 100%, at least not whilst I am still alive!

Perhaps the most surprising figure of all is that for burials, I only have dates and places for 28% of the individuals. Like baptisms I would have expected to have found more, but I guess I haven’t really been killing off my ancestors and burying them as diligently as I should have. Again this is never going to be 100% whilst I am still alive.

I haven’t paid too much attention to the census data. I will save that for once I have established birth and death (or baptism and burial) dates for as many as possible, although in some cases the census data helps find when an individual died leaving their spouse behind.

Now I need to stop analysing and start researching, I want to have as much data as possible in place for the end of November, so I can spend the first couple of weeks in December tweaking the chart and getting it printed.

Another birth certificate arrives, but doesn’t really help

18 Sep

Great excitement usually accompanies the arrival of certificate from the GRO (well at least for me anyway) and today was no exception. The envelope contained the birth certificate for William GEERING my 2x great grandfather.

William was born in Lewes, Sussex in 1868 that much I knew already, more precisely it was on the 24th August 1868 in Sun Street, Lewes. Sun Street is an address I hadn’t come across before in my research, but apart from the exact date and place the reason I wanted this certificate was to find out his mother’s name/maiden name.

I had previously been unable to locate a marriage in the GRO Indexes for William’s parents, and with a name like GEERING it should have been easy. I hoped that having his mother’s maiden name would help in the search, but so far it hasn’t.

In the space for the mother’s name it says Ellen Geering formerly Nicholls. I am pretty certain it says NICHOLLS, it would take quite a stretch of the imagination to make it anything else. So this implies that William’s father (also William) had married Ellen NICHOLLS, but still no entry in the marriage index is forthcoming.

I switched to the census, perhaps I could find Ellen NICHOLLS in the 1861 census (her future husband was unmarried in 1861) but nothing obvious stands out. There is one possible hit in 1851, but that is not really in the right area.

I tried the GRO Birth Index, and again no Ellen NICHOLLS in the right place or time frame, this really is starting to look very mysterious. The 1871, 1881 and 1891 census all give her place of birth as Chiddingstone, Kent and her age is pretty consistent, giving her year of birth around 1848.

So what has gone wrong here? Why is Ellen causing me such a problem? At least I have a maiden name now, but it is a maiden name that I don’t feel I can trust, at least not until I see it in writing somewhere else.

So what next? I need to widen all my searches on both the census and the GRO Indexes, in case one of the pieces of information is wrong and try some different census indexes. I need to visit the East Sussex Record Office and search the parish registers for a marriage entry (maybe it missed the GRO Indexes) and also for any sign of banns for the husband because I am sure he would have been in Lewes.

Such a disappointment to not have all the pieces fit into place, this looks like it could be a major obstacle to finding all my 4x great grandparents. Then again I wouldn’t want things too easy, would I?

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