Tag Archives: death

My Family History Fortnight: Sunday 10th June 2012

10 Jun

There is not a lot of family history activity to report for the last two weeks. The fact that I have left it for two weeks shows just how family history free my time has been. There was a good excuse last for last week’s inactivity, but the week before was really just down to me being lazy.

Holidays galore

I had hoped that the long bank holiday weekend last weekend would provide some time for me to do some work, but there was so much else going on that I never really got down to any research.

On top of that the end of this week has seen my wife and I away for another long weekend, primarily for me to indulge my passion for trains, but also as an excuse to get away for a few days.

Percy Ebenezer Trower

Much of my recent blogging has centred around my 2x great-uncle Percy Ebenezer Trower. Although this wasn’t really a conscious decision on my part, it probably stems from the fact that in the absence of any new research I have been “forced” to go back and look at information I already have.

In particular I keep returning to the fact that I really ought to transcribe his diary. Whilst it is useful to be able to look up particular dates and events it is not possible to search the entire volume without having an idea of the date. I fear there is so much more of interest that could be uncovered if only it was transcribed and possibly indexed, or at least searchable.

The sheer scale of the task and Percy’s handwriting has put me off up to now, but I feel now might be a good time to start.

Adding birth and death details

The other thing that I have looked at is the lack of birth and death details for many of the people in my family tree.

I want to be able to do a bit more querying of my database, so that I can produce lists of people to search for things like First World War service and Probate Index entries.

For this I really need to establish the starting and ending points for the people in the database. This means I need a birth/baptism and burial/death record for each individual.

This is not something that is going to happen quickly, some should be quite easy to work out, but some of the deaths could be difficult to pin down with any confidence without getting a death certificate, which is nothing something I really can afford to do.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Making the News: Death announcement of Thomas Kinghorn

10 May

It was only one sentence, but finding the death announcement for my 4x great-grandfather Thomas Kinghorn in the Carlisle Journal (for Saturday 11th May 1833) adds a few more useful snippets of information.

Here, on Tuesday week, Mr. Thomas Kinghorne, Crosby Street, aged 52.

“Here” presumably means Carlisle and Crosby Street is a new address for Thomas, although his son George and family were living in Crosby Street in the 1841 census. There might be some rate books or such like that would tell me more about the residents of Crosby Street.

The “on Tuesday week” part is a little vague. It is not particularly clear to me which Tuesday it refers to, does it mean a week before the next Tuesday (the 14th May) or a week before the previous Tuesday (the 7th)?

Knowing from the parish register for St Cuthbert’s Carlisle that Thomas was buried on the 4th May helps to clarify what was meant. It has to be the week before the previous Tuesday, which gives a date of death of the 30th April 1833.

Obviously this is four years before the start of civil registration so I am not going to be able to get a death certificate for Thomas. The only other possible place where his date of death might be recorded is on a gravestone if one has survived or if there was one in the first place.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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NEWS: Free access to Canadian Vital Records on Ancestry

16 Feb

Someone at Ancestry must be reading my blog and seeing my need for some Canadian records they have decided that they will open up access to their Canadian Birth, Marriage & Death Collections until the 20th February 2012 (more specifically until 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the 20th February). Either that or it has something to do with Family Day in Canada on the 20th.

The free access (registration required) covers some 28 million records across the following collections:

  • Acadia, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1670-1946
  • Bells Corners Cemetery (Richmond Road)
  • Births-deaths-marriages, Christian messenger
  • British Columbia, Canada, Birth Index, 1872-1903
  • British Columbia, Canada, Death Index, 1872-1990
  • British Columbia, Canada, Marriage Index, 1872-1935
  • Canada Obituary Collection
  • Canada Parliamentary Marriage and Divorces, 1867-1919
  • Crawford Cemetery, Dalhousie Township, Lanark County
  • Elmview Cemetery, Kars, Ontario, North Gower Township, lot 24, conc. 1
  • Kitchener, Ontario German War Graves
  • London Press (Ontario) Obituaries, 1998-99
  • Mariages de l’Enfant-Jesus de la Pointe-aux-Trembles, 1674-1975
  • Marriage Notices of Ontario 1813-1854
  • Nova Scotia, Canada, Births, 1836-1910
  • Nova Scotia, Canada, Deaths, 1864-1877, 1890-1960
  • Nova Scotia, Canada, Marriages, 1763-1935
  • Ontario Marriage Notices [1830-1856]
  • Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913
  • Ontario, Canada Marriage Registers by Clergy, 1896-1948
  • Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928
  • Ontario, Canada Obituaries, 1999-2001: Kitchener Record and Windsor Star
  • Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967
  • Ontario, Canada, County Marriage Registers, 1858-1869
  • Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947
  • Ontario, Canada: Civil Marriage Registrations, 1869-73
  • Ontario, Canada: Roman Catholic Marriages, 1827-1870
  • Ottawa, Canada, Beechwood Cemetery Registers, 1873-1990
  • Quebec, Genealogical Dictionary of Canadian Families (Tanguay Collection), 1608-1890
  • Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967
  • Répertoire des mariages de Sainte-Cécile-de-Masham, comté de Gatineau : 1853-1963
  • Répertoire des mariages du Lac-Sainte-Marie (Comté de Gatineau) : (1881-1963)
  • Repertoire des mariages, Sainte-Anne-de-la-Perade, 1684-1900
  • Riverside Cemetery Index, New Hambug, Ontario
  • Scottish-American Gravestones, 1700-1900
  • Sheldon Cemetery
  • St. James Anglican Church Cemetery, Hudson, Quebec, Vaudreuil County.
  • St. Paul’s United Church Cemetery (the old Methodist cemetery), Richmond, Ontario
  • St. Stephen’s Anglican Cemetery, Papineau County, Buckingham, Quebec
  • St. Thomas Anglican Church Cemetery, Stanley’s Corners (formerly Rathwell’s Corners)
  • The Denny Cemetery near Philipsville, Ontario
  • Toronto Star Obituaries, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1999 – April 2000, February 2001
  • Waterloo County, Ontario, Cemetery Inscriptions
  • Web: CanadianHeadstones.com Index, 1700-2010
  • Woodland Cemetery Records, Kitchener, Ontario
  • Zion Cemetery, Scarborough, York County, Ontario

What’s in it for me…

As you can see there is a definite shortage of Alberta records, which is where my attention is currently focused. However, I shall be taking full advantage of this free access to search for Patrick and Kate Vaughan and their children, as there is no guarantee that they remained in Alberta. Also there are one or two other relations scattered in my family tree that ended up in Canada that I haven’t really looked into, including Kate’s brother Asher.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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“Death must have been almost instantaneous”

9 Jan

My relatives continue to amaze me with their ability to make the national newspapers and in the quite gruesome ways their lives are cut short. To the two relations who were killed in railway accidents I can now add another who died in a maritime accident.

Thomas Henry HUTFIELD married my 2x great-aunt Harriet Ellen MITCHELL in 1900, I don’t have the exact details only that it was in Q4 1900 in Portsmouth Registration District. I had been unable to find Harriet in the 1901, but then I didn’t know at the time that she had married. It wasn’t until I was searching for her widowed mother in the newly released 1911 census that I found both Harriet and her mother living in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

The fact that she was living in Portsmouth and that despite being married her husband was not at home immediately made me think that her husband was serving in the Royal Navy. That is pretty much where my research ended. I added a few children to the marriage but never took the research any further until a few days ago.

I bought and downloaded a copy of Thomas’ naval service details from DocumentsOnline, in the hope of finding out a bit more on him and his family. I have found naval records to be largely devoid of family or personal detail in the past, and this one was no exception.

What I did find however, beneath the long list of vessels on which Thomas had served was the following intriging note: “21 July 1911. Accidentally killed on board ‘Kangaroo’ owing to bursting of a steam pipe during steam trials.”

Using my membership of  the Surrey Library Service I was soon searching copies of The Times newspaper online for a mention of the accident. It didn’t take long to find a report of the accident, a message of condolence from the King and details of the inquest.

According to The Times for the 22nd July 1911:

While the destroyer Kangaroo was carrying out steam trials off Beachy Head, about four miles out, shortly after noon yesterday, a steam pipe burst. Two stokers were killed by the explosion and five injured. The bodies of the dead men and four of the injured were put on board the cruiser Topaze, which brought them into Portsmouth, and the injured were sent to Haslar Hospital.

The above article lists the casualties and the report of the subsequent inquest gives further details of the accident. Bearing in mind that this was in a national newspaper, I would expect the local newspapers to give more information and probably mention of his funeral and the family he left behind.

This incident poses many research questions such as did Harriet receive some pension or compensation? Was there a memorial service for the two dead men? Where are they buried? What became of Harriet and her children after the death of Thomas? In other words, plenty of reasons to go and visit the Portsmouth Records Office and do some more digging.

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.

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