Tag Archives: GRO

Ordering two BATEMAN certificates

9 Aug

Last night I ordered two certificates for my BATEMAN research, this is the first time since the price increase that I have ordered any, not really because of the price increase but because there weren’t any that I needed, now I have settled on two that I feel will help my research.

Birth certificate of William Joseph Henry BATEMAN

Although I have no doubts about who his parents were or where he was born, I would like to find out exactly where William was born. I know it was Brighton, Sussex, but even back in the 1880s that covered a wide area and several parishes.

If I can find the address, which was almost certainly his parent’s home then I should be able to find which parish they were living in, which should lead to a baptism record. If I can find William’s baptism then I will probably be able to find those of his two siblings who died as infants (and possibly their burials), thus saving me the cost of more certificates (or the possibility of ordering the wrong ones).

Marriage certificate of Henry BATEMAN and Dorothy Isabella KINGHORN

I already know roughly when my 2x great-grandparents married, it was Q4 1881, and I know it was in the Brighton Registration District, but once again I would like to find out some exact details. Once I know the parish I can look for baptisms of their children, because it might not be the same as that of William’s baptism.

There shouldn’t be any surprises with this certificate and the only new piece of information should be their address or addresses. I suspect they were probably already living together having both moved from Spratton in Northamptonshire, presumably when Dorothy became pregnant.

Both certificates should give me somewhere else to visit in Brighton and photograph. I already have one address in Preston (on the outskirts of Brighton) for them, 19 Yardley Street, so it will be good to be able expand my knowledge of their time in Brighton a little bit more.

March GRO certificate order

15 Mar

I was a bit slow placing an order for this month’s ration of birth, marriage and death certificates from the GRO.

This month my three certificates are all going to be death certificates, all for GEERINGs and all from Hailsham Registration District. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, because I have no hard proof yet that these people are my relations (or in one case my ancestor).

The three certificates I have ordered are:

  • DEATH – James GEERING (Q1 1850)

James GEERING is probably my 5x great-grandfather, I am hoping that something on the certificate will link him to his known children in Lewes, Sussex. My hopes are not high for finding a link, more than likely the informant on the certificate will be his sister Ann or (possible) daughter Jane, both living in Hailsham at the time.

  • DEATH – Ann GEERING (Q1 1864)

Ann GEERING is probably my 6x great-aunt and sister of James GEERING above. I am not expecting to find much new information from her death certificate, the informant will probably be her niece Jane.

  • DEATH – Jane GEERING (Q3 1874)

Jane GEERING is probably my 5x great-aunt, the daughter of James GEERING and niece of Ann GEERING. As she appears to be the last of this particular branch of the GEERING family in Hailsham I am hoping that the informant might be another family member from somewhere else, but I fear that it will be one of the couple with whom she is living in the 1871 census.

So I am not very optimistic that any of these certificates will actually help with my research, but as clues are very few and far between, I need to make the most of any lead I have.

GRO certificate price rise

2 Mar

I suppose it had to happen, I have always thought that £7 a certificate was remarkable value, in fact too good to true.

As has already been noted by various bloggers and on mailing lists, the GRO have announced a restructuring of their charges. This has simplified the range of price options, but also means a price increase in most cases.

Instead of spending £7 per certificate it will now cost me £9.25 and I suppose that is still quite good value, but no one likes having to pay more for the same service, myself included.

I can’t help wondering if we are going to be paying for the failure of the digitisation project, and I wonder whether if the project had been completed on time and within budget, this increase might not have been necessary.

I have to be realistic though and accept that as the press release says "GRO certificate services are self-financing and costs must be recovered to ensure taxpayers do not subsidise them". As a taxpayer I feel that I am certainly getting my money’s worth by making use of libraries and archives.

So, what will this mean to me?

I don’t think I will be rushing to get any extra orders in before the 6th April 2010. What will probably happen however is that instead of limiting myself to three certificates a month, I shall probably limit myself to two certificates a month after April.

I am in the fortunate situation that at the moment that I don’t think there are any certificates I actually need. Recently the certificates I have been ordering have been solving specific problems with relations rather than direct ancestors.

Also I am fortunate that I don’t feel the need to find exact birth, marriage and death dates for all my ancestors. I know that before 1837 I am probably not going to get an exact date anyway.

What effect will this price rise have on your research? Will you try and get your orders in before the 6th April? Will you order fewer certificates or carry on as normal?

Jane TROWER’s death certificate

15 Feb

The second of the three GRO certificates that I ordered was the death certificate of Jane TROWER, my 3x great-aunt. I was hoping this certificate would give me a clue as to what Jane was up to between the 1881 census and her death in 1922.

I had mixed results with this one, nothing really conclusive about her past life, but some quite interesting information nevertheless.

Jane died on the 16th December 1922, aged 60 years, at Hill View, Partridge Green in the parish of West Grinstead, Sussex. The cause of death was “cardiac failure resulting from fibro cystic growth in neck”.

It is nice to have a specific address on a certificate, especially one with which I am already familiar. Hill View was where Jane’s sister Sarah TROWER had a lodging house.

Sarah TROWER appears in several county directories between 1909 and 1922 as running (possibly owning) apartments. She is living there in the 1911 census, on her own (business was obviously not going very well).

Interestingly Sarah’s departure from Hill View, or at least when she stopped advertising, coincides with the death of Jane. This makes me wonder if they were in business together.

So Jane wasn’t living with Sarah in 1911 and I still don’t know where she was in 1891 or 1901 either. The only other clue is in her name.

Her death is registered under the name Jane Kate TROWER, this is the only record I have with Jane featuring a middle name. Perhaps Jane is “hiding” under the name Kate in the census.

There is a possible match in the 1891 census, the age is not quite right but the place of birth is probably a mangled spelling of Henfield, Sussex. The death certificate gives Jane’s occupation as “spinster formerly Housekeeper (Domestic)” which is not really going to help in her location and identification.

So really this certificate hasn’t progressed my research a great deal, but it did contain some interesting information.

All I can do now is carry on searching the census and try and verify whether Kate TROWER in the 1891 census is actually Jane. I will also check the probate indexes to see if Jane left a will, that might take me back a few years before her death if one exists.

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.

Time never stands stills in genealogy

26 Jan

Whilst going through my files and getting everything up to date I turned my attention to the SUMMERFIELD family. The family connection is through another TROWER, this time it was Martha, who was sister of Mercy and Mary, who I have mentioned many times already.

It didn’t seem that long ago that I last did some research on James and Martha (although I see it was back in May 2008 that I visited Felbridge, Surrey in search of gravestones), but so much more information is available online now in such a short time, that my research has been left behind.

Starting with their marriage, although James was from Rusper, Sussex and Martha was from Henfield, Sussex the marriage took place in London (it looks like Martha must have been working up in London). Previously I only had the GRO BMD index reference for the marriage, but now of course the London Parish Registers are available on Ancestry.co.uk, including the entry for James and Martha.

The 1911 census has added even more information to their stories. In 1911 they were living in Newdigate, Surrey with their two children Sidney Ambrose (born 1894) and Raymond James (born 1907). The census also revealed that there had been another child who had died by the time of the census, so I have added the task of find him/her to my to-do list.

The eldest son Sidney Ambrose was killed during the First World War, although apparently not whilst on active service. Fortunately his service record survived and is now available on Ancestry.co.uk, although as you can see below it didn’t escape unscathed.

Burnt Documents

It is not going to be easy to pick out the details from these scraps of paper, but it is going onto my to-do list. Hopefully I can find out the details surrounding Sidney’s death.

There are still the updated GRO BMD indexes to search on Ancestry.co.uk, hopefully they will enable me to find descendants of the surviving son Raymond James (possibly even living descendants), another item for the to-do list.

I was surprised that so much more needs to be added to my family tree in such a short time, and it worries me what else needs updating. It also makes me think I need to establish some sort of regular review, either once each new database goes online or after a fixed period of time.

What UK resources can we look forward to in 2010?

15 Jan

The two major players in UK online resources have given us a few teasers about what we can expect to see on their sites in the coming year.

The offerings from Ancestry.co.uk

  • We are pleased to announce that we will be bringing you the 1911 England and Wales Census Summary Books. This content will be available to customers on all of our membership packages for no additional cost.
  • We’re continuing to add significantly more original Parish registers, to help you go even further back into history.
  • We’ll continue to put more fascinating records online from our exclusive London Metropolitan Archives partnership, including Bishop’s Transcripts, School Admissions, Probate and more.
  • We’ll be growing our extensive military collection, adding more Immigration and Occupational records and further developing our international record collections for Worldwide members.

and from findmypast.co.uk

  • We will be significantly expanding our military records, including launching online for the first time anywhere Chelsea Pensioner service records and militia attestation papers (detailed military registration service records, containing personal details and physical descriptions). These are being provided in association with The National Archives.
  • Our BMDs section will be overhauled and improved, including the addition of greatly enhanced maritime records.
  • Irish and Scottish records will be arriving soon, establishing findmypast.co.uk as the primary family history site for the entire UK. And we’re continuing to add even more specialist records to enable you to approach your research from all angles, including more parish records, our forthcoming London probate indexes and our new Merchant Seamen registers.
  • We will be adding more navigation and useability improvements to the site, including improved search screens and results pages, cross census search and saved records.
  • We have new video tutorials on the way, showcasing our site redesign and helping you to get the most from your research.

Probably the highlight this year will be the release of the Chelsea Pensioner service records from findmypast. These have been in the pipeline for several years and will make available online the records for pre-WW1 soldiers similar to those that were released by Ancestry for WW1 soldiers.

Much of this new material is coming out of The National Archives, but don’t forget the volunteers of Ancestry World Archives Project working away on the British Postal Service Appointment Books from the Royal Mail (24% complete as I write this).

No doubt there will be other releases from other sources, although I don’t expect to see any result from the digitisation of the GRO BMD indexes, but we might get some more news from the British Library on the digitisation of their newspaper collection.

I am sure there will be other releases to look forward to during 2010. Do you know of any that I have missed? Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

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