Tag Archives: GRO

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?

Have I reached the end of the trail with Mercy TROWER?

13 Jan

The death certificate for Mercy STEADMAN (née TROWER) has arrived from the GRO and it has failed to provide the answer that I had hoped for. If anything it caused a bit of confusion, until I actually figured out what was going on.

The reason for ordering a copy of the certificate was to try and find the name of Mercy’s husband. Under the occupation heading it should have told me that she was a widow and given her ex-husband’s name.

Unfortunately the informant who registered the death didn’t know what her husband’s name was, so all I have is Widow of — Steadman Occupation unknown. Not very helpful to say the least.

It hadn’t occurred to me that because Mercy’s husband had died before 1891, there would be a good chance that whoever registered the death, possibly four decades later, probably never knew who Mercy’s husband was.

The confusion came from the place of death, 2 Upper Shoreham Road, Kingston-by-Sea. This wasn’t the same as her address that was also given on the death certificate (97 Wellington Road, Portslade-by-Sea).

The key to this puzzle is the Steyning Union Workhouse. It appears that the address of the workhouse was 2 Upper Shoreham Road, and the informant who registered the death was H[orace] W[alter] Cawcutt, the master of the Steyning Poor Law Institution.

I know that when Mercy died in 1929 her estate was valued at £404 12s 2d, so she wasn’t exactly a pauper, so my guess is that she was in the workhouse due to ill health (the workhouse would later become part of Southlands Hospital).

So I didn’t find out who Mercy’s husband was, but I haven’t quite given up hope of finding out his name. Records from the Steyning Union Workhouse are apparently held at the East Sussex Record Office, including admission and death registers, there may be a clue held within their pages.

GRO Death Index now complete on Ancestry.co.uk

1 Dec

This morning before work I spotted on their Recent Genealogy Databases page that Ancestry had updated the England & Wales, Death Index: 1984-2005. When I clicked on the link it took me to the search page for the 1984-2005 Death Index, but when I searched for the surname GASSON it came up with lots of entries, not just the 1984-2005 date range.

The search results pages shows that the index now covers 1916 to 2005. Like they have previously done with the births and marriages, Ancestry have now made the entire GRO Death Index searchable by name and linked to the page images (with the help of FreeBMD for the earlier ones). They just haven’t made it very obvious yet!

This is fantastic news for those of us with English and Welsh ancestry, what was previously a long search through the indexes, page by page, quarter by quarter, year by year, can now be done in a matter of seconds.

I didn’t have much time to try it out, but my first thought was try and find the death of Moses FARLOW, my great-grandmother’s second husband. This is quite a typical situation, you know a rough date (1940s or 50s) and you have an idea of the location (somewhere in the Chichester, Sussex area) where the event occurred.

Until now it would mean searching all the FARLOWs for a range of years until you find a match, so for an uncommon name like FARLOW that is four pages a year (one for each quarter) for however many years it takes. With the new index I was able to find his entry in a matter of seconds and easily check the image. For the record Moses died Q4 1946 in Chichester Registration District.

This early Christmas present from Ancestry is going to help me “kill off” a lot of people in my tree, for which I have not had the time to search for manually before now. My efforts to extract all GASSON and TROWER entries were put on hold last year, once it became obvious that Ancestry were going to index the whole lot and I only needed to wait a little bit longer.

If you have trouble finding the Death Index, just head for the 1984-2005 link and search from there. Despite what the pages may say, it will probably actually be the 1916-2005 index, alternatively just click here. I am sure Ancestry will get their titles sorted out in a couple of days. In the meantime get in there quick before everyone else realises!

Another certificate ordered in the search for the SHORNDEN/WRIGHT family

26 Oct

I have just ordered the marriage certificate for Henry SHORNDEN and Sarah LAY. I decided that it would be far easier and quicker to sit and wait for the certificate to come to me, than go out trying to find a copy of the entry in the parish register.

I am hoping that this certificate will confirm that the Henry SHORNDEN I found in the Ospringe, Kent baptism register, son of William and Ann SHORNDEN, is the same one that ended up in Alton, Hampshire.

More importantly I should give me the name of Sarah’s father, which may just be enough to enable me to find her baptism, and then both of her parents. I really have no idea where Sarah came from, as most census entries for her give a different place of birth.

Now I just need to sit back and wait, I can’t really do much more on that part of my tree without that certificate. I can’t help but wonder what further surprises it is going to turn up!

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