Tag Archives: west

Missing (but now found) from the 1911 census transcription

12 Feb

The birth certificate of Walter Henry BOXALL encouraged me to investigate what happened to his mother Alice Ruth and her husband Walter William WEST, one source I checked was the 1911 census.

It took me quite a bit of searching to find the couple and their five children. I had almost given up on finding them, even trying a search of the passengers lists to see if they had left the country. I found a death entry in the GRO indexes that seemed to indicate that Alice was still living in Sussex when she died in 1968, and this encouraged me to continue searching.

I tried so many different searches, it didn’t help from my side that I didn’t have a reliable date of birth for Walter William WEST, but it expected to be able to find the couple together in Sussex, somewhere near Chichester.

Eventually I found Walter William WEST, living in Cocking, Sussex, according to the transcription he had six children, but his wife was missing. Curiously there were two sons with the same name (Charles), age (9 years) and place of birth (West Dean, Sussex). I thought that a bit bizarre, but all was revealed when I checked the actual census page.

There was only one Charles on the page, and there was Alice the wife of Walter William. In the transcription Charles had been duplicated and somehow Alice had been missed altogether. I have submitted a correction, in fact six or seven corrections, so that hopefully anyone searching for Alice in future will not have the same problem as me.

Ironically, this particular page was one of the neatest I have seen in my searches, Walter William WEST had the sort of handwriting that I wish all my relations had, clear and legible, not what you would expect from a labourer on the railways.

Generally though I have found that the 1911 census transcription is pretty good, although I do find the odd mistake now and then, but nothing as major as an individual actually missing.

Walter Henry BOXALL’s birth certificate

11 Feb

The three certificates I ordered from the GRO last week have arrived, with mixed results. The first one I will deal with is the birth certificate of Walter Henry BOXALL.

At last I now can put Walter Henry BOXALL in the correct place in my family tree, he was my first cousin twice removed, the son of Alice Ruth BOXALL, who was one of the sisters of my great-grandmother Lilian Mary BOXALL.

Walter Henry was born at 10 Arthur Street, Caerleon, Monmouthshire, Wales, on the 27th May 1897. His mother is recorded as domestic servant at the same address, but there are no details for his father.

To be honest I am not too worried about the identity of his father at the moment, and I doubt I will ever get around to doing any further research into his father, at least I have his mother’s name which is enough to fit him into my tree.

Of course it is quite interesting to speculate about why Alice was in Caerleon. Had she really found a job there or had she been sent away to have her child? Was she staying with relatives? Did she get pregnant before she moved to Wales? It would be interesting to know, but they are all questions that are going to be hard (if not impossible) to answer.

I already knew what happened to Walter Henry, he was killed during the First World War (I still need to write a summary of his army service), but I had not done any work on his mother, so that was my next step.

It turned out that she married Walter William WEST in West Dean, Sussex in March 1901, he was a platelayer on the railway (which really pleases me, another railwayman in my family tree) and they had at least five children.

Both Walter Henry and Alice Ruth were back in West Dean for the 1901 census, but living apart. Walter Henry was with his grandparents and Alice Ruth with her new husband. I guess this indicates that Walter William WEST was not the father of Walter Henry BOXALL.

So this birth certificate has done what I hoped, it has found a home for another orphan on my tree, and as an added bonus it has encouraged me to find out more about my 2x great-aunt Alice Ruth BOXALL.

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