What do to when the answer is miles away?

10 Mar

Now, I have an interesting dilemma, I am trying to find out where my 3x great grandfather Thomas KINGHORN was born. On the 1841, 1851 and 1861 census returns he claimed he was from Scotland, but searching online I have found no evidence of this.

Admittedly I have very little to go on, his date of birth works out at 1808 (give or take a year) and his father’s name was also Thomas and his father’s occupation was a mail guard, and that he died some time before 1850.

On the IGI (International Genealogical Index) I have found a likely family in Carlisle (just south of the border) but how do I prove this is the family? The IGI lists the baptisms of a number of children to Thomas and Margaret KINGHORN, a couple of which were after 1813, which should mean that the father’s occupation is recorded, and hopefully this will be mail guard! Of course if it isn’t that does mean he didn’t become a mail guard later in life, but it is quite possibly the only way I can prove a connection without a lot of in depth research on a family that might not be connected.

So my dilemma is how do I check the baptism register when it is up the other end of the country. Well surprisingly there are lots of options, however most of them are quite expensive.

  1. I could take a coach/train to Carlisle and visit the Carlisle Record Office, although there are cheap coach and train tickets, this seems a little extravagant (there  will be plenty of time to visit once I prove a connection).
  2. I could take advantage of the research service offered by Carlisle Record Office, but there appears to be a minimum of one hour, which could well be too much for my needs.
  3. I could try and find a research who would do the work for me at a cheaper rate, or perhaps come to some deal whereby I will guarantee future research if they check the baptism for me first.
  4. I could try and find some kind hearted soul who will do a lookup for me free of charge. Message boards and mailing lists would be a good place to start looking.
  5. Most sensibly I could request the microfilm of the baptism register at my local Family History Centre. Although there would only be a small charge there would quite likely be a while to wait for it to be shipped over from the US. Also my local FHC is not particularly convenient, so I would probably end up using the one in London, more cost.
  6. I could wait for the records to become available online, but there is no telling when this might be!

Ultimately however Google came to my rescue and I discovered the Northumberland & Durham Family History Society site (http://www.ancestral-indexes.co.uk/index.html) where they are selling copies of the baptism register on CD. I rushed and ordered a copy and paid through Paypal, I just hope it is a full transcription and has the answer I am looking for, in which case it will be a bargain at £6.50 plus 50p postage!

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