Tag Archives: death certificate

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.

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.

Shocking discovery in the search for Wybrants KINGHORN

14 Aug

I have been trying to convince myself these last couple of days that I am not getting obsessed with Wybrants KINGHORN, and that I am right in investing time and money in finding out more about him even though he is not a direct ancestor.

Tonight that all changed because waiting for me at home (not quite on the doormat, but near enough) was a copy of his death certificate. I knew he was only 34 when he died in 1866, so I suspected something unusual, but I wasn’t quite prepared for what I found.

I went to the informant part first because I was hoping to find out that his wife was the informant and I would then have her/their address. But no, she wasn’t the informant, it read “Information received from Edwin Lankester Coroner for Middlesex inquest held 31st October 1866”. My mind starts wondering whether the Middlesex Coroners records have survived and where they would be now.

My eyes moved across to the cause of death, and I gasped in disbelief Manslaughter, I couldn’t believe it someone had killed him. I read on, by wounding eye with an Umbrella. No, that can’t be, what sort of murder weapon is that? Still there was more against Joseph Taylor alias Welsh alias Joe the Grinder P.M. My god how many alias does one man need! And a nickname as well “the Grinder”, he sounds a real nasty piece of work. Whatever could have happened? At first I wasn’t sure about those initials at the end, I thought it was a surname (Pitts), the writing was getting indistinct, there wasn’t much space left in the box for the registrar to write in! Looking at it again I realised it was P.M. for post mortem.

Suddenly my doubts had gone, my decision to continue searching for Wybrants had paid off, the best £7.00 I have ever spent. It is a shame I am busy tomorrow or I would be up in London first thing tomorrow morning, hammering on the door of an archive (don’t know which one!) screaming to be let in so I could find out more. I can feel a days holiday coming up next week, which gives me a bit of time to find out where to look.

Wybrants death occurred at Middlesex Hospital on the 27th October 1866, and now I am left wondering what happened to his wife after that, and did they have any children. The list of questions have for Wybrants and his family seems to grow longer every day, but I am still nowhere nearer finding out where he was in 1851 and 1861.

Is there a doctor in the house, or perhaps a vet?

8 Jul

The death certificate for my great grandfather Henry Herbert HEMSLEY arrived in the post today, and it has left me more than a little confused.

He died on the 1st July 1921 at Stone House Cottages, Buxted aged 38 years. The informant was Charles William HEMSLEY his brother from Brighton.

Now I always been told that he had died from sunstroke or heatstroke, but the cause of death recorded on the certificate appears to be Septic Pleuro-Pneumonia (9 days). The certificate also records that there was no post mortem and the death was certified by E. H. Sweet MRCS.

Naturally I wanted to find out what septic pleuro-pneumonia was? What were the symptoms? How did it develop? Where did it come from? Is it something else I can add to my list of potential illness I might have inherited?

However nearly all the references I can find to the condition on Google relate to animals and mainly horses. Henry was a farm labourer, but I am sure that is just a coincidence.

What I really need to find is a doctor who is on call to answer genealogical queries about medical issues in plain English, rather than have me fumbling around in a specialised field which I don’t have the first idea about.

Does anyone know of such as doctor? And make it quick please, because I can feel a genealogy induced headache coming on!

Mixed results in the mail

9 Mar

There were two arrivals in the mail for me today, the death certificate for Alicia KINGHORN (first wife of 3x great grandfather Thomas KINGHORN) and the results of a probate search for Thomas KINGHORN himself.

Alicia KINGHORN died 3rd September 1846 (aged 35 years) in Westminster, Middlesex and what is rather puzzling is the cause of death, “General Debility”. Now to me this doesn’t sound like the cause of death, most definitions seem to suggest this means a loss of (or lack of) strength, I would have thought the real cause of death was whatever caused the general debility, and that I shall probably never know.

An unexpected detail on the death certificate is the place of death “No. 5 George Place”, her husband (the informant) was also living there, so presumably this was the family home. It is an address I have not come across in my research so far, and may be the key I need to finding where their children were baptised, because they weren’t where I was expecting to find them!

The second piece of mail through the door was a letter from the Probate Service telling me that they had been unable to find a will or grant of probate. This surprised me, because of his large family (by different wives), I had expected something to be in place to stop any arguments over who had what when he died in 1863. So unless they didn’t stop arguing until after the three years that the Probate Service searched it looks like I am out of luck. Perhaps he had nothing for them to argue about?

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