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Topics - dtcoulson

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London and Middlesex / One man, two birth records
« on: Monday 29 July 19 03:48 BST (UK)  »
Hi team,

very tentatively this time, I return to the Smith clan in London.
We have discussed this family about three times before and collected a mountain of data,
so please don't get carried away chasing people through the censuses. We already have the data.

This new question is very specific:

How does Henry James Smith happen to have two separate birth records at GRO?

Details as follows:

1854 - Born Henry James Smith in Shoreditch, parents William Smith and Martha May.
1861 - Westminster: "Jas" born Dalston, 1855, with mother Martha born Brimpton 1823.
1863 - Born Henry James Smith in Newington, MMN = May.
1871 - Newington: Henry Smith born Dalston, 1855, with mother Martha born Brimpton 1824.
1881 - Newington: Henry J Smith born London, 1855, with mother Martha born "Brompton" 1824
1891 - Newington: Henry Smith born "Darlston" 1863, with mother Martha born Brimpton 1823.

After that the trail becomes ambiguous.
Several possible deaths for Henry but no obvious census appearances in 1901 or 1911.

Interestingly, the 1854-Henry appears in censuses for 1871 and 1881 but not in 1891,
and for the 1863-Henry the opposite is true. There are no censuses in which both appear.
In all cases, the description for the mother is identical.

Either we are looking at two families with extraordinary similarities or we are looking at one family for which the son's birth year switches from 1854 to 1863, leaving everything else the same. I could easily accept that the stated age for HJS in 1891 was written incorrectly, either by accident or by deception, but then we are faced with a civil birth record matching the erroneous age written in the 1891 census. What does this mean?

In summary:
* Are we looking at two Henry James Smiths or one?
* Are there circumstances whereby a 9-year-old boy could get a brand new birth certificate?
* If the second birth registration is fiction, what would drive a person to do such a thing, and how easily could this be done in the nineteenth century?


Essex / William Day - born 1795-ish Shelley Essex
« on: Friday 12 July 19 14:02 BST (UK)  »
hello all,

I'm trying to help a friend get past a roadblock.
His ancestor is William Day, born 1795 in Shelley Essex (appears on a census record as Shelby).
He married a woman (Mary Baker) 20 years younger than himself in 1833, in Great Burstead.   

The challenge is to identify his parents.

I see that there are a great many military records for his name in the period 1810-1820 or so.
It's a common name but it is possible he is in here. There is a chance that one of these records might positively identify him and give the name of his parents.

He was a bachelor when he married (according to a record found on FreeReg), at age 38.
This might be explained by him being in the military during his young adult years.

Anyway, am hoping you might find something.

-David C

Durham / occupancy of High House Monkton 1920s & 1930s.
« on: Saturday 06 July 19 23:34 BST (UK)  »
Hi people,

Minnie McIntosh appears in the 1939 register living in High House Jarrow which I presume is the same as the High House in Monkton.

My Coulson ancestors were living in High House 1914-1922. Minnie Mcintosh is their cousin.
Is it possible that the tenancy (or ownership) of the house was passed directly from the Coulson family to the Mcintosh family in 1922 and that we may find evidence of the Mcintosh's living there between 1922 and 1939?

I was thinking it might be possible to determine this by looking for the names John & Minnie Mcintosh in the electoral rolls for the 1920s-1930s.

Any help or guidance appreciated.

-David C

Durham / South Shields / Tyneside during WW1 - physical damage from bombardment?
« on: Saturday 08 June 19 22:55 BST (UK)  »
Hi people,

a bit off topic perhaps, but I am trying to write about my grandfather's war, and I am confronted with the question of what he returned to when war was over. I have seen commentary online that there were Zeppelin strikes on the Tyne region but I want to know if the damage caused was extensive or whether it was just pockmarks in the map that did not impact the broader infrastructure of the region.

I understand that WW1 was principally responsible for the closures of the larger industries in the region and that this led to widespread poverty with all its consequences in the 1920s. But did soldiers come back to places like South Shields and Newcastle and see bombed out streets and wrecked buildings?


World War One / any clues in this man's uniform?
« on: Monday 27 May 19 22:08 BST (UK)  »
This picture of my grandfather (according to family legend) is of him with the Territorials in South Shields before WW1. He signed up with the RAMC in 1914 and served until 1919. It is possible however that the photo shows him after the war as some kind of a reservist soldier, if such things existed back then.

He was born in 1890. Therefore we can calculate his age in various years (if that helps).

I'd like to know if there are clues in his uniform that would positively associate him with any branch of the military from that period.

I'd also like to know what is likely to be in the belt slung over his shoulder.

Granddad left the UK in 1924. Therefore the photo is bracketed by the years roughly 1908-1924.

-David C

London and Middlesex / William Smith and Martha May (again)
« on: Wednesday 03 April 19 09:05 BST (UK)  »
Hi people,

Can I invite you to stress-test a theory I have formed about an ancestor of mine?
In other words, can you find evidence that proves the theory wrong?

* William Smith (b. 1819/20, Lambeth) marries Martha May in Kensington, Q3 1838.
* A daughter is born 1839, named Martha, St James Westminster in the county of Middlesex
* A son is born 1840, William, same location.
* Family does not appear in 1841.
* possible death records matching both children can be found in 1840 through to 1842.

All of this would nicely match William Smith and wife Martha (nee May) who appear in London in 1861  (St James Westminster, if I remember correctly).
It could even match William Smith and Maria who appear in 1851 (same or similar location).

But there are some major assumptions underpinning this theory:

I matched William Smith with Martha May via FreeBMD, which provides half a dozen alternate names, so the pairing I have chosen is not certain.
The children who died young in the early 1840s are not necessarily the same children born to Smith & May in 1839 and 1840.

I am trying to test the theory by invalidating it.
This means for example looking for evidence that Martha May
married one of the other men on the list in Kensington in Sep 1838.
So far it is hard going.
Your assistance or recommendations are welcome.

I should add that we have looked at the life of William Smith before, several years ago.
He had two simultaneous marriages by the 1860s and was at the heart of a messy divorce in the 1850s. I am not targeting these details today but simply want to find evidence that he married Martha May in Kensington in 1838. Doing so would give support to the suggestion that Martha (wife in 1861) and Maria (wife in 1851) are really the same person.

-David C

Armed Forces / David Woodam - UK Army 1831
« on: Sunday 10 March 19 05:22 GMT (UK)  »
Hi people,

I recently came across this reference in FindMyPast:
  Woodam   David   
  1809      1831   
  British Army Service Records   
  Great Bedwin, Marlborough, Wiltshire, England

1809 would be the year of his birth and 1831 may be the year that he signed up for service.
Great Bedwin would be his home town at the time he signed up.

He appears in only one census, 1861. (Clifton, Gloucestershire).
He has a daughter born in Great Bedwin in 1838/39 which implies
his military service may have finished before then.

Can anyone deduce from other sources what he might have done in the army
in the years between 1831-1838? Places he might have served? etc.

Any help appreciated.

-David C

Wiltshire / One Isaac or Two?
« on: Friday 08 March 19 12:10 GMT (UK)  »
Hi again.

I'm now having some problems with a Charles Woodham born in or near Great Bedwin in 1811.

Until today I thought he was a brother of William Woodham (b 1806) whose parents were Isaac and Mary. However, it turns out that Charles's parents were Isaac and Hannah.

Great Bedwin, despite its name, was a very small farming community so it would be remarkable if there were two men named Isaac Woodham in such a place.

* The first question therefore is whether there is one Isaac with two wives or two Isaacs with separate families.

The mystery goes a little deeper, though.

To cut a very long story short, William claims on one document in the 1840s that he had a brother in the royal navy. A year ago I found a record in FindMyPast of a Charles Woodham in the royal navy during this period but could not inspect it to see where he was born or how old he was.

Searching through the census data today, I found several records of a Charles Woodham from Great Bedwin, who married and had children, but he was a farmer in each consecutive census and there is no hint that he had ever been in the navy.

* So the second question is whether there are two Charles Woodhams from Great Bedwin (or nearby), emerging from two separate families headed by Isaac Woodham, one with wife Mary, the other with wife Hannah.

Third point:
Isaac and Mary Woodham had daughters Sarah and Ann in 1803 and 1814 respectively.
Isaac and Hannah had Charles in 1811.
You see from this that it does not seem to be the case that Isaac remarried after the loss of his first wife.

Any clarification would be appreciated.

BTW, the story of William Woodham is very complicated and has been examined in great detail in previous pages on Rootschat. Hopefully it won't be necessary to dig back into those notes but I want to make sure you all know that these pages exist before chasing after him.

-David C

Wiltshire / John Woodham died Great Bedwyn 1789 - any more detail?
« on: Friday 08 March 19 02:48 GMT (UK)  »
Hi folks,

I found this record in the Wiltshire Burials Index 1538-1990 (via FindMyPast)

>>>         John   Woodham      1789   Great Bedwyn

Is there any way to get more detail on this fellow?
A birth year and place would be nice, but anything will do.

-David C

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