Author Topic: At which point do you admit defeat?  (Read 1611 times)

Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: At which point do you admit defeat?
« Reply #27 on: Wednesday 13 September 17 05:13 BST (UK) »
Does everyone have a criteria or cut-off point where they accept they are never going to find that definitive bit of information? Or do you all keep the ancestor on the back-burner on the off chance that new records will become available and identification will finally become possible?

I've got a couple of ancestors who, unless DNA matches throw up some results, will almost certainly be unable to locate.

An illegitimate great grandmother. Father unknown. Mother's name on the birth certificate and no biographical details to identify her age or family background. And the location of birth, the workhouse. Any documentation that might have helped - eg. Creed registers and workhouse admission and discharge books are no longer extant for her date of birth and she doesn't appear to be on any census before her marriage in 1891

John Williams. great grandfather. I've got a thread on Rootshcat regarding him. I've been looking for 10 years and in that time only learned his year of birth, his year of marriage, the year of his death and his probable religion. I've looked on the various web sites over and over again but have finally accepted that the above is as much as I'm ever likely to know with any certainty.

Frustratingly I can't go back any further with these two ancestors.

So what do you all do? Stop looking and concentrate on another ancestor? Or just keep looking until you have a eureka moment ;D

Amended to add:

This is a general query. More about general genealogical principles and techniques than locating actual specific ancestors.



I admit defeat at the same time I admit dehead, debody, dearms and delegs!

Not being a religious person but one who has a belief in life after death I know I will find out eventually and I would not like to have to admit to any of my ancestors I gave up on them.

However reading your post it seems your method of research differs from mine. Having been researching practically all my life I never really concentrate on one ancestor. Despite what the experts say on every trip I make to an archive library, graveyard or on the internet I am on the lookout for any person connected to my family not just a specific person. I also look for any and all snippets of information that may be gleaned from all sources.

The advent of the computer was a welcome step for me as it made collating & subsequent finding hundreds/thousands of bits of information far easier than previously searching for a snippet I knew I had found years earlier.

As others have said records previously unavailable are constantly becoming accessible in my 60 odd years of research millions of records have been released and many records thought to have been lost forever have been found or in a few cases re-examined and by careful conservation have been made available to the public in digital form.

Even today most libraries and archives still contain many records that have not been indexed and catalogued or at least have not been fully indexed and catalogued and the record I/you need could be hiding there just waiting to be opened.

One final point :
The internet does not hold all the records available and probably never will, millions of records sleep unmolested on shelves and in cupboards in libraries and archives.

Cheers
Guy
http://anguline.co.uk/Framland/index.htm   The site that gives you facts not promises!
http://burial-inscriptions.co.uk Tombstones & Monumental Inscriptions.

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Online coombs

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Re: At which point do you admit defeat?
« Reply #28 on: Wednesday 13 September 17 12:36 BST (UK) »
Yes well when I go to record offices I find lots of things that may never be online. I recently looked through some Norwich land/window tax records which go back to 1708. They list owners and tenants and can be good substitute for census records. Found several rellies on there. Also Norwich lists of overseers of the poor and vagrant/pauper lists from 1754 onwards.

Knowing me the archivists will read this and think "Lets put them online then"  ;D

I just checked the 1810 marriage of George Coombs to Sarah Davey in Axminster, Devon and they married by license so that looks promising. Witnesses Charles Cornish and Tho Taylor.
Researching:

LONDON, Coombs, Roberts, Auber, Helsdon, Fradine, Morin, Goodacre
DORSET Coombs, Munday
NORFOLK Helsdon, Riches, Harbord, Palding
KENT Roberts, Goodacre
SUSSEX Walder, Boniface, Dinnage, Standen, Lee, Botten, Wickham, Jupp
SUFFOLK Titshall, Frost, Fairweather, Mayhew, Archer, Eade, Scarfe
DURHAM Stewart, Musgrave, Wilson, Forster
SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
USA Musgrave, Saix
ESSEX Cornwell, Stock, Quilter, Lawrence, Whale, Clift
OXON Edgington, Smith, Inkpen, Snell, Batten, Brain

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Offline zetlander

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Re: At which point do you admit defeat?
« Reply #29 on: Wednesday 13 September 17 13:04 BST (UK) »
Think it far better to be realistic and admit defeat rather than go on a wild goose chase on the ground that someone is a 'strong possibility'

Have some one on the 1881 census - very unusual name - gives age and precise place of birth - but can find no trace of him before 1881.

Did he change his name I wonder?

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Re: At which point do you admit defeat?
« Reply #30 on: Wednesday 13 September 17 13:38 BST (UK) »
I have a bulldog attitude. I will never admit defeat on an elusive ancestor. Once I have my claws into an ancestor I will never let go. I will keep exhausting all the available records out there. When I get onto an ancestor I think "I am not going to let this go".

I have a James Smith who was in Oxford in 1841. He was a brazier. He died in March 1849 and in 1841 he said he was not born in county of residence. I have an approximate DOB. I have his children's names and it seems his wife named children after her parents. I may never find James' baptism and parentage but I sure as hell will keep having a go. Oxford was a honeypot for people from surrounding counties and further afield. He could have come from anywhere, he could have been born in Norfolk for all I know or Cornwall. But that will not stop me having a look.
Researching:

LONDON, Coombs, Roberts, Auber, Helsdon, Fradine, Morin, Goodacre
DORSET Coombs, Munday
NORFOLK Helsdon, Riches, Harbord, Palding
KENT Roberts, Goodacre
SUSSEX Walder, Boniface, Dinnage, Standen, Lee, Botten, Wickham, Jupp
SUFFOLK Titshall, Frost, Fairweather, Mayhew, Archer, Eade, Scarfe
DURHAM Stewart, Musgrave, Wilson, Forster
SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
USA Musgrave, Saix
ESSEX Cornwell, Stock, Quilter, Lawrence, Whale, Clift
OXON Edgington, Smith, Inkpen, Snell, Batten, Brain

Offline iluleah

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Re: At which point do you admit defeat?
« Reply #31 on: Wednesday 13 September 17 15:24 BST (UK) »
Think it far better to be realistic and admit defeat rather than go on a wild goose chase on the ground that someone is a 'strong possibility'

Have some one on the 1881 census - very unusual name - gives age and precise place of birth - but can find no trace of him before 1881.

Did he change his name I wonder?

Very likely. With the internet this has been made a lot easier to find. I was researching prior to the internet and knew where my ancestor lived from the age of 30ish, where he died and thought I knew where he was buried ( thanks to his headstone with inscribed name in the church yrd ( next door to his farmhouse) however despite knowing from census where he was born and despite spending months looking through parish records I could never find his baptism, then with pure luck found his marriage record ( because of his wifes name) and also his fathers name ( who was not his father but his grandfather).

Then after looking at an earlier census finding him as 'grandson' and two other children who were visitors in the house however one having the same given name as my daughter I remembered something my grandmother said years before in a passing comment when asking what I had called my new baby....... and an added throw away comment of "apparently your grandfather had an aunt called that", so I searched this visitor ( with a different surname) and found her parents and more children, did some more research and found my ancestor was their first child, born/baptised in one completely different name, lived with them no longer than 11 months and was sent to live with her parents, by the next census he was using their surname and his middle name. So he was born with one full name and changed it and lived most of his life and died under another completely different name....... and he is not even buried where his headstone is, but 3 miles away in the next village in an unmarked grave.

Never give up!
Leicestershire:Chamberlain, Dakin, Wilkinson, Moss, Cook, Welland, Dobson, Roper,Palfreman, Squires, Hames, Goddard, Topliss, Twells,Bacon.
Northamps:Sykes, Harris, Rice,Knowles.
Rutland:Clements, Dalby, Osbourne, Durance, Smith,Christian, Royce, Richardson,Oakham, Dewey,Newbold,Cox,Chamberlaine,Brow, Cooper, Bloodworth,Clarke
Durham/Yorks:Woodend, Watson,Parker, Dowser
Suffolk/Norfolk:Groom, Coleman, Kemp, Barnard, Alden,Blomfield,Smith,Howes,Knight,Kett,Fryston
Lincolnshire:Clements, Woodend

Offline Romilly

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Re: At which point do you admit defeat?
« Reply #32 on: Wednesday 13 September 17 16:45 BST (UK) »

I've been stuck with my paternal Grandfather since I first started looking... (About 40yrs ago now:-(

Every now and again I give up... (I'm embarassed to ask on here anymore, as I've been asking since I joined RC in 2005).

The really annoying thing is that I have his Marriage Cert, (1893) he's on the 1901 and 1911 Censuses, and I have his Death Cert, (1937). But try as I may, (& many others on here have tried too) I cannot find a Birth or Baptismal entry for him:-(

All I can say is, - think laterally, - & try from different angles and approaches. (For example, I've found Newspaper Articles concerning my Grandfather). Changing one's name was very simple in the Victorian era, - no paperwork necessary, - you could call yourself what you wished! And I'm convinced that some folk just didn't want to be found...

Romilly.
Any census information included in this post is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
Researching:
Wilson, Warren, Duffin, Petty, Rees, Davies, Williams, Newman, Dyer, Hamilton, Edmeads, Pattenden.

Offline Ayashi

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Re: At which point do you admit defeat?
« Reply #33 on: Wednesday 13 September 17 17:00 BST (UK) »
I've got two good examples of name changes...

My 2xgt grandmother was the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth HAMLEY and a Mr UGLOW.
She starts as Elizabeth Jane Uglow HAMLEY
Her mother marries and she is on census as Elizabeth Jane ROBBINS
She had an illegitimate child of her own and pretended to be married to the father, putting on the cert that she was married name WALKER
She marries as HAMLEY
Her husband put on her son's birth cert that she was maiden name UGLOW
and then she eventually dies under her married name of JONES  ::)

Another is my 2xgt grandfather who spawns out of nowhere in 1881 as William BRADY. He continues with this name for the rest of his life. My cousin, especially since he was boarding in 1881 with the MILBURN family, believed that he must have come from Ireland, despite having a Northumberland place of birth on the censuses.
I later pieced it together that his grandmother, Jane nee MILBURN, had died young and with the father absent the two children, Ann and William, had gone to live with Jane's childless brother Thomas and his wife. Ann married early to Gilbert HENDERSON and was widowed at the age of 21. She then had William illegitimately and he was registered and christened as William Brady HENDERSON. She then remarries and he appears on the next census as William THOMPSON before reverting permanently back to his mother's maiden name.

Makes you realise how they were only found from the wealth of records at the time, if one of my ancestors in the 1700s did this I'd be stuffed  ::)

Online coombs

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Re: At which point do you admit defeat?
« Reply #34 on: Wednesday 13 September 17 17:21 BST (UK) »
After 1891 my 3xgreat grandad just vanished. I checked all first and surname variants in the whole of England after 1891 and even scoured any deaths under same first name and age group in the county. He was last on the 1891 census in Co Durham. I later found him on the next census - in America. The 1900 census. The best ever US census as it gave his details more. He snuck off in 1892 to live with a daughter who emigrated there in 1881.

Never give up. If an ancestor vanishes after a census or a death of a spouse, try emigration. He may have had kids abroad and went to join them while some other children were married and stayed in the UK.
Researching:

LONDON, Coombs, Roberts, Auber, Helsdon, Fradine, Morin, Goodacre
DORSET Coombs, Munday
NORFOLK Helsdon, Riches, Harbord, Palding
KENT Roberts, Goodacre
SUSSEX Walder, Boniface, Dinnage, Standen, Lee, Botten, Wickham, Jupp
SUFFOLK Titshall, Frost, Fairweather, Mayhew, Archer, Eade, Scarfe
DURHAM Stewart, Musgrave, Wilson, Forster
SCOTLAND Stewart in Selkirk
USA Musgrave, Saix
ESSEX Cornwell, Stock, Quilter, Lawrence, Whale, Clift
OXON Edgington, Smith, Inkpen, Snell, Batten, Brain

Offline pharmaT

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Re: At which point do you admit defeat?
« Reply #35 on: Thursday 14 September 17 17:04 BST (UK) »
Never completely, I always live in hope.  I will often get exasperated and start working on another branch and put the elusive person on the back burner for a while.
Campbell, Dunn, Dickson, Fell, Forest, Norie, Pratt, Somerville, Thompson, Tyler among others