Author Topic: Great Grandfather died in WW1 im starting to think not  (Read 12405 times)

Offline DavyTee68

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Great Grandfather died in WW1 im starting to think not
« on: Thursday 07 December 17 14:02 GMT (UK) »
Long Post so bear with me please.
My Father and Grandfather always told me as a small lad that my Great Grandfather William Turner died in 1915 WW1 Ypres. After six years of searching and hiring a professional genealogist just recently I am still no further in proving this. All military records that are available have been searched online and in records office. All war memorials within a very large radius of his and his families last know addresses have been looked at. There is absolutely nothing on this man serving in the armed forces during that period. There is no record of a pension for his wife.
There are a number of discrepancies that make me wonder if he ever served at all and that indeed the story was made up to cover up some other true story that the family may have been ashamed of.
One is the fact that he was 52 in 1915 and in a reserved occupation as a miner. I have seen other records of men in their 40's who were refused entry due to age at that time. So I doubt a 52 year old would have been snapped up at the very beginning of the war.
After 1901 Census he disappears never to be seen again. On the 1911 Census his wife and children are on there but the words Widow and Head have been filled in by the enumerator this can be proved by checking the handwriting at the bottom of census that the enumerator filled in. Whereas, the rest of the form was filled in by his wife. She also states that she has been married 18 Years which is the exact time period to the date 1911 to when they married in Dec 1892 so unless he died like the week before the census this is very suspect. He could of course have been down the mines at the time the census was taking. Thus missing him off.
I'm asking if anyone can find this man before I give up on him completely. There are some amazing people on here that may just be able to do this.
He is as follows:

William Turner (b) 1864 Seaham/Seaton Colliery, Co Durham.
Married to Martha Isabella Cowie (b) 1870 Sunderland, Co Durham

His father was John Morland Turner (b) 1844 married to Mary Jane Fretker (b) 1847

1901 Census that he appears on
Piece:4667
Folio:30
Page Number:52
Household schedule number:310

The 1911 Census that he is missing from

Registration district:Gateshead
Registration District Number:557
Sub-registration district:Winlaton
ED, institution, or vessel:21
Piece:30528

Any more info just ask if interested in helping
Thanks for reading



Turner Cowie Humphrey Ruffell Elsender Sample

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Offline JenB

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Re: Great Grandfather died in WW1 im starting to think not
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 07 December 17 14:49 GMT (UK) »
On the 1911 Census his wife and children are on there but the words Widow and Head have been filled in by the enumerator this can be proved by checking the handwriting at the bottom of census that the enumerator filled in.

Not sure what you mean by 'the bottom of the census that the enumerator filled in'? Is this the bottom right of the form? This is where the head of household signed and wrote their address.

The fact that it says the marriage has lasted 18 years doesn't necessarily imply that William was still alive. People often mis-interpreted the questions on the census form. Martha could have thought it was simply asking how many years it was since she got married.

There is the death of a William Turner born c.1864 in Lanchester R.D. in the first quarter of 1906. Have you checked this one?
No, that doesn't work, as his youngest son appears to have been born in the 3rd quarter of 1907  ::)
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Offline DavyTee68

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Re: Great Grandfather died in WW1 im starting to think not
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 07 December 17 15:04 GMT (UK) »
On the 1911 Census his wife and children are on there but the words Widow and Head have been filled in by the enumerator this can be proved by checking the handwriting at the bottom of census that the enumerator filled in.

Not sure what you mean by 'the bottom of the census that the enumerator filled in'? Is this the bottom right of the form? This is where the head of household signed and wrote their address.

The fact that it says the marriage has lasted 18 years doesn't necessarily imply that William was still alive. People often mis-interpreted the questions on the census form. Martha could have thought it was simply asking how many years it was since she got married.

There is the death of a William Turner born c.1864 in Lanchester R.D. in the first quarter of 1906. Have you checked this one?
No, that doesn't work, as his youngest son appears to have been born in the 3rd quarter of 1907  ::)

If you look at the word Head and Widow it is in the same handwriting as the enumerator bottom left corner (i think im in the car so cant check right now ) not in Martha's hand writing thus been added later on.
The professional Genealogist agreed with me on that one lol
Turner Cowie Humphrey Ruffell Elsender Sample

Offline JenB

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Re: Great Grandfather died in WW1 im starting to think not
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 07 December 17 15:10 GMT (UK) »
Quote
if you look at the word Head and Widow it is in the same handwriting as the enumerator not in Martha's hand writing thus been added later on.

Where did you find the example of the enumerator's handwriting for comparison?
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Offline DavyTee68

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Re: Great Grandfather died in WW1 im starting to think not
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 07 December 17 15:12 GMT (UK) »
Quote
if you look at the word Head and Widow it is in the same handwriting as the enumerator not in Martha's hand writing thus been added later on.

Where did you find the example of the enumerator's handwriting for comparison?

His signature bottom left corner the H is identical to the H in Head
I'll check when I get home 🖒
Turner Cowie Humphrey Ruffell Elsender Sample

Offline lizdb

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Re: Great Grandfather died in WW1 im starting to think not
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 07 December 17 15:16 GMT (UK) »
Yes, I agree that Martha did not fill in the "widow" and "head" words on the 1911 census form.

Edmonds/Edmunds - mainly Sussex
DeBoo - London
Green - Suffolk
Parker - Sussex
Kemp - Essex
Farrington - Essex
Boniface - West Sussex

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Offline DavyTee68

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Re: Great Grandfather died in WW1 im starting to think not
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 07 December 17 15:19 GMT (UK) »
Yes, I agree that Martha did not fill in the "widow" and "head" words on the 1911 census form.

Thanks Liz
Turner Cowie Humphrey Ruffell Elsender Sample

Offline DavyTee68

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Re: Great Grandfather died in WW1 im starting to think not
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 07 December 17 15:21 GMT (UK) »
Would it be ok to put the full report the Genealogist sent to me just so you can all see what she did/didn't find ?
Turner Cowie Humphrey Ruffell Elsender Sample

Offline rosie99

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Re: Great Grandfather died in WW1 im starting to think not
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 07 December 17 16:19 GMT (UK) »
Who was the informant on this birth certificate.  What information does it give for the father
TURNER, JOHN  GEORGE     mmn COWEY     
1907  Sept Quarter
LANCHESTER  RD  10A  377

Would it be ok to put the full report the Genealogist sent to me just so you can all see what she did/didn't find ?
It would be better if you just gave a brief summary.
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