Beginners => Family History Beginners Board => Topic started by: genuisscuffy on Thursday 23 July 09 10:54 BST (UK)

Title: Suicide
Post by: genuisscuffy on Thursday 23 July 09 10:54 BST (UK)
My Grandfather William James Barnett born 29 Sept 1911 Portsmouth married my Grandmother Joan Louisa Fielder 3 Aug 1946 (again Portsmouth).
William died by committing suicide at Oxshott Station, Esher 21 Aug 1949. I have the death cert stating that a Post Mortem and Coronors inquest was held but I cant find any information other than that? Surely it would be in the newspapers either locally or in Esher.  Any help would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: jorose on Thursday 23 July 09 11:34 BST (UK)
There would likely be something, but a lot of newspapers haven't been indexed and few are online. Depending where you are now, either a local record office (county record office? Portsmouth archives/library?) or the British Library newspaper reading room may have copies of the appropriate newspapers:

(The BL have put some things online but only up to 1900).

Where was the PM/inquest held? Esher? (Some inquest records survive but it's very patchy so you'd have to check with the records office to see if they have any of that time period, and what the access requirements are).
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: genuisscuffy on Thursday 23 July 09 11:43 BST (UK)
Hi I checked with Esher Records office and they dont hold anything, and Portsmouth Records Office but I might go and see if the library in Portsmouth holds anything.
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: harridene on Wednesday 29 July 09 14:31 BST (UK)
You can contact the local coroners office, but i think there is a 50 or 75 year delay. i was able to get my relatives post mortem details from 1929 for a fee
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: genuisscuffy on Wednesday 29 July 09 16:55 BST (UK)
Hi Harridene, I did do that as soon as I got the death cert but the coronor said most were destroyed after 5-10 years unless of an interest and my grandfathers had been destroyed.  Apparently there is no where to store them which I thought was quite bad as what if something came up at a later date??
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: Redroger on Wednesday 29 July 09 17:17 BST (UK)
My grandmother killed herself in Boston in 1901. Like in your case the inquest papers had not survived; however there were reams of reports in the local papers , extremely graphic descriptions. You have the certificate and therefore the date, look in all the local papers circulating in the area at the time. The local reference library will have records of the papers circulating,and probably copies of the papers, most likely on microfilm, take it on from there, but a warning, you are likely to find the reports very harrowing, I did, almost 100 years later.
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: harridene on Wednesday 29 July 09 18:09 BST (UK)
I agree the reports can be harrowing, my relation threw herself under a train and even the newspaper report repeated word by word what was said at the inquest - but it is still good to find out what happened and why
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: Redroger on Wednesday 29 July 09 18:20 BST (UK)
Agreed Harridene, I always suspected a mystery about my grandmother. All the other family certificates were kept except hers. Then I found out why. Good to solve the mystery though!
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: genuisscuffy on Thursday 30 July 09 19:14 BST (UK)
I'm not looking forward to finding something but then again I am if you know what I mean!!! - Mum didnt know her Dad as he died on the day before her 4th Birthday and nothing was ever said about him she didnt even know his first name until I went and got her full certificate - I'm glad in a way she never knew I think she would have been heartbroken.
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: Redroger on Thursday 30 July 09 19:18 BST (UK)
My grandmother died in 1901, my father then aged two was fostered by his aunt. He returned to Boston in 1919 after WW1 to work on the railway at the loco depot. From the depot you could see the house where my grandmother died, every day he was at work (most) from 1919 until 1964 he would pass that house at least twice a day, and sometimes many more times. He never said a word about it, when I told my mother in 1997 I don't think she knew either.
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: harridene on Friday 31 July 09 08:24 BST (UK)
Although harrowing reading it really is worth going for the newspaper report. All witnesses and some relatives are mentioned. Also look for the funeral notice. In those days, especially in tragic cases, the newshounds were there at the funeral and all who attended and their relationship to the deceased are mentioned and also all the floral tributes named are given. In my case I found a whole new set of relatives I did not know existed. Also if you have an exact date of death, for a small fee, most libraries will look at their microfiche for the week or so following the death and will print off the report and post it to you. Look for the nearest main library to the death scene and the major newspaper of the time. Good Luck
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: genuisscuffy on Friday 31 July 09 21:07 BST (UK)
Thank you for all your comments - I will write and see if they can help.
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: pinkthistle1 on Thursday 06 August 09 10:33 BST (UK)
One of my guys tried to kill his wife in 1905 and all the local paper gave him was 4 lines on his sentencing which i thought was strange till I realised most of the others sentenced on the same day had been charged with the same thing  :o he only got a year in jail too!
What i thought was the most interesting though was i applied to the national archives, in my case Scotland, and was sent his trial papers..he had pleaded insanity so there were statements from neighbours, doctors, 4 police officers, the wife, her sisters...but the most harrowing was the statement from the 3 year old son who said ' i saw daddy trying to cut my mammys head off' The kids then end up n care as she recovers and it takes her years to get them back..
brilliant stuff, but really sad.
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: genuisscuffy on Thursday 06 August 09 16:25 BST (UK)
Oh wow - bet you was really surprised when you read that - I know people say things like that didnt happen as much in the olden times - but that just proves them wrong!
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: Redroger on Thursday 06 August 09 16:57 BST (UK)
We researchers often find that contrary to the wishes of the Sun and the rest of the gutter end of the press, there is much less violent crime now than there was 100 years ago. Drug addiction is much less now than then, you have only to read Sherlock Holmes to get an idea of the incidence. Even Queen Victoria was an opium addict, took it to ease the pain of childbirth and got hooked!
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: Nick29 on Thursday 06 August 09 17:20 BST (UK)
True, but there is a world of difference between smoking unrefined opium and crack cocaine and crystal meth.  Probably similar proportions of addicts, but we now have much nastier drugs.
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: cardinal1977 on Thursday 06 August 09 17:44 BST (UK)
My Great grandfather's younger brother committed suicide in 1926 by jumping into the Thames. I subsequently found 2 newspaper articles on it, however the only reason i believe it managed to get any press cover at all was because the suicide letter he left was initially attributed to the wrong man.

It occured to me that this other guy who done the same thing within a day of my ancestor, wasn't even named in the newspaper cutting and his death only seemed to have been mentioned as as back gorund story for the administrative cock up that ensued.

Poor guy, I've often wondered who he was and why he did what he did   :(
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: Redroger on Thursday 06 August 09 17:59 BST (UK)
If you read Sherlock Holmes you will know that Holmes was himself a cocaine addict by injection this c 1900 or before!
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: Nick29 on Friday 07 August 09 10:25 BST (UK)
The Victorians misguidedly thought that many quite dangerous things were good for them, which is why you could openly buy ozone producing apparatus, products containing radioactivity, and electric shock machines.  X-Rays were considered to be beneficial to the health, and you could get your feet X-Rayed in shoe shops right up to the 1950's  :o

I expect each one was called "the marvel of the age"  :)
Title: Re: Suicide
Post by: Redroger on Friday 07 August 09 18:11 BST (UK)
Right Nick, I went to Spain with a pal in 1962, he bought a bottle of mineral water to cure a hangover, of which we had many. The label said "muy radioactive!" In 1901 my grandmother was on a tonic Mother Segals syrup, dilute hydrocloric acid. Your point made!