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Topics - CraigM63

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New Zealand Completed Requests / James and John Galbraith/McMaster, born 1857
« on: Monday 01 February 21 15:45 GMT (UK)  »
While delving into my paternal grandmother's family history, I found a family tree on Ancestry, with all the usual caveats about Ancestry family trees, that suggests that her great grandmother, Margaret McMaster gave birth to twin illegitimate sons in 1857, before she married Thomas Hunter in 1860. In this case the information is backed up by an image of what appears to be the parish register of baptisms, which states the father's name, James Galbraith, the twins' date of birth which was 27 September 1857, and the baptism date which was 15 April 1858. Margaret's address is given as Saddle Hill, which fits with where the McMaster family were living at the time. I can also find a record of the baptisms of a James and John Galbraith in 1858 for the East Taieri parish in the Presbyterian Research Centre's baptism indexes which fits with the image.

What I am struggling with, however, is finding any formal record of their birth registrations on the Births, Deaths and Marriages Online website in New Zealand, under either the surnames McMaster or Galbraith. I am assuming that the registration of births was a statutory requirement by the time of their births, which means that their births should have been registered. While the baptism record gives their surname as Galbraith, they seem to have both been known by the surname of McMaster for the duration of their lives.

I am hoping that this is the right place for a request of this nature. I am looking for the birth registration number for a Charles Edward Fenner, who was born in Christchurch on 12 September 1881, as although he shows up in the New Zealand Birth Index on Ancestry in the last quarter of 1881, I cannot find his birth registration on the Department of Internal Affairs Births, Deaths, & Marriages Online website. This request is linked to a thread that is currently running on the Great War Forum, and I'm just wanting to tidy a few loose ends up, one of which is to find his official birth registration.

His three older siblings, Arthur Weir Fenner, born 1877, Clara Weir Fenner, born 1878, and Herbert Fenner, born 1880, can all be found, but Charles is not showing up, even though we know when he was born, which leads me to suspect that there has been a transcription error in recording his details. His three older siblings  are registered with their mother's name given as Theresa, although it is in fact T(h)irzah, and their father's name is given as not recorded, although we know that the father of all four siblings was Robert Weir. Tirzah Anne Prior was previously married to Thomas Smith Fenner in England, before emigrating to New Zealand sometime between 1871 and 1876, when a daughter was born in Greymouth. Thomas died in Hokitika in 1877, and she seems to have taken up with Robert Weir about the same time, and then moved to Christchurch where all four children were born. As far as is known Tirzah and Robert never married as we have been unable to find a marriage registration, but the children were known by the surname Weir, rather than Fenner, as indeed was Tirzah, during their lives.

Charles Edward Weir has a rather colourful history, but I won't recap all that here as it would fill several pages.

If anybody could help out with Charles' birth registration number it would be much appreciated.


Armed Forces / William Federick Read - R.N. stoker (1908)
« on: Tuesday 19 May 20 20:34 BST (UK)  »
I am currently trying to resolve the first marriage of my wife's great-grandfather's cousin, and am having difficulty with finding any matches for her first husband, William Frederick Read. Lucy Ellen (the marriage certificate states Ellen Lucy, but on her baptism record and her second marriage record she is Lucy Ellen) Herbert married William Frederick Read on 11 April 1908 in All Hallows church in Bromley, London, England. At the time of their marriage Lucy is 24, and William is 25, which is consistent with Lucy's birth in January 1884, and implies that William is born in either 1883, or more likely 1882. William's occupation is described in the marriage register as 'Stoker R.N.', which I have taken to mean that he was a stoker in the Royal Navy.

Lucy subsequently married James Hall on 4 April 1915 in St Mary's church in Bromley St Leonard, London, England, and is described as a widow at the time of this second marriage. Sadly, James died on the Somme 18 months later in October 1916, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, leaving Lucy a widow for the second time.

Clearly William Read had to have died at some point before April 1915, but I am struggling on several fronts. The first thing is that I cannot find a William Read that seems to fit my assumed birth year for him in the Royal Navy ratings’ service records in the National Archives, even if I try different variations on both his surname (Read, Reed, and Reid), and his first names given in the marriage register. None of the William Read's who died in the first few months of WW1 while serving with the Royal Navy are a match, which then implies that he had to have died before August 1914.

The closest match I can find is a William George Frederick Read who was baptized in Forest Gate, London, England, in June 1882, and who apparently died in the same area in October 1909, which would seem to fit the facts if I discount the missing George in his name in the marriage register. This still leaves me though with the conundrum that I cannot find a record of William Read's assumed service with the Royal Navy as a stoker, or indeed if he was still serving at the time of his death as he would have been if he had signed on for a period of 12 years at the age of 18 as Lucy's cousin did in 1904.           

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