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Topics - phil57

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Could I please have suggestions for the date of this CdV image. I'm particularly interested in suggestions according to the style of dress and general appearance. I have come up with some estimates based on the photographer's name on the card, which I won't mention yet as I don't want to prejudice any observations. Thank you :)

Handwriting Deciphering & Recognition / Chancery case note
« on: Thursday 08 June 23 12:18 BST (UK)  »
Can anyone help with deciphering this note please. It is on the reverse of an instruction to obtain a deposition, possibly the full answer of the defendant. I have converted it to grayscale, as it appears slightly clearer than the original image.

So far, I have:

The ? of
this [Commission] ?
appears to contain
Schedules [here unto] ?

Jno Warren

Handwriting Deciphering & Recognition / Could she be Hannah?
« on: Friday 23 December 22 12:13 GMT (UK)  »
I have been searching for Hannah Stokes in the 1841 census, born about June/July 1776 and living in Stepney in 1838 when her husband died. I found one in Mile End Old Town, but at 52 (age not rounded down on the form) she was too young, and is also with a Samuel Stokes, possibly her son, which also discounts her from being the person I am looking for.

I have this entry in Dartford for ? Stokes, 65 years, which is the right age for the Hannah who I am looking for.

She is transcribed as Sarah or Dinah, depending on the source of the census image, but looking at the handwriting for other Sarah's and a Dinah on the same page, and even the "S" in her surname, her first name doesn't look like either of those names to me. All other capital "esses" on the page are separate from the following letters as can be seen from the Sarah's and Sophie near the top of the first image.

So, any ideas please. Elizabeth Lawrence, in whose household she appears, seems to be either the daughter of Hannah or her niece from what I have found so far, although I can't as yet say which with any certainty. They would have been about 33 and 30 respectively.

The Common Room / GRO records - a cautionary tale
« on: Friday 23 December 22 11:35 GMT (UK)  »
Thought I would share this example of why it is always worth double checking everything when searching for our ancestors, and taking nothing for granted.

I have been searching for the death of my Gx4 GF. All I had been able to ascertain from other sources was that he must have died sometime between 1821 and 1855 and had almost certainly been living in Stepney when he died. Knowing his baptism date, I was able to estimate his age at any possible year of death to within a few years either side, and by searching for burials and GRO deaths had identified and eliminated several possible candidates after further research. That left me with three GRO death records. Two were fairly easily eliminated with further checks, but I ordered a copy of the death certificate for the third from the GRO.

When it arrived, I found that the man had died in an industrial accident. Neither his address or next of kin were mentioned. Newspaper reports of the death did not reveal anything else of help, but he was bang on the age I was looking for.

But with nothing else to go on, I had one further possible match left, who I had put at the bottom of the pile because his age at death according to the GRO index was 79; about nine years too old, and the ages of the previous three had all been much closer. But I decided to order a copy of his certificate from GRO also. When it arrived, it was obvious from the address and name of his widow that I now had the right man, but the age was wrong. Looking at the image of the GRO register transcript, it seemed that there was possibly a spurious line running past the second digit of his age, and it was difficult to tell if it really was a nine or a zero.

So I obtained a copy of the original entry from Tower Hamlets Registry Office, on which his age can clearly be seen as 70. There are other marks on the transcribed GRO copy as well, which are absent from the original, including a large cross over his cause of death.

If I had just relied on the GRO index, or even the transcribed image, I might never have found this and would probably have discounted the right person.

London & Middlesex Lookup Requests / Thomas STOKES industrial accident Stepney, 1846
« on: Tuesday 13 December 22 18:52 GMT (UK)  »
I'm looking for some help please. Trying to find a death for my Gx4 grandfather Thomas STOKES in or around Stepney. Working through a couple of possibilities, I have obtained a death certificate for one such individual, of the right age of 77 yrs, who died on 16th December 1846. He was described as a labourer in a colour manufactory who was crushed between a millstone called an edge turner and a wall, at Assembly Passage, Stepney. The informant for the death was the coroner, W. BAKER.

There is unfortunately nothing that I can glean from the certificate to help decide if he is the person I am looking for, but I wondered if there might have been a newspaper report of the death that could have contained more information.

I've not had much luck searching though, and wondered if anyone might be able to find something I may have missed?

Handwriting Deciphering & Recognition / Baptism extract
« on: Wednesday 30 November 22 16:00 GMT (UK)  »
Any idea of the word between "Thomas" and "son of Thomas..." in the attached extract please?

My initial guess is "Thomas Junior Son of Thomas..."

The "J" looks like the J in John, four lines below, although without the flourish of other Js on the page, and there appears to be an "i" in the word judging by the dot to the right of the stroke from the "f" descending from the line above.

Edit: or maybe "Twin", but the first letter is unlike any other "T"s on the page, and there's no trace of the other child?

Handwriting Deciphering & Recognition / Coal what?
« on: Friday 25 November 22 12:07 GMT (UK)  »
Can anyone help with the circled occupation in the image please? He was described variously as a coal whipper and coal labourer in other documents, but I can't work out what the second word is here.

Hello, I'm hoping someone might be able to help with information about my indirect ancestor.

Frederick STOKES, b. 9 August 1892 in Barking, Essex, enlisted as a Gunner in the Royal Regiment of Artillery on 13 January 1913 at Doncaster, with service number 71493. He was posted to the 130th Battery of the Royal Field Artillery, within the 30th (Howitzer) Brigade, on 7 April 1913. On 18 August 1914 following the outbreak of war, the Brigade embarked for France from Southampton with the British Expeditionary Force. According to the Brigade War Diary, his Battery was attached to the 9th Infantry Brigade on 6 October 1914, near Zelobes.

On 18 October 1914, Frederick's personal record shows that he was hospitalised with a rifle wound in his ankle, noted as having been self inflicted. He was transferred to Southampton aboard the Hospital Ship St David, and taken by Hospital train to the Military Hospital at Colchester. On 4 January 1915, having presumably recovered from his injury, Frederick was assigned to home duties, until on 8 May 1915 he was posted to the 51st Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery, which was under orders to depart for France from Borden on that date. Almost a year later, the Regimental Records Office at Woolwich noted that they had not received any records for Frederick since May 1915. By 15 November 1916, following numerous enquiries to try and locate him, it was determined that Frederick had deserted at Borden on 8 May 1915, having never boarded the ship. All of the above is in his military record under WO363 at TNA.

He married at Spalding in Lincolnshire in 1917, and lived under his correct name, giving his correct date of birth in the 1939 register, until his death in 1981.

I have been unable to find out if he was subsequently located, tried, punished, or any other outcome re his desertion, but his Medal Card is marked "1914 Star ret'd (deserter) C.R.V. [?] 18.5.21 4627/Adt."

I have found reference on Ancestry to a record of court martial of an F. Stokes (full forename not stated) at Grantham on 12 August 1918, in series WO86/83 at TNA. The record is not online at TNA, but is apparently available via Fold3. I don't have a Fold3 subscription and have previously used a free trial, so that option isn't open to me.

I just wondered if it's possible to find out whether that record relates to my ancestor, in which case I would be happy to pay for a month's subscription to obtain full details, or not. Alternatively, any suggestions for other research avenues that might resolve the matter of his desertion and subsequent outcome?

The Common Room / Probatesearch website HTTP/1.1 500 error - anyone else?
« on: Monday 04 April 22 16:49 BST (UK)  »
Back to the subject of the "new" Probate Search website pages again :(

Has anyone else tried to order a will recently and seen the "HTTP/1.1 500 please contact your administrator" error? I have been getting it consistently for well over a week now, and cannot order anything. I can log in to my account, search for a will and add it to the basket. I can view the basket and place the order, but when being redirected to the payment site I get the error (from the probate search site, not the payment provider).

On a couple of occasions I was redirected to the payment site, but I was asked to enter my card details for a payment of 0.00

I tried entering my card details and was redirected back to the probate search site, where the HTTP/1.1 500 error popped up again.

I tried emailing customerresolutions at and was pleasantly surprised to get a reply within a couple of hours. They wanted my 5-digit numeric customer ID. I didn't know that I had one, and nothing is displayed when I log in to the site and view my account. So I replied saying that, and adding that all I had was the username and password that I had registered with. I also included the references of the last 4 orders that I had made, thinking that might help them. But it seems to have stopped the conversation in its tracks ::)

I'm still getting the same error every time I try to place an order. I've tried clearing my browser data, and accessing the site from two more computers at different locations, but still get the same error. Not that I expected any of that to solve it as I understand that the HTTP 500 error relates to an issue on their server and nothing to do with me.

I just wondered if anyone else is seeing the same problem?

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