Author Topic: McDonald Mystery  (Read 1983 times)

Offline easyqueenie

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McDonald Mystery
« on: Sunday 28 March 10 02:00 BST (UK) »
Hi all,

I am totally stumped by a family member who seems, from the data I have at the moment, to have been born 3 years after his father died - quite an impressive feat.

His name was William McDonald and his death can be seen here: http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=526092

This is definately our man as we have military documents with the matching service number and battallion.  He is oddly shown as having Canadian nationality despite his parents being from Stockport, I can only assume he emigrated but so far have no evidence to support that.

His father as listed on the CWGC is Bernard who died 23rd July 1894, I have a copy of the death certificate confirming that date.  However William shows a birthdate of approximately 1897/8 (died 1918 aged 20).  That suggests the age at death is wrong.  But I have looked on the 1901 census and found this:

Long Link Shrunk

That shows a Willie McDonald, born about 1898 living with what appears to be his sister Agnes and a mystery family called the Cartwrights who don't know where the McDonald children they're calling their stepchildren were born.  That ties with our family, my great grandma is Agnes McDonald, born 1894 to Bernard and Sarah (Bernard dies whilst Sarah is pregnant with Agnes) - but it doesn't explain who this Willie would be.  I have Agnes' birth cetificate from 17th Sept 1894 which lists Bernard as deceased.

I've searched the Cheshire BMD for all McDonald births from 1880 - 1900 which have Hallsworth as the maiden name, there are 3 Williams, born 1886, 1888 and 1897.  Agnes is there listed as 1894 in Heaton Norris, which tallies with her birth certificate.  The first and last Williams are also Heaton Norris, the middle one is registered in Stockport First.  The marriage index only lists one marriage between those surnames, Bernard and Sarah's.  I've also checked the death indexes, the first and second Williams both seem to have died as infants, there are deaths for William McDonalds aged 0 in the respective locations in those years.  That seems to only leave the final one, born 1897 - but that is 3 years after the death of his father.

Anyone got any ideas here?  Does my reasoning seem sound to order the birth certificate of the 3rd William (born 1897) and see who is listed as the father?

Many thanks,
Sophie

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Adshead, Kirkpatrick, Tollitt - Stockport
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Offline mshrmh

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Re: McDonald Mystery
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 28 March 10 11:15 BST (UK) »
Sophie - I have one in my family where the child was born more than a year after the death of the mother's husband, but was registered with his surname. The mother re-married soon after and the child seems to have taken the name of that husband, but as far as I can see wasn't re-registered. I haven't got the birth certificate to see what it says under father's name, but I'd suspect it would be blank!

Incidentally you can see the attestation papers for "your" William McDonald on the Canadian Archives site - I did a search using his name and the regimental number off the CWGC site - they give date of birth as 22 August 1897 and next of kin brother Bernard, so ties in with the information you've already got and the probable birth:
http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/cef/001042-100.01-e.php

Offline easyqueenie

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Re: McDonald Mystery
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 31 March 10 00:04 BST (UK) »
Thanks for your reply, espcially the link to the Canadian archives.

I'm starting to suspect that there is a simple error on the CWGC site as William gave his brother Bernard as next of kin, I think whoever typed up his info assumed this was his father.  I've ordered his birth certificate so I'll be interested to see what's on there, if anything, for his father.
Adshead, Kirkpatrick, Tollitt - Stockport
Sharpe, Parr, Salt - Leeds/Keighley/Manchester

Offline andycand

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Re: McDonald Mystery
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 31 March 10 03:44 BST (UK) »
Hi

The additional information on the CWGC website comes from forms sent out to next of kin a few years after the war ended. It looks like the who ever completed the form named his long deceased father to hide a that he may have been illigitimate. You would need to look at his actual birth certificate and see what that says.

The 1901 census is puzzling as according to CheshireBMD the maiden name of the mother of Bertha age 1 is Downs or Hanrahan, guessing that one is the maiden mame and the other a former married name. There is a marriage in 1881 between an Eliza Ann DOWNS and a Patrick HANRAHAN, in 1894 Eliza Ann HANRAHAN (nee DOWNS) married Charles CARTWRIGHT.

Andy