Author Topic: Is it possible, is there any point?  (Read 630 times)

Offline Norfolk Nan

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Is it possible, is there any point?
« on: Monday 04 March 19 12:03 GMT (UK) »
I have a very difficult ancestor who refuses to reveal his birth and parentage but, thanks to an interesting article, has left me with a lot of anecdotal information about his life including his military career.  He was born mid-1860s and claims to have been 'called to arms' three times.  The final time was as a civilian driving soldiers to the front so perhaps, technically, doesn't count as military service.  However, it sounds like he did a stint in the army in the 1880s and was recalled for the Boer War.  He tells a tale of being lost and mistaken for a Boer and imprisoned until his identity was confirmed but that's all the information I have. 

His name is John Lee and claims to be born in Isleworth, Middlesex, but I can find nothing about his life prior to 1894 when he suddenly appears on his child's birth certificate.  As far as finding a military record the name John Lee is close to John Smith but I admit I'm not an expert in this area.  So, my question is this - with the scant details I have would it be possible to pin point his service record?  I have a date of birth 18.4.1864 that I can't confirm, and a father - John Lee - that I can't confirm. 

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Offline KGarrad

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Re: Is it possible, is there any point?
« Reply #1 on: Monday 04 March 19 12:41 GMT (UK) »
A couple of possible Birth Registrations from FreeBMD:

June qtr 1864
Stepney Registration District     vol 1c, page 476
Lee, John

June qtr 1864
Wandsworth Registration District     vol 1d, page 421
Lee, John Powell

There are other possible births within a year either side.
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)

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Offline KGarrad

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Re: Is it possible, is there any point?
« Reply #2 on: Monday 04 March 19 12:46 GMT (UK) »
Matching entries from the GRO Indexes site:

    LEE, JOHN        (Mother's Maiden Name:) ANDERSON     
GRO Reference: 1864  J Quarter in STEPNEY  Volume 01C  Page 476

    LEE, JOHN  POWELL      BIELFELD     
GRO Reference: 1864  J Quarter in WANDSWORTH  Volume 01D  Page 421    
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)

Offline Sandy_W

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Re: Is it possible, is there any point?
« Reply #3 on: Monday 04 March 19 12:54 GMT (UK) »
Have you looked on Find My Past for his army record? They have several John Lees born in Middlesex/London. I don't have a subscription at the moment so can't open up the records unfortunately.

Offline Annette7

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Re: Is it possible, is there any point?
« Reply #4 on: Monday 04 March 19 13:02 GMT (UK) »
My first observation is that if serving in the Boer War he wouldn't have been on the 1901 census??

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Offline jc26red

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Re: Is it possible, is there any point?
« Reply #5 on: Monday 04 March 19 13:13 GMT (UK) »
What occupation does he give on his child/children’s birth certs... and where where they living at this point?
Have you found him on any of the census returns?

Also, have you found a marriage to the child’s mother?

If the only info you have is family stories and one entry on a birth cert, you cannot discount that he may have been a made up father.

We really need a concrete reference point, so that we can try to unravel the mistery. Unfortunately the name John Lee is extremely popular.
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Offline Ruskie

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Re: Is it possible, is there any point?
« Reply #6 on: Monday 04 March 19 13:19 GMT (UK) »
Do you have his marriage certificate? What did that say about his age, occupation and father's name?

Offline ShaunJ

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Re: Is it possible, is there any point?
« Reply #7 on: Monday 04 March 19 13:21 GMT (UK) »
Details of the marriage are on the other thread started today https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=809352
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Offline Norfolk Nan

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Re: Is it possible, is there any point?
« Reply #8 on: Monday 04 March 19 15:56 GMT (UK) »
Thanks all.  There are a number of possible births on BMD listings but none that tick the boxes I have.  I've looked on Ancestry and FindMyPast with the same result - several military possibilities but nothing that helps nail him.  John Lee from London is the nearest I get.  I don't know enough about the Boer Wars but I agree with the point about him being on the 1901 census but wasn't there an earlier war? Or were they the Zulu wars?  This isn't my area of expertise.

I suppose my question about military records is this - are earlier records as detailed as those for WW1?  If I find some will they hold information like date of birth, parents, birth place or wasn't that important in the Victorian military?  It's a clue but do I waste any more time on this line if it won't help?