Author Topic: Ruth LM Gaunt/Kortright, parents Ellen Sweet and Gilbert Gaunt  (Read 276 times)

Offline lampy

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Ruth LM Gaunt/Kortright, parents Ellen Sweet and Gilbert Gaunt
« on: Friday 30 July 21 19:11 BST (UK) »
I've been trying to research this family member for a long time.

Ruth Lavinia Mary Gaunt.

I have a copy of the marriage certificate for her first marriage:
24 Feb 1959 in Chelvey, Somerset
married to Hugh Forbes Clifford Kortright who was born 1 Feb 1917 (easier branch to research)
Ruth's age is stated as 22 at time of marriage (and Hugh's as 42) and her occupation as 'farm worker'
Her residence as Edgeley Cottage, Rock Road, Yatton (Somerset)
It lists her father as Gilbert Evelyn Gaunt.

However, I cannot find any birth records for a Ruth Gaunt in the UK around those years.

I got a copy of her death certificate, which gave her date of birth as 23 Feb 1937 in Clevedon, North Somerset. (Near to Bristol)
But there are no records of that name and date in that place. I contacted the local/county office who came back and told me they had no records matching that name.

She died in 2011 in Wootton-under-edge in Gloucestershire.

Ruth remarried at least once, to a Dennis Reeves. She had quite a few children - most of whom were taken into care and then adopted.
From the missing birth records it looks like she might have been adopted herself. Which leads me to a brick wall.
There was an orphanage around that time in Clevedon.
There are surnames in the Gaunt/Sweet family that come up in the family trees of some of my "DNA cousins" on MyHeritage, which makes me wonder if she was adopted within the family.
Another "family story" from a relative (decades ago) was that one of her parents stabbed the other parent, but I have no idea if that is true as some of the things that were said were not all that reliable!

Her father, as listed on the marriage certificate, Gilbert Evelyn Gaunt, was a farmer born 14 May 1885 in Edgbaston, who went back and forth to Canada around 1904 to at least 1926 and had a homestead in Battle River, Alberta. As did at least one sibling who stayed out there permanently.
In 1919 he was back in England and married Ellen Alice Sweet, in Stratford (Near Tewkesbury) and was back out to Canada in 1920 with the married couple on the 1926 Canadian census.

By the time of the 1939 register they were back in England, living in Long Ashton, Somerset along with Ellen's brother Henry G Sweet (now widowed) and 2 "closed entries" (presumably one of which is Ruth?)
Gilbert died in 1973 in Yatton, Somerset.
His siblings were: Lilian Chrystabel Gaunt (moved to Canada), Violet Doris Gaunt 1888, John David Neele Gaunt 1895 (moved to Canada), Mildred Corinne Fay Gaunt 1890 (married Rope), Vernon Charles Patrick Gaunt (moved to Canada) and Lionel George Frederick Gaunt 1882 (moved to Canada) Several of these siblings were born in Holywood, Co Down, Ireland.
His father was Wilmot Gaunt b. 1846 Walworth, Surrey though Wilmot's siblings seem to have been born in Birmingham. His mother was Prudence Annie Lawledge

His Gaunt ancestors were mainly in Staffordshire and also include Knight, Hall, Myott, Darby,

His wife (therefore Ruth's "mother") was Ellen Alice Sweet. Born in July either 1884 or 1885 in Westerleigh, Gloucestershire.  Her father was Richard George Sweet (1855) from Sirhowy, Monmouthshire (but died in Somerset) and her mother was Mary Ann Hancock possibly born in 1853 in Axbridge/Winscombe, Somerset. Her family spent some time in Wooton Wawen.

She had siblings: Henry George Sweet 1883, Sarah Kate (Babs) Sweet 1891, Mary Belle Day Sweet 1889, Richard James Sweet 1881.

Other names further back on that branch are Hancock, Day, Ellis, White, Wall/Williams.

I am at a loss as to how to get around this brick wall of identifying Ruth Lavinia Mary's actual parents (if, as it seems, they were not Gilbert and Ellen) and birth record.
I was told by the local register office that the dob given on the death certificate will have been given by the informant and not checked against any birth records, so it's possible that the date and place could be wrongly remembered.

I have no contact with the living relatives and due to the issues around adoptions and other family matters I don't want to try to find them and approach them.

If any of these names ring a bell with anyone, or if anyone has any ideas where to go next, I'd muchly appreciate it!!

Lampy

Offline QueenoftheWest

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Re: Ruth LM Gaunt/Kortright, parents Ellen Sweet and Gilbert Gaunt
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 11 August 21 15:03 BST (UK) »
Hi,

I was scrolling through the Somerset board and found your post. I have a special interest in adoption mysteries as my grandpa's grandpa Laurie was also adopted and I am currently trying to find out who his parents were via DNA & BMD/census records. I certainly appreciate how difficult it is!

I noticed in your other post regarding this lady, you stated that you are her granddaughter:

Her daughter (my mother) was also adopted so I have very little information to work from.

I feel you have an even better chance than I do of finding out who her biological parents were as you are very close in DNA terms.

The most important point when looking for an adopted person's original birth certificate is definitely having a birth date. You state that her death certificate has her birth date as 23 Feb 1937, but I notice that, on the 1939 register on Findmypast, her birth date is listed as 23 Mar 1937. I would generally assume that the 1939 register is more likely to be accurate because the information would have come direct from her adoptive parents.

Now you have an idea of the birth date, you know what you are looking for when you order a birth certificate. It's good to bear in mind that her surname could have changed so you may not be looking for a 'Gaunt' birth registration. My adopted great-great-grandpa was registered under a different surname but took on the surname of his adopted father. However, his first and middle name stayed the same so hopefully Ruth was her birth name but Lavinia or Mary may have been a later addition.

I think the answer lies in the DNA results - they are what will lead you to a birth certificate. I notice that Gilbert Gaunt & Ellen Sweet did not have any biological children.

You state:

Quote
There are surnames in the Gaunt/Sweet family that come up in the family trees of some of my "DNA cousins" on MyHeritage, which makes me wonder if she was adopted within the family.

But which side? Gaunt or Sweet? It would be really useful to pinpoint whether it was a relative of Gilbert's or Ellen's. If it's both then they must have a mystery child that I can't find. Also, how strong are these matches? That will give you a clue as to how far back you have to go to find a common ancestor.

Have you clustered your matches yet? The easiest way to do that would be to find another DNA match who is a descendant (preferably) or relative of your grandmother. You don't have to reach out to them.

I will give you an example of how I did it when looking for relatives of my mother's great-grandpa Laurie:

I saw that my mother had a second cousin whom I didn't recognise. Her surname was Jones and she didn't have a tree so it was a mystery. I then looked at our shared matches and noticed that we shared quite a few matches who were descended from the ancestors of Laurie's wife, Eleanor. I then knew that Ms. Jones must be a descendant of Eleanor ergo she must also be a descendant of Laurie as she and my mother are second cousins so share a pair of great-grandparents. If she shares Eleanor, she shares Laurie.

I managed to confirm that by looking at all of Laurie & Eleanor's descendants and finding a Ms. Jones. Luckily, they had a lot of children but not many grandchildren so it wasn't too difficult.

Then I looked again at the shared matches that weren't related to Eleanor. I found a group of Australians that I didn't recognise. After many hours of painstaking work, I realised that all these Australians were descended from Mr. Walker and his wife. I then realised that Laurie's adoptive mother was the daughter of Mr. Walker! That told me that Laurie's biological mother and his adoptive mother must be related (how exactly is a work-in-progress).

First step would definitely be to find a match you know is related to Ruth (or Ellen or Gilbert) and it sounds like you may have found some. Then you should look in your shared matches and try and find a common ancestor amongst them. Update us if you find anything!

Good luck!

Queenie  :)
Ecclestone - London & Middlesex/Surrey
Hamlin/Hamlyn - Long Sutton & Martock, Somerset
Head - Marlborough & Alton Priors, Wiltshire
Laurance/Lawrance - London & Middlesex/Surrey
Minson - Kingstone, Somerset/Symondsbury, Dorset
Owsley - Buckland St Mary, Somerset
Pyke - (West) Weeke/Wick, Pewsey, Wiltshire
Salisbury - Dowlish Wake/West Dowlish, Somerset

Offline lampy

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Re: Ruth LM Gaunt/Kortright, parents Ellen Sweet and Gilbert Gaunt
« Reply #2 on: Friday 13 August 21 17:03 BST (UK) »
Thank you Queenie!!

It's nice to hear from someone who has faced the same adoption-brick-wall struggle and understands the frustration.

Yep, I noticed the slightly different birth date too. Given that death certificate dates are just what the informant knows (though the informant was another of her daughters) and as you say, 1939 register is much nearer the actual time, so I figure they had less time to forget it!! I agree, I should start a search for that date. It's tricky because the GRO only gives the quarter it was registered in so March and February are still both in the same quarter. A while ago I tried searching for any GRO entries for a "Ruth" born Jan-Mar 1937 and only came up with a few results, and all but two were immediately ruled out by death dates. One of the remaining two had different married names on some people's trees. But I haven't managed to find any link between the remaining candidate and any of Ellen/Gilbert's trees.

Then again, they may have completely renamed her when they adopted her so she might not even have been a "Ruth" originally. My mother's adoptive parents contemplated changing her name entirely, but in the end opted to keep her birth name.

The few DNA matches I found seem to be on Ellen's line, much further back (Hancock/Ellis) but seem to come from so far back I'm not sure if that is just a coincidental random distant ancestor, which is misleading me.

I just read on another post here about The Leeds Method, so I have started on that to see if I can make any headway in sorting out some different branches. I think it has potential. I'm certainly seeing a few clusters appearing.

I'm hoping that might help as well if she was renamed after adoption. At least might be able to whittle down the options a bit.

For now I am driving myself crossed-eyed trying to do this Leeds chart lol.
It's tricky - I don't have any 2nd cousins matches, a couple of 2nd cousins 1/2removed and a fairly small number of third cousins. It seems like basically no one from her immediate family has put their DNA on any genealogy websites. A bit odd really because I'd have thought with all the adoptions (5 of her children were adopted) people would be more inclined to search.

Thanks again for your reply and sharing your own experience and ideas :-)




Offline QueenoftheWest

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Re: Ruth LM Gaunt/Kortright, parents Ellen Sweet and Gilbert Gaunt
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 14 August 21 16:40 BST (UK) »
Yes, I think name changes probably depend on how old the child was when they were adopted and also how 'permanent' the adoption was or whether it initially began as more of a 'fostering' situation. In my adoptee ancestor Laurie's case, his adoptive parents used his full birth name on the census when he was around 5 years old but, by the time he was in his teens, he had changed his name permanently and used his adoptive father's name on all civil documentation i.e. his marriage certificate. The fact that his adoptive parents didn't change his name as a young child may have been due to their belief that his mother may return, but she never did.

Having said that, from what I've read, it was not unusual for women who left their children with family/friends/close neighbours to actually pop in from time to time to see them. I've read a few very similar stories where adopted people talk about an 'Auntie Jane,' who used to visit them from time to time and actually ended up being their biological mother. I wonder whether either of our ancestors ever met their biological mother as a young child and didn't know, if only we could travel back in time!

It's also interesting how similar our cases are, even though they took place 80 years apart. In both cases, the adoptive parents were an older couple who didn't have any children. I know my ancestor's adoptive mother was related to him and I definitely feel it is a possibility in your case, too.

I actually have my ancestor's birth certificate but, sadly, it isn't helpful  :( Perhaps, I was just unlucky or maybe Laurie's mother (who registered the birth) made the whole thing up. Laurie was originally called 'Laurance John Laurance,' after his putative father, who Laurie's mother, Sarah, claimed was a 'teacher of foreign languages.' You would think with such a strange name (reduplicated names are very uncommon) and such an unusual occupation that I would be able to find something but it has not worked out that way!

The Leeds method is a great place to start. I don't know what company you used to test but Ancestry has great colour-coding tools, which are really helpful. That's how I identified the 'Mystery Australians' who were all related to Laurie's adoptive mother.

I had a look at Ellen's tree and I see that her grandmother was the daughter of a Day & an Ellis and the wife of a Hancock. I think the best thing to do would be to look at the surnames in the context of geographical location; for example, it looks like Ellen's ancestors were from Winscombe, Somerset, do your DNA matches also have Hancock/Ellis ancestors from this village? If so, it is unlikely to be a coincidence.

I think shared matches are also incredibly useful in separating the fact from the coincidence. If you have a match called Mr X who has a Hancock from Winscombe in his tree and you look at the shared matches and they also have a Hancock from Winscombe in their tree, then that is likely to be the ancestor that links you all. If the matches who have Hancock/Ellis surnames in their tree do not match each other, then I agree that it is probably white noise.

I am surprised that you don't have any second cousins, Ancestry is usually pretty good when it comes to volume of matches. MyHeritage would be second but their DNA tools are far superior so there are benefits/disadvantages for both. I have 2 second cousins (>300cM) on Ancestry but my strongest match on MyHeritage is a second cousin, once removed and all the others are third cousins or more distant.

I think for both of us it may be a waiting game until we get a match that will solve the puzzle! Fingers crossed more people do their DNA  ;D

Queenie  :)
Ecclestone - London & Middlesex/Surrey
Hamlin/Hamlyn - Long Sutton & Martock, Somerset
Head - Marlborough & Alton Priors, Wiltshire
Laurance/Lawrance - London & Middlesex/Surrey
Minson - Kingstone, Somerset/Symondsbury, Dorset
Owsley - Buckland St Mary, Somerset
Pyke - (West) Weeke/Wick, Pewsey, Wiltshire
Salisbury - Dowlish Wake/West Dowlish, Somerset

Offline Brentor boy

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Re: Ruth LM Gaunt/Kortright, parents Ellen Sweet and Gilbert Gaunt
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 14 August 21 19:21 BST (UK) »
Free BMD has the birth of a Ruth L M Harris (mmn Knight) registered in Gloucester June Q 1938. In the right general area geographically, but outside the expected time frame. A pity the name is not shown in full.

Offline QueenoftheWest

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Re: Ruth LM Gaunt/Kortright, parents Ellen Sweet and Gilbert Gaunt
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 14 August 21 19:38 BST (UK) »
Free BMD has the birth of a Ruth L M Harris (mmn Knight) registered in Gloucester June Q 1938. In the right general area geographically, but outside the expected time frame. A pity the name is not shown in full.

Good find but, unfortunately, I think this is the Ruth L M Harris who marries Raymond T Hyett in 1959 in Gloucester.

I also think it is more likely we are looking for an unmarried mother so a blank space for mother's maiden name.

Queenie  :)
Ecclestone - London & Middlesex/Surrey
Hamlin/Hamlyn - Long Sutton & Martock, Somerset
Head - Marlborough & Alton Priors, Wiltshire
Laurance/Lawrance - London & Middlesex/Surrey
Minson - Kingstone, Somerset/Symondsbury, Dorset
Owsley - Buckland St Mary, Somerset
Pyke - (West) Weeke/Wick, Pewsey, Wiltshire
Salisbury - Dowlish Wake/West Dowlish, Somerset

Offline Girl Guide

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Re: Ruth LM Gaunt/Kortright, parents Ellen Sweet and Gilbert Gaunt
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 05 September 21 08:31 BST (UK) »
Did anyone look at the original image for the 1939 register?  I noticed that a line has been put through Ruth/Kath? L and been replaced with Kartright Ruth M L.  Is it my imagination or has the birth year been adjusted from 1927 to 1937?
Ashford: Somerset, London
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Hooper: Bristol, Somerset
Knowling: Devon, London
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Offline QueenoftheWest

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Re: Ruth LM Gaunt/Kortright, parents Ellen Sweet and Gilbert Gaunt
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 05 September 21 16:35 BST (UK) »
Did anyone look at the original image for the 1939 register?  I noticed that a line has been put through Ruth/Kath? L and been replaced with Kartright Ruth M L.  Is it my imagination or has the birth year been adjusted from 1927 to 1937?

It makes sense that they would update the register to reflect her married name but I don't know why they decided to strike out the whole thing. Looks more like Ruth than Kath to me; maybe that's why they rewrote it, as it wasn't clear? It may have been adjusted but the initial year must have been a mistake - it is definitely 1937 as it describes her as 'under school age.'

Queenie  :)
Ecclestone - London & Middlesex/Surrey
Hamlin/Hamlyn - Long Sutton & Martock, Somerset
Head - Marlborough & Alton Priors, Wiltshire
Laurance/Lawrance - London & Middlesex/Surrey
Minson - Kingstone, Somerset/Symondsbury, Dorset
Owsley - Buckland St Mary, Somerset
Pyke - (West) Weeke/Wick, Pewsey, Wiltshire
Salisbury - Dowlish Wake/West Dowlish, Somerset