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Any clue as to where to go from here?

(17 Posts)
baubles Thu 07-May-15 09:49:20

I can find no trace of the birth or death of my great grandfather. He was born in 1860 in Scotland. I have his marriage certificate and he is listed in both the 1861 and 1871 census (censii?). My grandmother used to talk about him having died when she was about 12 I think so that would be around 1902.

Is it odd that I can't find a birth or death certificate?

Nelliemoser Thu 07-May-15 10:44:08

Registration was not compulsory until 1875.
Do you have any parish or non conformist records?

Do you know from the census exactly when he was born? Or where any of his children were born or baptised it might give you a clue of any church or such he attended.
Could he have died abroad? Check military records Boer war?

Is he one of those many people with a very common name which makes like very difficult?

(Common as in frequently occurs that is not chavvy.) wink

TerriBull Thu 07-May-15 11:06:55

Have you tried variants of his surname? If you use the Ancestry site they don't always do a wonderful job with their transcriptions and I've been thrown off course on a number of occasions with wrong names, particularly if it's unusual and with place spellings, some of them have been ridiculous I have for example found on one census Bayswater shown as Barpwater and Dublin as Bublin. God knows who they use! Nelliemoser has already pointed out could he have been abroad at the time of death, I didn't know registration was not compulsory before 1875, that explains a lot! Have you tried the Familysearch Seventh Day Adventist site?, it's free and I have found it quite helpful at times. Regarding the birth registration, illegitimacy sometimes meant the birth was registered under the mother's surname. Common surnames such as Smith can be a bit of a pain. Everyone's got a Smith somewhere, I know I have, but I'm lucky I've got a lot of foreigners in my family, which is good from unusual name point of view, but bad because they were transitory. It's so frustrating not being able to find what you are looking for. Good luck with your quest.

Elegran Thu 07-May-15 11:18:41

Was his official name as the one he was known by, ? though he would been expected to give his registration name on his marriage certificate.

Did he die (or be born) outwith his country of residence, so that his death was registered elsewhere? Perhaps his father was a serving soldier overseas, is there a clue in the father's occupation column on his marriage certificate?

If you know his occupation, is he mentioned on any websites? I found my granfather's name on a list of railway trade union members (with an note that he had been struck off for not paying his dues!)

baubles Thu 07-May-15 11:48:32

Actually I've realised that I don't remember my grandmother saying how he died so I suppose he could have enlisted or left the country.

nellie his name is an old Scottish one, there could be variations in the spelling but I've tried those. Haven't tried Ancestry just the Scotland's people and Find my Past.

Thanks for the suggestions I'll do some more digging this evening.

jeanie99 Thu 18-Jun-15 03:45:59

Which records have you looked in?

You would need to know for sure which county he was born in to use the local Parish records, same with death.

People who had little money quite often had all the children baptized at the same time so the entry in the Parish records could be years after birth.

Many names have different spelling, something you need to consider.

loopylou Thu 18-Jun-15 05:55:13

We've never been able to trace my maternal grandfather's birth certificate. He was born in Britain in 1898, his is a very common name with only two possible spellings. We have his marriage certificate but no joy in searching.
He lived, worked and died in the same town.

FlicketyB Thu 18-Jun-15 15:43:30

Could he have changed his name either in childhood or young adulthood?

Airiol7 Sun 19-Mar-17 22:43:39

I, too, have a grandfather's marriage certificate but no birth or death certificate to match. Apart from the birth being before 1875 and therefore not compulsorily registered, his death was much later but no certifcate or will. I've exhausted all spelling variations I can think of. Changes of name were frequent and made popular by the play "The Importance of Being Ernest". It wasn't against the law. I've been driven to thinking he was a foundling and the name he used as an adult belonged to someone whose birth was registered but who died young. Anyone know about the naming of mid-19th century foundlings?

paddyann Sun 19-Mar-17 22:56:24

Scotlands People site is usually good ,try different areas from the one you think he was born,if you find his death certificate first his parents names should be on it or whoever registered the death so you might get him that way..My problem was a lot of my anscetors were Irish and some of them are really hard to find.My great grandfather seemed to have vanished into thin air ,around 1888 ,no trace of him anywhere then I found someone with the same name and age on a ship to New York.Could it be he didn't die ? Maybe he left the family try for marriages in his name and age group AFTER the time you were told he'd died .Hope you find him ,its very frustrating when you come to a dead end

Grannyben Mon 20-Mar-17 09:09:42

I've been researching my family tree for years and i realised, long ago, that although registration might have been made compulsory, half of my family didn't seem to bother with registering births. Obviously there were no benefits then! Deaths are usually a different matter, they had to be registered in this country. I would suggest trying as many different sites as you can. Sometimes they can have been missed of the one you started with.
I would find it a bit unusual for someone to enlist in their 40's unless they had served before. Did the census details you found give his occupation?
Does it look like he lived in the same area all his life? If so, i would do a bit of a broad sweep on the search, say 1895 to 1905 and limit it to the area.

Grannyben Mon 20-Mar-17 09:10:43

Why do i reply to posts that are 2 years old!

rascal Mon 20-Mar-17 13:36:17

On my deceased Mum's birth certificate it doesn't have her Father's name recorded on it. Mum was born out of wedlock in Fife in 1919. I have been trying to make a family tree from info from Scotland's People and I'm getting on quite well. Is there any way how to find out who her father was please or is it impossible? Thank you for any help with this. flowers

Grannyben Mon 20-Mar-17 14:22:42

Hi rascal, i think it would be virtually impossible through official records unless they ever lived as a couple and the census just happened to have been taken at that time. Have you got any elderly relatives who might be aware? I'm thinking did your grandma have any brothers and sisters. I appreciate they may no longer be here but they do often pass the information on to their own daughters

rascal Mon 20-Mar-17 18:08:24

Thank you Grannyben for the information. This was hardly mentioned when I was growing up. Her Mum never lived with her Dad. My Mum once said she lived with her Gran at the beginning. Then she went to live with her Mum who had got married. I have paid for searching Scotland's People. The census seem to have a lot of families with the same name and living in the same village but I don't know who's who! I'll keep looking. There are no elderly relatives alive now but there maybe some relations still living there. I live in hope! Many thanks again for your help. smile

grandtanteJE65 Mon 05-Jun-17 16:17:53

have you tried Register House in Edinburgh? Unfortunately they may not be able to help either, as I think it came into existence after 1860. My grandfather maintained that he could not trace his family back further than 1860, as the church were the records would have been burned down that year, and that as Register House did not exist then, there were no records.

I don't know whether he was right. My father was sceptical, he believed that his father had come upon something he didn't want his children to know about. All I could get Daddy to admit to was that there might have been gypsies or tinkers in the family, but as Grandpa and my father were not prejudiced against travellers, I don't think it could be that, although I suspect both would have balked at realising they were related to a hangman, if that had been the case.

NotTooOld Mon 05-Jun-17 18:19:49

I couldn't find a birth certificate for my grandfather either but it turned out he was born out of wedlock, his mother married a different man when my grandfather was two years old and they changed both his names. Poor Grandad didn't find this out himself until the man he thought was his father died. There was a stigma attached to illegitimate births in those days so families conspired to keep the fact quiet. Perhaps there is a similar secret in your family?