The Missing Great-Great-Grandma

The mystery of where my Great-Great-Grandmother Mary Louise Bolton was when the 1891 England Census was taken has finally been solved!  For years, I have struggled to locate her and her family in this record set.  A sudden hunch that maybe the family weren’t all together when the census was taken inspired me to take another look and success!

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Mary Louise, pictured in the early 1940s. 

Mary and her older brother James William were found to be living at 10 South Grove, Mile End Old Town.  They were living with a widow, Emily Thornton and her three daughters.  It is not known why the siblings were living with this particular family, although it is possible they could have been family friends.

Mary 1891
1891 England Census, Mile End Old Town, London, Household Schedule 129, Piece 310, Folio 125, Page No. 20, Mary Bolton, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 14 Nov 2018); citing TNA; Class: RG12.

In a moment of wonderful clarity, I realized that her future husband, Henry John Donald and his family lived in the same area in 1891.  It turned out to not only be the same area, but the same block of streets!

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1891 England Census, Mile End Old Town, Household Schedule 296, Piece 210, Folio 138, Page No 45, Henry J Donald, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 14 Nov 2018); citing TNA; Class: RG12.

 

The Booth Poverty Map was created by Charles Booth from 1889-1898.  During this time, Booth travelled around London with his researchers interviewing people and characterizing the areas they visited into seven different categories ranging from Upper Class/Wealthy to Vicious, Semi Criminal.    The image below is an excerpt from the Booth map.   The dark blue rectangles are Grove Buildings (where Henry lived at No.117) and were classed as “Very Poor, casual. Chronic Want”.  Mary lived on South Grove (the long road running vertically next to the Grove Buildings, and are classed as “Poor. 18s to 21s a week for a moderate family”.

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The Booth Poverty Map, Mapping London (www.mappinglondon.co.uk/2011/the-booth-poverty-map/: accessed 14 Nov 2018).

So where were the rest of Mary’s family in 1891?    That is still to be solved!

 

Remembering the men of World War 1

Today marks 100 years since the guns fell silent in World War 1.  As we spend the day remembering the millions who died, I wanted to honor my ancestors who fought in WW1.  All but one of them survived the war.

Arthur Edward Price (Great-Great-Great Uncle)

Arthur Edward Price was born in early 1880 to Thomas and Mary Ann Price, and was brother to my Great-Great-Grandfather George Frederick.

He was wounded in the right arm and thigh on 29th May 1917 in France.  He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

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“British Army WW1 Service Records, 1914-1920” entry for Arthur Edward Price, 1916, Regimental No. 5803, Ancestry.co.uk  (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 10 Nov 2018).

Sydney Howard Stares (Great-Great-Great Uncle)

Sydney Howard Stares was born on 15th September 1884 to John and Maria Stares and was brother to my Great-Great-Grandmother May.   He was baptized 17 July 1887 at Christ Church Hornsey.

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“London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906” entry for Sydney Howard Stares, 17 Jul 1887, Christ Church Hornsey, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 9 Nov 2018); citing London Metropolitan Archives, London Parish Register, DRO/023/I/A/01/002.

He joined the Royal Navy on 6th May 1901 and served on several different ships in his almost 20 year career.  He served on the HMS Southampton from 13 March 1914 to 16 July 1915, and would have most likely participated in the Battles of Heligoland Bight and Dogger Bank.

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“UK, Royal Navy Registers of Seaman’s Services, 1848-1939”, entry for Sydney Howard Stares, Service No. 214535, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 9 Nov 2018); citing National Archives, Royal Navy Registers of Seaman’s Services, Class:ADM 188, Piece 376.

Sydney survived the war and died 13th April 1948 in Battersea, London.

Private Alfred John Thrussell (Great-Great-Great Uncle)

Alfred John Thrussell was born on 18th June 1872 to George and Sarah Thrussell and was brother to my Great-Great-Grandmother Sarah Jane.  He was baptized on 29th December 1872 in Harpenden, Hertfordshire.

Alfred first enlisted in the Army in 16 October 1889 and served in several Regiments including the 97th Foot Soldiers and Royal West Kent Regiment.  He served for 12.5 years.

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“British Army WW1 Pension Records, 1914-1920”, entry for Alfred John Thrussell, 1889, Regiment No. 2612, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk  (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed on 10 Nov 2018). 

Alfred married Harriet Elizabeth Ann Bryant on 1st Nov 1904 at Christ Church Deptford.  They quickly had three children – William (1904),Arthur (1907) and Winifred May (1910).

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“London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921,” database and images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com: accessed 9 Nov 2018), entry for Thrussell-Bryant,1 Nov 1904, Christ Church Deptford; citing London Metropolitan Archives, Church of England Parish Registers, P95/ctc/010.

When World War 1 broke out, he reenlisted into the Army aged 41 years old.  As seen below in his Army Pension, he remained in the Army Reserve from August 1914 until his demobilization in March 1919.  Although it is unknown exactly where he served during the War, he would have seen fighting during that time.

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“British Army WW1 Pension Records, 1914-1920”, entry for Alfred John Thrussell, 1914, Regiment No. 24289, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk  (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed on 10 Nov 2018).

Alfred died on 18th June 1951 aged 78 years old in Watford.

Alfred John Thrussell
General Register Office. Death Certificate, Watford, Hertfordshire, Alfred John Thrussell, Jun 1951, Vol 4b, Page 256.

Private Alfred John Bolton  (Great-Great-Great Uncle)

Alfred John Bolton was born on 27th May 1881 to James and Louisa Bolton, and was the brother of my Great-Great Grandmother Mary Louisa.  He was baptized on 7 August 1881 at St Mary Magdalene Church, Islington.

Alfred John baptism
“London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906” entry for Alfred John Bolton, 7 Aug 1881, St Mary Magdalene, Islington, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 8 Nov 2018); citing London Metropolitan Archives, Church of England Parish Registers 1754-1906, Ref No. p83/mmg/002.

He joined the British Army and was sent to the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment (Regimental No. L/10769).   He was 34 years old when he killed in action on 25 September 1915 in France & Flanders.  This was the first day in the bloody Battle of Loos.  He is buried at the Loos Memorial in Loos-en-Gohelle, France.

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“UK, Army Registers of Soldier’s Effects, 1901-1929”, entry for Pvt Alfred John Bolton, 25 Sep 1915, Reg No. 10769, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 8 Nov 2018); citing National Army Museum, Chelsea, London, Record No Ranges: 226001, Ref No. 103.

After his death, he was awarded the trio of British WW1 medals – The 1914-1915 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Alfred John Medal
“British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920”, entry for Alfred J Bolton, Queens Reg, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 8 Nov 2018); citing Army Medal Office, WW1 Medal Index Cards.

Frederick Bolton (Great-Great-Great Uncle)

Frederick Bolton was born 1 March 1888 to James and Louisa Bolton, and was the younger brother to the aforementioned Alfred John Bolton.  He was baptized on 28 Oct 1888 at Hackney St John.

Frederick bolton baptism
“London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906” entry for Frederick Bolton, 28th Oct 1888, St John, Hackney, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 8 Nov 2018); citing London Metropolitan Archives, Church of England Parish Registers 1754-1906, Ref No. p79/jn1/041.

In 1904, he joined the Army attached to the York and Lancaster Regiment. As seen his Military History Sheet, he served several times in France and the Mediterranean during the war.

 

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“British Army WW1 Service Records, 1914-1920”, entry for Frederick Bolton, 1904, Regiment No. 7964, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 10 Nov 2018).

Unlike his brother, Frederick survived the war and went on to marry and have children.  He died in Winter 1943 in Hackney, London.

Private Benjamin Donoghue (Great-Great-Great Uncle)

Benjamin Donoghue was born in Spring 1877 to John Donoghue and Sarah Harriet Marsden, and was the brother of my Great-Great-Grandfather Frederick Donoghue.  He married Bridget Linehan in 1909 in Woolwich, London.

Although details are not available of when and where he served, he did receive the Victory and British War Medal whilst serving as a Private with the Kings Royal Rifle Corps.  He survived the war, but additional details of his life are unknown.

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“British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920”, entry for Benjamin Donoghue, Kings Royal Rifle Corps, Reg No. 5097, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 9 Nov 2018); citing Army Medal Office, WW1 Medal Index Cards.

 

George Henry Williams (Great-Grandfather)

George Henry Williams was born on 7 September 1898 to Albert Henry and Emily Williams in Clapham, London.  He was baptized on 14 Nov 1902 at Clapham Holy Trinity.

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“London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906” entry for George Henry Williams, 14 Nov 1902, Clapham Holy Trinity, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 10 Nov 2018); citing London Metropolitan Archives, Church of England Parish Registers 1754-1906, Ref No. P95/TRI1/149.

He enlisted in the Army on 2nd February 1914 aged 18.  He served through the entirety of the war, although exact locations are not known.

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“UK, Royal Air Force Airmen Records, 1918-1940”, entry for George Henry Williams, 12 Feb 1917, Service No. 59303, database and images, Fold3 (www.fold3.com: accessed 10 Nov 2018); citing National Archives, Air Member for Personnel and Predecessors, Airmen’s Records; Series No. AIR 79. 

After the war, George married and had three children.  He died on 12 April 1965 in Merton.

Electoral Records

Yesterday, the U.S. had its midterm elections.   This was the first large scale election that I have been able to vote in since becoming a U.S. Citizen back in February 2017.

As all of my family are from England, this got me thinking about past elections they would have voted in.  I am fairly lucky in that most of my family (especially my maternal side) have lived in London for many generations, so Electoral Records for this area are fairly easy to find. Ancestry has the London, England, Electoral Registers from 1832-1965 available on their website.    Electoral records for each year list the names and addresses of those eligible and registered to vote.  Women were not allowed to vote until 1928 in England (although some who met certain requirements were allowed to vote from 1918).

Below are a few of the Electoral Records I have collected for my ancestors.  For many of them, I have been able to track their location for a 20 year period between the 1911 Census and 1939 Register thanks to these records!

 

george frederick electroal 1914
1914 Electoral Record for my maternal 2X Great-Grandfather George Frederick Price.                “London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965”, Price, George Frederick, 1914, 112 Holloway Road, Islington, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 7 Nov 2018); citing London Metropolitan Archives, Electoral Registers.

 

albert ernest 1918 electoral
     1918 Electoral Record for my  2x Great-Grandparents Albert Ernest & Sarah Jane Edghill     “London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965”, Edghill Albert Ernest, 1918, 40 Hyde Street, Deptford, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 7 Nov 2018); citing London Metropolitan Archives, Electoral Registers.

 

ernest isabel electoral 1936
1936 Electoral Record for my Great- Grandparents Ernest Christopher & Isabel Donald        “London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965”, Donald Ernest Christopher, 1936, 22 Robinson Road, Bethnal Green, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 7 Nov 2018); citing London Metropolitan Archives, Electoral Registers.
henry j donald electoral 1912
1912 Electoral Record for my maternal 2x Great-Grandfather Henry John Donald       “London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965”, Donald Henry John, 1912, 12 Joseph Street, Mile End, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 7 Nov 2018); citing London Metropolitan Archives, Electoral Registers.
1927 george henry and albert henry electoral
1927 Electoral Record for my paternal 2x Great Grandfather Albert Henry Williams &             Great-Grandfather George Henry Williams                                                                                “London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965”, Williams Albert Henry, 1927, 51 Lessar Avenue, Clapham, database and images, Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 7 Nov 2018); citing London Metropolitan Archives, Electoral Registers.

The Marriage of Thomas Medhurst and Mary Wingrove

After finally completing the last of my ProGen chats, I am jumping right back in with my research on my paternal side.  After solving the mystery of my adopted great grandmother’s real parentage, I have been able to progress backwards several more generations.  Things took an exciting turn this weekend when I discovered the marriage bann of my 5 x Great Grandparents Thomas Medhurst and Mary Wingrove.

 

Thomas Medhurst Mary Wingrove
“London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921,” database and images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com: accessed 2 Nov 2018), entry for Medhurst-Wingrove, 10 April 1785; citing London Metropolitan Archives, Church of England Parish Registers, P71/mmg/055)                 

 

 

Thomas and Mary married on 10th April 1785 at St Mary Magdalene Church, Bermondsey, Surrey.   Interestingly, several of my maternal ancestors lived in this same area at the same time.   This inspired me to look for proof that they may have known each other, or at least, had mutual acquaintances.

I ended up discovering that in 1785, Thomas Medhurst owned property in Bermondsey.  Several streets away, my maternal 6x Great Grandparent Benjamin Edghill was renting a property from a Benjamin Hodgson.  Although definite proof that the families knew each other likely does not exist, small developing areas such as Bermondsey were relatively tight knit communities so it is not beyond the realm of possibility that their paths may have crossed.

Thomas Medhursy tax 1785
“Surrey, England, Land Tax Records, 1780-1832”, database and images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com: accessed 5 Nov 2018), entry for Thomas Medhurst, 1785, Bermondsey, Roll No. 89, Ref No. 992367; citing Surrey Land Tax, Surrey History Centre.
Benj Edghhill tax 1785
Surrey, England, Land Tax Records, 1780-1832″, database and images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com: accessed 5 Nov 2018), entry for Benj” Edghill, 1785, Bermondsey, Roll No. 89, Ref No. 992367; citing Surrey Land Tax, Surrey History Centre.

 

 

 

I wonder if they would have believed that several generations in the future, their families would be combined?

 

The Little Corner House in London

After hearing the news that my grandparents are selling their house of 40 years to move to a retirement community, it has got me thinking about all the precious memories you create at a grandparents house.

My grandparents moved into this home in New Eltham, London in the late 1970s.

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Whenever my sister and I arrived for a visit, we would ring the doorbell and then hide around the corner.

Many days, I would help my Grandad with his gardening in the front – I would pick the weeds out of the cracks in the concrete, while he tended to his flowerpots.

Once you are inside the porch, the inside door is a really heavy frosted glass door.  The top latch was always really stiff and when I was small, I would go on my tip toes and try so hard to unlock it. My grandparents recently updated the hallway (seen below), although the photos on the wall remain the same.  There was originally a pale carpet and a white shelf above the radiator.  Little trinkets and my grandad’s car keys always sat on this shelf.   On the opposite wall, there was a big plant and a small brown table that had the phone on it.

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The living room has always been small and cosy.  I have spent many evenings of my life curled up on the sofa next to my Nana watching TV with a cup of hot chocolate and a fancy biscuit (cookie) from Marks & Spencers.

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Long before they got the comfy leather sofas, they had these patchwork type sofas that were a little scratchy.  Below is Grandad and me when I was about 2 or 3 (1991/1992) on those sofas.

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Some of my most treasured memories in this living room happened once I was an adult.  On Christmas Day 2011, my husband and I traveled down to London to share some special Christmas news.  Grandad was sitting in his chair when we told them we were adding to the family tree and expecting a baby!

The photo below will always be so special to me.  It was taken September 2012.  We bought our son Ryan – then 2 months old – down to London to see their house for the first time.  As you can tell, Grandad and Ryan absolutely adored each other.

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A few months later, around February 2013, we again returned down to London.  I had some business to take care of in the city, so Nana and Grandad babysat Ryan at their house.   I’m not sure who had more fun!

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The Kitchen – The heart of a home

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The saying goes that the kitchen is the heart of the home.   This is definitely the case at this house.  Even though I haven’t been to the house since I moved to the U.S five years ago, I still know where everything is in this kitchen!

The smell of strong coffee and roast dinners is something I will always associate with this kitchen. My Nana is a fantastic cook – her roast dinners are the best!  However, her best recipe (one that I have tried to imitate myself many times……never comes close!) is her blackberry crumble.  The blackberries come fresh from her garden.  Paired with warm custard, it is the ultimate in comfort food.

In the front cupboard, there is always an endless supply of tasty biscuits and I always used to have my Ribena in a (very 90s) Disney plastic cup with a mini snowstorm in it.  The everyday cutlery is kept in the second drawer on the right – we used this when we stayed for a while.   If we were just visiting for the day, Nana would break out the fancy cutlery from the cabinet that was in the dining room.

Before they replaced the ceiling and put spotlights in, the ceiling used look like a checkerboard of lights.  There was always one light that glowed more fluorescent than the others.     My Aunt & I spent many an afternoon washing up the dishes by hand – she would wash, I would dry (she has some weird disgust with tea towels).  Below, here I am again drying dishes!  This was taken Christmas Day 2011.

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Despite the small size, we spent a lot of time in the dining room.  The double doors lead out to the garden so many days were spent going in and out.  Every meal is eaten in this room.  There used to be a bigger dark wood table with an extension.  It was always a tight squeeze when we had to open the extension.  My Aunt and I were usually the ones who had to sit by the radiator.
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Before there was that small comfy chair in the corner, there used to be a rocking chair.  I would spend hours sitting in and reading my books.  The cabinet to the left of the white built in hasn’t changed in 20 years.    It is full of my Grandad’s WW2 and military books.
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The built in white cupboards always stuck and had a particular smell.  I used to enjoy opening and closing them as a baby.  Below I am about 18 months old playing with some of the fancy cutlery.  You can vaguely make out the legs of the rocking chair in the background.

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The Garden 

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Although it is small, many hours of fun were had in this garden.  The entire row by the wall is made up of rose bushes and blackberry bushes.  My sister & I would spend mornings helping Grandad pick blackberries.   My Nana would then use these fresh blackberries to make the blackberry crumble.   The bushes can be seen bloomed behind my Aunt and Grandad (pictured in 1996).

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By the patio doors was a stone patio, sheltered by big trees.   It was always a nice shaded place to sit in summer.  We could always find my Grandad sitting in his garden chair fast asleep – just as he is seen below with my little sister in 1996.

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One of our favorite games to play as kids was to balance on the brick circle.  My Nana was always worried we would fall and hurt ourselves….but we did it anyway.
The house was built in the 1930s and has stood the test of time well – I loved looking at the brickwork in the back of the house.

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The little back bedroom

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This room in the back of the house was where I always slept. It overlooks the back garden and the side street. I always slept so well in that bed, and I would fall asleep counting the flowers on the wallpaper.

On the window sill was a musical box made of porcelain and it played Fur Elise by Beethoven.   Whenever I hear that song now, it always takes me back to this little room.  There was also a large desk that was in the corner, and I loved spending my evenings writing my diary on it.

Nana’s Room

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Although this bedroom belongs to both of them, I always called this ‘Nana’s Room’.  Every morning when we woke up, we would go downstairs to help Grandad get Nana’s lemon drink ready (lemon juice in warm water) and then bring it to her in bed.

I loved sitting at her dressing table and seeing all her jewelry.  I would sit here while she dried my hair and admired myself in the mirrors.  Her closet was bursting full of pretty clothes and shoes.  I would try and walk in her high heels, until my feet grew bigger than hers!

Saying Goodbye……

Although they will not be living in this home much longer, the memories we created there together will forever live on in my heart.  This little corner house in London will always  be my second home.

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Lost, but no longer forgotten..

This Sunday 12th November is Remembrance Sunday back home in the UK.  On this day, we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  In my years of researching my own family tree, I have come across several young men who died in World War 1.  I have been wanting to do a blog post for a while to honor them – they are lost, but no longer forgotten.

Alfred John Bolton (1881-1915)
My 3rd Great Uncle

Alfred John Bolton was born 27th May 1881 in Islington, London to James and Louisa Bolton.

Alfred John baptism

Alfred was a Private in the Queens (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, 2nd Battalion and he was killed in action on 25 September 1915 in France and Flanders.   Alfred is commemorated at the Loos Memorial in Loos-en-Gohelle, France.

Alfred John burialPhoto source –  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/14354412

Alfred was posthumously awarded three medals –  the 1915 Star Medal, British Medal and Victory Medal.

Alfred John Medal

Frederick Bolton (1888-1917)
My 3rd Great Uncle

Frederick Bolton was Alfred’s brother and born 1 March 1888 in Hackney

Frederick bolton baptism

Frederick first enlisted in the British Army in 1904 when he joined the York and Lancaster Regiment aged 18.

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Frederick was a Rifleman in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, 1st Battalion and he died of his wounds on 29 April 1917 in France and Flanders.  He is commemorated at the Arras Memorial in Arras, France.

Arras Frederick memorialPhoto source – https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=124934183

Ernest Horace Markwick (1896-1917)
My 1st Cousin 4x Removed

Ernest Horace Markwick was born 26 February 1896 in Islington, London to Frederick and Caroline Markwick.

Ernest Markwick baptism

Frederick was a Private in the London Regiment, 4th (City of London) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers and he was killed in action on 26 October 1917 in France and Flanders

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Photo source -https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11951583

Ernest is commemorated at the Tyne Cot Memorial in Zonnebeke, Belgium.

George William Wayman (1891-1916)
My 1st Cousin 4x Removed

George William Wayman was born in January 1891 in Lambeth, London to George and Jane Wayman.

George was a Driver in the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery and he was  killed in action on 16 August 1916 during the Battle of the Somme.

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Photo source – https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/56561416/george-william-wayman

George is buried at Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, France.

 

 

 

GRO PDF Scheme

The General Register Office maintain the vital records for England & Wales from 1837 to present.  The website (www.gro.gov.uk) has been an extremely useful resource for genealogists looking for English & Welsh ancestors.  The site has searchable indexes for Birth and Death records from 1837- 1916.   Certificates for Birth/Marriage/Death records from 1837-present are available for order, as long as you know the GRO Index Number.  This index number can be found via record searches on Ancestry, Findmypast etc.    Certificates cost 9.25 GBP and delivery times range from a few days in mainland UK to 2-6 weeks for the rest of the world (my average delivery time here in Georgia is around 3 weeks).

After a couple of successful test pilots, the GRO has launched their latest PDF pilot scheme.  This time it runs for 3 months and allows you to get a PDF copy of a certificate sent to your email within a few days.  PDFs cost 6GBP and cannot be used for purposes such as obtaining identification documents – you still need a certified copy of the certificate.

I tried out this new PDF scheme and was very pleased with the results.   I ordered the PDF of my 3x great grandfathers death certificate.  I received it within a few days and it was very clear quality-  as seen below.   It is important to note that I didn’t get an email telling me that I had the PDF – I actually logged into my GRO account and saw it sitting there under my orders page.

I highly recommend using this pilot scheme while it is still around – maybe if enough of us utilize this, they may make it a permanent feature.

john donoghue death