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Ask Alan!

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Ask Alan!

Postby Admin » Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:43 pm

Have you got any queries about your local history or any interesting or entertaining experiences you've had whilst researching your area?

Do you have any questions about getting started in local history or any problems (or solutions) that you've encountered during your journey?

Post your questions below (or email alan@bbcmagazinesbristol.com) and answers will feature in a future issue of the magazine.


If you have any technical difficulties, email EdwardHerbert@magazine-services.co.uk
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RE: Ask Alan!

Postby FamilyHistoryAddict » Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:20 am

Hi,

I would like to ask Alan a question if he can help me. In the old days, many houses did not have numbers. How did this work? How did people get their post etc and how were bills sent to the householders for rates etc? Were they hand delivered?

I know my father was born in a house in Walsingham High Street in Norfolk but on the electoral rolls the houses aren't numbered and just say the resident's name, then High Street, Walsingham. Is there anyway I could trace which house my father was born in without this vital door number information?

Cheers, FHA
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RE: Ask Alan!

Postby speedy » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:13 pm

[align=left][size="4"][font="times new roman"][size="3"]Alan I have a troublesome brick wall, my Grand mother was May Violet Turner, I have her birth cert, also that of he sister and brother, on all three they list father as William Turner, and the mother as Lydia Turner formaly Biddle. The 3 children were borne between 1878 - 1886.
Rosina Lydia Turner D.O.B 11 July 1878, David William Turner D.O.B. 17 Aug 1880 & May Violet Turner D.O.B 10 Aug 1886.
Rosina was registered in St Martin Birmingham, and both David and May were registered in Saint George Birmingham (all UK). Now the problems I have are:_
1) in the Cencus gives year of birth as 1856/6 for Lydia, but the only birth I can find for Lydia Biddle is 1861, that could fit in with the birth of the children, not sure if it is the correct Lydia.
2) Did William and Lydia marry, as I can't seem to find a marriage for them, now I know that all BMD's from July 1837 all were supposed to be recorded, but in fact it wasn't untill 1875 that they started to enforce the law, so some may have escaped being recorded, or they may never have married.
I would go into Birmingham to look at the resorces there, but at over 100 miles away, that is not an easy option.
Do you have any other ideas of how I may find this elusive information?

Bev


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Bev
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RE: Ask Alan!

Postby Alan Crosby » Wed May 21, 2008 4:06 pm

Hi FHA,

Apologies for the long delay in replying - I had computer problems when your message was first sent. There are several answers to your questions. The first is that you have to remember that far fewer people received any mail, and that even those who did receive less of it. The 1840 Penny post had a very great impact, but in the first few decades the volume of mail was far below today's levels (lucky them - no junk mail!). This meant that for most 'ordinary' people the problem of not having a specific address didn't really matter. The second point is that in smaller towns and almost all villages the lack of an address was unimportant, as everybody knew who XYZ was and where he or she lived. For a place like Walsingham the absence of an address didn't make any difference--the postman was well aware of addresses as he lived in the village too. Rate demands were sent to the house and would indeed be delivered by hand (sending them out in the post was not usual).

In bigger towns the absence of numbers was a problem, though. Some places had been numbering houses well before 1840, and passed byelaws to enforce this, but after 1840 the GPO pushed very hard for numbering to be extended, and because of Post Office influence house-numbering became standard (though in many rural communities houses still aren't numbered--addresses are still by name of property).

As for finding the house, I think the only possible answer is to be search census returns, but that depends on whether your father or his family were there in 1891 or 1901. You'd need to find their entry in the census, and also a specific and still identifiable building such as a pub. Count the number of dwellings in the census between their dwelling and the e.g. pub, then using a large-scale OS map from approximately the same date, count dwellings on the map from the pub. This isn't very clear - it's easier to explain on the ground!

Yours sincerely,

Alan
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RE: Ask Alan!

Postby Alan Crosby » Wed May 21, 2008 4:23 pm

Dear Bev,

Well, the first possibility is that Lydia was not entirely truthful about her age. If she was born in 1861 she could easily have had a child in 1878. But to me the first important question is - where was she born, according to the census returns? If it wasn't Birmingham, you could check local records in wherever it happened to be. The second is: which census returns have you checked: in principle you should be able to find her in 1881, 1891 and 1901 at least (unless she died young), so do the census returns confirm the 1856 D.O.B. or do they have discrepancies?

It is very unlikely that any marriage in the 1870s would be unrecorded--indeed, marriage recording was almost 100 per cent from the beginning--so I doubt that is an explanation. Have you cross-checked in the marriage indexes against Biddle, rather than Turner [the former is a much rarer name so fewer to cover?]. Otherwise, a common law marriage is, I suppose, a likelihood ... and that does indeed pose problems for your research.

Any help? I hope so!

Alan
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RE: Ask Alan!

Postby FamilyHistoryAddict » Fri May 23, 2008 5:36 am

Hi Alan,

Thank you for your reply about the lack of addresses. It was great to get an insight into what life was like back then - postally speaking of course. My father only shows up on one Census and that is the 1901 census and by then the family had moved to Wells Next the Sea. I know where they lived there.

I was wondering if old rate books might be a little more illuminating and show who lived where in Little Walsingham. I would so like to find out which house was my father's birthplace. Being an old preserved village and a place of pilgrimage, the house is likely to still be there.

Cheers, FHA
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RE: Ask Alan!

Postby SisterBez » Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:36 pm

Hi
Civil Registration only became mandatory on 1st January 1874 - it is possible that before this you may not find a marriage, especially if it was Roman Catholic. Many families were too poor to pay the Registrar to attend, so simply did without - until 1874 such marriages were legally valid simply because registration was not yet compulsory. Some catholic marriages were recorded of course; either the couple paid for the registrar to attend or they went through a second ceremony at an Anglican church.

Have you looked for the marrige on the Family Search website?
Sandgrounder and proud of it.
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RE: Ask Alan!

Postby shazie » Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:00 am

Hi Alan, I am wondering if you can help me. I have been looking for a street in St Lenards Shoreditch in 1864, i have found it in the 1861 map, the street is Princes Street, then when i looked later on in the 1895 map i had found, i found that they have renamed Princes street to Chambard Street. Do you know why street names were changed ?

Many thanks, Sharon
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