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What sources can be useful to me

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What sources can be useful to me

Postby DerekvG » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:13 pm

I'm looking for my unknown grandfather and traces of my grandmother.
My grandmother gave birth to my father in June 1930, aged 27. The biological father was hidden from records. My father was named Jean-Ernest , but called "John" by his mum, he was nicknamed "the Englishman" all through his youth by customers of his stepfather's pub and restaurant.
My Gran came with her parents and younger brother in 1914 to the area of Twickenham, being a diamond worker he worked for the whole war in a weapons/ammunition factory. the children attended an English school rather then the Belgian school. During WWII she belonged to the resistance and was a radio operator in daily contact with London.
According to letters found in my gran's personal affairs she had an English(speaking) lover, never in those letters a name or location was mentioned.
She worked for General Motor Continental (Antwerp) the subsidiary of the American car manufacturer. Much of the managing staff were British ex-pats, except for the top man who was American (of Scottish, Welsh or Irish origin judging by his name).
She lived within 1/2 mile of the factory, and so did most of the ex-pats. She was a secretary and because she spoke fluent English, she worked for the managing staff.
She was laid off by GM in 1930 for being pregnant, although she continued to do work for them from home at least until 1936.
From what we gathered from her personal correspondance her lover was either laid off (indicating he was also a GM staff member) or was called back and returned to the UK in which case he was "on loan" from Vauxhall in the UK. Further investigation learned that the British ex-pat staff was hired in the UK and came here with an employment contract, no locally residing ex-pats were hired according to the Antwerp foreigner police records.
I did get in touch with GM Continental which is still operating here in Antwerp but not as a manufacturing subsidiary to get access to their archive but they claim those were handed to GM but they have no knowledge of their whereabouts , neither does Opel Germany (the current EU HQ)
I did write to Vauxhall requesting access to their historic records, but I was politely turned down mentioning that they didn't have the pre-war records anymore.

What records/archives could I consult in the UK that could provide me info about British citizens going/residing abroad between 1925 and latest june 1929 , specifically in Antwerp, Belgium; and returning in 1930.
DerekvG
 
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Re: What sources can be useful to me

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:55 pm

Being unhelpful about this, I can at least say that the UK government never kept any records of passenger traffic between the UK and the Continent - so no Passenger Lists, inbound or outbound, for Belgium / UK traffic.

Also to check up on what you've hopefully already done...
1. Have you found the registration of your father's birth? It may, of course, say nothing about his father but I need to ask.

2. There is a record set on FindMyPast "British Nationals Born Overseas 1818-2005" - it certainly includes people recorded as born in Antwerp. It isn't even mandatory for UK citizens and from what you say, I would imagine that the chance of your father being in that list is about zero - but you need to be pedantic over all possibilities. Besides, you might even spot a surname that you recognise. (Annoyingly, the Foreign Office don't seem to have indexed the exact year).
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Re: What sources can be useful to me

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:05 pm

According to the TNA Discovery catalogue,there are Vauxhall related collections at, at least, "Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service" and "Warwick University: Modern Records Centre" - whether any of these include staff records, I've no idea.
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Re: What sources can be useful to me

Postby DerekvG » Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:18 pm

Thank you Adrian
AdrianB38 wrote:Being unhelpful about this, I can at least say that the UK government never kept any records of passenger traffic between the UK and the Continent - so no Passenger Lists, inbound or outbound, for Belgium / UK traffic.

Also to check up on what you've hopefully already done...
1. Have you found the registration of your father's birth? It may, of course, say nothing about his father but I need to ask.

2. There is a record set on FindMyPast "British Nationals Born Overseas 1818-2005" - it certainly includes people recorded as born in Antwerp. It isn't even mandatory for UK citizens and from what you say, I would imagine that the chance of your father being in that list is about zero - but you need to be pedantic over all possibilities. Besides, you might even spot a surname that you recognise. (Annoyingly, the Foreign Office don't seem to have indexed the exact year).


I have his belgian birth certificate, and registrations in civil records, of course - my grandmother being belgian- he was not registered in the british records .

Iḿ looking at it from the perspective of the unknown grandfather , I have already gone through the records of the Antwerp foreign police ( the index being on family search) and i´ve complied a short list : out of 6000 registered british foreign nationals living between 1910 and 1930 in Antwerp i've eliminated more the 5500 women, seamen, immigrants going to the USA from Antwerp, and classified the remaining 400 by age an profession and by employer. only 35 are prime candidates.
DerekvG
 
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Re: What sources can be useful to me

Postby DerekvG » Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:19 pm

AdrianB38 wrote:According to the TNA Discovery catalogue,there are Vauxhall related collections at, at least, "Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service" and "Warwick University: Modern Records Centre" - whether any of these include staff records, I've no idea.

Thank you that is very useful
DerekvG
 
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Re: What sources can be useful to me

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:43 pm

Crikey - that was some shortlist.

The other thing that you should do - again, you may have - is DNA test. You seem to have a wholly male line to the mystery (unless your forum id is misleading!), so Y-DNA would be a possibility. Chances of a match already being in the databases of the companies is again close to zero, but given that million to one chances come off all the time, it would be foolish to ignore. It would, of course, still need paper based research along the lines of, "Anyone on your side ever worked in Antwerp?"

Good luck...

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