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Professional help

Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:26 am

Has anyone ever used a professional researcher/geneologist and is it really expensive?

I have found out so much about my grandmother's origins thanks to help from people on this and other forums. 9I'm really struggling from now on due to my lack of experience, time and knowledge; and am wondering if it would be worth calling in a professional...

I am trying to find any information on Ethel Winifred Horsham who was born illegitimate in Southwark on 8 April 1911.

Her mother was Ethel Louisa Horsham b.1887 and I have reason to believe her father was Thomas Mason b.1854 from Ewell in Surrey.

Ethel Louisa Horsham married George HC Wilde in Epsom in 1913 and went on to have more children between 1914 and 1922. I have an address for her in Chiswick in 1914 and know the family moved to Tilshead in Wiltshire soon after for George Wilde to take up work.

Ethel Winifred Horsham was taken into care in January 1921, by which time her name was given as Winifred Ethel Lambert. Harry James Lambert witnessed the marriage of Ethel Louisa to George Wilde but I have no knowledge of him and mo reason to comment him other than his surname.

I am trying to find out what happened to Ethel Winifred between her birth in 1911 and being taken into care in 1921. Did she stay with Ethel Louisa or was she sent to live elsewhere? Is there any official record of Thomas Mason being her father? (I have a photo of his daughter which bears a startling resemblance to Ethel Winifred's children and grandchildren). I've contacted the London Metropolitan Archive and they said there may be a maintenance order on record but this would be difficult to search for.

I'm stumped which is why I'm thinking of getting an expert on board. Any opinions/advice/pearls of wisdom welcome please...

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Re: Professional help

Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:27 am

Excuse the typos!

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Re: Professional help

Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:59 pm

I have had good and bad experiences with researchers, mainly the latter!...........but I haven't used one for a number of years. The trouble is however much info you give them to start with they never know the full story, and a snippet of info that may trigger something to you may mean nothing to them, and so an avenue of research is ignored. You could end up wasting a lot of money

I would advocate using and exhausting every free avenue before resorting to paying for research, even if that means setting aside sometime yourself to do this. I appreciate it is time consuming, but I am sure there will be plenty of help from people on here to guide you.

Do you have the birth certificate for Ethel? If Thomas acknowledged that he was the Father, even if he didn't marry Ethel's Mother, he may be named on the birth certificate.

Similarly was a Father named on her marriage certificate?

The modern way of confirmation is DNA, but obviously Thomas' Family would need to have taken tests for comparison.

Re: Professional help

Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:45 pm

Have you tried researching 1913 marriage witness Harry James Lambert? There must be a further connection to him, considering that your grandmother's surname was "Lambert" when she was taken in to care. Could he be a relative of Ethel Louisa's or friend of George Wilde's?

For what it's worth, there is a Harry James Lambert in the Electoral Rolls for Epsom during the 1920s and 1930s. Address in 1921 is 9 Victoria Place, Epsom. He died in 1939 in Epsom. Probate record is on Ancestry. Occupation(s) during the census years: apprentice in racing stables; coachman.
Last edited by MoVidger on Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Re: Professional help

Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:06 pm

To answer your specific question, yes, I have used a professional researcher, but I was very specific about what sort of information I wanted and where it was held. This was in 2014 and it was £25 per hour plus the costs of a photo permit at the relevant archives. Total came to £62.

If you have a vague idea of locations and dates, as your post suggests, it may be worth ringing up the relevant archives and asking for their ideas. School records might be helpful for instance, or there may be something in the local authority files. Do you know how she ended up in care, ie was she just left there by her mother, or was she somehow referred there from somewhere like NSPCC?

Re: Professional help

Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:19 pm

Thanks for all the help and suggestions, all. I'll go through and answer specifics individually:

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Re: Professional help

Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:27 pm

Thanks for your words of advice meekhcs. It's a life-long complicated story that I've only just unravelled in the past few months.

I do have Ethel Winifred Horsham's birth certificate but the father is not named. When she went into care in 1921 her name was changed to Lambert and from that point onwards she was known as Winifred Ethel Lambert. She had no knowledge or contact with her family other than a few vague memories (which were surprisingly accurate now that I know more details); and so as a family we were never able to find her birth certificate as we were assuming her name was Lambert. Her marriage certificate is blank when it comes to family details as she had none.

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Re: Professional help

Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:37 pm

Thanks for the info on Harry James Lambert, movidger. I did try to find him on the 1911 census but didn't really get very far. Your findings are very helpful - George Wilde was a jockey and then later Head Groom so I suspect they were connected through horse-racing and therefore he was unlikely to be a random witness.

I have speculated as to whether they changed Ethel Winifred's name to prevent her from being able to trace them in the future if she had wanted to, so it may be that they merely used any name they could think of when giving her details.

It's definitely another Avenue worth exploring so thank you...

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Re: Professional help

Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:46 pm

Thanks for the insight, aveline. We aren't entirely sure but think she was reported to 'the authorities' when stable lads saw her on the roof so who knows what would have happened to her had she not been spotted..? Her mother was cruel to her but not to any other children which may have been linked to her illegitimacy.

The home was for neglected children and I have the few records that exist from there. IF she stayed with her mother from birth until 1921 she would have been of school age when they were at Tilshead in Wiltshire , but apparently the school records have been destroyed.

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Re: Professional help

Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:03 pm

I would consider meekhcs' advice to have your DNA done, because it will at least probably eliminate Mason if it does not confirm him.
I am looking for my grandfather, and am close to identifying him: I was tested in Oct 2016, along with my brother, and it might be another 2 or 3 or unknown yrs before I get the evidence I need, but I am hopeful. I also highly recommend having a sibling tested, without my brother testing I would not be as far along as I am.
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