As well as using the Central Library in Leeds for all our early research we got a few chances to visit St Catherine’s House in London.
Civil Registration began in the UK on 1st July 1837 and the records and registers were kept at Somerset House in London until 1970 when they were moved to St Catherine’s House. Because of it’s location the Civil Registration index became known as the St Catherine’s House Index. The records were moved again 1997 to the Family Records Centre at Myddleton Street, North London.
Looking though the registers in St Catherine’s House really felt like you were in touch with history. These are huge books – separate records for births, marriages and deaths. Each volume has the records for a calendar quarter for a particular year.
I knew my maternal grandmother’s birthday was 6th January 1897 so the record should have been in the March 1897 quarter. Her name was Florrie Musgrove. I had checked the records in the library at Leeds but hadn’t been able to find a record of her birth. On one of our visits to St Catherine’s House I was determined to have a thorough and systematic search.
It wasn’t where it should have been – not under Musgrove, or Musgrave, or Musgreave. It wasn’t in the June 1897 quarter or the September 1897 quarter. OK think laterally. After what seemed an age and just before we were ready to give up, there it was – in the March 1897 register after all – but under Florrie Mosgrove.
We were still early on in our research and it was a great lesson. Don’t accept things at face value and learn to question everything.
The marriage certificate for Fred and Florrie Musgrove also threw up another anomaly – but that’s for another week.